AnakieThe small township of Anakie is located on the main road between Geelong and Ballan in the foothills of the scenic Brisbane Ranges. The town is named after "The Anakies" which are a series of three hills that overlook the town - nicknamed the 3 Sisters by locals. Nearby is the extinct volcanic peak of Mt Anakie which rises 398 metres above sea level. Anakie is 90 km from Melbourne via Corio or 103 km via Bacchus Marsh.
Anakie's facilities include a general store, school, church and a recreation reserve which supports the local football, cricket, tennis and netball clubs. A couple of wineries are located within the undulating countryside surrounding the town.
Fairy Park is a place dedicated to story telling of fairy tales and ancient myths and legends. Located at Anakie on the summit of Mount Elephant, displays include quaint miniature houses and scenes from fairy tales. There is a kiosk, a model train exhibit and souvenir sales. Claimed to be Australia's first and oldest theme park, it has been built on a rocky granite outcrop known as Elephant Rock. From the hill it is possible to see Melbourne on the horizon. Ph (03) 5284 1262.
Take a 10 kilometre drive westwards along De Motts Road to Steiglitz. This former gold-mining town dates back to the 1850s and is still home to a handful of residents. A few of the town's original buildings have been preserved including the court house (opened in 1875), St Pauls Church, St Thomas Church, Scott's Hotel and the drapers shop. A number of bush walks through the surrounding Steiglitz Historic Park can be undertaken from the court house. For something to eat or drink, or for some information on the local area, drop into Peppercorn Place which is located south of the court house on the road to Ballan.
Brisbane Ranges National Park (8,718 ha), to the north and west of Anakie, is noted for its extensive native flora (notably wildflowers in spring), its birdlife, its koalas (reputedly the greatest concentration in Victoria), its bushwalks and bush drives and its easy proximity to Melbourne.
There are 619 native plant species in the park (one-fifth of all species in Victoria). Many of them are rare (this is the only place to see the Brisbane Ranges Golden Grevillea and the velvet daisy-bush is rare) or are remote from their usual habitat. In spring wattles, hakeas, bush peas, varieties of orchids and grass trees abound. It is also possible to see Eastern Grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, possums and gliders and over 170 bird species, including the yellow-tufted honeyeater, white-throated nightjar and rainbow bee-eater. The park reputedly contains Victoria's greatest density of koalas. They live in the park's mana gums.
For those wanting a long walk through the park, the Burchill Trail is 40 km long and usually takes 3 days (one way). It starts at Fridays Camping Ground and there are overnight camps at the Old Mill and the Little River Bush Camping Ground. For further information check out the Parks Victoria website for more details.
An easy 3 km walk which takes around 90 minutes one way. It links the Anakie Gorge Picnic Area (It has fireplaces, toilets, water and an information board) with the Stony Creek Picnic Grounds. The walk follows Stony Creek westwards, crossing the creek at several points, passing through Stony Creek Picnic Area and finishing at Lower Stony Creek Reservoir. Signs along the way identify koala habitats, rock escarpments, rock faults, flora types, bird-watching opportunities, bushfire scarification, creek pools. The alert walker may sight Eastern grey kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, echidnas, possums and sugar gliders. More than 170 species of bird have been observed in the park which also claims to have more than 619 species of native plant. The appeal of the walk is that it is easy and it passes through pleasant bushland. Expect the creek to be dry in the summer months. The gorge is in Brisbane Ranges National Park.
This walk takes an hour and is 2.5 km return. It offers fine views over both Anakie Gorge and Stony Creek Water Catchment. It starts at the Stony Creek Picnic Ground and on the way offers panoramic views of the You Yangs and Anakie Gorge.