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Dogs in Parks

As the Access & Environment Officer for CliffCare, many of the articles I write are aimed at providing information to climbers on best practices whilst out climbing. Not only does this help with becoming better informed but in the long run it helps with maintaining access to the areas we love to climb at.  And if you use them, it’s fair enough that you should take care of them. Quite recently I wrote an article on dogs in victorian parks following a reported incident of someone bringing a dog into a National Park.  As the original discussion was on an online forum, it soon degenerated into a slanging match but I did think that whilst there are many dog owners who probably flout the rules in this instance there are also those that aren’t really aware of the importance of not taking our furry friends into National Parks.  This discussion is of course, not limited to just climbers. So many outdoor pursuits, especially walking, seem to be the perfect activity to bring your best bud along. And there are parks you can take them to. But they aren’t National Parks.  The following information below was taken from a PV fact sheet and pretty much explains the reasons why it’s not so cool to bring Fido or Fifi along.

So before you head off for the day, weekend or week, check on the parks notices to make sure whether they’re welcome.

Parks Victoria recognises that dogs are popular recreation companions and contribute to people’s health and well-being. Walking with a dog has many benefits, such as reduced stress, enhanced mood, increased heart and lung fitness and a number of social benefits. Many people enjoy walking with their dog in natural areas, such as parkland, open space, bush and coastal areas and Parks Victoria provides a wide range of opportunities throughout Victoria for people to experience people to experience the great outdoors with their dogs.
As a general rule, dogs are permitted in parks or areas of parks where the primary management purpose is for recreation, e.g. Metropolitan Parks, Reservoir Parks, Regional Parks and Forest Parks.
Dogs are generally not permitted in parks and reserves where the primary management purpose is for conservation, e.g. parks managed under the National Parks Act 1975 (Vic.) and nature conservation reserves.


Generally, domestic animals and other introduced animals such as dogs are not permitted in national parks established under the National Parks Act. This is to ensure that the park is managed in accordance with its objectives, to preserve and protect the natural environment and to conserve flora and fauna. Park rangers are often asked by visitors “why can’t I take my dog into the national park?” First and foremost, national parks are there to protect Australia’s native wildlife. They are vitally important for the many species whose survival is in danger. Dogs can have negative impacts on the natural and cultural values of parks, as well as impacts on the enjoyment and safety of other visitors.
Dogs can compete with or harass, chase, trample or prey upon native fauna, especially ground-dwelling species. Dogs can also disturb wildlife by their scent, sounds, scratching and digging. Dogs may also transmit diseases and parasites to native fauna, and their urine and excrement may attract wild dogs and foxes. Even if a dog is on a lead and is very obedient it would be impossible to have a rule which allowed some dogs (the quiet or small ones) into national parks and similar reserves but not others (the big and the boisterous).
Dogs are a potential source of annoyance, distress and sometimes harm to park visitors especially in camping and picnic areas, and when the animals are not under control. Some visitors are frightened of dogs or object to seeing dogs in parks because they are not part of the natural environment and make wildlife more difficult to observe. Dog droppings can cause offence to visitors, and have environmental, amenity and
health impacts.
Dogs are permitted in national parks for specific purposes.
These include:
Dogs which assist disabled people with their disability are permitted in all parks and reserves, with the exception of Wilderness Parks and areas closed to the public, e.g. Reference Areas
Dogs assisting police, SES or Defence Force in search and rescue or surveillance
Dogs in vehicles which are in transit through a national park on a major through-road / route travelling on bitumen roads which pass through national parks.

So after all of that – which may seem a little negative for dog owners who want to take their dogs to parks, I have listed below a selection of parks where they are more than welcome.

Albert Park 3km South of Melbourne CBD
Bunurong Marine and Coastal Park 10km South of Wonthaggi
Cape Conran Coastal Park 30km SE of Orbost
Cape Liptrap Coastal Park 10km South of Leongatha
Cardinia Reservoir Park 45km SE of Melbourne
Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park 60km East of Sale
Greenvale Reservoir Park 22km North of Melbourne
Hepburn Regional Park 5km West of Daylesford
Jells Park 20km East of Melbourne CBD
Karkarook Park 17km SE of Melbourne CBD
Kooyoora State Park 220km NW of Melbourne
Lerderderg State Park 75km East of of Melbourne
Macedon Regional Park 57km NW of Melbourne
Maroondah Reservoir Park 70km East of Melbourne
Murray-Kulkyne Park 50km South of Mildura
Silvan Reservoir Park 50km East of Melbourne
Westerfolds Park 16km NE of Melbourne CBD
Westgate Park 6km West of Melbourne CBD
Yarra Bend Park 4km North of Melbourne
You Yangs Regional Park 55km SW of Melbourne

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Jetboil Sol Ti Stove Review

Cooking with gas. Jetboil Sol Ti.

