My friend and I were keen to sneak in a midweek overnight hike. We wanted something within 2 hrs of Melbourne and around 18-25 km. I suggested the Beeripmo Walk (20.6km) which is a grade 4 circuit hike located in the Mount Cole State Forest and Buangor State Park, Victoria. We set off around 9am from Bayside, Melbourne and were there in 2.5 hrs.
Unfortunately we relied on google maps to get us there and ended up a little lost. It took an extra 20 mins to find the official start of the Beeripmo Walk which is Richards Campground. It's a lovely spot, neat and tidy with a BBQ area and very modern pit toilets.
Depending on side trips, the walk can vary from 17-22kms. We spent 4 hours hiking on day one. The start of the walk is a gruelling uphill battle, it took us around 30 mins to get to the top of the dry Raglan Falls - not a drop of water in sight. We took this as an opportunity to catch our breath after such a steep climb - trekking poles certainly helped.
The next part of the walk was up, up, up!!! Day one is a hard slog with little respite. I've read that it's meant to be a great first overnight hike for families but I'd have to disagree. My kids would have been put off hiking for life if this had been their first experience. Once you reach Cave Hill the steepness abates a little for a short section then gradually climbs upwards, bringing you to Grevillea Lookout.
This was a perfect spot to stop for lunch and take in the views. We could see a mountain in the distance which had to be Mt Sugarloaf and knew we were still in for quite a climb. Coming up on Sugarloaf it was easy to see where it gets its name. The rock itself looks like a giant sugar cube sticking out of the side of the mountain. It wasn't obvious how we were going to get up this giant. With a set of steep switchbacks, plenty of stops to catch our breath and some shaky legs we reached the summit.
What goes up must come down ...... or so I thought!!! The track leading into Beeripmo campground is a on a slight decent, thank goodness. But I didn't expect the campground to be so high up on the mountain. The weather had started to turn as we arrived, dipping to around 9 degrees so we were keen to get a fire started and set up camp.
The campground has modern pit toilets, a water tank and a fire pit for each site. When we left Richards campground that morning it was 13 degrees and there were no other cars, so we weren't surprised to be the only ones crazy enough to be there.
With dinner cooked and a bottle of red wine finished we were ready for bed by 8pm. When we woke up in the morning I had to check my phone for the temperature, it showed 0 degrees and feels like -3. There was fog covering the campground and we could only see about 10 meters in front of us. It was quite beautiful actually. On our drive home we found out that it had been the coldest April night in 17 years.
After a warm breakfast and hot coffee we filtered some water from the campground tank, packed up camp and set off in the thick fog at 8am.
Day two from Beeripmo back to Richards campground only took us around 2.5 hrs. The track descends gradually and it's a really relaxing grade 3 walk back to the car.
Would I do the walk again, probably not. It's lovely but I think there are many others which beat this by a country mile.http://ultralighthiker.com.au