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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
Where: Lookout Circuit (Eatons Cutting) on Eatons Cutting Road, Red Hill
Distance: 1 km
Time: 20 minutes, or longer if you like.