For the last six years or so I’ve been using the Jetboil cooking system and I have to say it has performed flawlessly (except for the piezoelectric push-button igniter, which has never really worked for me). Lately though I’ve been shaving the weight I carry and when I heard about the Jetboil Sol Ti I decided to upgrade. First issue was that it wasn’t available for sale in Australia. I always try to buy local (even if it works our a few dollars more), mainly for peace of mind when it comes to warranties. In this case it simply wasn’t available and even as I write this review (three months after purchasing it) I’m still amazed that I can’t find it for sale in Australia. I ended up buying mine from the REI store in Fresno, California, for about $120. The Aussie dollar was pretty strong at the time and I considered this a bargain.

So how does the Sol Ti differ to the original Jetboil. Well for starters the Sol Ti’s cup is made of titanium. The original weighed 200g and the new Ti weighs in at 115g. A substantial saving but you have to take into consideration that the Sol Ti cup is also a tad smaller (by about 200ml). I didn’t find this a big deal and ended up preferring the smaller size. The Sol Ti also comes with a thinner (some might say ‘flimsier’) neoprene cozy. There has been some criticism about this cozy but I found it worked really well in the field and I never felt the heat through it as some people claim. As for the piezoelectric push-button igniter, well lets just say it has its good and bad days. I simply don’t use it any more and wish that Jetboil would just get rid of this ‘feature’ and save a few extra grams. The stove unit itself is also lighter and has what I think a more refined heat control and a better wire flame control handle. Definitely easier to use.

In a practical sense the Jetboil was designed to mainly boil water or other liquid foods (such as soup). It was never designed to cook thick stodgy meals (such as risotto) as the heat control doesn’t allow for effective simmering. The pot is also completely the wrong shape, although the addition of a pot support means that you can buy the larger group-sized cooking pot. For me the Jetboil works great since I almost entirely use the Jetboil to boil water to reconstitute pre-cooked dried meals. Overall the Sol Ti is fast and more importantly it’s reliable.

Original Jetboil weight (cup, lid, cozy, pot support and stove unit): 495g

Jetboil Sol Ti (cup, lid, cozy, pot support and stove unit): 340g

The difference in price between the Original Jetboil (or the current Jetboil Sol Advanced) and the Jetboil Sol Ti is about $30 – $40. That translates as about $10 for ever 40g in weight saved. Pretty expensive when you think about it but shaving those vital grams comes at a premium. All up the Jetboil Sol Ti gets a two-thumbs-up from me.

Visit Jetboil

• Jetboil Thermo-Regulate™ technology – consistent heat down to -6?C
• 0.8 Liter Titanium FluxRing® cup
• Insulating Cozy
• Convenient, reliable push-button igniter
• Pot support and Stabiliser tripod included
• Drink-through lid with pour spout & strainer
• Bottom cover doubles as a bowl and measuring cup
• Compatible with all Jetboil accessories


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Bike Rides Around Melbourne 3 Updates 16/5/13

These updates are available to download as a pdf BRAM 3 Updates 16 May 2013

Updates to BRAM3 April 2013

Various recent developments have opened up opportunities both for new rides and for improvements to old rides. Construction of new trails continues. The Peninsula Link Trail is not yet completely open but quite extensive sections can now be ridden. New housing developments with new shared paths have opened up new cycling routes. The opening of two new stations, South Morang and Williams Landing also increases the options for cyclists exploring Melbourne by bike and train.
The inclusion of Sunbury in the Met system, meaning easy transport of bikes, opens up a number of ride options. One is a scenic ride around Sunbury taking in the sights such as Rupertswood and the old Sunbury Asylum. There are a few off-road paths but unfortunately their connectivity is not great at present. Another is a ride from Sunbury across country to Watergardens. Yet another is to take a V/Line train to Woodend and to ride from there to Sunbury, with a few ups but lots more downs. Watch this space for more details.

Here are some variations and improvements to the old rides:

Ride 10 Federation Trail

The opening of Williams Landing Station provides another bail out option for those riding the Federation Trail. The station is less than 2km to the south down Palmers Rd from where the trail crosses Sayers Rd. It’s also possible to cross the Princes Fwy safely here, and to join the Skeleton Creek Path 200m to the south and head downstream to connect up with Bay West Ride One.

