If you are a trailrunner, mountaineer or just an eager hiker, you heard this name before: Mount Juliet. At a little bit over 1100m this is the steepest training hike around Melbourne. Yes there higher mountains, yes there are longer walk but no there's nothing which can compete with the elevation profile of this little gem.
The roughly 930m of vertical ascent you have to cover stretch over only 4.3km and almost 700m are hidden in the last 2km. Yes the elevation profile looks like a sadistic mathematician's creation. It's the 1000 steps times four. If you read various blogs about Mt. Juliet it's always the same verdict: This is a dumb idea unless you want to punish yourself. Judging be the state of the track - fairly well - a lot of people do exactly that: Punish themselves. In 1910 Nicholas Caire described the summit with these words:
"A trigonometrical station. The highest and about the most accessible mountain near Healesville, from the top of which a most extended panorama is obtained of the surrounding country. Melbourne, the Bay, Macedon, and the You Yangs, being easily seen on a clear day. Snow lies on the summit during winter".
Yeah. Nah. Not today. Except for the giant one of a kind summit cairn, there's nothing to see at the top because the regrowth from the 1939 bushfires blocks all the beauty which Nick described. If you want to see them go to the nearby Mt. St. Leonard. That really begs the question why do it when there is no reward?
In preparation for the mountaineering trip to Nepal, I was looking for an "easy" training hike and Mt. Juliet is just that. Depending on your fitness level you can do the hike in somewhere between three to four hours. It's close to Melbourne which means you don't waste your time with driving and finally you can top it up with lunch or dinner in Healesville ... if you're bold enough to walk in your dirty hiking gear into the Innocent Bystander. Being an avid offtrack hiker I've looked for an alternative hike around Melbourne but there are not really many: The trail up to Mt. Victoria from Warburton covers a similar elevation of an equally short distance however it is a bit more spread out. If you're looking for more elevation, you have to go to Mt. Buller, Mt. Feathertop and Mt. Bogong and all of them are a bit of a drive.
If you need a training hike, look no further ... if little Juliet isn't enough for you, try 4 Mile Spur on Mt Buller. Enjoy :)
|This is where the fun starts|
|Summit Cairn without views|
|On the trail|
|360 behind the summit|