Ned’s Gully is situated in the Cathedral Ranges state forest. It shares the location with several camp sites I have previously talked about including Cook’s Mill, Farmyard. It is roughly 3km from the beginning of the walk from Cook’s Mill up to North Jawbone Peak, a walk I have previously discussed.
The best way to get to Ned’s Gully is via the Maroondah highway out of Melbourne, heading toward Buxton there is a turn-off clearly marked. Please use this link and enter your own address to Google Maps in order to find the directions: Google Maps directions.
Ned’s Gully is at the base of the namesake mountain of the park, Cathedral Peak. Cathedral peak goes by several names and shares a razorback with Jawbone and Sugarloaf peaks. The campsite is across the river from the carpark, removing the noisy cars and bright lights at 3am problem when other campers arrive late on a friday night. It also acts as a guarantee that the campsite itself will only be populated by those willing to sleep in a tent and disregard some of the higher tech deployments that plauge drive in camping grounds.
There is something disenchanting about “Sweet Child of mine” blaring out the back of a 4WD, not to say i dont like the song; but when im camping I want to be surrounded by nature, not bogans.
The Car park itself is great, a close by drop-off about 20m from the bridge means a quick walk to the car for your gear, there is a 15 min limit on the drop-off zone; once you finish unpacking there is a larger car park further back near the toilets.
In terms of facilities, Neds gully offers drop dunnies and fire pits, there are no cooking plates above the fire pits so if you want to cook over the fire be prepared to either bring your own or cook things that dont require a cooktop.
There is running water at the site but the local ranger, Bill; has recommended against drinking it; this is due to the ash that is still getting washed off the hills from the bushfires in 2008/9. There are also logging trucks present further up stream of the area which could mean diesel run-off. All of these impurities could be taken out by running through a water filter. This is pretty relevant because while the water is definitely safe for swimming, I would probably avoid drinking it unless you filter it appropriately to avoid unnecessary risk.
Firewood is illegal to gather, so if you’re planning a fire, make sure that you take the time to get some on the way there. A particularly cheap and good place is the bait and tackle shop in Buxton. The folks there will freshly bag it up for $10 – 15, they also provide several other perishables which might be worth checking out if you forget something.
There are several walks that can be done straight out of Ned’s, including:
- Cathedral Peak (Via Ned’s Saddle)
- Little Cathedral
- Ned’s Saddle -> Ned’s Peak
- Little river track
The little river track is the trail connecting Cook’s Mill with Ned’s Gully. There are several walks out of Cook’s Mill which allow even the most beginner walker to see incredible amounts of wildlife. Some of the wildlife I have seen recently at Ned’s gully itself included Wombats, Lyrebirds, kookaburra, a wide variety of smaller birds and plenty of kangaroos/wallabies. Unfortunately most of the nocturnal animals are quite difficult to photograph with my point and shoot, so I dont have any good photos to share.
Which I suppose is all the more reason for you to go yourself! The wombat is easily spotted on any given night; she is out munching grass and her burrow is right near some of the sites. The roos also have a habit of hanging out on the plains near the car-park so it can be pretty easy to find them too if you’re quiet enough and keep any eye out.
The little river track offers a great deal of interesting fauna spotting opportunities, with many of the aforementioned creatures live around the walk. My favourite encounter was with a cast of peregrine falcons, they flew in the tall trees above us as we walked along.
These pine plantations tower above you creating an imposing but very beautiful juxtapose to the other side of the track which has gums and native Australian trees. It is very strange to see; a clear divide between two different types of tree but it also illustrates just how different our Australian bush is. The little river walk is a very lesiurely hike, with very little gradient. It is an exceptionally good walk for the hotter days that you might end up at Cathedral ranges as a vast majority of it is in the shade.
Continuing further along the track, nearly to Cook’s Mill; there is some interesting features. Roughly 150m or so from Cook’s Mill’s last campsite, there are a set of pools and rock formations made just for the summer months. What I can only describe as rock pools.
In all, Ned’s Gully is one of my favourite campsites for a Friday night Get-away. The park is conducive to relaxing whether you’re a walker or a base camper and there is plenty of opportunities to see some great wildlife and plenty of flora that can only be found in the park (I am not really in to flowers, dont ask me what!)
Update: 14th April 2011:
Looking for somewhere to go over Easter? Neds Gully is going to be quite full and as Mark one of our readers has mentioned he is taking 7 kids between 2 and 9 years of age! Cook’s Mill is most likely going to be very similar as will most parks throughout Victoria; after all you’re not the only one who thought of going away.If you’re still interested in camping somewhere over the break, there are other places available too; Lerderderg is an option, Blanket bay will most likely be full, but there are other areas in the Otway national park that are less likely to be full. For the more adventurous types you could still consider the Alpine national park, or somewhere near-by like Bright or Mansfield.
If the Alpine region doesn’t attract you; don’t forget that you could head north-west toward Murray Sunset national park and check out the pink lakes or directly north and enjoy a camp along the Murray River; there is no reason to discount the opportunity to head somewhere like Bunyip state forest either. If you’re thinking about going to the Grampians; be aware, its probably the most popular park in Victoria, and right now there are incredibly limited spots to camp since the floods.