An early low tide coincided with a fine Sunday so Stuart and Ally joined Karen and I to walk along the coast between Cape Liptrap and Five Mile Track. This is the first day of a two-day walk I wrote up in our Weekend Walks Around Melbourne some years ago and since then there have been a few changes. Because of its increasing popularity I’ve also decided to write it up and provide a free GPS download in our forthcoming Daywalks Around Victoria.
The walk around from Cape Liptrap is simply amazing. We scrambled along wave-cut platforms, over rocky points and wandered along broad pebbly beaches. It’s a genuinely wild place and is a photographers paradise. High cliffs tumbled into the the sea, which roared in conjunction with a strengthening southerly wind. We had a gourmet lunch in shelter of a small cove, the Sauvignon Blanc having been successfully chilled in a vacuum flask. The weather Gods obviously felt we were enjoying ourselves too much and by the time we reached Morgan Beach we could see the southern horizon darkening with heavy cloud. Finally the sun disappeared and the first squall hit us as we were crossing the limestone escarpment opposite Arch Rock. We were quickly engulfed in heavy winds and driving rain. After about 20 minutes the clouds parted and the final beach walk along to Five Mile Track saw us soaking up the warmth of the sun.
Changes, Corrections and Additions:
The accurate distance between Cape Liptrap Carpark and Five Mile Carpark is 16.3km. It is a further 2.6km (a total of 18.9km) along Five Mile Track (4WD) to the carpark at the start of Five Mile Track on the Tarwin Lower – Waratah Road.
Five Mile Track no longer goes all of the way to the beach. A new grassy carpark (some nice tent sites can be found here) is located 800m back from the dunes. Five Mile Track is a designated 4WD track but in good (dry) conditions it would no problems for a light SUV or all wheel drive vehicle to access.
Looks like Parks Victoria never got around to formalising the two-day walk from Cape Liptrap to Venus Bay. Perhaps no bureaucrat wanted to risk promoting a walk with a tide dependant section of coastline (of course walkers cannot be trusted to look up the tide times and take some responsibility for their own actions). Parks Victoria have recognised the need for a camping area though and a small grassy spot exists about 300m back from the beach (big enough for half a dozen small tents). There are no facilities here.
Finding the start of the 2.8km cliff-top trail from Morgan Beach is now much easier. A sandy path can be seen heading up between the rocks, about 100m before Morgan Beach reaches the cliffs. There is no signpost but the way is fairly obvious. Up on top you will find yourself on the limestone escarpment. Continue walking northwards following a foot trail set not far back from the cliff-edge. The path is quite distinct as it winds through coastal wattle, heath and small dunes. This is a wonderful part of the walk and provides spectacular views across to various sea stacks and nearby Arch Rock.
The grid reference of the point you leave the beach to reach Five Mile Track is 55 H 402368 5706103. This point is unfortunately not signposted or marked in any way so you will need to keep an eye out for it. It is where a good walking trail cuts through the 2m-high dunes and heads inland.