Ride 11 Bay West Ride One

At the start of this ride it’s now possible to get from Werribee to Werribee South by a safer and much more attractive route via the river. From the south exit of the Station head west along Comben Dr for about 100m, then head down onto the path beside the river on your R. Follow the Werribee River Trail for about 3km until it brings you up to the start of the Federation Trail. Turn R and cross the river on the wide new footbridge, then loop round to the R following a rather rough gravel track to pass down under the bridge. You’ll shortly move onto a very nice concrete path that heads up a series of ramps then south through the Werribee River Park. Follow this for about 2km, then turn L at the ramp, follow the path down and across the footbridge, back to the left bank of the river. Keeping R wend your way through to the rear of the Werribee Mansion, then take the road on the R that heads southeast, past the Shadowfax Winery, to reach K Road. Turn R and you are now on the route as before.
Point Cook Homestead Road is now sealed, although the driveway into the Homestead is still unsealed. Point Cook Homestead has a café as well as outdoor picnic facilities and toilets. This makes it a good alternative lunch stop to Point Cook Coastal Park, which can be rather mosquito infested. Returning along Point Cook Homestead Rd it’s now possible to cut through the new estate on the north side of the road to Sanctuary Lakes, thus avoiding a section of Point Cook Rd which is becoming very busy. Turn R at Mirka Av, L at Saltwater Prm, then R into Point Cook Reserve and wend your way up to the northeastern corner of the park and onto to Orpheus St. Turn R and continue until you reach a footbridge. Cross this and turn L up the path beside Skyward Dr. Turn right into Sanctuary Lakes South Bvd and follow this for about 1½ km, then move onto the shared path on the R. This will take you to the bridge across Skeleton Creek.

Ride 12 Bay West Ride Two

Access to the Bike Punt from Beacon Cove has re-opened. The punt is currently operating week day peak periods as well as weekends and public holidays. However it’s always worth checking by ringing 0419 999 458, especially in bad weather.
If you do the ‘Variation Avoiding the Punt’ you now have a choice of two quite satisfactory paths heading south from Shepherd Bridge, the more direct route alongside the Docklands Hwy or the scenic route alongside the river. They meet up at Lyons St.

Ride 13 Maribyrnong River

The Maribyrnong Trail between Canning Reserve and Brimbank is open once again after its extended closure.
If you follow the Ring Rd and Kororoit Creek Trails to Sunshine there is now the option to continue along the Kororoit Creek Trail to connect up with the Federation Trail. You could then ride to Millers Rd and on to Newport or the CBD – see September 21, 2009 update

Ride 16 Mt Ridley Ride

There are still no picnic facilities at Mt Ridley Conservation Reserve.
A number of new paths have been built in the Craigieburn area opening up alternative, somewhat less demanding routes in this area. When you reach Amaroo Rd there is the option to head south down the new path alongside the Hume Hwy, deviating right briefly along Malcolm Creek., to Craigieburn Rd. You can then cut through to the path alongside Aitken Creek and follow this west, through the Craigieburn Public Golf Course (yes, I do mean through!) to Waterview, where there’s a very nice lakeside café. The last section to get to the café is currently a bit of a scramble but is sure to improve very soon. You’ll need to head back east along Aitken Creek to rejoin the route south detailed in the book.

Ride 21 Plenty River

Rather than start this ride at Epping Station, necessitating a road ride to both morning coffee and to the Darebin Creek Path, you can now catch the train out to the end of the recently extended line to South Morang. Coffee is available in the Plenty Valley Town Centre a short distance along a ramp and path to the south of the station. Then you can ride about 2½ km along the new path on the south side of the rail line and turn left onto the Darebin Creek Path. Don’t turn down the first path on the left which is the Hendersons Rd Drain Path and even rougher than the Darebin Creek Path in places.

Ride 25 Two Reservoirs Ride

Sadly the Toorourrong Reservoir Park was badly burnt in the Black Saturday bushfires and remains closed at present. It is scheduled to re-open early 2014.
It’s now possible to finish this ride at South Morang rather than Epping if desired. Ride there via either Ferres Bvd or Civic Dr. Alternatively you can ride to South Morang Station then follow the path along the south side of the rail line to Epping. You’ll have to move onto Cooper St for the last 400m.

Ride 28 Healesville Overnight Tour

There have been a number of recent improvements to the first section of the Lilydale Rail Trail used in this tour. There’s now a bridge over the Maroondah Hwy. You’ll need to follow the trail from Lilydale Station across Anderson St and round the school, which unfortunately involves a rather steep up and down. But from there on it only gets better. Sail across the highway on a trendy, rusty iron bridge and it’s all gradual grades up to Mt Evelyn. At Mt Evelyn cross both York and Monbulk Rds via new signalised crossings. With these much needed improvements this trail is finally safe for young children.

Ride 29 Eastlink Ride
The completion of the Dingley Arterial Rd opens up yet another way of finishing this ride. Continue along the Dandenong Bypass Trail to Springvale Rd, cross and turn L down the shared path beside the road. Turn R at Lower Dandenong Rd and ride along the shared path for 800m crossing Centre Dandenong Rd at the lights. Cross Lower Dandenong Rd with care and enter Braeside Park by the narrow pedestrian entrance. Head south along the track and at the T-junction turn left and continue heading south until you reach the main entrance from Governor Rd. Cross Governor Rd and enter the Waterways Estate to continue as in the May 13, 2010 update.

