Words by Della Vreeland Images Supplied
Proclaimed as Melbourne’s closest natural playground, Murrindindi Shire’s rich landscape is made up of lush national parks and state forests, the iconic Lake Eildon, Lake Mountain and the Goulburn River, as well as some pretty darn awe-inspiring locations right on the city’s doorstep. The gateway to the High Country, the region’s natural beauty is vast and varied – from the Goulburn River flats to the rugged peaks and cool-climate rainforests of the Great Dividing Range.
The Aboriginal word for Murrindindi translates to mountainous, misty place. This in itself should be cause enough to lure in the discerning nature lover. Imagine then such a mountainous place during autumn, where the trees are boasting leaves of auburn, yellow and brown, and the rolling vistas are cast against a temperate background.
While the region’s natural wonders are worthy of exploration any old time of year, there’s no denying that autumn is especially special in Murrindindi. Tree-lined streets in the towns and villages are resplendent with stunning deciduous trees, and many of the highways that connect the townships feature historic plantings of poplars, oak and maple trees.
So if you’ve got a few days, a weekend, or even a day to spare, then Murrindindi Shire should be on your autumn to-do. Here’s three ways you’ll be able to tour the region once you’re there as you discover all the hidden beauty for yourself.
The historic and quaint township of Yea is one of Murrindindi Shire’s most-loved and boasts historic buildings, a thriving main street and a strong arts culture. It’s also a key town on the Great Victorian Rail Trail. With a range of award-winning restaurants, wineries and accommodation options on offer, you can start your journey in Yea and reap the benefits of a gorgeous scenic drive while you’re at it – exploring the unique flora and fauna of the Yea Wetlands as well as the historic sites.
Yea is adjoined by a series of hamlets including Glenburn, Murrindindi, Limestone, Highlands, Strath Creek, Kerrisdale, and Flowerdale, each with their own distinct natural charms and landmarks – making the town the perfect base for a weekend of exploration.
Can only afford a one-day road trip? We get you. The cruise along the Maroondah Highway from Alexandra to Marysville offers the perfect scenic Sunday drive. You’ll pass by stately country estates with the imposing Cathedral Ranges, and the Gould Memorial Drive is a most impressive gateway to Marysville with its avenue of brilliant yellow poplars. Both Alexandra and Marysville also offer great dining options, and local produce stores, breweries and cellar doors along the route feature the best of Murrindindi’s autumn harvest so you can stock up for the trip back and the week ahead!
Another option if travelling from Melbourne is to start or finish your journey by cruising along the Black Spur Drive and enjoying views of the tall mountain ash and lush green tree ferns that the region is known for.
If you prefer to feel the earth move under your feet, Murrindindi’s cool, misty mornings and mild, sunny days are perfect for gentle riverside rambles, day treks through the rolling hills or more challenging overnight hikes.
Don your hiking boots and wander through historic locations and villages such as Yea and Alexandra; discover the beauty of ancient forests at the likes of the Toolangi Tanglefoot Loop; explore the many majestic waterfalls dotted throughout the shire and the lush fern gullies in the Yarra Ranges National Park and Marysville State Forest or; hike to the Lake Mountain Summit for spectacular mountain views.
If you’ve got young ones in tow, the Beauty Spot Nature Trail at Marysville is a good option, showcasing some of Marysville’s most beautiful flora and fauna – including an abundance of birdlife – as is the Eildon Pondage Walk.
For the avid cyclists, Murrindindi Shire also offers some fab autumn cycling experiences. For family-friendly riding, jump on the Great Victorian Rail Trail running from Tallarook, through Yea and Yarck, with a spur line to Alexandra, and all the way to Mansfield. Pack a picnic lunch, admire the natural wonders and seasonal colours along the route, and make a day of it!
If you want to get your heart rate up, the region has some of the best cycling trails and mountain bike tracks in the North East region – and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the smooth flowing trails at Eildon, Buxton and Lake Mountain.
WHAT: Murrindindi Shire in autumn
FIND OUT MORE: discoverdindi.com.au
We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.