Archive for May 2009

Diamond Creek Trail, Melbourne

On the Diamond Creek TrailThis bike walk/ride commences at Diamond Creek railway station. It can be taken as an out and back walk/ride, or alternatively could be finished at Eltham Station, with Diamond Creek a short train ride away.

Leaving Diamond Creek railway station cross the car park and walk along Station St to Gipson St and join the Diamond Creek Trail adjoining a small lake in Nillumbik Park.

Follow the trail through the park until it reaches Chute St.  For safety it is recommend that you cross the busy main road at the pedestrian crossing. Cross over and join the trail once again entering Diamond Creek Reserve at the corner of Diamond St.

Follow the trail, which skirts Diamond Creek and eventually reaches open farm and grassed land. On reaching Allendale Road turn left over the narrow bridge and join the Trail on the south side of the road. The Trail now passes through river flats and stands of eucalypts and wattles edging the creek.

After passing through Eltham North Reserve you reach Edendale Community Farm/Environment Centre and if time permits a visit is well worthwhile. After leaving Edendale the trail follows a rather unattractive section adjacent to the railway line and Railway Parade. This section requires caution when crossing the main railway line twice before finally arriving at Eltham Station.

Pass through the Park Gates at Diamond St and follow the trail through Andrew Park and Eltham Central Park. The trail continues under the ‘National Trust’ classified old trestle Railway Bridge before entering the attractive Alistair Knox Park.

Continue along the trail passing under the Bridge St underpass alongside the creek through Eltham Town Park and the adjacent Susan St sports reserve. After passing under Brougham Road continue past Eltham Leisure Centre on the right and follow Bell St heading towards Barak Bushland. Alternatively turn left over the pedestrian bridge at the corner of Withers Way and Bell St. This part of the trail runs alongside the Main Road and passes through Wingrove Park eventually joining the Barak Bushland Loop at a pedestrian underpass on the right just after crossing the bridge over the creek.

Follow the shared path alongside the main road until you reach the gates into Eltham Lower Park after passing the miniature railway station of Pine Creek. The trail winds its way through the park passing the sports ovals eventually arriving at Homestead Rd. A short but steep descent towards the river Yarra gives access to a new bridge which links to Candlebark Park and the main Yarra Trail. From here make your way back to the entrance to the park and then back towards Eltham station.

As an alternative if walking it is highly recommended that instead of following the main trail turn left after entering the park and walk along the roadway past the main station of the miniature railway. This roadway ends at a parking area and a path follows the creek and past the Eltham Pony club eventually leading to Lenister Farm and a viewing platform over the Yarra River. After taking a break at this very tranquil spot follow the path adjacent to the river until it meets the main cycle trail at the new bridge mentioned earlier.

Walk back to the parking area at the entrance to the park to return to Eltham Station along one of the routes described to catch a train.

Ride date – May 2009
Distance Approx 10 Km
Easy walking or riding along mainly flat concrete, bitumen & gravel surfaced tracks with numerous attractive rest or picnic spots.

Mt Feathertop, Alpine National Park, North-East Victoria

Panoramic view from the summit of Mt Feathertop

Mt Feathertop, located in the Bogong unit of the Alpine National Park in north-east Victoria, is the second highest mountain in Victoria (1922m) and a popular destination for bushwalkers. It’s my favourite bushwalking destination in Victoria, and I have climbed it many many times since my first ascent in 1988. The name is supposedly derived from the line of snow that remains on the summit well into summer and looks like a white feather. Unlike the more rounded peak of Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong (1986m), Mt Feathertop portrays a classic mountain form.

In the early part of the 20th century, Mt Feathertop became a destination for skiing, and a small lodge was built on the upper part of the Bungalow Spur (the ‘Feathertop Bungalow’, destroyed by the 1939 bushfires). The well graded Bungalow Spur track is a result of its construction as a track for horses to take visitors to the Bungalow – it was built by the Victorian Railways to encourage tourism and train travel; the railways also built and operated the Chalet at Mt Buffalo.

A walk up Mt Feathertop is a must for all keen bushwalkers.

Walking
Thankfully Mt Feathertop can only be approached on foot, and all the possible routes require a decent amount of walking.

The main routes are as follows:
1. Bungalow Spur – a very well graded track that starts in Harrietville. Note that although the track is well maintained and relatively easy to follow, it’s still a decent walk (including over 1300m of height gain) and is exposed to alpine weather conditions. The track passes the ruins of the Feathertop Bungalow, the site of the Old Feathertop Hut (a guide to walking the Bogong High Plains, published by Algona guides in 1979 records that this hut was still there then but in disrepair, there’s no evidence of it now) and Federation Hut, originally built in 1968, burned down in 2003 and rebuilt a couple of years ago. The area around Federation Hut, built at the edge of the treeline, provides an excellent campsite.

2. North-West Spur – commencing at Stony Creek next to a trout farm, this track follows the ‘Tom Kneen’ track along the north-west spur of Mt Feathertop. Parts of this spur are very steep and it is more suited to experienced bushwalkers. The Melbourne University Mountaineering Club (MUMC) Memorial Hut sits on a shoulder of the spur just past the main treeline and commands excellent views.

3. The Razorback – probably the most popular route, it commences underneath the Diamantina Hut (an A-framed refuge hut only) on the Mt Hotham road and follows the spine of the Razorback to the summit of Mt Feathertop. The track is well-defined and easy to follow in good weather, providing superb views – however as it is almost all above the tree line it is very exposed and potentially dangerous in poor weather and the return trip is well over 20km so it’s a decent walk by any definition.

Other routes:
1. Bon Accord Spur – commences in Harrietville and slowly climbs up to the Razorback, joining the ridge not far from Mt Hotham – this track was used by horses to carry visitors to Mt Hotham.

2. Diamantina Spur – this commences on the much more remote east side. This route will require an overnight walk via the Bogong High Plains, or Mt Hotham via Machinery or Swindler’s spurs to Blair or Dibbins Hut.

3. Champion Spur – commences at the same place as the Bon Accord Spur, initially following a jeep track which quickly becomes overgrown and then disappears completely about 1km or so shy of the Razorback.

4. The Razorback (from the north) – this commences at the end of the Stony Top track (4WD) to the north of Mt Feathertop and follows the Razorback to the summit. An attractive option and the fastest way to the summit, but lesser used due to the difficulties in accessing the starting point.

Photos
Link to my Mt Feathertop gallery (nb. requires a modern browser and broadband connection).