VC – Victoria – Central Region Summits

The Yarra Ranges National Park is a 76,003-hectare national park that is located in Victoria, Australia, approximately 92 kilometres east of Melbourne. There are several SOTA (VC Region) summits in this area. Within the national park, the southern slopes of the Yarra Ranges form the headwaters of the Yarra River and several water catchments for Melbourne’s domestic water supply. Access to large parts of the area is restricted. Bushwalking is restricted to approved recreational sites and trails.

SOTA summits within the catchment area that are accessible on track:

SOTA summits that are in National park so accessible but not on track:

SOTA summits within catchment areas that are not on track and so not accessible without permission:

Restricted Access

Public access is restricted in the catchment to protect water supply quality. Given the catchment status there is a need to ensure permission is gained for an activation in this area as not bring discredit to SOTA. SOTA’s stated aims is to encourage outdoor activities. SOTA’s values are consistent with protecting the environment with minimum impact and keeping the protection of resource paramount thus ensuring minimal interference to natural environment.

VK3/VC-004 Mt Observation

Lat:-37.5679   Long:145.8472
Height:1201m   Cords:55 H 398177 5841501

Mt Observation is over 900m off-track in an area under the the water catchment zone, between Cumberland Scenic Reserve and the Yarra State Forest.



To quote Wayne (VK3WAM) the VK3 Association Manager “Any activations of this summit will require proof of the right or concession to be present in the activation zone. This would ordinarily be a permit from Melbourne Water. A copy of this documentation would need to be provided to myself as the Association Manager of VK3. In event of a person activating the summit without the appropriate documentation, then firstly, the activator would have acted in such a way to bring the SOTA program into disrepute. Secondly, the SOTA MT will be requested to delete any QSOs recorded by either activators or chasers for the summit, and consider any further action concerning the activator.

Behind Heasville Summary

Bush walking is allowed in this area as long as you use the defined tracks. Both of these summits have walking tracks that pass within 150m of the summits. In order for a valid activation you are required to operate within the ‘Activation Zone’. The ‘Activation Zone’  is a unbroken area within 25 vertical meters of the summit. The tracks are not within the activation zone. The track past Box’s Hill is very close. My Garmin maps indicate the track to be at 500m so only 1m short of vertical height. This is something I would like to verify. The track past Riddell Ridge has been measured to be 797m high so 29m short of being within the activation zone. As the summits are off the track, an activation would not qualify unless lawful access is gained.
Permission to walk off the defined tracks is required to ensure valid activation.


VK3/VC-010 Riddell Ridge

Lat:-37.6751   Long:145.5882
Height:845m   Cords:55H 375482 5829294
To qualify Riddell Ridge you would need to gain 29m of height by walking a maximum of 140m off track.
There is a defined track along Road Two from Mt Riddell Rd to Mt Riddle summit. Mt Riddell is not the target as Riddell Ridge (845m) is higher then Mt Riddell (800m) so thus the SOTA peak. Whilst Mt Riddell has access, Riddell Ridge does not have track access. Access will be gained by travelling down Road Two for 6.4Km, past the track to Mt Riddell until reaching defined point (55 H 375307 5829477 797m) on the road to turn and walking up to 140m off track until reaching a height greater then 820m as then in the activation zone (25m vertically of the summits peak).
In order to ensure within the activation zone you are require to walk 140m off track gaining 45m of height for Riddell Ridge.
Road Two to Riddell Ridge

VK3/VC-036 Box’s Hill

Lat:>-37.6488   Long:>145.5847/td>
Height:525m   Cords:55H 375113 5832225
To qualify Box’s Hill you would need to gain 10m of height by walking a maximum of 100m off-track.
Access will be gained by walking down Road Five then Road Tfy Five for 1.9km then walking 100m off track until reached height greater than 520m to ensure in the activation zone (25m of the summit).
In order to ensure within the activation zone you are require to walk at least 100m gaining 20m of height for Box’s Hill.
Road Fty Five to Boxs Hill

The likely hood of obtaining permission from Melbourne Water is basically 0. I have approached both Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water seeking access. Parks Victoria are willing to listen and even supportive but Melbourne Water appears to have a ‘Deny All’ policy. This is disappointing given the charter to encourage recreational activities and the ability of companies to gain permission to log areas within the catchment.  I think a couple of experienced walkers would have less impact then the process of ripping the trees out.

VK3/VC-035 Smiths Hill

Lat:-37.6802   Long:145.7580
Height:1069m   Cords:55 H 390572 5828833
The summit of VK3/VC-035 Smiths Hill is in ‘O’Shannassy River Natural Catchment Area. The summit is broad and the activation zone is in a part of the Yarra Ranges National Park defined as ‘Conversation and Recreation’. (Page 66, Figure 3 in Yarra Ranges National Park Management Plan). The roads /tracks that you would use for access are all restricted.  Getting to the activation zone is the issue. The Forest Explorer maps show the access issues here.


Road 14 is the boundary of ‘Cement Creek’ Catchment zone so entry prohibited. Access is permitted down Road 15.

There is a gate just off junction with Road 15 along Road 10.

SmithHill Detaill

The map above shows Road 10 weaving through the ‘O’Shannassy River Natural Catchment Area’.  You cannot use Road 10 to gain access to the activation zone. There will be off track walking involved here.



This is the view from the gate on Road Ten looking towards Smiths Hill. Whilst the gate was open you can not walk down the road as Road 10 weaves through the ‘O’Shannassy River Natural Catchment Area’. You can see the level of vegetation involved. Walking off track will not be a trial task and would be reckless to attempt in winter.
This summit is not going to give the points easily.


Seasonal road closures apply to this park.:

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