Ride 33 Mountains to the Plain

Take advantage of the recently opened Cardinia Road Station for a more relaxing finish to this ride. When you reach the Princes Hwy towards the end of the ride, instead of turning left along the service road towards Pakenham, cross the highway with care. Take the shared path on the east side of Toomuc Creek and follow this for 1km then cross the creek on the footbridge. When you reach the first street veer left and follow a series of streets linked by short path sections westward for 1½km, until you reach Cardinia Road Station. Cross to the southern platform via the spacious underpass.

June 19, 2012

MAPS (p13)

New TravelSmart maps: Knox, Stonnington, Brimbank, Dandenong, Frankston, Hobson’s Bay and Hume

The maps for the outer suburban areas are particularly useful as they cover large areas.

Clarendon St Connections

The route from the Clarendon St end of Melbourne Exhibition Centre (2F B9) through to Webb Bridge is now open again. Continue along the path on the south side of the river in front of Jeff’s Shed, past the ‘Polly Woodside’ and the Seafarers Bridge and follow the signage past the newly opened Melbourne Convention and Entertainment Centre (MCEC) and the new Hilton South Wharf Hotel. As you approach the Charles Grimes Bridge turn right between the buildings to follow the path right alongside the river and pass under the Charles Grimes Bridge and onto Webb Bridge.

1 Anglesea Overnight Tour

Due to construction of the new Geelong Ring Road a slight change of route is needed on the last stage of the return journey to Geelong. Rather than following Anglesea Rd to Burgundy St just before the Princes Hwy, turn right at Whites Rd and then left at Gazepore Rd and right at Burgundy St to access the Waurn Ponds Creek Path.

3 You Yangs Ride

The You Yangs Regional Park is currently closed due to flood damage and resultant problems. It is expected to re-open mid July 2011.

Variations: The alternative route suggested from Little River to Werribee via the Melbourne Water Western Treatment Plant is no longer viable due to closure of the entrance to South Rd to the public. Another option is to ride along the Princes Fwy, M1, to the start of the Federation Trail and then follow the Werribee River Path back to Werribee Station. The Freeway is of course very busy but it has a wide shoulder/emergency stopping lane where cycling is permitted as far as the Federation Trail turnoff.

11 Bay West Ride One

To get from Sanctuary Lakes to Altona Meadows it is no longer necessary to loop up the Skeleton Creek to the north. Continue clockwise around Sanctuary Lakes North Boulevard past Rosebank Dr for another 1.5km, then turn left into Beach Walk and cross Skeleton Creek using the fabulous new bridge. At the next path intersection turn right and you’re back on the route described in the book. The path on the west side of the bridge will eventually link to the Point Cook Coastal Park and form part of a projected trail right around Port Phillip Bay.

12 Bay West Ride Two

Due to work on strengthening Westgate Bridge it is not currently possible to reach the bike punt easily from Beacon Cove, though there is a route via Lorimer St, which has a shared path alongside it for most of the distance.

The route for the ‘Variation avoiding the punt’ is now simpler. After crossing Shepherd Bridge, rather than turning left to follow the riverside path just continue straight ahead along the new shared path alongside the Docklands Hwy. The path is now of much improved standard right down to the Westgate Bridge.

13 Maribyrnong River Trail

The trail is currently closed between Canning Reserve and Brimbank Park. However this doesn’t mean cyclists must forgo the pleasure of visiting the Park. With the opening of the Buckley St underpass it is now possible to follow another route which is mostly off-road and very pleasant. It even takes you past a vineyard and olive grove – the Rose Creek Estate. Heading upstream along the Maribyrnong through Essendon and into Essendon West, as you complete the zigzag section of the descent from the Lily Street lookout, instead of turning left and continuing downhill, go straight ahead through the underpass and turn left. Shortly, at the next track intersection turn right onto the Steeles Creek Path. Follow this for about 2km to Valley Lake, a converted quarry. You’ll know it by the figure up the ladder! Turn left here and follow Valley Lake Bvd round a loop to a roundabout. Turn left into Rachelle Rd and then right into Noga Av. Follow this to the end then cross Milleara Rd at the lights. Follow the path on the right side of Keilor Park Dr across the rail line and the Western Ring Rd, then cross at the lights to the path alongside Dodds Rd. Turn right onto this to reach the main road and bike track down into the park.

16 Mt Ridley Ride

The Mt Ridley Reserve has gone extensive landscaping and unfortunately as yet this does not include the provision of any picnic facilities. Currently the best lunch spot on this ride is the DS Aitken Reserve at Craigieburn, which has undercover seating as well as toilets.

17 Merri Creek Path

The path between Coburg Lake and the Ring Road has now been sealed all the way and the outer section re-routed to a higher level above the creek so that flooding is now unlikely.

