Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mount Rosea Circuit From Borough Huts

Mount Rosea, at the northern end of the Serra Range is usually hiked from the old Rosea picnic ground, but, I much prefer either a through walk or a circuit walk to an out and back, so I came up with a loop walk that started from Borough Huts campground, passed over Mount Rosea and returned back to Borough Huts. Be warned, however, that this is much longer than simply walking up Mount Rosea from Rosea Turntable and includes much more elevation gain. Below are my track notes, use them at your own discretion.

There is no sign at the start or any indication in the Borough Huts campground that this walk starts there. At the west side of the campground, cross Fyans Creek (low) and follow an old road for about 175 metres heading west. Memorial Track (new sign) branches off to the right (north) and almost immediately crosses (dry) Middleton Creek. The track climbs gradually and in about a 0.5 km crosses another old road. Continue gently climbing for another 700 (horizontal) metres and cross another old road (easy to miss as it is quite overgrown). From this point on, the track begins to climb, gently at first but soon getting quite steep. In half a kilometre, you cross another old road and you could follow this old road up to meet the track higher up, but it is easily as steep as, if not steeper than the track and might be best saved for the descent. One section of track has a washout where the track all but disappears, and the track is also a bit bushy and overgrown.

Near the top of Mount Rosea

After you have gained about 200 metres, you cross the same old road again (alternate route) and the gradient eases but the track still climbs to cross one last fading old road. The track levels out a bit and begins heading more north (rather than NW) and a new track is intersected. This is called the Chislett Track on the map and it has had major work done on it and is in very good shape. It climbs gradually to Sanderson Gap and then weaves through rock formations to the top of Mount Rosea where there is a compass rose, seat and lookout. The Wonderland Range looks low from here, Mount Williams may have its head in the cloud, and the southern Serra Range looks suitably remote.

From Mount Rosea, the track descends the north ridge winding through rock formations, tunnels and caves until you are below the escarpment and the track becomes wide and fast walking down to Rosea Turntable at the intersection of Stoney Creek Road and Silverband Road. About 50 metres downhill on the Silverbank Road, a pile of cut logs marks the old Silverband Falls track (long since closed by Victoria Parks) which leads down Dairy Creek and intersects the Silverband Road at a U bend in the road. You can follow this track - brushed in but passable - or follow the road down to the Burma Track. Either way, you'll walk about 800 metres. If you follow the track, it disappears into the creek after about 200 metres but there is still a faint foot pad visible most of the way and it is easy enough walking in the creek. If you've followed the creek, you need to walk back up the road for 40 metres or so to get on the Burma Track (so you don't save any distance only some road walking).

Walking off Mount Rosea

The Burma Track has some impressive washouts from floods and some huge boulders are poised to roll onto the road below next time heavy rain falls. You have to scramble down into and out of a couple of large gullies in the first two kilometres. After about two kilometres, there is a very faint old road branching off to the left which runs down Glen Hills to meet the Grampians Tourist Drive at Lake Bellfield. If you carry on, in less than a minute, you reach a much more prominent junction. The uphill fork is a new track not marked on the map that steadily gains elevation and intersects the Chislett Track (you'll recognise the junction from earlier in the day). If you want to avoid the extra elevation gain (and subsequent loss) take the lower left hand fork and intersect the Memorial Track just before it begins it's steep descent.

We took the new (upper track) which is in really good shape but climbs more than necessary to the junction with the Chislett Track. Instead of following the bushy and washed out in places Memorial Track down we took the road down until we were below the steep descent/ascent and had intercepted the track again. The descent on the road feels steeper even than the track. Then, simply follow the Memorial Track back to Fyans Creek, and have a dip if there is enough water in the creek. This is a nice remote feeling hike and you'll only meet other people on the section from Rosea Turntable to Mount Rosea.

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