In the lead up to our trek to Everest Base Camp in September, we’re doing some regular hikes around Melbourne to help improve our fitness, and hopefully make the trek a bit easier! You can read about some of the other preparation we’ve done for the Everest Base Camp trek here .
We had originally planned to hike Werribee State Gorge, but there had been quite a bit of rain overnight and I’d read that there was quite a bit of scrambling over rocks etc there. In the interests of not breaking an ankle on slippery rocks (it didn’t really seem like a good idea given we’re heading overseas in a few weeks), I changed our hike for this day to climb up to Arthurs Seat. It’s about an hour’s drive from Melbourne, near the pretty bayside suburb of Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.
When we arrived in Dromana, we stopped at the local supermarket to grab a bit of food for a lunchtime picnic at the summit. We had a bit of a drive along the beach road to check it out as I hadn’t been to Dromana before. There’s plenty of beach which faces out onto the calm waters of Port Phillip Bay, and is lined with quaint and colourful bathing boxes.
Then we headed up to the base of Arthurs Seat and parked at the Latrobe Pde carpark, ready to take on a portion of the 26km Two Bays Walking Track. The start of the track was certainly not as pretty as the last hike that we did in the Dandenongs. There was a lot of clearing of young trees etc that had been done by the local parks authority in preparation for a controlled burn off (according to some signs we saw). The bushland along this track though is generally a lot different as it’s more of a dry coastal scrub rather than rainforest.
Only about the first 300m of the track were relatively flat, and then it started a steep ascent upwards, broken up regularly by large steps that were way too big for my short legs! Of course Ash being as tall as he is couldn’t understand why I was struggling so much. I was very glad that it was a cool day with small interludes of light misty rain, as these helped cool me off dramatically.
I swear the track is way steeper than it looks in this pic!
Luckily there are some beautiful views over Port Phillip Bay on the way up, which gave me an excuse to stop and rest my burning legs! The track to the top was certainly a good test, and reminded me how much more hiking I need to do so I don’t hate myself when I start trekking Everest!
We finally reached the summit (I was so happy to see the flat road ahead!) and headed over to the lookout there for the gorgeous panoramic views across Melbourne and the bay. It was a slightly hazy day so we couldn’t see the city – I’d love to come back and check it out on a clear day, I bet it’s spectacular!
Conveniently there’s a pub/restaurant at the top, so we decided that we had earned a celebratory beer. While up there we also checked out the actual Arthurs Seat – I really did not know that there’s an actual chair there called Arthurs Seat! Apparently this is the third version of it.
Bellies rumbling, we decided it was definitely time for lunch, so we headed back to the poetically named Seawinds Gardens. We sat and ate our lunch surrounded by a brood of teenage magpies, trying to learn how to warble and fighting each other for food scraps.
Sufficiently satisfied, we did a bit of a circuit up the top of the hill through the Indigenous Garden which is run by volunteers and dedicated to over 150 species of native plants from around the Mornington Peninsula area.
We cam across a small pond with a little population of ducks, and I managed to take an ill-timed (or was it well-timed?!) shot of some ducks worthy of a David Attenborough documentary:
Leaving the loved-up ducks behind, as it was starting to get late in the afternoon we set off back down the hill. Let me tell you, the descent was much easier – although significantly harder on the knees! Maybe getting some walking poles for Everest won’t be such a bad idea.
Just as I was thinking that it was a shame we weren’t coming back down a bit later as a lot of native animals tend to emerge at dusk, Ash rounded a corner ahead of me into a clearing and motioned for me to catch up. As I caught up, I was super excited to see a mob of six Eastern Grey kangaroos sitting there grazing! They were a little wary and keep a good eye on us, but I was still able to get within a few metres to snap some great photos. I was really happy that I had just switched over to my zoom lens a bit earlier!
After spending 10 minutes or so with the roos, we left them to continue back down to the car, stopping at a lookout along the way to take one last pic.
Arthurs Seat was a great training hike, I think steep ascents and descents like the track there has will definitely help us when it comes around to Everest time. I certainly had sore hips that night!
Have you visited Arthurs Seat?