bushwalk on the mornington peninsual at eatons cutting red hill

Eatons Cutting Lookout Circuit

I recently did a short walk that was big on views.  Eatons Cutting in Red Hill is in a small pocket of Arthurs Seat State Park, and home to the Lookout Circuit. Tucked away behind some large properties opposite Red Hill Consolidated School, it’s an easy 1 km bushwalk that provides some great views across the Mornington Peninsula.  You could even tie the walk in with O.T. Dam, or Endeavour Fern Gully if you’ve got some extra time up your sleeve.

bushwalk on the mornington peninsula at eatons cutting red hill

To get there you’ll need to head east from Arthurs Seat summit.  Travel along the main Arthurs Seat Road until you see the Red Hill Consolidated School nestled back in among the trees on your right.  Opposite the school is Eatons Cutting Road, and you drive down this to the end where you can park your car.  It is well signposted, so there is no confusion about whether or not you’re in the right place.  That’s the good thing about Parks Victoria; lots of lovely signs.  So, off we go…..

I head off along the track in a clockwise direction.   But you can go whichever way you choose, it’s up to you.  At first the track is quite wide, almost like a four-wheel drive track, and the scenery is a bit ‘scrubby’ to my eyes.  The sort of bush that doesn’t quite look how it should look, but rather, a bit straggly and disturbed.  But it improves, thankfully, and before long it is looking like ‘proper bush’, and quite pretty at that.

bushwalks on the mornington peninsula in arthurs seat state park

To the east is a disused quarry.  But you can’t see it from the track.  That quarry is where a tip was proposed back in 2013, and caused a huge outcry from local residents and beyond.

proposed tip for arthurs seat state park
The site of the 2013 proposed tip immediately adjacent to the Arthurs Seat State Park

I mean, imaging submitting a proposal for a tip between two pockets of Arthurs Seat State Park, in an area of high fire danger rating, and suggesting that it wouldn’t impact on the indigenous flora and fauna of the area.  Mmmmm?  Anyway the proposal was canned by the EPA, thank goodness, and the bush is still intact.

bushwalks on the mornington peninsula at arthurs seat

Before long, I arrive at a clearing.  There’s a seat, which is nice, but you can’t see the view properly from the seat.  In fact, the view is a little hard to see at all because I think some of the trees might need a bit of a tidy up so that we can see more.  I find a spot on the edge of the clearing and take the best photo I can.  The morning is beautiful and sunny, but a slight haze puts the distant view into a soft-focus effect.

bushwalk on the mornington peninsula at eatons cutting red hill

In the above photo, the far tip of land is Mt. Martha.  And in the foreground, Dromana and mostly Safety Beach are nestled in there among the trees.  As I keep walking, more views out across farmland appear occasionally through the trees.

bushwalk in red hill in arthurs seat state park

bushwalking on the mornington peninsula at arthurs seat

I am keeping an ear open for wildlife.  When I hear a noise on the track behind me, I whirl around in time to see a lone black-and-white Kelpie standing a few metres behind me.  I’m not sure who is more surprised, me or the dog, but we just stand there for a few minutes eye-balling each other.  It’s got a collar on, so at least I know it’s not a feral dog, and before long its owner comes jogging along the track and arrives in an exhausted heap next to me, with another dog and minus his teeth.  No leash in sight either.  We have a chat, or rather he has a chat in such a way that information just gushes out of his mouth almost non-stop for about 15 minutes, leaving me both exhausted and knowing more about this stranger and his extended family than I ever wished to know, as well as why he hasn’t got his teeth in today.

Not once during this mostly one-sided dialogue did he happen to mention that perhaps the dogs shouldn’t actually be here in this State Park.   I contemplate mentioning it to him, but can’t get a word in edge-wise and don’t want to sound like the Park Nazi, so stay silent.  Finally he and the dogs are on their way, and I stay put for awhile to let the silence settle back in around me, all the time wondering if he will see the sign that says “No Dogs” at the Park entrance.  I doubt it.   It’s not the first time I have seen people walking their dogs in the State Park, so I shouldn’t be surprised.   But I am annoyed.  Anyway, it’s probably time I move on…

bushwalk on the mornington peninsual at eatons cutting red hill

The track along this section is very pretty.  And here and there the land slopes away down into a gully providing nice little vistas among the thick forest of Messmate Stringybark.  There are a few nice wild flowers out and about that add a splash of colour to the otherwise green landscape.

