Cathedral Ranges

Yesterday I went for a 12km hike around the Cathedral Ranges which are located about 2 hours North East of Melbourne.

I decided to do the Southern circuit which takes you up to Sugarloaf Peak and then onwards to South Jawbone peak before heading back to the start. There are lots of guides and different routes available but I started from Cooks Mill Heritage ground and then headed south up the Tweeds Spur 4WD track.

Along the Messmate Track

This track goes for approximately 1.5km before you turn right onto the Messmate track which leads you up the mountain towards Sugarloaf car park, this walk is a fairly easy one however is up hill and there was a bit of overgrowth over some parts of the path.

From the carpark there are two main options to the top, I chose the Wells cave option.

This option certainly isn’t for the faint of heart or if you struggle with confined spaces. The 550m hike involves rock climbing and shuffling through the cave. Some parts are pitch black and only just enough space to squeeze through. Make sure you only have a small pack, I had a 20L pack and it was just the right size to get through.

But when you reach the top the video is definitely worth it!

From there you continue the track North along the Razorback line, you’ll notice it in the photos above. Whereby you just travel along the rocks at the top of the ridges. Some parts are narrow and there is no clear path, however there are orange markers along the way showing your direction guides.

View of Sugarloaf Peak from the Razorback trail

There is plenty of rock hopping and keeping your balance, so ensure you’re wearing appropriate shoes (I did the hike in Salomon Speedcross 4’s – my favourite shoe).

Part of the Razorback trail.

From here you reaching the South Jawbone Camping ground, and then its a brisk 15 minute hike up, comparatively much easier than the rest of the hike. The view from here is spectacular!

The photo doesn’t do it justice but I sat on the rock which a few hundred metres above the ground and took it all in.

View from South Jawbone

After this I was ready to head back to the car, you can continue on and do the north circuit however this will add another several hours, your best option would be to camp and then continue the next day.

The hike back to the car was around 1.5 hours, when all was completed I had:

  • Walked 12.41km
  • 5:23’06 hours
  • ascended 633m
  • Burnt 3,422 calories
  • 21,451 steps

If you’re going to hike this make sure you have:

  • Some form of navigation, I used my phone and a Suunto Spartan HR watch preloaded with the route map.
  • Comfy shoes – I used Salomon Speedcross 4’s – make sure you have plenty of grip for the climbing and something that will support your ankles
  • Camera/Phone & a spare battery pack for the phone.
  • Lots of water and food, keep the energy up – got advice from MTMM
  • Sunscreen, Hat and sunglasses – it gets hot and glary out there.
  • Information and Maps! I got the GPX file for my watch from here. There are plenty of guides and tips on this site.

Whats your favourite hike?

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