I love love love hiking in granite country. There’s something about the solid majesty of those dramatic massive boulders that captivates me.
This little hike is perfect if you are travelling through on the Gwdir Highway and you want to stretch your legs and give the kids a break. There are also great campgrounds at Mulligan’s Hut and Washpool National Park nearby.
We were camping at Washpool National Park so we headed up to the Gibraltar Range to do some hikes from Mulligan’s Hut. On this particular day, Scott had decided to go for a mountain bike ride, so the boys and I were hiking without him. I looked at our map and gave the boys some options. Eli chose the Anvil Rock Hike, based on the length – it’s only 4 km.
For a short hike, it had amzing variety in landscape and terrain. The hike starts about halfway along the road into Mulligan’s Hut and there’s a spot to park just off the road.
The hike winds through a forest of big gum trees and massive grass trees with big granite boulders visible off the track. There are plenty of wildflowers to see and birds to hear, and we saw this really cool little lizard that was camoflagued in the sticks.
When we got to a section of swamp, we were pleased that there was a metal walkway, otherwise I’m sure we would have been ankle-deep in water. I love walking on a granite base. So much cleaner than dirt and easier than sand, which is great if you get caught out in a storm … which we did.
As we got towards Anvil Rock, the granite boulders just got bigger and bigger. There were a some really huge long rocks that were just amazing to see. We’d been hearing a bit of thunder and as we approached the furthest point of the hike, it really started to rain.
Climbing up through the massive boulders, we were happy to find a couple of caves made by the rocks, so we holed up there for a while, having a drink and eating our scroggin.
“If we get stuck here, we have enough muesli bars to survive and we can drink this water running off the rocks if we run out,” I told the boys in jest. Zach pointed out that we would probably get quite cold … Eli pointed out that it’s only 2km, so we can probably make it back.
Still, it added a bit of excitement to be stuck in a storm, even if it was only for 10 minutes.
The view was looking across a valley to another granite ridge where we could see the Old Man Hat formation. Looking back the way we came, was a great view too – looking across more granite features and the swamp area. Zach and Eli made sure to keep Cadel away from the edge – and he was being a bit cheeky …
We couldn’t actually see Anvil Rock itself. According to the trail notes on the National Parks map, you can’t climb to the top as it’s perched high on the granite mound that we were sheltering near. I’m not sure whether it was because of the rain and clouds, or if we just didn’t find a good vantage point, but it was a bit disappointing not actually seeing Anvil Rock.
However, it was an awesome little hike. I would highly recommend it as an easy hike that gives you lots of bang for your buck.
As we returned, it stopped raining. And everything looked new and you always notice more on the return trip.
Seeing the wet leaves glistening in the light was beautiful and I noticed more wildflowers and some cocoons hanging in the trees. Coming from the other direction gives a different view of the granite formations visible from the track.
I love hiking with my boys, because they are becoming such gentlemen. They always wait for me and check that I’m ok. I love that being out in the wilderness gives them the opportunity to step up and look out for each other and for me.