Archive for January 2010

Eltham Lower Park to Heidelberg Gardens via Main Yarra Trail, Melbourne

Notes by DWP

This is a continuation of an earlier walk along Diamond Creek Trail in May 2009. Again, easy walking or riding along mainly bitumen & gravel surfaced tracks with numerous attractive rest or picnic spots.

Take the cycle path just to the right of the main gated entrance to Eltham Lower Park past the children’s play area. The path skirts the edge of the park and eventually joins Homestead Rd. Follow the road and turn right at the entrance drive to the now demolished Leinster Farm. A short steep downhill stretch brings you to the new bridge spanning the Yarra River.

Alternatively if walking rather than riding follow the path 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 the viewing platform over the Yarra River. Continue on the path to the new bridge. Cross the bridge (note that dogs must be on a leash) and then turn right when you join the Main Yarra Trail in Candlebark Park.

The path meanders through Candlebark Park passing under the electrical transmission lines before arriving at the Kiwains Lane parking area adjacent to the river and Fitzimmons Lane overpass.

Follow the path under the overpass, entering Westerfolds Park and then continue past the Kayak launching area. Rather than following the main bitumen trail drop down to the unmade path that meanders alongside the river, keeping an eye open for snakes if walking this route during warmer months. This path is a welcome change from the sometimes-feverish activity on the main trail and eventually emerges from the bush just before the rapids observation platform.

After a visit to the viewing platform one can once again join an unmade path following the bank of the river otherwise follow the main bitumen Trail. At the top of the ensuing incline on the main trail carry on downhill towards the river, not along the left fork towards Templestowe.

The path along the edge of the river emerges half way down this hill to allow you to join the main trail again before it crosses a bridge over the river. After a short time there is another steep descent followed by the inevitable pull uphill towards Odyssey House.

Do not cross the next bridge over the river that leads towards Finns Reserve but continue along the main trail towards its junction with Bonds Road. Cross the road and follow the trail as it makes its way past the Rosanna Golf course emerging eventually from the tree-lined path at the sports ovals at Banyule Flats Reserve. You will pass, on this section, the junction where the Plenty River Trail joins the Main Yarra Trail from the right.

Either follow the wetlands walking path or the more circuitous main trail if cycling. Both routes give scenic views across the very attractive billabong in the wetlands.

The trail then enters Warringal Park from where you can cross Beverley Road into Heidelberg Park. Follow the signposts, to either Burgundy St shops or Heidelberg Station, passing through the pleasant surroundings of Heidelberg Gardens that offers an ideal spot for a quiet picnic despite the frenetic traffic on the nearby streets.

A pleasant generally undemanding walk with a few short hills mainly following the banks of the Yarra River with numerous rest spots and access points for shortening the walk or ride if required.

Start – Eltham Lower Park
Finish – Heidelberg Gardens
Off Street parking either end
Distance Approx 11 Km

More walks in Switzerland: Pfingstegg to Berghaus Baregg and then Hotel Wetterhorn

Pfinstegg to Hotel Wetterhorn

Walk notes by DWP

The start of this suggested walk is Pfingstegg. Take the cable car from the lower cable car station (Pfingsteggbahn) which is situated about a kilometre from the main train and post bus stations in Grindelwald at the east end of town.

Alight from the top station of the Pfingstegg cable car, turn right and take the signed path to Stieregg. Follow the path to a gate and pass through it to the adjacent meadow, hoping that the rather large resident pig has not decided to fall asleep across the gate blocking your way as it did for me on my return! For the first few hundred metres the path meanders through an attractive grassy area but then becomes more dramatic as it approaches and follows the cliff edge above the Lower Grindelwald glacier gorge with spectacular views down to the river far below. A protective fence alongside the path in the most exposed areas does offer some comfort to those who dislike heights however it would be sensible to take extra care in parts where the fence line finishes.

I was fortunate in having another fine and sunny September day for my walk sharing the path with only a handful of walkers. Other than the exposed sections already mentioned the path is straightforward and after a steady climb the Berghaus Bäregg finally comes into view. Along this section of the path the distinctive rumble of minor ice and snow avalanches that tumble down into the gorge can often be heard well before they are observed.

The Berghaus Bäregg is situated in a near perfect location with a balcony that overlooks the Lower Grindelwald glacier and has an incomparable vista of surrounding peaks. Sitting there in the midday sunshine and having a very enjoyable lunch with a glass of beer and wine enjoying the peaceful surroundings reminded me once again of the intense and lasting pleasure that venturing into the mountains provides.

