Updated: Apr 2, 2022
Lockdown has caused many of us to put on some Corona Kilos but hiking is often overlooked when getting outdoors because people believe they are all long and that you need to be some superhuman to complete one. This is not the case because all hikes are different and if your looking for some post lockdown outdoors activities then hiking might be for you.
There are tons of day hikes around Melbourne but Sugarloaf Reservoir stands out as a great location because it is in the goldilocks zone of hiking, not to far to travel from the centre of the city but you still get the feeling like you are in the bush. This makes it perfect for families and first time hikers as they can get a feel for hiking with out needing all the gear, this location is also amazing for kids as it is not too long or steep meaning they can do the walk without getting too tired until the drive home.
A great place to meet or start your Journey would be at the Saddle Dam Picnic Area, a small carpark near the start of the hiking trail just off Simpson road in Christmas Hills and should be just over an hour away from the CBD. The hike is approximately 15km so you will want to make sure to pack a day pack with everything you will need, this might include sunscreen, a hat, 1-2 bottles, lunch and the pack itself. The hike usually will take 4-5 hours to complete and is well marked all the way and is easy to follow making it very hard to get lost, along the way you wont find many chances to fill up water bottles so its important to have then filled and ready when you start. Cell tower reception is patchy around the area so it is important to check and know the weather and UV rating in advance to make sure you are prepared and know if you should be putting on sunscreen. The hike itself will take you around the reservoir in a loop back to the carpark, the track is almost completely flat along the way and offers a few good views along the way including when walking over the dam wall.
When walking along the trail some areas can get very close to the water and make for an amazing photo opportunity of the water from an almost completely flat angle and can provide a great spot to stop for lunch, the same photo opportunities are available on the Dam wall and give an excellent view of the whole reservoir and the valley below on the other side of the wall. Close to the carpark and just at the end of the main Dam you can spot the loch where boats make their way through a channel to get out into the reservoir, it is great opportunity to show kid about how lochs work and why they are useful as most have never seen one in person due to Melbourne’s very flat terrain. As you are walking you might be lucky to see some of the native wildlife who inhabit the area, some of the animals you might spot include Echidnas, Koalas, Wombats and more so by the time you reach the end you will know for sure that you weren't walking alone.
If you've finished the hike and have some time to kill, make sure to check out some of the local area as you will be greeted with many great cafés and wineries that would be great spot to relax and eat after you have finished your hike and can offer a break from the drive back while supporting small and local business.
Where: Sugarloaf Reservoir
Packing: Day Hike Packing Guide
Travel Time: 1 Hours (from Melbourne CBD) Start: Saddle Dam Picnic Area
Finish: Saddle Dam Picnic Area Duration: 3-4 Hours Difficulty: Moderate
Written by Josh Welch