Almost entirely within forests and National Park, the Trail offers a rich variety of scenery from dense forests to trout-filled rivers and sub-alpine meadows. Rich in history too, this part of the Trail encounters the sites of many old gold towns and pioneer settlements. This is big, rugged country and its challenges should not be underestimated although the first five days from Healesville are relatively easy. Travel October to April, and be ready for total fire bans in mid summer. The southern trailhead is at Healesville, a pretty town nestled among green hills just 60 kilometres north-east of Melbourne.
Challenging. It is suitable only for fit and experienced travellers. This section should not be travelled alone.
Cool temperate – mild, warm summer, cold winter. The altitude of the National Trail in Victoria is mostly in the 800 m – 1300 m range. Snow is a possibility on any day of the year, and a change in weather can be very rapid and dramatic, with temperature falls of up to 20 degrees C in just a few minutes. Even in summer you should be prepared for extremes of temperature. Summer days are usually dry and mild with cool nights however heatwaves occur occasionally and these can be severe. Special fire precautions should be taken January to March.
The first few days out of Healesville are relatively gentle, especially if the first climb out of Healesville is bypassed. However, once the Big River is reached a very steep climb over Mt Terrible marks the end of the easy terrain. Most of the remainder of this section is over big, rugged, steep and remote country. It is not feasible for horsedrawn vehicles to follow much of the Trail in Victoria and the steepness excludes all but the most determined mountain bike riders.
Topographic maps should be obtained . Use of a compass is necessary. Unexpected detours may be required.
Sections of the Trail are closed (with locked gates) by the Department of Conservation and Environment in winter so be sure to plan trips between October and mid April. This is important for there is too great a risk of being caught in bad weather outside this period.
The steepness excludes all but the most determined mountain bike riders.