As more walkers started to arrive and my reverie broken, I reluctantly left and made my way back along the path to Pfingstegg encountering numerous walkers making their way up to the Berghaus and congratulating myself on deciding to have an early start. On reaching the Pfingstegg cable car station I decided that as it was still early afternoon, rather than catch the cable car back to Grindelwald, I would walk down. I therefore followed the well signposted path down to the Hotel Wetterhorn and then caught the, rather busy, local post bus back to Grindelwald.

This walk, although short, is highly recommended as an opportunity to experience the ambiance of the higher mountains particularly for those who have not ventured above the snow line. I consider that Berghaus Bäregg would be an ideal place to stay overnight to reinforce such an experience.

Start: Pfingstegg
Finish: Hotel Wetterhorn
Duration: Pfingstegg – Berghaus Bäregg 1775 m. Approximately 2 – 3hrs return (Route 24 on Jungfraubahnen Hiking Map) & Pfingstegg – Halsegg – Hotel Wetterhorn 1hr (Route 23 on Jungfraubahnen Hiking Map) not including breaks.

Bushwalking: Feathertop and Bogong again

Bogong summit

Mounts Feathertop and Bogong, located in the Alpine National Park provide some excellent walking. I’ve climbed both several times before, but wanted to try a couple of different ascent routes, both of which are lesser used because a 4WD is pretty much required to reach the starting points.

Mt Feathertop via The Razorback from the north

The approach to Feathertop along the Razorback from Mt Hotham is a deservedly popular approach. This walk also follows the Razorback, but from the north and is a much lesser used route due to the difficulties in accessing the start. The walk itself is quite attractive, beginning with good views from the launching point which is just above the tree line. The path then drops back into the trees and a saddle before beginning a steep ascent that soon reaches the tree line again and then follows the spine of the Razorback south to the summit.

Except for a small section just after the start, the path was reasonably clear for the whole length. Once you are out on the ridge navigation is very simple in good weather – the only way is up.

I descended via the Bungalow spur as I had arranged a car shuffle. Total time for me was around four and a quarter hours including breaks (about two hours ascent to the summit), which makes this easily the quickest way up Feathertop and certainly provided a welcome change to the usual routes.

Walk date: Dec 20, 2009
Time: Around 4.25 hours for me including breaks
Map: VICMAP Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Leisure Map (1:50,000), SV Maps Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Recreation guide (1:50,000) [new edition]
My rating: B+

Access: Easiest access is via the Snowy Creek road which leaves the Great Alpine Road not far out of Bright. This gravel track leads to an intersection with Dungey Track which is followed until it eventually reaches an intersection with Stony Top Track. From this point Stony Top Track is followed and a 4WD is the best choice, the track gets particularly rough after the seasonal road closure gate at the boundary of the national park, some 2km prior to the end of the road. Note that there is not a lot of room to park or turn around at the end of the track.

Mt Bogong via Granite Flat Spur

Originally I planned to walk from the end of the 4WD track on Granite Flat Spur, however we ended up turning back about a third of the way along this track after reaching a particularly difficult section where a large part of the right hand side of the track had been washed away. We decided that it would be best not to risk negotiating this section and returned to the junction with The Hollow Way where there is room to park, and from which point I commenced the walk.

I initially walked back up the Granite Flat Spur jeep track, providing an enjoyable 2km or so ramble through attractive bushland before the track ends in a small clearing which provides room to park and turn around and would make a pleasant camping spot.

From the parking area there were good views of the walk ahead and a clearly marked walking path quickly began a fairly steep ascent of Granite Flat Spur. After a kilometre or so there is a sign-posted side path to Michell Hut on the Eskdale Spur and not too much farther on the walking track joins the Eskdale Spur walking track and breaks through the tree line. This point which provides magnificent views into the Kiewa Valley, across to the Staircase Spur, and up to Mt Bogong, is a nice place for a quick rest before the final ascent up the Eskdale Spur.

This final section is fairly steep, but once the main ridge line is reached, it’s an easy stroll up to the rounded summit of Mt Bogong.

I had again arranged a car shuffle and so descended the Staircase Spur, which as previously, seemed to go on forever.

Total time for me was around 5.5 hours including breaks, with the ascent time being about 3 hours.

Walk date: Dec 21, 2009
Time: Around 5 hours for me including breaks
Map: VICMAP Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Leisure Map (1:50,000), SV Maps Bogong Alpine Area Outdoor Recreation guide (1:50,000) [new edition]
My rating: A

Access: We approached from the Mountain Creek camping area, following the Mountain Creek 4WD track that proceeds east from the camping area, passes the bottom of the Staircase Spur and then climbs to Camp Creek Gap at the base of the Eskdale Spur, before descending very steeply and then ascending steeply along The Hollow Way to a clearing and the junction with the Granite Flat Spur jeep track.