While the drive to Marysville is a stunning journey through the Black Spur (see drive), there is every reason to continue on beyond Marysville and discover the pretty alpine region of Lake Mountain. In winter, Lake Mountain is one of the closest snow destination to Melbourne with plenty of tobogganing, cross country skiing and snow play activities. During other times of the year – called ‘Green Season’ – it is a wonderful destination for mountain biking, bushwalking and getting back to nature.
The gateway to the Yarra Valley is via Lilydale. Take the Maroondah Highway (B360) east of Lilydale towards Healesville – a lovely township to stop for some wine tasting and a great meal and village shopping, and then on to Marysville. (Allow approx. one hour to drive from Lilydale to Marysville – B360 via Healesville without stops)
The quintessential country town, Marysville has urban charm. There is a range of shops and accommodation options to linger longer, an arts and tourism centre and the popular Steavenson Falls to explore. When you have stocked up and chilled out, the road to Lake Mountain is well signed (look for C512) on the outskirts of town.
The drive to Lake Mountain is a charming adventure through ancient tall trees and mossy gullies. Look for the turn off near Camberville (try the Cumberland Walk if you need a leg stretch) to head up the mountain. The road ascends into the clouds and is a pretty drive with plenty of vantage points for views. Although narrow (single lane each way) in places, the unhurried driver can enjoy the climb and the reward at the summit, where there is a café and many activities according to time of year, is worth it.
After driving back down from the summit, the return trip can retrace the route (via C512) through Marysville back to Lilydale and home (around 90-minutes drive), or those seeking new vistas can turn left onto C513 at the T Intersection and travel home via Woods Point and Warburton. (Lake Mountain to Lilydale via Warburton is also approx. 90 minutes.)
Towns along the way at: Healesville, Marysville, Lake Mountain (option: Warburton)
Distance: approx. Approx. 20 km one way (C512) from Marysville to Lake Mountain summit (plus one hour from Lilydale to Marysville)
Time: Approx. 25 minutes one way
Terrain: Sealed road, some bends and elevation
Note: Fees may apply in snow season and chains may be required for 2WD vehicles. See the Lake Mountain Website for a full range ‘Green Season’ activities.