Things to see (with pictures)

Mount Elephant – A self guided tour (8/10/2018)

This is an introduction to Mount Elephant

For visitors who do not have a guide. Scan this code to put it on your phone.

Or copy this link to your browser and click on the icons on the map:,143.202266,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!6m1!1s1_l9Sb4sXEBuAojZQb93iL3xWZDY

Things to see: Highway to the car park

Stonework at the entrance created by Alistair Tune using rocks from the railway ballast pit and burnt railway sleepers in memory of the 1944 and 1977 fires. Funded by Uebergang Foundation.

Track runs beside the railway line of 1910.Trees here were planted in 2004. We have planted trees elsewhere each year since we we bought it.

Ballast was quarried in 1910 to 1913 with shovels direct into rail wagons by 20 men.

After WW2 there was a rifle range here, with the firing mounds at the highway and the targets set into existing concrete bases to the north of the car park. The target was 30cm diameter at a range of 600m.

A small eruption point appears to be between the highway and the mount.Reception Centre

This was the original visitor centre erected in year 2006.

This is replaced by the current Visitor Centre in year 2016.It was financed by a bequest form Jack and Millie Borbidge, together with a grant from Rural Development Victoria, the Shire of Corangamite, and many local donors and volunteers.

It was designed by Jakob Kelly Architect, and built by MKM Constructions, Ballarat.

Walls are of "rammed earth" and it has off grid solar power.

The Centre is open every Sunday or by arrangement. Visitors here can prepare for their assault of the summit. For the less athletic there are displays of the geology of the area and of the surrounding grasslands, wetlands and birdlife.We can provide education packages for school visits at all levels.The Centre can also be hired for meetings or events of an environmental nature.

Types of rock are in a collection at the visitor centre. many are unique to Mount ElephantThere are many types of basalt and crystals of olivine and pyroxene.

The volcanoes in the district have their unique types of basalt and crystals.

There is a picnic table made by the local P12 College students.

Trees beside the track were planted in 2000 and 2001.

Ballast pit to the crater

The main track is called the Jack & Millie Borbidge track after a major benefactor.

This plaque acknowledges their bequest.

You may find pieces of olivine or small volcanic bombs along the track.

Bird nesting boxes are fitted to some tree.See if you can find them.

They are generally near the tracks or signs.

Some of the boxes have been colonized by bees, so beware!

many birds are starting to make their own nests. See if you can spot some.

We have also installed some bat boxes which do not interest the bees.

There is another winding walking track cutting up through the trees to the saddle.

It is presently very basic and we are working to remove some of the hazards.

Meanwhile it is developing into a real bushland experience.

You may see some kangaroos and wallabies (or their scats) who have moved into this bush.They are generally active at dawn and dusk.

you can usually see wallabies during the day along a track to the east of the car park.

And striped skinks live under many of the rocks.

There is an interesting weed (swanplant) which is host to a migratory “wanderer” butterfly.

Click on the blue names for more details.

Rabbits are a constant problem. They live in family warrens.

Calicivirus keeps their numbers down.

There are places to rest and admire the view.We plan to install more!

Keep a look out for small “volcanic bombs” and olivine dislodged beside the track.

Bowl and crater

A breach in the cone has formed a sheltered bowl leading to the crater.

Here was the site of “Music on the Mount” festivals in 2000 to 2003.

To the east is a track to a lookout over Derrinallum and Lake TooliorookYou can see the access track and traces of the old railway line.

To the right of the photo above is an early diagonal fenceline which continues up over the mount into the crater.

(All other fencelines in the area run north/south or east/west.)

The wire of this original boundary fence can still be followed running down into the crater and dividing the mount into 3, each a portion of the original pastoral properties.

These diagonal fences run northeast, southwest and northwest.

Looking from the top gate to the left hand peak you may see some patches of 'running postman', a native pea.

In that area we have also planted a stand of sheoak, banksia and blackwood as in the early sketches and photographs.

To the south is a track around the crater rim and a rocky walk to the floor and the plug of the volcano.

On the south side of the crater are some fenced areas of original tree violet Hymenanthera dentata .

To the left of the crater track a walking track takes you clockwise around the rim.

Above this track is a spectacular area of red flowered “running postmanKennedia prostrata

In this photo you can also see weeds of "patersons curse" which was probably introduced in hay during the drought of 1967.

Or you can follow the vehicle track to the right to the summit and then anti-clockwise around the rim (if you wish).

Crater to the summit

There are still some logs of the original sheoak, banksia and blackwood forest from before the fires of 1944 and 1977.

There was no regeneration of these trees due to grazing of the seedlings by sheep and rabbits.

Much of the mount is covered with a fine native “wallaby grass”, with seeds sticking to your socks!

Photos in 1912 showed scattered Casurinas, Banksia and Blackwood spaced about 30m apart.

In the foreground appears to be variegated thistle which the early pastoralists spent a lot of effort trying to control (unsuccessfully).

We are trying to restore these scenes.

Scattered over the mount are green “crop circles” which may be mushroom rings.. or UFO landings??

A small snake has been recently seen on this track. We think they are few as there is not much for them to eat.

Each autumn there is a “fun run” from Derrinallum to the summit. Entries are welcome.

At the summit there is a rabbit proof fence to keep majority of the rabbits to the western slope. You can see native wallaby grass to the east and capeweed and patersons curse to the west.

The solar panel and GPS antennas on the trig point helps guide cropping tractors “hands free”.

The trig point helps surveyors map the country before satellite navigation

A fire spotting webcam sends a wifi signal 9km to an internet connected farm house.

Images of the progress of the fire can be sent to the incident controllers.

Around the southern rim.

Eugene Von Guerard in 1858 sat here and sketched the view to the north across the crater.

This is his sketch (NGV)

The purple flower in spring is patersons curse, a bad weed which we have to spray each year. A recently introduced flea beetle is starting to attack various parts of the plant.

They now look rather motheaten.

Look for a stunted tree violet shrub where hawks eat the rabbits they catch. You may find a “lucky” rabbit's foot!

View from the summit.

At the summit there is a lookout map.

“On a good day you can see forever.....”

To the north near Beaufort is Mt Cole. Distant 70km.

NNW near Buangor is Langi Ghiran (950m high)

NW 5km distant is Deep Lake, which is good for camping, boating, fishing.

NW past Ararat is the Mount William range of the Grampians. Mount William made of sandstone and is 1167m high. It is distant 140km.

West at Mortlake is Mount Shadwell, another volcano. Open on Sundays with permission from the Moyne Shire. Fossick for olivine.

Southwest is Mount Noorat, which is similar to Mount Elephant and has a steep and deep crater. Walking track to the summit.

South at Camperdown is Mount Leura which is also a volcano. It is sitting on the rim of a maar.Road to the summit, but there are also nice walks.

East 5km distant is Lake Tooliorook which is good for camping, fishing, boating and bird watching.Behind Lake Tooliorook is Lake Gnarpurt and Lake Corangamite. These are RAMSAR feeding grounds for birds migrating from northwest China and Siberia.

NW is Mount Buninyong, south of Ballarat.