Did you know that you can go walking with llamas at Hanging Rock in Australia? Find out more about this wonderful activity and whether it’s worth doing (quick hint: it is).
Llamas. They have to be one of the world’s greatest creatures.
They’re companionable, smart and have the softest woolly fur. And best of all, they’re good walkers.
If your heart’s desire is to go walking with llamas in South America, but you can’t quite get yourself there, then settle for the next best thing.
Taking a llama for a walk around Hanging Rock in Victoria.
Yup. Such an experience is possible. And it’s within spitting distance of Melbourne.
If you fancy taking a day trip from Melbourne with a twist, then this may be the adventure for you.
Walking with llamas around Hanging Rock
Hanging Rock is an hour’s drive from Melbourne, in an area that people love for its lovely small towns, excellent food scene, epic nature and scenic walks. And now, its llamas.
Hanging Rock Llama Treks is run by Mark and Amanda, who live on a farm with 29 of these delightful creatures.
The llamas are well trained and friendly, happy to meet new people and stretch their legs on a playful jaunt around an Australian icon.
Arriving at Hanging Rock Llama Treks
We arrive at the farm just before 10am. We’ve lucked out with the weather – despite being winter, it’s a blue-skied and almost warm day (we are in Victoria, after all).
Groups for this experience are capped at six, but there’s four of us embarking upon this journey today. My friend and myself, and a couple.
First up. We meet our llama companions.
I’m paired up with Qui-Gon, named after the Star Wars character Qui-Gon Jin (played by the dashing Liam Neeson). He’s a young, handsome fella, who will lead the charge today. Apparently if he walks behind any of the other llamas, he will ram his nose straight into their buttocks, which I can’t imagine is pleasant for anyone involved.
Today, we’re walking with the llama lads. Turns out llamas are a bit of a randy bunch and need to be separated, otherwise the males will be too distracted by the ladies to cooperate.
We cover some more basic llama dos and llama don’ts. Then, we set out on our trek!
Heading to Hanging Rock… with llamas
The journey involves covering a section of road, before turning off into Hanging Rock Reserve.
Most cars kindly slow down while passing our group. As you can imagine, we get a few stares. One teenagers even snaps a photo of us with her phone, probably uploading it to the Tik Tok or whatever is down and hip with the kids these days.
Qui-Gon’s seemingly on a mission and I’m hot-footing to keep pace. We have to stop every now and then, to let the others catch up. During this interim, he’ll snack on whatever is around – leaves, grass, flowers. The eucalyptus is helpful, Mark explains, as it renders their breath slightly less stinky.
Along the way, we pause at the toilet stop, where the lads, well, do their business. They also take great delight in inhaling the scent of the female poop scattered there during a recent hike.
Their reaction is hilarious – they dramatically throw their heads back and roll their eyes, obviously getting a fair bit of satisfaction out of the moment.
We move on and trek into Hanging Rock Reserve. From there, we curl around the park, heading to the racecourse, where we can snap some photos in front of the rock.
Hay there Hanging Rock
Hanging Rock has been immortalised in print via Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, one of the best books about Australia (it was also subsequently made into a movie, then more recently a television show).
The story follows a group of school girls go on a picnic near, you guessed it, Hanging Rock. While there, four of them, including a teacher, disappear.
They find one, but the other three are never seen again.
Lindsay was always vague regarding the inspiration for her classic story, leading people to believe that it wasn’t entirely fiction.
Whatever the case, the area does indeed have a bit of an eerie vibe to it. And it’s certainly a most dramatic looking rock.
We stop at a location in front of the race track, llamas in foreground and rock in background.
Photos taken, we trek around the racecourse, passing a confused mob of kangaroos on the way.
Tea time. The lads are left to graze, as we stop for a cup of tea or coffee, and some biccies.
After a long and very cold winter, it is glorious to stand in the sun, letting its rays lovingly lap along your back.
Fed and watered, we untie the fellas.
