Hidden just off the Princes Freeway, not too far from Melbourne, is the spectacular Mt Cannibal. Only 227 metres at its peak, it isn’t much of a mountain, but its popular circuit trail presents a good challenge for those looking to get the heart pumping.
Mount Cannibal Track winds its way up the mountain through silver-lead stringybark, messmate and broadleaved peppermint, to the Northern Lookout. Here from atop some of the largest granite outcrops in southern Victoria, you’re treated to 180-degree views of the surrounding rural valley and all the way to the forests of Black Snake Range in the distance. This is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch or to just sit and take in the sights and sounds.
If you visit the mountain on a quiet day, you’ll hear the whole gamut of bird sounds, and you’ll no doubt spot and grey fantails fluttering around in the undergrowth. If you walk the surrounding tracks quietly and keep your eyes peeled, you might even spot echidnas and grey kangaroos.
Departing the Northern Lookout, the trail is relatively flat for the short distance to the Southern Lookout. The views are just as amazing here – on a clear day you can see all the way to Western Port Bay, Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula. The steep descent from here offers even more incredible views back towards Melbourne.
Up until not too long ago the Mt Cannibal Flora and Fauna Reserve was relatively unknown to anyone other than the locals, but it’s seen a boom in visitors in recent times (even more so since COVID-19 lockdowns started to ease). If you’re looking for a peaceful walk in nature, avoid public and school holidays, and weekends.
Mount Cannibal was badly burnt by bushfires in early 2019 but it has already recovered well. It’s incredible to see the regrowth and the wildlife returning.
Need to Know
Last Visited: 2020
Length: 2.5 km
Time: 1 hr
Grade: Moderate / Grade 3 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Region: East Victoria
Park: Mount Cannibal Flora and Fauna Reserve
Car Access: From Melbourne, head south-east on the Monash and Princes Freeways. Just after passing Gumbuya World on the left, take the turnoff to Garfield (Garfield North Road). Travel 2.6 kilometres along Garfield North Road and turn right into the Mount Cannibal Carpark.
Map: No map necessary.
Further Info: Dogs are not permitted in the reserve. A playground, BBQ, and toilet facilities are available at the picnic ground at the base of the trail.
Nearby: The Four Brothers Rocks Walk in Bunyip State Park isn’t too far away from Mt Cannibal.
Have you visited Mount Cannibal? Got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
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