Mount Baw Baw
|Mount Baw Baw|
|Elevation||1,567 m (5,141 ft)AHD|
|Range||Baw Baw Plateau|
Mount Baw Baw is about 120 km east of Melbourne and 50 km north of the Latrobe Valley. The mountain itself is one of several peaks on the Baw Baw Plateau, a long plateau tending north-east. Other peaks on the plateau include Mount Whitelaw, Mount St Phillack (the highest), Mount Mueller, Mount Tyers, Mount Kernot and Mount St Gwinear. The plateau itself is isolated from most of Victoria's high country by the Thomson and Aberfeldy Rivers and tributaries of the La Trobe River, including the Tanjil and Tyers Rivers to the south.
Geology and biology
The Baw Baw massif consists of a late Devonian granodiorite pluton. There is relatively little relief on the plateau itself, the highest point (Mount St. Phillack) reaching 1,567 metres. The lower slopes of the plateau are covered in montane eucalypt forest and tall forest, and creek valleys have cool temperate rainforest of myrtle beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii. Above 1,200 metres snow gum woodland occur, grading into subalpine grasslands and shrublands above 1,300 metres. Much of this subalpine zone is included in the 133 km² Baw Baw National Park. The Baw Baw Village ski resort is technically outside the National Park.
The climate of the plateau itself is subalpine, with an average annual precipitation of 1,900 mm. Snow covers the plateau from June to September.
It is thought that Baron Ferdinand von Mueller made the first recorded European ascent of Baw Baw in 1860, naming Christmas Creek on one of his major collecting expeditions. It was on this trip that he collected the Baw Baw Berry, Wittsteinia vacciniacea. There are two routes up the mountain; one via Noojee and Icy Creek which is very winding, and another unsealed road via Erica.
Mount Baw Baw is a stronghold for Eucalyptus regnans, the tallest flowing plant on Earth. The largest reported measurement for an E. regnans was the Robinson Tree, measured at 143 meters by licensed surveyor G.W. Robinson, which was cut from the slopes of Mt. Baw Baw. If accurate, this measurement would make it the tallest tree ever measured by an accredited source.
There is a ski resort to the west of the summit. There are about 30 hectares of mainly beginner - intermediate ski runs. Seven lifts that service a variety of runs, with the highest going almost to the top of Mount Baw Baw. The resort village is at the bottom of the lifts, offering ski in - ski out access. In addition to the downhill runs there are a number of cross country trails offering access to other parts of the Baw Baw plateau. Like most lower lying Australian ski resorts, the snow cover can often be variable from year to year. A reliable snow cover is regularly available for the ski season locally from about July to the end of September.
The access road to the resort, the Mount Baw Baw tourist road, features what is usually regarded as the toughest climb accessible by road bicycles in Australia. The final climb of 6.2 kilometres rises 718 metres at an average grade of 11.5%, maxing out at 20.3%. The climb is not as long as, but considerably steeper than any of the hors catégorie climbs featured in the Tour de France. The Mount Baw Baw Classic, which began in 2001, is an annual cycling race held by the Warragul Cycling Club, which ends at the Mount Baw Baw village.
Downhill mountain biking
There is a purpose built downhill track located on the south western side of the mountain, facing towards the sea. The course has hosted the Victorian Downhill Championships as well as a number of state rounds. The track is around 3 and a half minutes duration, comprising a good mix of cambered dirt, rocks, fire road and technical sections. The Mount Baw Baw tourist road provides excellent shuttle service capability, and the venue is very mountain bike friendly.
- "Baw Baw National Park". Australian Alps National Parks. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- "Small slope, big heart". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 7 August 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- Baw Baw Classic. The Warragul Cycling Club. Retrieved on 15 December 2011.