|The crater rim.|
Mount Noorat, that sounds serious my mates said when I got into work on Monday and told them of my weekend adventure. Now I suppose I could of embellished it a bit but really it would of needed a lot of embellishing to turn this stroll into an epic. Mount Noorat is a long ago dormant volcano in Victoria's Western District, now there are a lot of these old volcanoes scattered around the area but what makes Mount Noorat worth a visit, in my eyes anyway, is that it actually looks like a volcano, complete with a cylindrical crater just like in the movies! Another slightly unusual feature of this stroll is that it's on private property, the walk being allowed by a local cow cocky and maintained by the locals.
After locating the start of the walk just above the tiny township of Noorat on Morack Street I grabbed my pack and, after checking out the extensive information sign, set off up the wide grassy track. Initially the track sidles up the side of a valley, easily gaining height as it passed through the grassy paddock. It was along here that I came to what was probably the crux of the walk for me. I'm not sure how to paint a picture of this obstacle blocking the path other to say it was like a kissing gate, without the gate. With an electric fence on both sides of this obstacle and three closely V spaced poles to negotiate that didn't quite have enough clearance for my fat guts, it took all my cat like agility to negotiate without getting an electric shock to the old fella as I pushed my way through. Thankfully I managed to shimmy through without copping any electrical stimulation, hey I might be old but I don't need any de-fib action on the old fella yet!
|I had to squeeze my fat guts through that....|
Once safely through the gate I continued my climb up towards the crater rim, now a little bit steeper. Soon enough the mowed track arrived at the rim and believe it or not this was a pretty impressive spot, the crater dropping steeply in front of me and almost in a perfect circle, I just needed a virgin to sacrifice to the volcano gods - although virgins were a little thin on the ground. Eventually I headed off on a circumnavigation of the tops of the crater, leaving the lookout I headed around the tops in a clock wise direction the mowed path sometimes rising and falling steeply as it made it's way around the top.
|The late afternoon sun helped my photos a little bit.|
The good news with walking on farm land is that there generally isn't a lot of trees to get in the way of the views and Mount Noorat was no different. The bare open grassy tops allowing me to see the rain squall's heading my way across the flat western plains. Passing through a herd of cows that were enjoying the green grass on the crater rim I climbed to the trig at the highest point of my walk and took in the view of the patchwork of farmland spread out below me, the 310 metre summit also allowing me to see a few more dormant volcanoes in the distance.
The top of Mount Noorat was a cold and windy spot this afternoon so I didn't linger too long, I'd been lucky to more or less avoid the showers that were passing through so far and I was pretty keen to get back to the ute without getting wet. Leaving the trig point I dropped down to the first crater lookout, the spot where I'd started my circumnavigation of the volcano, from here on the rest of the walk was just a re-trace of my outward route. With the sun now getting fairly low on the horizon I mucked around a little bit taking a few more photos, before squeezing my fat guts back through the gate a meandering my way back to the ute to complete what had been quite a pleasant little walk.
|Heading down from the trig point, that's Noorat at the foot of the mountain.|
I walked 3.1 kilometres and climbed 179 metres on this easy stroll. The walk is either on old farm tracks or a mowed swathe around the rim of the crater. There is a rough lookout at the spot where the track arrives at the crater rim and a couple of picnic tables at the track head. I used the notes and mud map out of Tyrone Thomas' book 150 Walks in Victoria book which was published by Explore Australia along with my GPS topo map, it's a very easy walk though and you can probably get by without a map - providing you can find the start of the track.
|Now I don't want to sound like a wanker but if you do happen to do this walk make sure you respect the local land owner who's allowed walkers access and don't give the cows a hard time.|
|Back at the track head, this would be a nice spot for a picnic before or after the walk.|