Some more wildlife shows up.  What I would consider my least favourite type of wildlife!

bushwalking in arthurs seat state park doing the lookout circuit at red hill

A Blue-Tongue lizard rustles some dry leaves on the track verge.  I am surprised to see him now that the weather is getting cooler.  He hides his head under the leaf litter, so this is the best pic I could manage without disturbing him.

bushwalks near melbourne

I am near the end of the walk.  The sun streaming down behind me lights up the foliage in golden shades of green, and long dark shadows criss-cross the path in thick diagonal lines.  I hear the mellifluous notes of the Golden Whistler, but he remains too high up in the trees for me to see him.  Some Eastern Spinebills are having a delightful time poking their crescent-shaped beaks into some Silver Banksia flowers dripping with nectar.  I see some Crimson Rosellas as well, as they flitter through the trees in the bush beside me and I can’t help thinking what a lovely little spot this is tucked behind houses and not even in the wild.

I am surprised at how much I enjoyed this walk.  And found that I lingered quite a bit to enjoy the views and the lovely light cast by the sun through the trees.  And I think that makes a big difference on how things look in these thickly wooded forest areas.  They can appear quite dull and gloomy on a cloudy day, but are transformed completely once the sun comes out.

bushwalks on the mornington peninsula at arthurs seat state park
Platylobium obtusangulum


Where:  Lookout Circuit (Eatons Cutting) on Eatons Cutting Road, Red Hill

Distance:  1 km

Time:  20 minutes, or longer if you like.


7 thoughts on “Eatons Cutting Lookout Circuit

  1. Hi Leah,
    How could you not like the spiderwebs and their makers? 😉 I’m very glad the tip proposal was rejected. The noise, smell and disruption would have impacted on the local area a great deal. I see the effects of one here on local bushland. Fire is a big hazard.
    Thank you for taking us on another delightful walk. It is amazing how the light can transform the forest. I’ve been walking on cloudy days and while I don’t mind the relief from the blazing sun, it does tend to make the forest a little gloomy, as you say. The light streaming through the leaves is great for the spirit.
    Yes, it’s very frustrating when people let their dogs run off the leash in a national park. I’ve seen a cattle dog cross paralyse a big goanna by breaking its neck with a couples of shakes. It’s surprising the damage they can do, although feral cats seem to have the most impact on a wide variety of species.
    Lovely pictures again too, Leah. I especially like the wildflowers. 🙂

    1. You’re right Jane about feral cats doing so much damage where wildlife is concerned. I see scats all the time on my walks through the State Park, and it chills me to think of how much wildlife is being eradicated by feral cats, and foxes (which I have seen also in the park). According to Wildlife Australia, 75 million native animals are killed every night across Australia by feral cats. Dogs however, are also to blame. After land clearing, unrestrained cats and dogs are stated as being the biggest threat to our wildlife. It’s a shame that those responsible for letting their dogs roam free in National and State Parks are not held more responsible for their actions, although I understand how difficult it would be to police.

      I’m amused at your wanting to escape the sun on your walks. Clearly that is the difference being living in QLD and southern VIC! Thanks for your feedback Jane, and I look forward to your next post 🙂 Leah.

    1. Hi Michelle, nice to hear from you, and thanks for the comments. I looked at the photo of your plant on Mt Buffalo, and it does look a bit similar, I agree. Just not sure if Platylobium obtusangulum would be found in alpine areas? I looked it up in my plant book and it says it prefers dry forests and tea-tree heath, or grassy low open forests in drier well-drained soils. No mention of tolerating snow, so I couldn’t really confirm your hunch, I am sorry to say. 😦 Leah

  2. Another lovely walk, Leah. You’ve captured the feel of the bush perfectly.
    Maybe the guy yakked your ear off because he was worried if you could get a word in, you just might take him to task about his dog! 😊

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