One of the 36 walks we are featuring in our soon to be released Daywalks Around Victoria will be a traverse across the summit ridge of Mt Kooyoora, the most northerly mountain in the central Victorian goldfields area. Mt Kooyoora State Park is a real gem and is located 220km northwest of Melbourne, about 35min drive from Bendigo. The walk we are covering leaves White Swan Mine and climbs to the summit of Mt Kooyoora itself. The walk then continues along the West Ridge to Mount Kooyoora Track and returns along quiet vehicle tracks back to the carpark. This 10km circuit involves some off trail walking but it is very easy to navigate. Mt Kooyoora and its exposed ridge is covered with lots of granite outcrops, slabs and boulders and offers the best views in the region. A great walk to do in Autumn, winter or spring.
Karen and I completed a walk last weekend in Lerderderg State Park linking Short Cut Track, Trout Track and Clear Water Creek / Ambler Lane. We finished the walk along a short stretch of the Lerderderg River back to O’Briens Crossing. It was an excellent outing and will almost certainly be included in our forthcoming new walking guide to Melbourne’s Western Gorges (the Brisbane Ranges, Werribee and Lerderderg State Parks). What really amazed us was the amount of flood damage and debris along the river.
The section of trail I’m talking about runs along the Lerderderg River from the Tunnel to O’Briens Crossing. In the past this was definitely one of the most enjoyable short walks in the park as it had wonderful river views combined with rugged cliffs, stands of tall manna gum and plenty of gold history along the water race. Over the last 10 years this trail fell into major disrepair and parts of it were downright dangerous (particularly in wet weather). What I’m hoping is that Parks Victoria will now re-look at this trail (starting along Byers Back Track) and make it one of the key circuit walks in the park. It will take a bit of work and lots of flood debris will need to be cleared but there is no doubt that this trail could be the showcase walk in the Lerderderg State Park. Interpretation signs could also be installed. Right now the walk is closed and with good reason. You can’t even see the trail in places as it is buried under piles of timber. I just hope that Parks Victoria allocate the necessary funds and rebuild what could be one of the best trails near to Melbourne.
Following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 pretty much all of the walking trail infrastructure in and around Marysville had been wiped out. I was in no doubt that repairs, rebuilding and realignments of this trail network would be at least a few years away. These fires meant that users of our Daywalks Around Melbourne book no longer had access to the seven described walks (walk 61, 62, 63, & 64 in the Marysville and Lady Talbot Drive area as well as walks 65, 66 and 67 in the nearby Lake Mountain and Cambarville area).
Last week I spent a couple of days in Marysville with Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE). I was fortunate to have been shown around the new trail infrastructure by Simon Gough, the Bushfire Recovery Project Co-ordinator for DSE in Marysville, and by Mark Krause, the Assistant Ranger in Charge for the Yarra Ranges National Park. It was a fascinating and very informative tour and I learned a lot about the difficulty in repairing, designing and building walking and cycling trails. DSE and Parks Victoria have done an enormous amount of work since the fires and the good news is that most of the trails are now open. Those that aren’t are perhaps only a couple of months away. Bushwalking always been a major attraction for visitors to Marysville and the reopening of these trails will be seen as an important step towards recovery.
Here is a listing of the walking trails in Daywalks Around Melbourne and their current status.
Walk 61 (Island Hop & Red Hill) The new walk is called the Michaeldene Trail and is a circuit following some of the original historic tramlines. The major attraction is a wooden platform overlooking the rushing Taggerty River. The circuit walk is currently closed but will hopefully be open before winter.
Walk 62 (Keppel Lookout & Stevenson Falls) Now called the Steavenson Falls Trail there has been some major realignments (especially above Steavenson Falls). The trail will be open in the coming spring and I have no doubt that it will be an even better walk than it was in the past.
Other trails in Marysville that are nearing completion (but which are not described in Daywalks Around Melbourne) include the Beauty Spot Trail (all new timber boardwalks and bridges), Tree Fern Gully Trail (wide compacted gravel surface for walkers and cyclists), Gilberts Gully Trail (new boardwalks and steel bridges) and Wilks Creek Trail (wide multi-use trail out to Anderson Mill site).
Walk 63 (The Beeches) Lady Talbot Drive is open as are the two short walks up to Phantom and Keppel Falls. The Beeches Rainforest Walk has also seen a lot of work including the installation of floating boardwalks. This 4km circuit is open except for the timber bridge spanning the Taggerty River. The walk down to the cascades from the first carpark (Taggerty River Crossing) is called Taggerty River Cascades and has had new steps installed down along the river.
Walk 64 (Boundary Trail) This walk as described in Daywalks Around Melbourne is closed. Boundary Trail West is probably full of regrowth now and may not be easy to locate. However, Keppel Hut has been rebuilt and Boundary Trail East is open to the summit of Lake Mountain. I haven’t walked this section yet, but when I do I will post an update.
Walk 65 & 66 (Lake Mountain) All of the walks and mountain bike trails are open.
Walk 67 (Cumberland Walk) This is now called Cumberland Falls Walk and is open. The 2009 fires thankfully missed much the area around the Big Tree. Parks Victoria have installed a clinometer near the Big Tree which is used to measure the height of the surrounding mountain ashes. This can be used free of charge by the public. There are great views into the Cumberland Valley from the southern part of the walk. Parks Victoria have also opened another short circuit walk in the historic township of Cambarville. This easy loop passes the old Chalet Hubertus, school and sawmill sites. There are interpretation signs along the way.
For those people that are a little time poor, be it Melbournites or visitors with a limited travel schedule, this ‘guide’ is an absolute must and will certainly point you in all the right directions. The deck of cards feature 52 of Victoria’s best parks and nature reserves and contains maps, directions and potential activities for the area. The selection is diverse and there is something to interest everyone. For those wanting nothing more than a leisurely stroll, to those hoping to get the heart rate going and possibly engaging in some adrenaline sport.
Park Secrets is published by the very successful Deck of Secrets. You may have seen other titles of theirs in the range such as Bar Secrets, Spa Secrets and Pub Secrets.
To find out a little more or to order a copy visit our bookshop or visit an outdoor shop and enquire