Standing in front of the national park centre “Weidendom”, I draw a deep breath and close my eyes, allowing the rushing river Enns behind me to fill me with its thundering noise. Ah, the clean air, the merry colours of nature, timeless it seems, yet touching us with their every fibre. As my gaze follows the sharp rock lines upwards, I am reminded of the shape of soaring mountain tops I know so well from my recent trip to the Rocky Mountains. Hello, Canada in Austria, and welcome everybody to the so-called “Gesäuse“.
“Our visitor centre ‘Weidendom’ is a natural piece of art”, Barbara Bock explains, working for the national park services in Austria’s youngest one, “Gesäuse national park” of only 15 years. Indeed, my friends and I find ourselves being welcomed under the roof of giant willow branches & leaves, tied together to form a dome, much in the style of a north-American tipi. We go on a little hike to explore the immediate surroundings only to stop in front of a maze formed by hedges. Inside, a game testes us to finding our way out by guessing at our “ecological foot print“. It’s a lovely way to entertain the kids, and teach them and us adults about the importance of nature protection. Check this out.
If you want to go for a (half) day hike inside the national park, we can recommend you a typical Austrian hut as your goal: Mödlingerhütte at 1.523 metres above sea level, offering food and beds to stay the night.
Well, my dear readers. I must admit we flunked it a little. We haven’t done the full ascent to the Mödlingerhütte, which is about two to three hours, but shortened it down to twenty minutes by taking the toll road near Gaishorn first. I know I know, not the same, but “Gesäuse” national park offers so much, we simply had to choose – and immediately realised, that just a few days were far too little time to spend here. It’s reassuring to know, though, that even though you may visit only for a short time, breathtaking scenery awaits you at every corner.
Then, there are the “national park partners”: Countless local farms and producers in the nearby surroundings, that is. Be sure to visit both the cider farm Veitlbauer, as well as the horse farm Laussabauer on your trip here.
Fortunately for you, both farms are very close together so that you can ideally combine a visit between them, at only about half an hour’s drive from the main town Admont, itself the gateway to “Gesäuse” national park. At her Veitlbauer farm, Susanne Weissensteiner welcomes us together with all her sheep, cats, horses, dogs & children, as well as a superb tasting of all the local products they make out of apples, including ciders, juices, schnapps and sparkling wines! It’s moments like these that really mark our trip, sitting down with the locals and in the end, even being whisked away by them to a fairy-tale like castle nearby ..! But more about this in my next article for your. For now, let me take you to meeting the locals who have tended to the cultural landscapes around Gesäuse national park, for centuries!
My dear friends have also published about their visit to Gesäuse national park, including a lovely video:
- Sabine & Tom of Travelstories-Reiseblog: “Admont im Gesäuse: Auszeit und aufatmen wie im Kloster” and “Urlaub im Gesäuse: Auszeit im Spirodom” (Video on YouTube)
If you, too, wish to explore more of this particular place on Earth, then check out my photo album on Flickr:
… or how about enjoying this little travel video to get your “nature taste buds” going?
Disclaimer: We have been invited on this trip to Styria by Hotel Spirodom & Gesäuse national park, supported by the Austrian Eco Label. All opinions are my own.