Cathedral Ranges; Ned’s Gully

Neds Gully Bridge

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.

Neds Gully Campground

Neds gully is a very open campsite and has no reserved sites. No, thats not my tent in the background

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.

Neds Gully Carpark

Neds Gully Carpark, bogan free

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.

Neds Gully Entrance Bridge

The entrance bridge over the River at Ned’s

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.

Tall trees along the Little river track

Peregrine Falcons can be spotted above

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.

Rockpools near Cooks Mill

Rock pools near Cooks Mill

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.


45 Responses to Cathedral Ranges; Ned’s Gully

  1. If you are keen to look at more up-to-date notes from Parks Vic on their Cathedral ranges page:

  2. Great job, this is an excellent site! I’m looking forward to the future!

  3. hi bj

    we’re thinking of heading here for easter…whats your thoughts? will it be packed? we’re looking for somewhere as quiet and child free as possible…and we’re prepared to hike in if necessary…somewhere there are walks nearby to do while we’re there… your guidance would be welcomed! your posts on different sights are great…most helpful ive found so far…

    cheers claire

    edit: removed your email address; for your sake!

    • Hi Claire,

      Id say that its going to be pretty packed up there for Easter; I generally aim for somewhere a bit further away when I want to go away at Easter time. If you’re no stranger to a hike you *could* do the walk up to Farmyard and then camp there, the chances of parents taking kids on overnight hikes are; in my experience very unlikely. Cook’s Mill and Ned’s gully are quite likely to be quite full with kids.

      My other suggestion is heading somewhere that allows bush camping. Lerderderg gorge, Bunyip state forest are two DSE managed parks you could try; you can walk in somewhere and feasibly camp wherever you like. If you’re not too worried about a drive you could head somewhere a bit further out, Murray Sunset national park is about 6 hours out of Melbourne but also allows bush camping, I am hoping to do a more detailed write up after Easter for MS NP but that will be too late for you. The site url is if you do head out this way, make sure you have the experience to back yourself up and have a very solid hike plan. Its semi-arid and water can be hard to come by. While the rangers fill up water tanks around the park, you cant guarantee anything.

      If you’re not scared of a little water and possibly snow, now is a great time for experienced hikers to head to the Victorian Alpine national park, there is plenty of water there, but you’ll have to be prepared for literally freezing temperatures. I honestly suggest that if you are after a kid-free Easter zone, you will need to head out on foot somewhere.

      All the best in your travels, If you have any more specific questions about one of the parks suggested let me know, I can happily expand on these!


  4. Hi Claire,

    Ben quite right about Ned’s Gully being packed with kids over Easter – as an example, my family and a friend’s are going to be there. Between us we have 7 kids aged between 2 and 9 :)

  5. Thanks for all the pics
    I have been there before and didn’t take a lot of photo’s so this was good to show the people I’m going with.

    I’ll be there this weekend (Easter) come say hi.

    • Hi Matt,

      Great to hear that you found it useful :) I will not be going to Cathedral ranges this weekend, With 5 days up my sleeve, I will be going much more remote. Check back in a week or two after Easter and hopefully I will have some very interesting articles for you.

  6. Hey Ben,

    Great info! Me and my mates are planning to go camping at the end of June.
    Cold I know, but would you advise against it in the middle of Winter? We’ll be prepared as much as we can.

    Also, what’s the go with permits/camping fees for Ned’s Gully?


    • Hi Peter,

      Going camping in winter is great fun, As long as you’re prepared its easy and comfortable. I go camping all through the year but I am well equipped. If you’re looking to go camping in winter, you will need a quality Sleeping bag, Tent and clothing that reflect this; This means having a 0 to -2 sleeping bag, a 3 season / 4 season tent, wool clothes (or other high quality fabrics) and I would recommend thermals. The Cathedral ranges is on the south western part of the Alpine ranges, its no where near as cold, as Mt Buller which is the closest alpine park but it will be very cold.

      The camping fees are reasonable, you can pay online before you get there using the parkstay site:

      I will spend a bit of time this evening writing a “Being prepared for winter camping” post. Check back in the next couple of days and I will have something more specific for you.


  7. Hey

    Is it possible to access this sit on bikes?
    A few friends and I are thinking of riding from Lilydale to here on road bikes.
    Would this work?


    • Hi Rodger,

      I don’t see any reason you couldn’t. Its accessible via Car except for the last 100M or so, though there is a few KM of dirt & gravel road at the end right at the Cathedral Ranges itself. I am no pro on whether road bikes (Push or Motor) would be able to ride down the dirt road. If you think that a few KM of dirt is no worries, it would be a great ride. Usually I see quite a significant amount of riders leaving from Healesville and riding the forest portion of the road, (roughly from Healesville to Narbethong) I think that its quite a popular route.

      • I just recently went back to the cathedral ranges, The road has been improved (with the exception of some pot-holes) so I think that you could pretty happily get the whole way there!!

