Month: February 2017

Explore & Inspire, Outdoor Education, Travel Tips & Ideas

Lake Mountain Alpine Resort in Summer

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Lake Mountain is known for its excellent cross country ski trails during the winter months but it has more to offer than just snow and tobogganing when the weather warms up. Only two hours from Melbourne, it’s a hit with skiers but these days has become more popular with bushwalkers and mountain bike riders. With over 30 kms of trails, that weave their way amongst the snowgums, the stunning heathland, the wild flowers and natural beauty of an alpine environment – there is something for everyone.

Helicopter Flat looking south

I’ve worked at this mountain as a professional ski guide and as a recreational skier since 1989 and I knew it inside out. But after the 2009 fires, I couldn’t visit Marysville let alone the mountain for some years. Fortunately, I made my way up to the mountain more recently and was pleasantly surprised by the infrastructure and regrowth that has happened in nine years.

Let’s set the record straight – there is no lake at Lake Mountain. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to put tourists on the right track on that one. Lake Mountain was named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain.

What was previously one building a storage sheds for groomers is now multiple large buildings for Ski Patrol, Ski School, Ski Hire, Cafe, Toilets and more. It’s an excellent set up and well overdue.

Despite being a little disoriented at first, I was able to follow the trails (picturing them with snow) and making my way around the mountain to familiar sites. What a buzz yet filled with grief. The snowgums are beautiful with their stark white trunks set against the blue alpine sky. Yet they are all dead and regeneration is slow and challenging. This place will never be as it was, but perhaps will evolve into something new and better (crossing my fingers behind my back as I wrote that).

Prior to going up to the mountain you can download maps from the Lake Mountain Resort website here. They are excellent and it’s a good place to start, particularly if this area is unfamiliar to you.

  • How to get to Lake Mountain from Melbourne
  • Resort Map
  • Ski trails and snowshoeing Map
  • Walking and Recreation Trails Map
  • Mountain Bike Trails Map

I would also recommend you check the weather, particularly if you’re coming from Melbourne. What may be calm and windless in one place can be stormy and unpleasant on the mountain.

There is a cafe on the mountain if you’d like to utilise that for a meal and coffee but there is also free undercover bbq facilities available. The cafe is open 9am – 4pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday. You can contact them directly on 03 5957 7253. I’d suggest you bring some basic food and all the water you need (just in case) and plan for a big day out. You always have the opportunity to stop at one of Marysville’s great eateries on the way up or down.

Just as a side note, the water at the resort comes from the Echo Flat area of the ski trails. This is actually where the Taggerty River starts and it is an unprotected catchment. Under the provisions of section 6 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Minister for Health has declared the water not suitable for drinking. Therefore, bring all your own water or you can purchase bottled water at the cafe on the mountain.


So let’s start at the beginning as you leave Marysville. The resort is 22kms from town and will take you longer than you might expect as the road is windy and you need to take care as there are often many drivers (particularly motor bikes) going to and from the resort.

You can stop at a few points along the way if you need a break but you should be there in around 20 minutes. No toilets on the way so use the ones in Marysville.

There are a number of car parks on the way up but you’re looking for the very top one where there are two large buildings and massive car parking.

This photo to above is one of the Information Boards that will help you get oriented and give you ideas of what you can do.

Here you make choices: Do you walk to the summit of Lake Mountain, venture on the Flying Fox, go for a walk, have a picnic. I’d suggest a walk to start with. It takes 10 minutes to walk up to the Snow Gauge and is a gentle uphill walk easy for most people. Then it flattens out from there. In summer the trails can be tussocky but easy to walk on.

Make sure you have a map with you so you know where you’re going. Most trails loop and you can branch off at one point and end up at another that links up with your original starting point.

You can walk on many of the trails that will take you right out to the back of the Resort where in winter I’ve seen antechinus footprints in the snow or wombats shuffling under tree trunks to hide from the wide. In summer, you will see kites, currawongs, wrens, wombats, the occasionally wallaby or kangaroo and lots of skinks. Why not take the opportunity to bring a picnic and have a culinary experience in the alpine world. Beware the march flies are vigilant and I’d bring insect repellant with you.

If you’re not a big bushwalker, then try the walk up to the summit of Lake Mountain which tops out at the almighty figure of 1443m (highest point is 1480 on the Hut Trail). Mt Bogong which is the highest mountain in Victoria is at 1986 metres. If the weather is clear, the views from the lookouts are stunning and with any luck, you may even be able to see Melbourne highrises.

You can engage a professional environmental officer named Sue who can be contacted on 03 5957 7222 or emailing her at Sue’s experience in flora and fauna is exceptional and will give you an insight into the environs that you may otherwise miss without her knowledge. Ideally you would have a group of 4+ to engage her services and you will need to prebook.

