Section One Return Major Mitchell Plateau 

Now I have my ZPacks gear it is time to get out into the bush. I didn’t have 3 days to do this walk and didn’t think I could do two days in one – yet..so I did

Section 1 return:Sheep Hills Carpark to First Wannon Hiker Campsite. (12.7km – 5 Hours)


Full Major Mitchell Plateau Stats

Distance – Total 40.7km
Day 1: 12.7km
Day 2: 13km
Day 3: 15km
Time: 3 days / 2 nights
Start/Finish: Sheep Hills Carpark, 3km south of Mt William Road
Grade: 4 (Very steep, rough track, many obstacles, limited signage, many steps)
Experience Required, Experienced and self-sufficient bushwalkers who are well-prepared for all weather conditions.
Elevation changes
Day 1: 640m
Day 2: 850m
Day 3: 190m
Camps:
First Wannon Hiker Camp GR407683
Jimmy Creek Campground GR331628
Topographical Map Required
Southern Grampians Outdoor Recreation Guide
Scale: 1:50,000
Produced in 2008 by Spatial Vision


I have the ZPacks Arc Blast orange 55ltr, which I can not rave enough about. I’m sold on Zpacks backpacks and highly recommend.

This walk begins as a gentle stroll through a forest of Stringybark’s and Banksias.


Then you cross a creek – where I fell both times I crossed it.


Before rising steadily to a ridge where you will be rewarded with great views of the neighbouring ranges and valleys.

This was amazing! And photos off an iPhone don’t quite show just how spectacular the ranges are.


Follow the ridge until the track intersects with the Mt William Road. This track was definitely uneven and rocky throughout.


Follow the sealed road towards your right until you reach the Mt William Carpark. From the Carpark follow the sealed road beyond the gate towards the summit of Mt William (Duwul). This was a relief to be walking on even ground.


Before the summit, follow an old management vehicle track along the top of the range, the track narrows and descends to Boundary Gap (Dirag).


I have never walked on a track like it. This section while having amazing views was a lot of vertical rock scrambling both up and down.


The steep rock scramble upwards that brings you onto the Major Mitchell Plateau, and then First Wannon Hiker Campsite eluded me.

I got within hairs breath of the top. The last bit of rock shelf to climb I just physically couldn’t do it. The strength of the wind ripping past me also put me off a little.

Anyway so I had turn around. And head back down. On my way past Boundary Gap (Dirag) I had noticed that previous hikers had turned a flat area into a bush camp.

I wondered if there were others like me who couldn’t make it and had had to bush camp. ​

​In the end I was really pleased I hadn’t made it. The winds were so strong, it got my adrenaline rising a little. This bush camping site was in a gully between two mountains, so at ground level it was windy, but nothing like at the top of these mountains.

I dreamt of tenting on the tarmac at an international airport!

I got up and was packed and ready to go as soon as there was enough light. Rain had been forecast for today and with no cellphone reception I couldn’t be sure when it would start.

All I knew is I did not want to be scrambling up  and down challenging rocky paths in the rain. Much of the ground is still damp from recent rainfalls making the rocks loose and unstable – I had a number of slips.


Felt good to be almost back to the car by the time the rain started. That was an amazing overnighter.

I will be doing the second section / Day two of the Major Mitchell Plateau next weekend. 😊

7 comments

  1. There are so many beautiful walks in and around Gariwerd. One of my favourites is Pine Plantation to Roses Gap. Maybe one to look at for your training.

    Like

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