HOT: Organ Pipes National Park, Keilor North
Organ Pipes National Park is a popular hiking trail and bushwalk for Melbourne families. It's easily accessible and offers spectacular views with not too much effort.
Organ Pipes National Park is significant because it sits on top of one of the world’s largest ancient volcanic lava flows, which stretches 350 kilometres.
Organ Pipes National Park
To enter the Organ Pipes Park take the signposted turn off the Calder Freeway at Keilor North. The car park, with the park office, picnic tables and public toilets, is at the top of the hill and you need to walk down from the main entrance into the valley towards Jackson Creek.
The pathway is smooth tarmac but very steep, so hold onto your pram handles!
Once you're at the bottom of the hill the tarmac ends. There are three main areas to explore – the Organ Pipes, Rosette Rock and Tessellated Pavement.
You can see all the areas on the Organ Pipes National Park map on a large board at the main entrance or within the park office when its open, but everything is well signed and it's hard to get lost.
The full Organ Pipes Trail covering all three sites is a 3km, grade 2 Circuit hike. The hike should take approximately 1.5hrs to complete. (More info about the Australian walking track grading system).
Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Organ Pipes National Park, Keilor North
Your first stop should be the organ pipes which give the national park its name. Why is it called organ pipes? Basalt columns that look like organ pipes were created by the cooling and cracking of lava and they hang dramatically on the cliff face over Jacksons Creek.
There are even signs telling you the best location to snap a photo!
Jacksons Creek also offers nature play and water play opportunities with shady areas and fossils to be found in the sandstone bedrock.
There are picnic tables and public toilets near the organ pipes lookout.
Approximately 480 metres past the organ pipes is Rosette Rock, which is a large radial array of basalt columns (like those that form the organ pipes). It's not as spectacular as the organ pipes and to be honest, doesn't hold our attention for very long.
Tessellated Pavement Organ Pipes Park
Walk a further 300 metres past the Rosette Rock and you'll find the Tessellated Pavement. The rock structures are formed by the same lava flow as the organ pipes but have been eroded by Jacksons Creek.
The kids enjoy rock-hopping along the Tessellated Pavement!
There is significant native fauna at Organ Pipes Victoria. Look out for kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and platypuses! Note that being a national park no dogs are allowed inside Organ Pipes National Park.
Besides Organ Pipes Melbourne other famous examples of basalt columns around the world include Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, which is across the Atlantic from Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa – both which are included in the legend of Finn McCool. It's one of my bucket list places to visit in the world!
For more hiking trails see Best Bushwalks near Melbourne for Kids
Best short walks in Melbourne for families
Join the Junior Rangers program by Parks Victoria
Tips for Organ Pipes National Park:
- The full Organ Pipes Trail covering all three sites is a 3km, grade 2 Circuit hike. The hike should take approximately 1.5hrs to complete.
- Toilets are next to the car park and at the Organ Pipes lookout;
- Picnic tables near the car park and near the Organ Pipes lookout;
- Look out for the native flora and fauna!;
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