This was one of those walks that you don't have really high hopes for but which turns out to be really quite wonderful. The walk is a 20 km long loop (if you include the side trip to Mount Buangor) that starts and ends in Mount Cole State Forest but also meanders through adjoining Mount Buangor State Park and is well marked, well built, well maintained and just generally well conceived. That is a whole lot of wells, but, really this is a good walk. Half way along there is a secluded little campsite in a lovely gum forest with outhouses, tables, and water tanks. We did the walk as a day trip, but there are certainly worse places to spend a night than under the fragrant gum trees among kangaroos and echidnas listening to the panoply of bird song characteristic of the Australian bush.
View from Cave Hill
We were camped nearby at Smiths Bridge (a nice free campsite on a quiet road in Mount Cole State Forest) and had found a good track that runs west on the south side of Cave Hill Creek that allowed us to walk to the start of the walk at Richards Campground (another nice small free campsite) which added a further four kilometres to the walk.
Fragrant and beautiful eucalpyt forest
From Richards Campground, the track climbs up beside Cave Hill Creek to the diminutive Raglan Falls, a thin stream of water pouring over tall granite boulders. There is a very sturdy metal railing at the top of Raglan Falls and a bit of a view over the rest of the state forest. A bit more gradual climbing and the track gains a large plateau which stretches about 10 kilometres in a roughly north south direction before dropping down steeply on all sides to the surrounding plains. There are quite a few ups and downs, but generally, the track stays on this plateau for most of the remainder of the walk.
These tiny flowers were everywhere
The forest is gorgeous open eucalpyt with an under-storey of ferns and, in spring, myriad wildflowers. Traversing over Cave Hill, there are good views from a big rock platform just off the track to the north which the track later contours below allowing more expansive views to nearby Mount Langi Ghiran and beyond to the Grampians. The track then follows the plateau north to Sugarloaf, another good viewpoint, then ambles along for a couple of kilometres to a track junction where you can take a side trip to another view point, probably the best, the lookout on Mount Buangor.
Doug among the tall trees
We detoured to Mugwamp Campground for lunch, and then I strolled up to the lookout on Mount Buangor (sadly my camera battery died before I could take any photos), while Doug continued along the track. This added an extra 40 minutes walking and is well worthwhile. The final six kilometres is all downhill on a good track following an unnamed creek back to Richards Campground through stands of gums, ferns, and tree ferns.