If you’ve ever been to the Baw Baw ski village from Melbourne, you will have driven under the southern fall of the Toorongo Plateau. As you climb out of the Loch River valley into higher country around Icy Creek, a big bulky mountain looms over you. Heavily forested, the southern slopes of the plateau are impressive. The north side, hidden from view from the Baw Baw road, slopes gently away from the summit ridgeline towards the upper Yarra River valley. It is a ‘production’ forest, having been logged for many decades. It has also been hit by multiple fires, and this is some of the story of it’s recovery.
Mt Toorongo is a magical spot: it is a mountain in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne. If you drive to the Baw Baw ski village from Noojee, it is the steep dark mountain that fills the skyline above you as you head through the last of the farming country at Icy Creek.
Not many people go there. It’s a bit off the track, but is accessible quite easily via a number of dirt roads. As I understand the ecology of the mountain, it was burnt twice in close succession (in the 1920s and the infamous 1939 fires). So the eucalypt forest on the summit was replaced by a remarkable ‘cloud forest’ of what are normally understorey species. The summit itself is a long ridge which offers wonderful views of the Baw Baw Plateau, the Latrobe Valley and distant Strzelecki Ranges to the south.