Last Wednesday, it was a sunny and beautiful 25 degrees. Making the most of this very good (and rare) weather, I headed towards Strath Creek in the north-eastern regions of Victoria. It was a leisurely country drive for the most part. From where I live in the Eastern suburbs, the most direct route to Strath Creek would be to use the Hume Freeway with its 110 km/hr speed limit (as opposed to other freeways which limit you to 100km/hr). Instead, I took a more scenic route using the Melba Highway, passing through the valleys of Yarra Glen in the direction of Yea.
We eventually made it to Murchison Spur Road where the lookout point supposedly was. Before driving up the gravel mountain road, I had to take a photo of this row of very cute, vintage looking mailboxes. There were no houses in sight but I guessed the houses were somewhere up along the mountain road we were about to head up.As funny as it was, we actually missed the entrance to the lookout point and continued driving along the gravel paved road for a good 15-20km. We came across a sign that said, “Mt Disappointment State Park”. My friend and I couldn’t help but laugh. For one) what a name for a place. For two) it reflected our current moods because we were indeed very disappointed we couldn’t find the lookout point.
Looking back at google maps, I was actually very surprised to learn that the lookout point was only 100m from the start of Murchison Spur Road. Compare 100m to the extra 15km we drove. I guess they say everything happens for a reason, because if we didn’t do that extra mileage, we would have never reached Mt Disappointment and had a good laugh about it. Call me curious but I had to google how on earth Mt Disappointment got its despondent name. Here is something I learned: Mt Disappointment is actually located on the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, and was named by two explorers: Hamilton Hume and William Hovell who said the mountain was a great disappointment due to the amount of large trees blocking the view of Port Phillip Bay.
Anyway…I digress. We decided to do a U-turn back down Murchison Spur Road rather than continue along the gravel road into the heart of Mt Disappointment. Lucky we did that because we found what we had come for. The lookout and its viewing platform were hidden by lots of trees, making it very easy to miss. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see it when we were driving up. Quickly, our disappointment washed away and we were completely awe-struck by the beautiful sight.
Murchison Gap lookout overlooks the Valley of 1000 Hills – a very beautiful name, for a very beautiful, picturesque place. I don’t know if there were actually a thousand hills, but all I could say was there were A LOT of rolling hills, big and small. The hills were dotted with trees and some even had farm houses on them. It amazes me how people manage to build houses in such remote areas. Life must be very peaceful out here, away from the busy city noises, and the burdens and stresses of work.
I wonder what it would like out here on a clear summer’s night, when the Valley of 1000 hills is lit up by a sky filled with stars. When I went to the Grampians, the stars were so much bigger and brighter compared to what we usually see in the the suburban and metropolitan areas. I can only imagine, out here, in the Valley of 1000 hills, the stars would be just as bright and beautiful. What a breath-taking photo that would be, to take a photo of the valley at night, with the sky covered by a blanket of glistering stars 😮
Alternatively, taking a photo of the valley during sunrise would also be amazing. I can see it in my head now: thin mist covering most of the valley, exposing the mountain tops, with thick rays of early morning sun coming through the clouds, gently touching the valley below. Apart from the stunning lookout, there isn’t that much to do (unless you wanna go hiking in Mt Disappointment). There are some tables at the lookout point, so a picnic with this beautiful view as the backdrop would also be nice. My suggestion is, have a bigger activity for the first half of the day, and wind the day up with a trip to the lookout. For me, I went to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery for the first half of the day, and I visited the lookout in the second half. Alternatively, the township of Yea is very close to the lookout point, so that could be another place to explore. Overall, Murchison Gap Lookout definitely gets a tick in my “places-to-recommend” book. The views of the rolling hills are fantastic making it a great place for landscape photography.