A mountain shaped like a pregnant lady? What a sight to behold.
Langi Ghiran and its neighbouring peak, Mount Gorrin, together take on the peculiar shape of a pregnant lady at rest. The hair rises gradually from the plains to the nose, down to the breasts, up, and bam, there it is – the summit of Langi Ghiran – right up on that pregnant belly.
Major Thomas Mitchell first climbed this peak in 1836, apparently naming it ‘Mount Mistake’. I can only imagine that had he approached from an angle which allowed a view of such phenomena, ‘Mount Masterpiece’ would have been more fitting.
For me, this peak presents a case of old-fashioned reward for effort. The magic really happens up the top. I’m just too familiar with the forest beneath, too familiar to appreciate its true beauty. The walk itself for most of the way follows a 4WD track. Man, I hate that. But don’t be fooled. This is one of the best mountain adventures you can have on the Western Plains. It’s like the Grampians little cousin, I suppose.
We threw the packs on, locked the car, and we were off and racing. The track first takes you past the old reservoir, then up to the Langi Ghiran Reservoir. On the way back, it’s not a bad spot to dip those tired legs in the water and recover. But for now, we were on a mission.
You can actually start at the reservoir if you have a decent 4WD, but there was no way my little old Honda Civic was getting up there. The track needs some maintenance, I know because we used to get the family van up there. After a kilometre or so, we made it to the infamous Easter Creek (4WD) Track.
Easter Creek Track winds its way slowly up the mountain, steeply at times. Being a vehicle track, there is plenty of room to walk side by side. We started too late in the day, and now we were in the shadows, chasing the sun up the mountain. Therefore, the conversation consisted mainly of estimations of time and distance to the next checkpoint.
“Eagle Rock is just around this bend, I’m sure.”
”Oh, it’s not, okay. It must be the next one”.
The track heads steeply upwards into a sharp bend. Coming out of the bend, there is a large granite outcrop to the left of track, where ‘Eagle Rock’ basks in the sun. We named it due to the probability that when standing on the rock, one should encounter an eagle. I remember the time that I stood atop the rock, and an eagle flew just metres above me, turning its head to see what I was doing on its mountain. It’s the usual spot to stop and enjoy a bite, but this time we had to keep moving.
It’s not far beyond Eagle Rock that the fun begins. A rock cairn to the left of track indicates that it’s time to leave the road and follow a rough pad into the mystical green wilds of the mountaintop. We sought shelter near here for the night, saving the summit for the morning. The trail peters out quickly into ‘Sword Grass Passage’, not heavily treed but choked with sword grass. We took a left turn to our preferred campsite on a nearby outcrop. There’s just enough space to fit a couple of tents. Expansive views over the moonlit plains ensure there’s never a dull moment.
We reached camp in just over an hour – record time with full packs on. Categorically, it’s a day-walk for sure. But if you have the time, I recommend staying the night. It’s a mountain paradise, and you don’t have to share with anyone.
A one-billion-star resort, absolutely free.
Firewood is in great abundance, so after pitching the tents we quickly set about combatting the evening chill. Soon the fire was crackling away and all that was missing was a bag of marshmallows. There is something deeply satisfying about nurturing a campfire, and hours seem to escape in the blink of an eye. It’s not a bad thing to lose time out there. Leave the watch at home. Sleep when tired, rise when ready. The moon was high in the sky and the frost had already settled on our tents by the time we called it a night.
The cold had a real bite to it in the morning. A hot cuppa warmed the hands as much as the soul, and with day packs on we made for the summit. There are no real tracks after Easter Creek Track, so you just go up until there is no up left. The best ways are either along the outcrops to the left or straight up Sword Grass Alley. Either way, you’ll end up in Sword Grass Alley at some point. The route is roughly cairned, but I wouldn’t bother searching for them personally. It’s possible that you won’t even see them.
As you get higher up, the walking becomes more exposed. Avoid cliff edges, especially on frosty winter mornings. If you slip there, there’s one way to go – down.
There are little rock pools along the way, and that particular morning they were all frozen over with thick sheets of ice. Try to stay central, but as long as you keep going up, you’ll know when you reach the top.
The Challicum Hills Wind Farm stands out to the south, Mount Buangor and Mount Cole across the farmland to the east, and the Grampians themselves beckon to the west.
In the winter, it’s bound to be cold and windy on top. In the warmer months, I’ve enjoyed a cuppa on top, but this time the wind ripped through the thermals and we were quick to take photos and get down.
We folded the tents, frost and all. Packs packed, time to go. It’s one of those places that I leave in the knowledge that I’ll be back again. I’ll just keep going back. For as long as I live in Central Victoria, it will remain a favourite escape. A mountain getaway at the click of a thumb.
Descending Easter Creek Track is easy and downhill for most of the way. My legs did the walking while my mind whisked me off into reflection. Body and mind were cleansed, refreshed from a night with nature. I thought of what I want to make of this life and I asked myself if I am taking the right steps. I dreamed and looked more hopefully to the future. Nature is really powerful like that. You don’t always find what you’re looking for, but sometimes you come away with a sort of temporary Nirvana.
Lost in thought, the physical journey was brought to an abrupt halt back at the car, but the mountain kept me thinking long after I’d left. Langi Ghiran is for all seasons, for anyone who loves getting out there. Whether you’ve got hours or days to spare, there’s an adventure there waiting for you.
I looked into the rear view mirror, and the pregnant lady was gone, until next time.
Need to know
Length: 10.8 km
Time: 4 – 6 hrs (there’s a great camping spot if you want to do it over 2 days)
Grade: Moderate / Grade 4 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Region: Western Victoria
Park: Langi Ghiran State Park
Closest Town: Ararat (17 km)
Path Taken: Langi Ghiran Picnic and Camping Area – Easter Creek Track – Langi Ghiran Summit – Easter Creek Track – Langi Ghiran Picnic and Camping Area.
Car Access: Drive east on the Western Highway from Ararat, turning left onto Langi Ghiran Track (Langi Ghiran State Park). Follow this to the trailhead at the Langi Ghiran Picnic and Camping Area..
Map: Grab yourself a copy of VicMap’s Buangor North 1:25,000 topographic map. If you’re happy to use your phone as your map you can download the free Avenza Maps app (on Android, iPhone, or Windows) and purchase the same map for AUD$2.99.
Have you hiked Mount Langi Ghiran? Is it on your bucket list? Got any questions, comments, updates or corrections? Let us know by commenting below.
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