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Saturday, June 13, 2009

A hike around the Olinda Volcano Crater

On Thursday afternoon June 11 2009 I went up to the Olinda Section of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, 30 km ast of the Melbourne CBD.

My visit was a 3 km hike along part of the eastern rim of the former volcano, starting at the access gate at the junction of Falls Rd and Bartlett Track, at an altitude of about 459 m.

Bartlett Tk was followed to the junction of VW Track, which is officially closed, but is still available for walkers.

This track was followed in a northerly direction, and then a steep rocky descent reaching the junction of Olinda Creek Rd, at an elevation of 266 m, a descent of some 200 m!

That was the turnaround point.

The track follows the Olinda Creek Valley, which is immediately to the west, in rugged and inhospitable forest, logged out in the 1940s, and then ravaged by bushfires.

The origin of the name "VW Track" is unknown, and the southern sction was originally an access road for loggers. The steep rocky northern section was added as an extension for walkers.

Here is some background information from Parks Victoria:

The Dandenong Ranges represent the remains of an ancient volcano that existed more than 300 million years ago. Weathering and streams have eroded the old volcano to such an extent that it is largely unrecognisable today.

The whole block is separate from other mountain ranges and it is of an earlier volcanic derivation than the vast majority of other volcanic areas in Victoria.

The Dandenong Ranges is a result of volcanic events that produced a complex igneous rock system of Upper Devonian age. This occurred in two stages. The first stage involved numerous volcanic lava flows while the second was a series of cauldron collapses resulting in distinct intrusions.

About 350 million years ago the formation of the Dandenong Ranges began with a general weakening of the earth's crust.

Some 300 million years ago near the township of Olinda a large volcano welled up through the earth's crust, creating four distinct lava flows over a period of time.

The full article may be viewed at

See the full set of Photos of my visit, including a Google Earth image which shows the Dandenong Ranges viewed from the east - the volcanic formations are of interest!

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