The underpass to the Jack Roper Reserve is currently closed due to work on the Western Ring Road, but access to the park is available via the footbridge about 500m to the west of this.

20 Bundoora Park Circuit

Approaching Bundoora Park a new section of sealed path now links Tee St to Waters Way.

The historic Bundoora Homestead at 7-27 Snake Gully Drive, Bundoora is very close to Bundoora Park and accessible from it, and is well worth a visit. It includes a gallery and café. Opening hours are Wednesday-Friday 11am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 12noon-5pm free admission.

24 Blackburn Lake

There is now a new off-road route from Alamein Station to the upper Gardiners Creek Trail. Just past Alamein Station, as the Anniversary Trail crosses the road, veer left onto the new path that runs down alongside Ashburn Gv, then crosses it to continue alongside Markham Av. Continue through Markham Reserve, under Warrigal Rd and loop around over the new footbridge to connect with the upper Gardiners Creek Path on the other side.

29 Eastlink Ride

There’s another alternative route from the Dandenong Southern Bypass to Waterways that involves riding a shorter distance on busy Cheltenham Rd. As the Dandenong Southern Bypass path swings north towards Cheltenham Rd, look for a path on the left and cross to this with care. Follow a series of paths in a westerly direction until you swing right and meet Cheltenham Rd. Use the on-road bike lane to ride until you reach a shared path heading south through Tatterson Park. This will eventually swing right and bring you to Springvale Rd. Cross with care and turn left along the path beside this and follow this round the corner alongside Governor Rd. This will take you to the southern entrance of Braeside Park. You could enter the park and do a circuit of it, a distance of about 6km. Or you can just proceed to Waterways.

31 Four Trails Ride

New Variation

There’s now an alternative route between Upper Ferntree Gully and Jells Park that works well. For a change from using the Blind Creek Path you can use the Ferny Creek Path. As you pass under the rail line approaching Upper Ferntree Gully continue straight ahead down Talaskia Rd and after 300m turn right onto the shared path. Follow this as it winds along, soon coming alongside Ferny Creek, for about 8km until you reach Stud Rd. Turn right and follow the shared path to the intersection with Ferntree Gully Rd. Cross to the diagonally opposite corner and head west along the shared path beside Ferntree Gully Rd. Follow this for about 2km, passing under Eastlink to join the Eastlink Trail, which will take you across Dandenong Creek to the southern end of Jells Park.

39 Two Bays Ride

There has been a change to the train used on the Stony Point line. The new one unfortunately has an even smaller capacity for bikes than the old one. A phone call in advance may ensure at least having a two-carriage train which is better than a one-carriage train.

May 13, 2010

Ride 17 (Merri Creek Circuit)

The new concrete path, higher above the creek, has now been completed between Coburg Lake and the Ring Road.

May 13, 2010

Ride 15 (Greenvale Circuit)

The route alongside Yuroke Creek to Greenvale Park entrance (see ‘Possible future bike path route’ on map p8) is now navigable, though not formally complete. This eliminates a dangerous and unpleasant stretch on Sommerton Rd.

May 13, 2010

Ride 16 (Mt Ridley Ride)

Mt Ridley Conservation Reserve is currently undergoing a major makeover. The old picnic facilities have been removed and while new ones are planned there is nothing at all at present. There are undercover seats as well as toilets at the DS Aitken Reserve a few km further along the ride – see map p90. A footpath is also planned alongside Mt Ridley Rd but is not intended as a shared path and will only be 1.5m wide.

May 13, 2010

Ride 29 (Eastlink Ride)

The bridges over the Maroondah and Burwood Hwys are now open and they are excellent! There is also now a much better route from Braeside Park to Mordialloc Station. This involves riding south through Braeside Park along Red Gum Trail, exiting though southern entrance, turning very briefly R along Governor Rd, then L into Burdekin Bvd. This takes you into the new Waterways Estate where there’s an off-road path right around the lake that connects to the track along the south side of Mordialloc Creek. There’s also a lovely café called ‘Nest’ overlooking the lake, phone 9798 5352

May 13, 2010

Ride 32 (Lysterfield Lake)

There’s now a café cum bike shop at Lysterfield Lake Park

September 21, 2009

Ride 2 (Geelong Circuit)

New Variation: There’s now a lovely new 12km path alongside the recently constructed Geelong Ring Rd that can be used instead of the rail trail for the north-western leg of the circuit. The new path can be accessed from Corio Station via School Rd, then the service road alongside the Princes Hwy, then the somewhat patchy path alongside Broderick Rd. It finishes at Church St. From there you can turn right into McCurdy St and then right onto the path alongside Hyland St to rejoin the circuit as described in the book.

