Archive for the ‘Day walks around Melbourne’ Category.

Walk of the Month: Blowhard Circuit, Lake Eildon National Park

Lake Eildon from Blowhard Summit

This enjoyable circular walk takes in Blowhard Summit in the Lake Eildon National Park, providing superb 360 degree views, and finishes with a pleasant walk alongside Lake Eildon.

The trail starts at the Wallaby Bay carpark. Follow the dirt road back up to Merlo Lookout. After admiring the view across the lake from this point, cross the road to access the signposted foot track up to Blowhard Summit. This section is fairly short but steep in places.

The views from Blowhard Summit are excellent, including a fine prospect down Blowhard Spur to Lake Eildon and a good view of Mt Buller to the East.  From here, ignore the track down Blowhard Spur and instead continue north-east along an obvious old vehicular track. The track dips steeply into a saddle (take care on this section as the loose gravel makes it a bit ‘slippery’) and then climbs again to a high point and track junction.

Take the sign-posted Devass Gully Track which descends north-east along the spur by the side of Devass Gully before reaching a track t-junction. Turn right (east) here towards School point along a vehicular track. After School point is reached the trail becomes a footpath (Wallaby Bay Track) which follows the forested shore of Lake Eildon – or at least what was the shore – the extended drought means the waterline has receded dramatically. After crossing a footbridge at Lightwood Inlet the path becomes a little indistinct – follow the orange triangle trail markers – before again becoming clear and continuing for another 4km or so past Italian Bay and Cook Point back to Wallaby Bay carpark.

Walk date: Oct 17, 2008
Time/level: 1 day moderate (around 3 – 4 hours excluding breaks)
Maps: Parks Victoria Park notes, VICMAP Lake Eildon Outdoor Leisure Map (1:50,000)
My rating: B+

Access: Goulburn Valley Highway to Alexandra – this road can be accessed from the Hume Fwy, Melba Hwy or Maroondah Hwy. A turn-off to the park is reached a few kilometres after passing through Alexandra. Follow this road to a roundabout, turning left downhill towards the park entrance. At Fraser store continue straight on (ignoring the right hand turn) past the Fraser area campsites to reach Wallaby Bay carpark.

Lysterfield Park circuit

(Walk notes by DWP)

ACCESS – From Melbourne the easiest access is via S E Freeway, Monash Freeway, Heatherton Road, left onto Belgrave – Hallam Road, then left at Horswood Road where the entrance to the Park and Lysterfield Visitor Centre is located. About 42 Kms. It should be noted that there is no Public Vehicle access via Reservoir Road, Pedestrian access during Park Office hours only. Refer Parks Victoria Web Site where maps and information about the Park can be downloaded. Melway 108 D2.

After parking the car in a near deserted car park near the Park entrance I walked down towards the Lake and commenced my walk at the dropping off point for water based activities. Turn left along the edge of the lake and meander along the track towards the swimming area near the dam wall. Make your way up to the top of the dam wall and turn right where you get a splendid view of the lake and its surrounds.

At the end of the wall turn right and join the Casuarina Track for a short way before turning on to the well marked Tramline Walk Track. Follow the well defined track past a restored quarry rail cart and information signpost and continue through the forest past firebreaks and crossing Cloverdale Track, Gum cycle Trail, Glen Track and skirting the edge of Wallaby Track. The track climbs steadily and eventually meets the Valley View Track.

From the junction the forest opens up to grassland and I decided to follow the Grassy Spur Walk, again well signposted, past a small dam then climbing up towards the ridge crest with the Lysterfield Hills Lookout straight ahead. The lookout (232M) offers views over the surrounding district including the extensive quarrying operations to the North and West.

After a quick lunch break I followed the Lysterfield Hill Track dropping down in NE direction to join the Quarry Track. The Track follows the fence line for a while and meanders through the forest until it opens up on to the side of an open ridge where several new houses have been built overlooking Lysterfield and beyond. After a short while the track re-enters the forest and eventually meets Glen Track, which I then followed to the junction with Lamberts Track on the left. Follow this track past the junction with Casuarina Track and turn right on to Lake Track, which follows the eastern shore of the lake. Eventually a fence line comes into view with a gated entrance to the wildlife conservation area. Go through the gate and make your way along the path through another gate and then back to the car parking area.

The immediate Lake surrounds are very attractive and offer plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation particularly bird watching, water sports, running, walking and mountain biking. The most attractive section of the walk was the Grassy Spur section to Lysterfield Hill Lookout.

Cathedral Range (North Circuit)

South Jawbone

The Cathedral Range rises up from the Acheron Valley about an hour and a half outside Melbourne and provides some excellent walks in rugged bushland. The range is encapsulated in the Cathedral Range State Park and can be reached from Melbourne by following the Maroondah Highway through Buxton. About 9km after passing through Buxton there is a turn-off on the right (east) along Cathedral Lane, a narrow bitumen road; a couple of kilometres further and another right turn (south) takes you into the park along a rather rough gravel road (accessible by 2WD vehicles with care).

