Northern exposure: Mountains of family fun at The You Yangs

The You Yangs were my first introduction to the Aussie bush. It was a beautiful place to start an Australian journey – not so far off the beaten track that you may need to drink your own pee, but remote enough to fill your lungs with freshness. My Mum hated it.

When I was seven, my parents, brother and I relocated from Scotland to Geelong. On our second day in the country we went to the You Yangs for a walk and a BBQ. Having come from a chilly, urban environment to a fairly unspoiled Australian park, it was a shock to the system. More shocking to my Mum was the uncivilized blackened, wood-fired communal BBQ we were to cook our sausages on, the snake we saw off in the long grass and the searing heat. She was ready to give up and head home.

I’m glad she didn’t. It wasn’t long before sausages became snags and BBQs became barbies. Heat became part of life and the source of eternal jealousy for the relatives still in the UK. We came to love the Australian bush (and learned to just leave snakes alone) and spent much precious family time at the You Yangs. We still do.

Usually we climb to the top and check out the views from Flinders Peak, the highest point. It offers sensational views of the park below and surrounding countryside (still enjoyable with wobbly, I-just-climbed-450-steps legs).

There are several picnic areas round the park depending on how far you’re wanting to walk. Big Rock has picnic benches and BBQ areas, great views towards Geelong and is only 100 metres from the car park.

For the more adventurous in the family, there’s 50km of mountain bike tracks, rock climbing, abseiling and horse riding.

There’s loads of native wildlife in the area too – head to nearby Serendip Sanctuary for the Wildlife Walk and your experienced wildlife guide will provide insight and a unique, conservation-focused perspective to your visit.

You Yangs Regional Park. So much, so close. Get out of town!

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