The Major Mitchell Plateau overnight hike leaves and finishes from Sheep Hills car park south of Halls Gap and takes you on a stunning 41 kilometre trip over three days and two nights. A hard gradient walk, the hike covers up to 15 kilometres a day with elevation changes of up to 850m.
Climbing the ridge line through untouched forests of eucalypt and banksia towards the Mount William summit give splendid views across the valleys and adjacent ranges. Following on from the summit to Boundary Gap section is a majestic escarpment of rock and an exhilarating climb to the Major Mitchell Plateau, where you will be rewarded with fantastic panoramic views of the park and the grazing lands to the east and south. This loop returns to its starting point on the third day after descending the plateau via Jimmy Creek and crossing the Wannon River.
Sheep Hills Carpark to First Wannon Hiker Campsite (12.5km – 5 Hours)
This walk begins as a gentle stroll through a forest of Stringybark’s and Banksias before rising steadily to a ridge where you will be rewarded with great views of the neighbouring ranges and valleys. Follow the ridge until the track intersects with the Mt William Road. Follow the sealed road towards your right until you reach the Mt William Carpark. From the Carpark follow the sealed road beyond the gate towards the summit of Mt William (Duwul). Before the summit, follow an old management vehicle track along the top of the range, the track narrows and descends to Boundary Gap (Dirag). A steep rock scramble upwards brings you onto the Major Mitchell Plateau, and the First Wannon Hiker Campsite is reached shortly after.
First Wannon Hiker Campsite to Jimmy Creek Campground (13km – 5 Hours)
The track continues beyond the First Wannon Hiker Campsite along the Major Mitchell Plateau, revealing magnificent panoramic views. Keep watch for the track markers along the less conspicuous sections of the track. The track leaves the Major Mitchell Plateau and descends steeply to Stockyard Saddle; continue along a Management Vehicle Track that leads to a helipad. From the helipad, the walking track gradually winds downhill to Jimmy Creek Campground.
Jimmy Creek Campground to Sheep Hills Carpark (15km – 5 Hours)
Cross the Wannon River at the footbridge and follow the track to the Ingleton Fireline. From this intersection follow the Fireline north. Cross over Serra Road and continue along the undulating Fireline, directional signage indicates the turn-off to Sheep Hills Carpark.
The National Park maintains several campgrounds of note, with toilet facilities and bush showers, however drinking water is not necessarily available from the sites and it is strongly advised to bring your own. These sites require permits, available at Brambuk in Halls Gap, where you can also notify your trip intentions if you are planning an extended walk into the park. Check out the Parks Victoria website for more information and guidelines on bush camping.
From Melbourne, follow National Highway M8 and A8 to Barkly St/C222 in Ararat. Follow C222 and Grampians Rd/C216 to Mt William Track in Pomonal.
Max elevation: 1155 m
Min elevation: 322 m
Total climbing: 1983 m
Total descent: -1980 m