This walk takes in the northern section of the park, including the North and South Jawbones and The Cathedral. The walk commences at Neds Gully car park, which is the first car park reached if approaching from Cathedral Lane. Cross the gravel road to a track (Little River Track) that continues south alongside the Little River. This track eventually reaches the extensive Cooks Mill camping area. From here the track continues east up to the Jawbones Carpark, where it descends briefly before climbing steeply to The Farmyard (passing a junction with a sign to the North Jawbone) a pleasant grassed area where camping is permitted. At the Farmyard follow a signed path westwards up to the South Jawbone for excellent views westwards.

From the South Jawbone, descend back to The Farmyard and then retrace your steps towards the Jawbones Carpark and the aforementioned path junction, taking the signed path north to the North Jawbone, shortly thereafter there is another sign pointing eastwards along the short track that leads to the North Jawbone summit – also with good views, but somewhat more obscured by trees and vegetation.

Descend back to the main track and continue northwards. After following the track for another kilometre or so a Y junction is reached and a decision needs to be made. To the right a well formed path descends to Neds Saddle, to the left a track climbs onto the ridge. The ridge trail traverses the rocky ridge and requires a fair bit of scrambling with steep drops to the east; in many places there is no clear path and in wet weather this way could be quite slippery and treacherous. It also provides a challenging walk and magnificent views. If the weather is good and you feel confident with some rock scrambling, take the ridge path, otherwise the path to Neds Saddle provides an easy route back to the start.

The ridge trail continues for about a kilometre or so north to The Cathedral. Once The Cathedral is reached, retrace steps south to a track junction with a path east that drops very steeply into Neds Saddle. From here follow the clear and well made Neds Gully Track back to Neds Gully.

Walk date: Nov 6, 2007
Time/level: 1 day moderate/hard (allow 5 hours or so)
Map: Cathedral Range Outdoor Leisure Map, Parks Victoria Parks Notes (nb: these seem to have disappeared from the Parks Victoria site)
My rating: A

Little River Track Approaching South Jawbone North Jawbone view from The Cathedral

Walk of the Month: Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk

Pyramid Hill

A surprisingly rugged walk less than 70km from the Melbourne CBD, this circuit of Werribee Gorge provides an excellent day’s outing.

Werribee Gorge State Park is reached via the Western Freeway from Melbourne. To access the park, take the Pentland Hills Road exit, turning right under the freeway and then immediately left to follow the old alignment of the Western Highway (with the Western Freeway to your left). The road soon dips back under the freeway, turn left immediately thereafter onto Myers Road which leads to the park entrance. The walk can be commenced at either the Quarry Picnic area or down a rather steep gravel road (accessible by 2wd vehicles with care) to the Meikles Point Picnic Area (which is where I started).

I’d recommend travelling anti-clockwise to get the climb over with first. From Meikles Point Picnic Area, the track ascends a few steps to a toilet block and then follows an old vehicle track before dropping left and reaching Myers Road and then the Quarry Picnic Area. From here a signposted old vehicular track ascends through scrub to a junction with the short circuit walk, then passes a side track to Eastern viewpoint (worth a visit), passes Picnic Point before descending to Western viewpoint and then steeply descending to the bottom of the Gorge at Blackwood Pool. At this point the track turns sharply to the South following the edge of the Werribee River (note that the track always stays at the north side of the river, the line on the Parks Victoria parks notes that the track appears to cross is the old viaduct).

This section requires some rock scrambling; one rather tricky section of rocky bluff now has a wire rope attached to assist. On this part of the walk you will pass the attractive NeedlesBeach (a nice place for a break), Lions Head Beach (if you look at the rock opposite – see photo below – you can sort of make out a lion’s face) and Pyramid Rock (aptly named). Eventually, the track reaches the route of the old viaduct and becomes a well formed trail back to Meikles Point.

Note: Care needs to be taken on this walk as some rock scrambling is required. This walk is not one to do in the wet, rain will make the rocks slippery and the river could rise rapidly, leaving you stranded.

Walk date: Sept 16, 2007
Time/level: 1 day moderate (allow 3-4 hours), about 9km
Map: Parks Victoria Park Notes
My rating: B, a good day walk out of Melbourne

Eastern viewpoint Western viewpoint towards picnic point Lions Head

Steavenson Falls and Keppel Lookout (Marysville, Victoria)

UPDATE: Most of Marysville was destroyed by the devastating Black Saturday fires of 2009. It has since been partly re-built and can be visited again. The Marysville Tourism organisation has a website with up-to-date information.

Marysville is a lovely little town about an hour and a half North-East of Melbourne. It provides an excellent location for a day-trip out of Melbourne, especially if you take the drive out along the Maroondah Hwy and then over the Black Spur.

There are some enjoyable day walks in the area, centred on Marysville and the nearby Lake Mountain. A recommended walk, from Daywalks Around Melbourne, takes in Steavenson Falls and Keppel Lookout – “an energetic walk over the forested hilltops overlooking Marysville. There are sweeping views of nearby Mt Margaret and the Cathedral Range”.

The walk commences from the Visitor Information Centre, following the tree fern gully track to Steavenson Falls before steeply ascending to De La Rue lookout, then passing Oxley Lookout and reaching Keppel lookout. The track then descends back into Marysville.

Walk date: Oct 28, 2006
Time/level: 1 day easy/moderate (allow 4-5 hours), about 12km
Map: Marysville-Lake Mountain Outdoor Leisure Map (1:30,000)
My rating: B+, an interesting walk with variety and good views.

steavenson-falls.jpg de la rue lookout cathedral range keppel lookout