Last Visited: 06/12/2009
Length (km): approx. 7 km (according to MapMyHike.com)
Time (hrs/min): 1 hour 20 mins
Return / Circuit / One-Way / Partial Circuit: Circuit
Park: Dandenong Ranges National Park
Closest Town: The Basin
Maximum Elevation: approx. 507 m (according to MapMyHike.com)
Total Ascent: approx. 205 m (according to MapMyHike.com)
Further Details / Source(s): The hike I intended to do was titled “Channel 10 Track / Camellia Loop” in the ParkWeb Park Note: Dandenong Ranges National Park – Visitor Guide. However it is listed there as being only 3.6 km, so I must have taken a different route.
Car Access: The hike starts and finishes at the Doongalla Homestead and Stables Picnic Ground, which is accessed via Simpsons Road, The Basin. Once through the gates, drive past the two picnic grounds and park in the carpark at the end of the road. Channel 10 Track begins here (Melways Ref: 66 D5).
This is one of the nicer spots I’ve found in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, so I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking for a short day walk not too far from Melbourne. Begin with a fairly steep ascent on Channel 10 Track, heading to the left at the first major track intersection (Dandenong Creek Track).
Part of Dacite Track
This track becomes Dacite Track at the intersection with Zig Zag Track, so keep going straight. I was nearly wiped out here by a huge group of mountain bikes coming down Zig Zag Track at speed. The tire-tracks along Camelia Track (and the unofficial tracks intersecting) suggest that the area is popular for mountain biking, so it wouldn’t hurt to keep your ears peeled.
Descend Dacite Track carefully as it’s very steep and hard to keep your footing until it makes a sharp left. This is the point where it becomes Camelia Track and also where I had my most exciting Australian wildlife encounter so far (not that this is saying very much)… I was shocked when I saw something out of the corner of my eye and thought something (or someone!) was jumping out at me. It was just a Lace Monitor (aka Lace Goanna) that had obviously seen me coming and ran up a tree! It growled and hissed at me, so I took a few quick close-up shots and decided to watch from a distance. Eventually, it came down from the tree and slinked off into the bush. What an amazing creature! It must have been about 1.5 metres from nose to tail!
The Lace Monitor
Camelia Track will lead you straight back to the road you drove in on, so just make sure you take a left to head back up to your car. Though the Lace Monitor was definitely the highlight of this outing for me, this beautiful Dandenongs walk isn’t as busy as many visitors as other parts. I’d highly recommend checking it out.
Have you visited the area around Doongalla Homestead yourself? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.