Organ Pipes National Park: The outdoor cathedral
The Organ Pipes National Park, like its musical instrument namesake, is guaranteed to impress, for the basalt columns that give the park its name indeed resemble the magnificent pipes of organs found in the world’s grandest cathedrals.
This cathedral is a natural one, but no less awe-inspiring for that. The towering columns that create the organ pipe appearance rise 70 metres from the ground in a cliff-like structure. Despite their structured appearance, they were made by the violent forces of nature when molten lava from Mount Holden cooled and cracked. This took place approximately one million years ago, when this area was part of an active volcanic plain. At ground level, a natural amphitheatre was created, providing a perfect spot from which to witness the glory of this amazing rock structure.
The impressive Organ Pipes rock formation is easy to access from Melbourne via the Calder Highway. Situated in 121 hectares of beautiful parkland in Keilor North, it is only 20km north-west of the CBD and is an ideal spot for a visit, even if you only have a couple of hours to spare.
However, for those who want to dedicate an entire day to their trip to the Organ Pipes National Park, there are other areas of the park to explore, like the Rosette Stone, a radial display of basalt columns that looks like the spokes of a wheel. It is only 500 metres upstream of the organ pipes themselves and worth the extra walk.
The Tessellated Pavement is another geological formation, a further 250 metres upstream from the Rosette Stone. It surpasses in beauty many pavement designs that humans have created and highlights just how wondrous nature can be.
Next to Jacksons Creek, which along with Deep Creek and Emu Creek, runs through the park, there is more to discover. In the sedimentary rocks at the riverbank are fossils dating back as far as 4 million years. Incredible indeed!
As well as the rock formations and fossils dating back millennia, this park is home to many native animals that are very much alive, including Swamp Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and many species of birds.
Comprehensive information on all the attractions of the park can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre near the carpark, which includes visual displays. Close by are picnic tables and toilets so you can lunch in comfort.
The Organ Pipes National Park is open to visitors from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily, so there is no excuse not to pay a visit. This park is recognised by the the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a Protected Area under its Natural Monuments category. In other words, this site has even been recognised at an international level for its significant organ pipes rock formation.
These organ pipes don’t play music but with their glorious appearance, they speak a universal language, and could well inspire you to write music of your own. The Organ Pipes National Park is the city of Melbourne’s own outdoor cathedral, ready to entrance everyone who is open to the beauty and wonder of nature.