For those riding from Lara to reach the trail there’s now an off-road path all the way from Lara Station to Hovell Creek Reserve. Just head south to McClelland St, cross, and follow the path, first alongside the rail line, then alongside Hovell Creek, for about 2km to the underpass that takes you under the M1. follow the path through the reserve to Corio Bay and continue beside the water passing Geelong Grammar on your right. As you approach the Shell Refinery, turn sharp right into Shell Pde, then left into School Rd to join the route described in the first paragraph.

September 21, 2009

Ride 10 (Federation Trail)

New Variation: At the end of the Federation Trail, instead of riding south to Altona you could ride east via Newport Lakes to Newport Station. Head briefly south along Millers Rd then cross it at the third set of lights and head along Marigold St to Kyle Rd. Turn R and ride 1.4km to Mason St. Turn L and ride 2.5km to Newport Station. Newport Lakes, just up Lakes Dr on your left 1.5km along Mason St, offers excellent picnic facilities. You can use the underpass at Newport Station to access North Rd a little to the south which takes you straight to the Strand, across which is the Bayside Path, linking to Bay West Ride Two.

September 21, 2009

Ride 12 (Bay West Ride Two)

Detour: Works are currently underway at the Southbank Tram Depot, meaning a detour on the Sandridge Trail linking Southbank to Beacon Cove. There’s a sign directing you to the north of the depot and along Normanby Rd. Continue across Montague and Boundary Sts to Ingles St before turning left to rejoin the off-road path.

September 21, 2009

Ride 23 (Eltham Circuit)

There’s now an 800m extension of the Aqueduct Trail to the north of Allendale Rd returning to the path alongside Allendale Rd via Godber Rd. So there’s now no need to ride on Allendale Rd at all.

A new bridge at Diamond Creek means there’s now no need to use the narrow path alongside road bridge. However if you use the new section of path you’ll need to make a detour to visit the toilet block on Main Rd.

There’s now a section of the Heidelberg Artists Trail along Main Rd Eltham, featuring six works of Walter Withers.

September 21, 2009

Ride 28 (Four Trails Ride)

New Variation: Instead of using the Blind Creek Path between the Belgrave Rail Trail and Jells Park you can use the Ferny Creek Trail and a section of the Eastlink Trail. You can pick up the Ferny Creek Trail at Talaskia St, Upper Ferntree Gully and follow it to Stud Rd. Turn north along Stud Rd, using the path on the east side then crossing at Ferntree Gully Rd to use service roads on the west side to reach George St. Follow this to its end then cross the bridge and turn left onto the Eastlink Trail. This will take you to the south end of Jells Park.

In the near future work should be completed on both an off-road path and a bike lane along Ferntree Gully Rd between Stud Rd and Eastlink, thus eliminating the need to head north to George St.

September 21, 2009

TAKING BIKES ON TRAINS (back cover gatefold)

Metlink have recently updated this information. This page provides information to help you get around safely and easily when combining bike riding with public transport travel:


Deer Park Bypass Wellness Trail. This starts near the intersection of Fitzgerald Rd and the Ring Rd Path. You can start at Newport Station and ride to the Federation Trail and from there onto the Ring Rd Path. The trail finishes at Christies Rd, Caroline Springs, and you can continue off-road to Lake Caroline, a good lunch spot. From there you could ride, mostly on-road to Watergardens Station. Alternatively you could follow Kororoit Creek downstream to Sunshine Station. There are some rough sections, and some places where you’ll need to take to the streets, but it’s doable.

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Park Secrets

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

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Grampians Flood update

Following the recent heavy rains and ensuing floods, many of the parks in Victoria have closures in place. Either full closures like the You Yangs or partial closures such as the Grampians.

In regards to the Grampians, a huge amount of the park took a beating – with landslides and road collapse hitting the top of the list. Some areas, notably in the Northern Grampians have now reopened. These are predominantly concentrated around the Stapylton area. Below is a basic list of open  areas at the time of writing. This will be changing regularly as more areas are assessed and those with the least damage can be repaired and re-opened.  For regular updates always visit the Parks Victoria website.

Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre, and the townships of Wartook, Dunkeld and Halls Gap are all open for business.
Visitors are advised to take caution at this time due to variable track conditions. Drivers should take additional caution at this time.
All other areas in the Grampians National Park are still closed due to widespread flood damage throughout the park.

Open Roads

Main roads into Halls Gap and Wartook.
Grampians Road to Lake Bellfield Picnic Area.
Mt Zero Road (Halls Gap to Mt Zero).
Plantation Road.
Flat Rock Road.
Roses Gap Road.

Open Campgrounds

Plantation and Stapylton Campgrounds. Please note access to Stapylton Campground is via Plantation Road from Northern Grampians Road.
Troopers Creek Campground.

