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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Clover Arboretum and Big Hill Lookout, Mt Beauty District

The Clover Arboretum is 13 km from the town of Mt Beauty, 350 km NE of Melbourne, on the Bogong High Plains Rd.

It is situated on the site of the former village known as Clover South, built in the 1930s for housing workers and their families employed on construction of the nearby Clover Dam and Power Station.

In the early 1940s, all houses in the village were dismantled and removed, and workers relocated to the new town of Mt Beauty.

The houses were similar in basic design, and were situated on the side of the hill along terraced laneways, with a series of interconnecting pathways and stone steps.

Many of the trees and shrubs planted by the residents remain, including beautiful mature pines and oaks.

Sadly, the 2003 bushfires damaged the stonework and destroyed many of the trees, but there has been extensive regrowth.

The "Friends of the Clover Arboretum" community group carries out regular maintenance and weeding of the Arboretum grounds.

Picnic tables enable visitors to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this pleasant forest environnment.

An Information Board at the small car park describes the history and development of the Arboretum, with fascinating historical photos.

Visitors are encouraged to wander along the linked pathways and terraces - interpretative signs along the route describe various interesting features, including the fauna and fauna of the region.

We visited the Arboretum on Monday May 25 2009.

On our way back to Mt Beauty, we drove to the Big Hill Lookout, about 8 km from the turn-off at Cranky Charlie's corner, on the High Plains Rd.

This is a steep stony gravel road, which winds it way up and around Big Hill, through tall regrowth forest. Far down below was the West Kiewa Power Station, which can be reached by a side road about 3 km from Cranky Charlie's turnoff.

This road is best suited for 4WDs, but conventional 2WDs are OK, if care is taken.

The road ends at a large clearing, the Lookout, with excellent views north over Mt Beauty township along the valley to Mt Tawonga, and almost overpowered by ominous-looking Mt Bogong (the summit of which was covered in fog).

Gated fire tracks continue from the Lookout - the Big Hill Fire Trail, and the West Kiewa Logging Rd.

The Lookout is at altitude 1049 m, an increase in altitude of some 500 m from Cranky Charlie's turn-off, which is at 554 m.

See the full set of
Photos of our visit!

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