If you live in Victoria, you’ll almost certainly be aware of the regional town of Healesville.
It’s home to places such as Healesville Sanctuary, Beechworth Bakery, Innocent Bystander and the Four Pillars Gin Distillery to name a few.
But, for us hikers, it’s home to three really awesome, yet challenging, hikes. And one you may not be aware exists.
Mount St. Leonard & Condon’s Track
An absolute doozy of a hike, the 25km, Grade 4 Mount St. Leonard & Condon’s Track hits you like a brick wall within the first kilometre.
Starting from Donnelly’s Weir car park, the first 7-8kms of this well-formed track is a gradual uphill.
And by gradual, I mean that they are relentless all the way to the lookout tower on top of Mount St. Leonard.
The lookout tower is the jewel in the crown of this hike as you are treated to incredible views of Mount Dandenong and the city of Melbourne. Especially on a clear day!
If you can get past the first section to the tower, you’ll be pretty well right in the remaining two sections.
Once you’re done with the tower, make your way down the hill to Monda Road/Track and follow this around to Condon’s Track (which will be situated on your right heading back into the bush).
Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the fire bunker to your right at about the halfway mark. I’m not going to lie – it’s creepy as hell but still very cool!
Condon’s Track is a dirt track that is mostly downhill, so keep an eye on your footing and watch your balance.
Find out more here: Mount St. Leonard & Condon’s Track
Mount Riddell Summit Return
Probably one of the easier hikes to do in Healesville, the Mount Riddell hike is a fairly straightforward, Grade 3, 13 km return hike.
In fact, it’s 6.5kms up and 6.5kms back on a well-formed gravel track this is easy to follow and navigate.
Despite its name, there really isn’t much of a summit at the top.
In fact, you really can’t see a whole lot at the summit as it is surrounded by bushland and a small rock cairn.
Most of the views of the surrounding area come from the track as you make your way too and from the summit.
The trailhead of this hike begins at a makeshift car park at the end of Mount Riddell Road which then becomes Road 1.
There is a fairly large at the start which you can pass through and then begin making your way to the summit.
To find out more about this hike, click here: Mount Riddell Summit Return.
Mount Juliet Return
Considered one of the hardest day hikes in Healesville if not Victoria, Mount Juliet is a 9km return hike spawned from the fiery depths of hiking Hell.
In other words, it’s a bloody hard hike!
On the outskirts of Healesville lies a makeshift car park either side of Maroondah Highway which is the unofficial start of the Mount Juliet Track.
Similar to Mount St. Leonard & Condon’s Track, Mount Juliet is relentless except this is literally from start to finish.
In fact, you really only get a couple of hundred metres of flat surface before you start the tough slog to the top.
And I really do mean it when I say it’s a tough slog. The dirt path to the top is slippery enough on a sunny day let alone on a wet day.
Similar to Mount Riddell, there isn’t much by way of a lookout at the top, however, there is a bell-shaped cairn.
And similar to Mount Riddell, it’s a very good hike to get your ‘hill legs’ in or if you really want to test yourself.
To read more about this cracker of a hike, click here: Mount Juliet Return.
And, finally, the one you might not even know exists…
Morley’s Walking Track
Not too far from the Mount Juliet trailhead, and at the beginning of the Black Spur, lies the Fernshaw Picnic ground; home of Morley’s Walking Track.
Now, while I reckon Mount Juliet is a tough one to crack, I reckon that Morley’s Walking Track just about pips it in terms of difficulty.
Starting from the car park of the picnic ground, this a 20km, Grade 4 return hike that slowly builds towards some really steep hills on the way to Dom Dom Saddle Picnic Ground.
By this I mean that it’s a combination of incredibly steep hills, fern covered trails, the odd fire trail and some incredible scenery all rolled into one.
You might even come across a leech or two 😉
Dom Dom’s Saddle Picnic Ground is an ideal halfway point as you’ll no doubt be in need of a rest after some of the hills you’ll have just conquered.
To learn more about this hidden gem, click here: Morley’s Walking Track.