Open Walking Tracks

Boronia Peak, Chatauqua Peak (east side only), Clematis Falls and the Fyans Creek Loop.Hollow Mountain, Flat Rock to Mt Stapylton, Mt Stapylton Loop, Mt Zero, Heatherlie Quarry, Beehive Falls and Briggs Bluff.Mt Sturgeon and the Piccaninny
Art Shelters

Gulgurn Manja

Visitor Sites

Heatherlie Quarry
Mt Zero Picnic area
Summerday Valley climbing area

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Springtime, Grampians and taking care in the outdoors

When heading outdoors, be it for a short time or a more extended period , letting someone know where you are going, should always be a consideration. Many people have something set in place for this, but for those that maybe haven’t given it too much thought, check out the Adventure Pro website. Besides, it being a great website that has listings of most things outdoor, it has these handy Let someone know before you go intention forms to be filled in and left with, as it says, someone you know. The link will take you to the form but you can also access it via Outdoor Education, Education and Training, Adventure Resources, Rescue, Trip Notes, Canoeing, Hiking,Bushwalking,Trekking and Tramping, Kayaking and Sea Kayaking headings on the site.

The Grampians as we all know, is a premier destination for outdoor activities, be it bushwalking, climbing, and camping. Now that the weather is heading towards longer days, and the flowers of Spring will be showing their glorious colours, travelling to the Grampians will be featuring highly on people’s calendars. Spring is a fantastic time to be in the area and the Spring into the Grampians website is a great starting point. It lists a variety of helpful information but for those partial to a bloom or two, this will surely get them packing up a camera and putting on their walking boots to see for themselves.

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Since we discussed Mobile Phones and Emergency Numbers we received a few queries as to who exactly is the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) and what is their function. In Victoria the emergency service dispatch and call-taking for police, metropolitan ambulance, and both rural and metropolitan fire services, is handled by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA). This means that when you dial 000 (triple zero) these are the guys who organise the appropriate response. But most walkers, cyclists and climbers probably don’t realise that ESTA are also the guys who install and manage those funky green Emergency Markers which dot our bushwalks (such as those in the Lerderderg Gorge), cycle paths (such as those along the Yarra River and Capital City Trails) and some climbing areas (such as those installed at various cliffs in the You Yangs). When an Emergency Marker is quoted, ESTA’s 000 transmitter can then provide specific navigational information to the responding emergency services. So, as you can see, ESTA really does play a vital role within our outdoor community.
I recently chatted to Jeff Adair (Manager Emergency Marker program at ESTA) and he is very keen to promote the roles and benefits of ESTA within our outdoor community. He provided us with a couple of interesting files. We have converted them to PDFs and have included them at the bottom of this post.

Here are a few interesting links:
You can check out ESTA’s web page at: ESTA.
Calling the Emergency Call Service from a mobile phone: FAQs.
Parks Victoria’s Emergency Markers page.
You can also email ESTA at or you can contact Jeff Adair directly on 03 86561218 to discuss any feedback or faults found with any Emergency Markers.

ESTA Fact Sheet PDF (2MB)
ESTA Marker Locations PDF (1.19MB)

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Mobile Phones and Emergency numbers

After all the discussions we have had regarding the Emergency Markers (in Lerderderg Gorge State Park) I thought it would be a good time to discuss mobile phones and the correct emergency numbers to be used by walkers, climbers and skiers.

These days, in the event of an emergency, people undertaking outdoor activities in the bush will have access to a mobile phone. The primary national emergency number in Australia is 000. In Victoria the emergency service dispatch and call-taking for Police, metropolitan Ambulance, and both rural and metropolitan fire services, is handled by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA). You can check out their web page here: ESTA

What most people don’t realise is that the international emergency telephone number for GSM mobile phone networks is the number 112. This means that here in Australia we can dial either 000 or 112 (if you are using a GSM or 3G phone). In an emergency a GSM mobile phone owner should dial 000 first. If no service is available then dial 112. This may (depending upon the model of your phone) connect to whichever network is available in your location. Of course if there are no carriers in your location then neither 000 nor 112 will work.

In most newer GSM phones the number 000 is programmed into the firmware as an emergency number. This means that dialing the number 000 will provide exactly the same features as the number 112. The phone will connect to any available GSM network carrier (not just your own) to reach the Emergency Call Service. If you own a 3G phone, dialling 000 will connect you with the Emergency Call Service utilising whichever carrier is necessary.

The difference between GSM and 3G is fairly simple. GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is used by about 80% of the worlds phones and is the current standard. The newer 3G (Telstra call it Next G) is the next generation of mobile technology that will eventually replace the now aging GSM system. The 3G system is has much faster data transfer speeds and allows for such features as video calling and faster download speeds. Unfortunately 3G is not backwards compatible with GSM.

Note that even if the keypad is locked, dialing 112 on a GSM mobile phone will connect you to the 000 Emergency Call Service. You can also connect to the 000 Emergency Call Service if the phone has no SIM card or if the SIM has not been validated. And just so you know, you cannot contact the 000 Emergency Call Service with SMS text messaging.