Flying Fox from the start looking to the finish

Up for Adventure?

Having spent some time in Northern Italy in 2016 I was thrilled to see how the managers of the ski resorts utilise their facilities all year round with mountain bike riding and other activities. This is what is unfolding at Lake Mountain. They have installed an amazing 240-metre Dual Flying Fox that is easily accessible from the car park. It’s an absolute hoot and highly recommend.

Flying Fox Rules and Regulations

In summer there is also the ‘tube run’ which is a ski trail where plastic is laid down the trail along with water and in a tube you can go for a hoot down the hill.

Signage to the Flying Fox

Finally, Laser Skirmish. This is new and who wouldn’t love the chance to pop some of your friends with paint. For more information on the Adventure Activities, go to the website here.

End of Flying Fox looking up to the start

Operation of the flying fox, tube run and laser skirmish are subject to weather conditions in the White Season. For these activities and guided wildflower walks, group bookings are essential in the Green Season. (quoted from the website).

Mountain Biking

The Resort continues to do great work on expanding the mountain bike trails around the area with over 20kms of single tracks that caters for the beginner to the advanced. You can bring your own bike or hire them at the  Lake Mountain Cafe & Visitor Centre which includes a helmet. The bikes are Kona mountain bikes and are in very good condition. Costs $15 for two hours or $25 for a whole day.

This is not my photo but not sure who took it but credit to them.
This is not my photo but not sure who took it but credit to them.

If you’d like to camp up on the mountain, you MUST contact the resort management for permission a there are designated camping areas. Remember this is alpine heathland and extremely sensitive to overuse.

NOTE – During the summer months when there is a day forecasted for Code Red Fire Danger, the resort will be closed. If you need more information visit Parks Victoria here.

The Ski Trails are also the walking trails and here are the distances below (taken directly from the Resort website). This will give you an idea of the distance and time it may take you to venture around the area.

Trail up to the Snow Gauge

 Walking / Ski Trails

  • Echo Flat Loop – 1.5 km
  • Snow Gum – 1.5 km
  • Muster – 2.6 km
  • Echo Flat – 6 km
  • Roystone – 2 km
  • Woollybutte – 2 km
  • Panorama – 3.5 km
  • Long Healthed – 3 km
  • Jubilee – 6 km

OPENING HOURS: 24/7 during summer months. Limited in winter.

LOCATION: Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, 1071 Lake Mountain Road, Marysville

PHONE: (03) 5957 7222. There is only Telstra 3G coverage on the mountain.

PARKING: There are two large carparks close to the buildings at the Resort and a few more further down the road to Marysville but these are used as spillover carparks in winter.

TRANSPORT: There is no public transport to Lake Mountain during summer. You can drive or ride your bike up the mountain.

DISABLED ACCESS: Around the buildings it’s pretty good but not on the trails and tracks.

ATM: There is no ATM on the mountain during summer although if the cafe is open they have EFTPOS.

ENTRANCE FEE: No fee during summer

DOGS: This is part of the Alpine Resorts Commission and therefore, no pets allowed.

TOILET FACILITIES: Toilets within the buildings

SOCIAL MEDIA:  Lake Mountain Resort on Facebook click here.

Lake Mountain Resort on Twitter click here.

Instagram @lakemountainresort and #lakemoutainresort

WEBSITE: Lake Mountain Resort

Now it’s your turn. Share your stories of spending time at Lake Mountain during the summer months. Leave a comment below.




Explore & Inspire, Markets, Op Shops, Secondhand

Salvos Thrift Shop – Moolap

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Oh Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula – you delight me with all your Secondhand Stores, Markets and Op Shops.

This one located on the Bellarine Highway means it’s an easy pull in from the main road on the way to Ocean Grove. 

The collection of wares are excellent and beautifully displayed. The quality is great and there isn’t any crappy stuff in this store. 

Clothes are arranged well by colour and easy to sort through with the racks not overflowing but nicely full.


If you have some bigger items that you would like picked up, please contact the Shop on the number below and they will make arrangements with you. 

There is also a small cafe attached to this Op Shop but couldn’t quite work out why it was there. It may be a training facility or open on certain days, but was unable to get a definite answer.

OPENING HOURS: 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday. 9 am – 4 pm Saturday.  Sunday – closed.

LOCATION: 509 Bellarine Highway, Moolap

PHONE: (03) 5250 6566

PARKING: There is plenty of parking in the carpark that has no limitations.

TRANSPORT: Plenty of buses coming in and out of Geelong that head towards Ocean Grove.

DISABLED ACCESS: Good disabled access into the store with nice wide aisles.

ATM: There are plenty of ATM’s within the vicinity.


