At last, summer came to us and warm wonderful weather called very loudly to go out and have a nice and fun day!
Only a half of the weekend day left to us so we decided to spend it for something nice and pleasant :-)
Organ Pipes National Park – something new, an interesting name, less than an hour from CBD and from our place (“you gotta be kidding me!”, this is what I thought when Google Maps told me that to get to the Park will take us less than 30 minutes!). We definitely going to visit it!
Another thing that was surprising to me is that it is a National Park and it is right at the doorstep to Melbourne CBD!
Actually it locates in one of Melbourne suburbs – Keilor North.
My previous experience says that if it is a National Park, then ideally you need more than a day to explore it (to some extent)! :) So it was interesting to have a look at this “home” National Park. (It appeared to be the smallest National Park in Victoria)
The Park is a nice place to visit.
It’s a pleasant walk. You see nice green hills going to the horizon.
The Organ Pipes
So called Organ Pipes that you see are old lava.
The Organ Pipes themselves are formed of the hard, dark rock called basalt, a volcanic rock derived from lava. Much of the basalt is pocketed with small air bubbles. The air holes are a result of steam trapped in the lava; as the steam escaped the air pockets remained.
For about 20 million years volcanic activity was widespread in south western Victoria. The lava covering the Organ Pipes area is a recent flow, only about a million years old. The source of this lava was probably the group of low volcanic hills which may be seen about 6 km to the north of the park. These volcanoes are now extinct, or at least dormant.
Although each individual lava flow was quite thin, the plain was built up by successive flows from many volcanoes over a wide area. The lava plain extends from the foot of Mount Macedon to Williamstown and Laverton and is part of the third largest lava plain in the world, that of the western district of Victoria.
The Organ Pipes are a spectacular example of basaltic columns. Rising to 20 metres in height, the Pipes are up to one metre across and are hexagonal in cross section. Very few of the columns are straight or vertical; a number of the smaller columns around the Pipes are very much tilted, some almost horizontal.
The Organ Pipes were so named because of their resemblance to a pipe organ.
Along the way you can sit and relax enjoying the calm surroundings.
Five hundred metres upstream of the Organ Pipes, overhanging the northern bank of the stream, is a large outcrop of basalt with a radial array of columns resembling the spokes of a giant wheel. It was formed by the radial cooling of a pocket of lava, probably in a spherical cave formed from an earlier lava flow.
For me it looks like a giant sea creature! :)
On the valley floor about 250 metres upstream of Rosette Rock is a basalt outcrop which has a tiled or mosaic-like appearance. It is another area of columnar basalt, but instead of the vertical faces being visible as at the Organ Pipes, the horizontal faces are visible – you can walk and climb over them. The columns tend to be hexagonal, but many have sides of unequal length and there may be from four to eight sides on each column.
Different web-sites say that you can even see echidna there. We have not seen it :) But may be you will be lucky!
It is the smallest national park in Victoria, but what makes it unique was the work by volunteers, who had been vital in the restoration of flora and fauna of the park since 1972, when it was in a bad shape, eroded and infested with weeds. The Friends of Organ Pipes and other volunteers have spent thousands of hours working on the restoration.
Looking at photos of the Park dated 2004, I should say a big thanks to guys! They did an amazing job and made the Park look much more pretty than it was years ago.
It was a very lovely day for us!
It was good to come and give our brains some rest :-D
I hope you enjoyed photos and will visit Organ Pipes National Park by yourself one day!
Info and Tips if you are going to visit Organ Pipes National Park:
- Park is opened for vehicle access from ~ 8am to 4.30pm (and till 6 pm in summer).
- Carpark (Park location: Calder Hwy, Keilor North, Victoria 3036)
- There are walking tracks (actually one track that circles back). You can do it in less than an hour
- I saw people with kids
- One BBQ on the top of the hill. It looked like it is usually occupied, especially in sunny days and on school holidays :)
- The track is very easy. The only thing is that first you go downhill which means after you finish all walking you will need to go uphill.
This can be a bit difficult for older people. But take your time, nothing to hurry to. Take one step at a time and you’ll be right!
- I don’t think the track is open for cycling. First it’s very short for cyclingg, second – it’s just no space to share with… pedestrians (or walkers :) )
- There is a house that looks like “Info” office. We have not visited it because we came close to closing hour late and wanted to see most of the Park in the time we had. May be there is something where you can get snacks, but I don’t think so (may be I’m wrong! Please check and let us know!).
I would highly advice to take water with you as in the hot day it will be very hot in the Park.
- Organ Pipes National Park is closed on a Red Alert Day, so if it’s a hot day check with the Parks Victoria web site if the Park is closed due to the high risk of fire
Have a pleasant time!
Already been there? How do you find it? Please share your experience with us! It is very interesting!