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Parks Victoria Entry changes

Just reminding everyone using our walking guidebooks that entry to all Victorian parks (managed by Parks Victoria) is now free. This came into effect on the 01 July 2010 and marks a major policy shift for Parks Victoria.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Point Nepean National Park
Werribee Park
Mount Buffalo National Park
Baw Baw National Park (excluding the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort)
Mornington Peninsula National Park
Yarra Ranges (Mount Donna Buang)

If you hold a current annual pass you will be eligible to apply for a refund from Parks Victoria.

You can check out the following media release from the Premiers office for further details.

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Bike Tours Around Victoria Updates

These updates are available to download as a pdf. here

May 13, 2010
Ride 23 Grand Ridge Road & Latrobe Valley

The Mirboo North – Boolarra Rail Trail, now known as the Grand Ridge Rail Trail, was damaged by fires in 2009 and is mostly closed until two major bridges are repaired. For the latest information see

May 13, 2010
Ride 11: Nagambie Day Ride

There is a new Wetlands Café and Wetlands Walk at Tahbilk Winery. Note that closed shoes are needed for the walk and there’s a $5 charge.

May 13th 2010

As one contributor to the blog has pointed out taking even small numbers of bikes on V/Line trains can be very problematic if you are travelling with the peak flow during peak hours, or on public holidays and other busy times such as Friday and Sunday evenings. It is strongly advised that a D-van be booked if you intend travelling with a group at such times. So long as you indicate that your group will be about 10 this is usually not a problem. Don’t forget to book your seats as well if it is a service for which reservations are required.

Having said that there are some hopeful signs, in the shape of surveys currently being carried out, that suggest that the authorities have finally realised that there is a large and increasing demand for the carriage of bikes on trains. Hopefully we may at least see a booking system for bikes introduced on V/Line trains soon, which would be a great boon for cycle tourists. Perhaps in the more distant future we may even see new trains with more space for bikes.

October 19, 2009
Ride 24: South Gippsland Circuit

The Great Southern Rail Trail is now complete except for a 3km stretch between Koonwarra and Meeniyan. The surface of the completed trail is compacted dirt with a sandy surface. There are now Enviro-Loo toilets at Stony Creek and Buffalo and just before Foster.

October 19, 2009
Ride 8: Bendigo Base Camp

In ‘Bendigo Bushland Trail’ (ride 2) the map on page 65 mentions ‘Swampy Gully Track’, this should actually read ‘Stumpy Gully Track’; the ride instructions on page 68 (paragraph 2) list it correctly.

The Bendigo Bushland Trail was affected by fires in early 2009. Some signs were damaged, however it is still passable.

October 19, 2009
Ride 6: Gold & Spa Country Circuit

The Yarrowee River Trail could be used for the return to Ballarat. Information and maps available at

October 19, 2009
Ride 5: Swan Hill Base Camp

Several attractions mentioned are now closed: Annie’s Wine Place, the Rotary Dairy, the Faberge Egg Museum, and Murray Downs homestead. However the Sound and Light at the Pioneer Settlement is excellent. The general store at Lake Boga township now has a coffee machine and a picnic table outside. There’s a good picnic spot just before the bridge at Fish Point. A new 5km off-road path on the NSW side of the lift bridge passes Murray Downs homestead and finishes at a golf resort.

May 13, 2009
Taking Bikes on country Trains and Coaches

Conventional bikes can be carried free on V/Line trains, depending on the availability of space. V/Line has a few different train types.

Space is limited on Sprinter and VLocity trains, arriving in, or departing from Ararat, Ballarat (including Wendouree), Bendigo, Echuca, Geelong (including North Geelong, South Geelong and Marshall), Seymour and Traralgon. Look for the bike symbol appearing on VLocity and Sprinter trains to know which door to enter the train with your bike.

More space for bikes is generally available on long-distance, locomotive-hauled services, arriving in or departing from Bairnsdale, Shepparton, Swan Hill or Warrnambool. If you are travelling with a group it is also possible to book a D-van on these trains. To do so contact the Group Travel Coordinator on 9619 2338 at least a week in advance.

May 13th 2010

As one contributor to the blog has pointed out taking even small numbers of bikes on V/Line trains can be very problematic if you are travelling with the peak flow during peak hours, or on public holidays and other busy times such as Friday and Sunday evenings. It is strongly advised that a D-van be booked if you intend travelling with a group at such times. So long as you indicate that your group will be about 10 this is usually not a problem. Don’t forget to book your seats as well if it is a service for which reservations are required.

Having said that there are some hopeful signs, in the shape of surveys currently being carried out, that suggest that the authorities have finally realised that there is a large and increasing demand for the carriage of bikes on trains. Hopefully we may at least see a booking system for bikes introduced on V/Line trains soon, which would be a great boon for cycle tourists. Perhaps in the more distant future we may even see new trains with more space for bikes.