It’s time to hoof it back to home base.
What’s it like to walk with a llama?
Walking with llamas is pretty simple and easy.
The biggest delay is from toilet stops, which are at designated spots along the trail. They’ll stop as a group, do their business, sniff someone else’s, react if it’s female and then happily be on their way.
Our llamas were calm and happy to walk placidly alongside us. I found Qui-Gon easier to walk than my own dog.
For this trek, some degree of fitness is helpful, basically enough to walk the 5 kilometres.
The terrain is fairly easy to pick across, as it’s mostly road, grass or designated path.
Mark is a very helpful and knowledgeable guide too. All in all, we were in very safe hands and had a wonderful time on this very quirky adventure.
Who would this activity suit?
Really, just about anyone who likes walking, llamas and scenic views.
It’d be a great activity to take bigger kids along on (younger children may not be able to handle the walk).
I experienced this with a friend, but walking with llamas is perfect for couples. Check out more quirky date ideas in Melbourne.
Llama adventures on offer at Hanging Rock Llama Treks
Keen to know what kind of activities are on offer? No prob-llama.
↠ Llama meet & greet
This 1-hour experience is ideal for families with small kids.
You’ll get to meet, pat and feed these handsome studs (or llama ladies) and take photos of and with them.
Morning or afternoon tea is included.
The cost at the time of writing is $25 pp.
↠ 5km Hanging Rock trek
This is the experience we did, which runs for around 3 hours.
You’ll meet your llama, before beginning the trek into Hanging Rock Reserve.
There will be plenty of photo ops and a morning/arvo tea included.
The price for walking with a llama is $65 per person.
↠ 12km Domino Rail Trail trek
This is an extended version of the above trek, along the Domino Rail Trail, which leads straight into the gorgeous village of Trentham.
At the time of writing, these treks are held monthly. You’ll need to contact Hanging Rock Llama Trek directly for more information.
The llamas are also available for events such as hens parties, birthdays and weddings (llamas as ring bearers? Yes please).
How to book onto your own llama adventure
The method of booking onto this experience is delightfully ‘old school’.
Mark and Amanda can be contacted via:
- phone: 0408 285 667
- email: [email protected]
What to do after you’ve gone walking with llamas
As you’ll be done with this experience by lunch time or early afternoon, you’ll have plenty of time to check out the surrounding area.
Looking to quench your thirst? Pop into Hanging Rock Winery for a complimentary tasting at their cellar door.
If you’re keen to continue stretching your legs, go hiking on nearby Mount Macedon, only 15 minutes by car from Hanging Rock. Grab a hearty lunch at Mount Macedon Hotel (694 Mount Macedon Rd) or sup on seasonal produce at Mount Macedon Winery (best to call ahead first, as they may have a private event on).
If it’s autumn, Macedon is a must, as the town puts on a brilliant display of colour during this season. Seek red, oranges and golds at Forest Glade Gardens and along Honour Avenue.
Alternatively, drop into Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend for locally-brewed craft beer. Or drive into Kyneton, one of the loveliest small towns in Victoria, to wander its historic Piper Street and settle into any of the restaurants, cafes and distilleries that tickle your fancy. I love Animus Distillery and Fook Shing.
Annie Smither’s Du Fermier in Trentham is also phenomenal, but you’ll have to book ahead.
On your way back to Melbourne, stop off at Organ Pipes National Park. The park is named for its odd rock formations, columns which resemble organ pipes, made from molten lava, ejected from the once active volcanoes which dotted these plains.
Or, if you want to make a weekend out of it, continue on to nearby Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, to see what’s on offer there (a quick preview: spas, mineral springs and plenty of delicious food and drink).
Other woolly good experiences in Victoria
After more unique things to do in Melbourne and Victoria?
Have you been trekking or walking with llamas? Is it an experience you’d be interested in doing? Llama know in the comments. For more on Australia, see my Australia Travel Guide.