I was very disappointed to discover that our group had not obtained a key to drive up the road to Abbotts Lookout, which would have then given us time to also summit Marriotts. Instead, it was announced that we would walk up the road to the first, and not have time for the second. Road walking is not really one of this bushwalker’s favourite activities. I’m a BUSHwalker, not just a walker. Oh well.
The negatives of thwarted expectations and hopes (and one less summit) out of the way, I have to say that if you’re going to walk on a road, this is the one to choose, as all traffic is prohibited, and it could not be lusher or greener if you paid someone to water it daily (that’s already been taken care of). The real test – would I do it again? – has the answer, “most definitely yes”, and would do it again even next week if the opportunity arose.
At the top, if you could ignore the “Tourist Award Winning” structure, which today, like almost every other day, had not one single tourist (they paying about $100 to be driven up the same road and let inside the building), the view was monstrously fabulous. What a shame they don’t man their white elephant. We would have all very happily bought coffee and cake from the machine we could see on the bench inside. As it was, we sat on the verandah and alternately took a few more shots of the stupendous view and ate our lunch. Several members of the group took just over two hours to get up the mountain, and nearly as long to get down, so it ended up a full day’s activity.
On the way down, I had a lovely time dreaming, singing aloud as no one was with me to get disturbed or annoyed, and gazing at the scenery. Up the top, where it was higher and dryer, with stunted vegetation (mostly dwarfed eucalyptus coccifera with a scrubby understory) and far more visibility, the road headed straight for Mt Anne. I walked along, my attention captured by one of the best views of her I can remember, while to my right was an eternity of white bauera that looked like a snow storm with so many tiny white petals, light as snow flakes. Walking gave me time to fully digest this mass of delicacy. The greens of cutting grass made a marvellous contrast to the otherwise olive colours on offer. Bright yellow pultenaea juniperina stood out amongst the green with white dots, as did the brilliant red of numerous telopea truncata. Naturally, I stopped a few times to photograph. Soon enough I reached a corner where direction and altitude changed, and first I encountered a wonderful myrtle forest, and after that the forest became more truly rainforest. It seemed like the variety of ferns was endless, each one with a slightly different shade of green, but all greens being the lime-spring green that always lifts my spirits. The fronds shook in the wind that had changed from raging on the higher slopes to a more pleasing breeze once in the protection of the bigger trees. The moss seemed as if it were at least ten centimetres thick – fresh and wonderful – and it spread sidewards to cover everything but the piece of road used for the few vehicles that are permitted that way.
So, whilst it seems silly to walk on a road when driving is possible (allowing time for the real bush), I do have to say that I enjoyed this little exercise, had a great workout, and the scenery was utterly wonderful. Given no time constraints, I would opt to walk rather than drive even if someone did give me a key. This is definitely a family-friendly walk.
To reach the start, take the Styx Road, shortly after Maydena, cutting under the main road. Roberts Road, which you walk up, is left off Styx Road. Park at the locked gate, and walk upwards to the top. The actual summit is a mound of rock on the right, just before you reach the building. The building, although a blot on the landscape, at least serves the function of providing a dry verandah and wind shelter for having lunch, if needed.