        • Those potholes are really annoying, in an old Proton, with bad suspension.
          Hilarity ensues.

  8. Just got back from the ranges.
    Heres what we did on the days.
    Friday: Unpacked
    Saturday: Little River Track
    Sunday: Jawbone Tracks
    Monday: Canyon Track to Sugarloaf Peak, next time I’ll take Well’s Cave Track
    Tuesday: Friends Nature Trail
    Wednesday: To Ned’s Saddle, then to Cathedral Peak, Ridge Track along to Little Cathedral, then back to the Ned’s Gully
    Thursday: Packed up in the rain and ate marshmallows in the car

    • Aaaaaaaaaand Little River went up about 50cm, that would not be fun to walk across.

    • Hi Will, sounds like you were quite busy! Did you camp at Ned’s over last weekend? I was there and man; it was quite full!

      I will be writing an article about the Neds Gully -> Neds saddle -> Cathedral peak -> Ridge track -> Little Cath -> Neds Gully hopefully over this weekend should I get the time. Its quite a physically demanding walk, how did you go?

  9. Hello guys, Our school maybe hiking in the Cathedral Ranges! I was just wondering if it was a very challenging walk and how steep it is. We will be going november the 5th I think!ThanksLizzy

    • Hi Lizzy,

      It depends on what walk you do, some of them can be quite challenging, others are quite easy. The Nature walk for example, near cook’s mill is only about a 40 minute walk, others like the Cathedral peak walk, can be quite challenging. Do you know what walk you’re going to be doing? I might be able to tell you some more then.

  10. Recently (March 2012) did a two day hike from Ned’s Gully up to the Farmyard, camped overnight and back down to Ned’s Gully via Cook’s Mill. A few things to note:

    1. Once on the ridge, it’s much slower going than expected (well, slower than I expected anyway). It’s 50% rock scrambling, 50% single-track walking through km after km of really sharp prickles. Bring strong trousers if it’s not too hot. I wish I did. My legs and arms were torn to shreds.

    2. There were millipedes EVERYWHERE. Literally millions of them and they seem to love hanging out on the rocks of the ridge. They smell pretty awful too, especially when you squish them. If you have to squish them, try to avoid doing so with your hands. They’ll stink too.

    3. The Little River track from Cook’s Mill back to Ned’s Gully (and vice versa) is currently closed due to logging of the pine plantation. There wasn’t any going on the day I walked it so I went through the barricades regardless. The alternative is to walk along the road which runs roughly parallel. But that would be a bit boring.

    • Its interesting you mention the tough going over the top of Cathedral, I have had an article “in-the-works” for a couple of months now about the Neds -> Cathedral -> Little Cath return loop and what amazed me was how slow going it was too. I managed to complete a very reasonable 7.5km round trip (not too bad) but it took Liz and I the majority of the day.

      With regards to going along Little river, of-course its up to you, but the area is fenced off for a reason, those pines are enourmous, and during logging season; especially if its wet, they might be unstable due to the trees around them (if not the tree itself) being cut down or prepared for logging. It would be sad to hear of somebody being injured while walking in our national parks, firstly because of their injury, regardless of how it happened but also because I would put money on the fact that our delightfully dramatic media groups in Australia would focus on the perceived “Negligence” of Parks to get attention, and this could lead to all kinds of issues with liabilities (torte law) suits in mind and cause us difficulty in the future. I cannot stress enough that the Parks and DSE teams in Australia only cordon off areas they feel pose too much risk to the public, and its their professional opinion that we should abide.

      To end on a more positive note, I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in the Cathedral Ranges, its a fantastic place to hike and camp and there is so much to see there.

  11. To: The Site Editor
    I think you need to have your text checked more carefully. There are a number of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors on your Cathedral Ranges text, which in this day and age of spell checks etc., should be able to be avoided. Your content is very helpful and detailed and to be commended but it is spoiled by such editorial neglect.

    • Hi Leonie,

      There is no site editor, no management, no research team, just me; one guy with a laptop! You’re right, I probably should spell check the work, and these days I do write all of my articles in Word first, to avoid exactly what you’ve pointed out there, but the amount of work required to go back and re-format and spell check the existing articles is just too much for me, especially considering that this site doesn’t provide me an income. Hopefully it doesn’t spoil your experience too much.

      • Use Google Chrome to write your posts because of inbuilt spell check :)
        I use it on my blog because I am an incredibly bad speller. I like your writing style. Just for the record.
        Dragging a teenager to Cooks Mill for a couple of nights after our wonderful grown ups weekend at Neds Gully.
        Wot! No Internet?

        • I am not a bad speller nor particularly bad at grammar, I think that Leonie just had a bee in her bonnet. Maybe she likes “sweet child of mine”, because of the popularity of this page (~750 hits per month or more) I went back and fixed **all three** spelling mistakes.