DOGS: Just tie them up outside in the shade and please clean up any mess they make. Be mindful of them in hot weather.

TOILET FACILITIES: There are toilet facilities in the store. Just ask the staff where they are.


Facebook – Salvo Op Shop

Twitter: click here

Instagram: click here

WEBSITE: Salvo Op Shop

DONATIONS: Please deliver donations during business hours if possible.

Now it’s your turn. Share your stories of the Salvos in Moolap. Likes, dislikes, bargains you’ve bought and people you’ve met. Leave a comment below.

Happy hunting.

Explore & Inspire, Markets, Op Shops, Secondhand

Uniting Care Op Shop – Ormond Village, Geelong

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This is one of the cutest Op Shops along the Bellarine Highway and is worth a visit – but note that it is small but has some good bargains.


It’s been operating for 20+ years and came to fruition with the help of the St Andrews Op Shop who secured the current site.

Now here are some interesting facts: This Op Shop is staffed by over 40 volunteers who work on set rostered days. Now that is a commitment. Many of the volunteers have been working at the Shop since its inception.


Volunteering brings the best in people. They get to know their regulars but also chat to people just passing through. These interactions are priceless and often create ongoing relationships and friendships within the community.

UnitingCare Geelong have six Op Shops that are solely run by volunteers. Each Shop has their own manager or committee of management as well as a whole team of volunteers to make it work.

The stores are located at Ormond Road, Drysdale, Point Lonsdale, Corio, Hamlyn Heights and Highton. Click here for all the location addresses.


The UnitingCare community are as strong as 300 active volunteers work at six UnitingCare Geelong opportunity shops. Their work is tireless and often thankless but their contribution back into the community is priceless.

Big note here: 40% of their income comes from the Op Shops so please support where you can as money goes straight back into community projects and welfare.

OPENING HOURS: 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Friday

LOCATION: Shop 8, 140 Ormond Road, East Geelong

PHONE: (03) 5221 4068

PARKING: There is plenty of parking in front of the store, parallel parking.

TRANSPORT: Plenty of buses coming in and out of Geelong on their way to Ocean Grove.

DISABLED ACCESS: Good disabled access out the front with one step into the store. Wheelchair friendly but would be very tight.

ATM: They take cash only.


DOGS: Just tie them up outside in the shade and please clean up any mess they make. Be mindful of them in hot weather.

TOILET FACILITIES: Please ask staff about toilets. There are a number of fast food places nearby that have toilets.


Facebook – couldn’t find a profile

Instagram but #unitingcareopshop

WEBSITE: There is a link to this site here.

DONATIONS: Please deliver donations during business hours if possible.

Now it’s your turn. Share your stories of the Ormond Village Op Shop. Likes, dislikes, bargains you’ve bought and people you’ve met. Leave a comment below.

Happy hunting.

Explore & Inspire, Living Simply, Outdoor Education

If not now, when?

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Care a little more.

Show up.

Embrace possibility.

Tell the truth.

Dive deeper.

Seek the truth behind the story.

Ask the difficult question.

Lend a hand.

Dance with fear.

Play the long game.

Say ‘no’ to hate.

Look for opportunities, especially when it seems like there aren’t any left.

Risk a bigger dream.

Take care of the little guy.

Offer a personal insight.

Build something magical.

Keep your promises.

Do work that matters.

Expect more.

Sign your work.

Be generous for no reason.

Give the benefit of the doubt.

Develop empathy.

Make your mom proud.

Take responsibility.

Give credit.

Play by a better set of rules.

Choose your customers.

Choose your reputation.

Choose your future.

Thank the ref.

Reward patience.



Because we can.

It really is up to us. Which is great, because we’re capable of changing everything if we choose.

All we can do is all we can do, but maybe, all we can do is enough.

Credit to Seth Godin. You can find this on his blog here

Explore & Inspire, Markets, Op Shops, Secondhand

Salvos Little Shed Thrift Shop – Leopold, Geelong

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I’ve picked up a few bargains at this store over the years. It’s bigger than you think and in the warmer month, most people enter via the roller door shed into the furniture section. Here you’ll find couches, beds, mattresses, tables as well as frames, bric-a-brac and so on. 

The shop has an army of volunteers who work tirelessly to step up and assist the ongoing work of The Salvation Army.  All hail the volunteers as these places wouldn’t exist without them.


Explore & Inspire, Markets, Op Shops, Secondhand

The Wave Baptist Church Op Shop – Ocean Grove

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This Op Shop is very popular with locals as well as tourist when they arrive in town and realise they’ve left the fitted sheets at home.

There are two parts to the Op Shop – the actually shop where there are clothes, jewellery books etc. and then a kind of shed to the right where the older stuff and items in less good condition are stored. Don’t let that put you off as there are bargains to be had in here.