          The place is fantastic and You’ll have a great time. Hope you enjoyed Ned’s

  12. Hey mate,
    I was just wondering if Cathedral is the place with a cave…I’ve seen some photos a while back of people ctanding in a small cave and I can’t recall if it was Catheral.
    If it is, what track is it on? An easy track? And would you recommend it for a looksee?

    • Hi Kait,

      I cant think of any caves in the Cathedral ranges on any of the tracks I’ve walked. Thats not to say they’re not around. If you’re heading up to Cathedral, I really recommend doing the Peak walk and getting a look out from there. There is some great scenery to behold.

      Doing the razorback from Cathedral to Sugarloaf can be taxing but a good walk too.

      • We are planning to go to the Cathedrals this weekend…is there much fire damage left or has the area recovered fairly well?
        Thanks for all the useful information that you have given people so far.

        • Hi Leone

          Sorry about the late reply here, I’ve fallen a bit behind in responding to comments, I cop hundreds of spam comments and sometimes its hard to find real ones! I hope you had fun.

          I haven’t been to the Cathedral ranges for more than 12 months, so I’d say by new you’re probably in a better position than me to answer that question.

  13. HI just wondering what the camping situation over new years is out here ? BUsy id assume? Im looking for a good spot for a group of about 30 people who want to spend new years together – prff with water !

    • Hi Pete,

      I imagine it would be full of families. I have’t ever spent time there at New years, but I’m sure it would be nothing short of packed. If you’re looking to have a bit of a party while camping, and making some noise I suggest going to somewhere that is less likely to be heavily populated. There is quite a lot of state forest around the area which would support that kind of fun. Have a look at Black range state forest or Yarra ranges just south out of Marysville

  14. Hi, we just came back from Ned’s Gully, we stayed there over Christmas, based on what I’d read on this site, so thank you for that.
    Loved it, those kookaburras are gnarly though, I think they must get fed by campers who don’t know better, the kookas are very ‘familiar’ and will actually land on your knee for a second…. giving you the fright of a lifetime…and snatch food off your plate! They seemed to know when we were cooking bacon, lol.

    Going to check out what other spots you recommend now, as we want to head off again soon.


  15. Just stayed at this campsite overnight. Thanks!. We had the place to ourselves for the night. It was 40 in the shade but the river is nice to sit in and there was shade .
    Next morning we climbed up to Neds saddle. It is fairly steep walk for an hour for middle aged sloths, well worth the view at Neds saddle though.

    • Hi Robert,

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Its a steep hike for anybody ;)

  16. Hi Ben,
    From your experience are the Cathedral Ranges likely to be busy over Australia Day long weekend? I’m considering an overnight to Farmyard


    • Hi Sarah,

      I imagine it would be much like any other Long weekend, relatively busy.

      That being said, you can book in advance at Cathedral ranges, so if you don’t mind sharing Farmyard with a few others (i think there are 4 sites there from memory) and you book in advance, it should be fine.

      Hope you enjoy it.

      • The link to book sites online is:

        • Hi Ben, thanks for the feedback.
          I felt like a bit of peace and quiet so replicated your Lerderderg trip minus the night at O’Briens Crossing and the bourbon intake. Lovely camp site near junction of Kenworthy/Whiskey track and East track with not a soul to be seen from haf way point on first day until I hit O’Briens road on the secound.

          • Glad to hear it Sarah. I must say that I laughed out loud at the removal of Bourbon, for a lot of you those stories are quite new, for me that happened two years ago and It was far from my mind, until you reminded me at least. Urgh! What a terrible hangover that was.

            Hopefully your trip inspires more people. For those unsure as to what we’re referring, the trip report is here:

  17. My GF and I just did the Ned’s Gully -> Ned’s Saddle -> Little Cathedral -> Cathedral -> Ridge -> Ned’s Gully walk. It was quite a taxing walk but the views were def worth it.

    We intended on doing the Southern Circuit but logging made sure we couldn’t do the full route so we had to settle for the path I mentioned.

    Not to say it wasn’t amazing – it was! Can’t wait to get back and do the proper Northern and Southern circuits.

  18. You spelled “guaruntee” wrong.

    • I dont know what happened when I was writing this article; there are a few mistakes. Oh well, fixed now

  19. Hi Ben,
    I was thinking of heading down to Neds Gully for a weekend in the June/July holoidays with some friends from guides. Do you think it will be busy because of the school holidays or will people more likely be staying home where it’s warm?

    • Hi Imogen,

      You should be alright, Its always hard to tell with the Cathedral ranges, its close to Melbourne (relatively) so it can get quite full unexpectedly but I doubt it will fill up on any normal weekend.

      I’d like to point out it will be *VERY* cold there, its the south-western point of the alpine region, and the temperature will drop severely overnight, but as long as you’re prepared, it will be a good time to be there.

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