Upper Yarra Track Instructions

See also:

The Upper Yarra Walking Track

NEW MOBILE FRIENDLY SITE: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/

Ultralight Hiking

Hiking Advice

Steve's Blog.htm

Finnsheep.com

 

 


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I am working on these instructions. (Who am I: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/about/) In time they will be complete. As of today 26/11/2015, they are good enough to get you all the way, but they will be better. Today, (17/11/2015) I have completed the first section: Moe-Yallourn North. Today 23/11/2015 I have completed the next two sections: Yallourn to Wirilda and Wirilda to Moondarra. 24/11/2015: completed Moondarra to Erica where the Erica-Walhalla Rail Trail begins: you can’t go wrong on the section to Walhalla fro Erica: approx 3-4 hours water 1/3 and 2/3 of the way (and more). That gets you to Walhalla. I am writing the instructions in the direction from Moe to Lilydale first because I live nearer this end. You can work backwards for the opposite direction. I will provide those notes when I have finished these ones. Winter Route (or fishing route - avoiding the Baw Baw Plateau), see Bottom of Page. Scroll down to see all instructions:

 

NB: Supplies: Rawson has intermediate supplies near the track with a small Mini Mart. (Also a hotel in the caravan park). You can loop by Rawson on your way to/from Walhalla or O’Shea’s Mill if you need resupply. There is a licenced Foodworks in Yallourn North & small licenced supermarket in Tyers (4.5 km off track), general store/hotel in Erica, Walhalla and Noojee (very large detour), some supplies 7 days ( & restaurant weekends – 3 days) and lots of accommodation at Mt Baw Baw (<5 km off track) www.mountbawbaw.com.au ; winter supplies at Tanjil Bren and accommodation eg the Moosehead Lodge http://www.mooseheadlodge.com.au/ who especially cater for groups. (There are many lovely walks around Tanjil Bren. If you never go anywhere else in the world (or Australia) DO go to Tanjil Bren. It is the most beautiful spot in the world! Take a walk out Saxton Road to Tramway Falls). Obviously there are lots of shopping/hotels in Moe, Warburton etc.

 

Transport: I will also doing a post soon about public transport to the track. For example, there is a regular weekday bus service to Noojee (about halfway – you can walk up to the track from there eg Ridge Road with a detour to Torongo Falls - I WILL do a route soon), http://www.warragulbuslines.com.au/Timetables.htm#4 and a very regular bus service Moe-Yallourn North – Tyers - Traralgon which gets you within an hour of the beginning of the Wirilda Track (saving approx 6.5 hours – the bus driver might be persuaded to stop at the Wirilda turn-off = 1 km; there are not likely to be many folks on it anyway) and obviously there are almost hourly trains/trams to Moe, Warburton and Lilydale. Mountain Top Experience can provide a bus service to/from (eg Moe) to eg Walhalla/Mushroom Rocks Car Park or wherever you want to go (price dependent on group size), for those who might wish to shorten the trip a bit: http://www.mountaintopexperience.com/tours/ They run a ‘regular’ bus service to Mt Baw Baw during the ski season.

 

Accommodation: Mostly I anticipate you will want to camp outdoors but there are many spots along the way which offer paid accommodation, including: Yallourn North, Erica, Walhalla, Rawson, Mushroom Rocks, Caringal, Mt Baw Baw, Tanjil Bren, Noojee…

 

Total Distances (Approximate): Lilydale to Warburton 38km, Warburton to Mt Whitelaw 81.5km, Mt Whitelaw to Walhalla 43.5-49 (?) km, Walhalla to Moe 71 km. Total @ 250 km. Time 10-14 days?

 

See also: http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

 

23/11/2015: Upper Yarra Track: Cumulative distances/Times: One-way only so far (sorry): Moe to Lilydale:

 

 

NB: This is a summary. These are ‘retiree’ walking speeds. The distances are approximate. You may do the trip much faster, but what’s the hurry? Moe-Walhalla will take 2-4 days. If you are young and fit you should be able to ride it on a mountain bike in about a day (approx 70km). There are many other spots you can obtain water or camp. Find them in the detailed track notes (as I add them) NB. You can shorten the trip by catching a bus to Tyers/Yallourn North, or to Noojee, or to Mt Baw Baw (winter only). Recommended App: Avenza Pdf Maps plus the maps below:

 

MAPS: Rooftop’s Walhalla-Woods Point & Yarra Valley-West Gippsland Adventure Maps. 25K Downloadable Vicmaps http://services.land.vic.gov.au/maps/topo30maps.jsp :  Neerim North 25k_T8022-2-N, Noojee North 25k_T8122-3-N, Walhalla North 25k_T8122-2-N & Walhalla South 25k_T8122-2-S Moe North 25k_T 8121-1-N, Moe South 25k_T 8121-1-S plus the Android/Iphone App ‘Avenza Pdf Maps’ from Google Play Store.

 

Maps: Moe South Map T 8121-1-S:

Moe – Yallourn North (Water, Supplies, Camp) : 10 km – 2.5 hours

Yallourn North-Wirilda  (Water, Supplies, Camp): 15 km 3.5-4 hours ( 25 km -5 hours)

Maps: Moe South Map T 8121-1-S to Moe North T8121-1-N

Wirilda – W3 (Water, Camp): 7 km 2.5 hours (32 km - 7.5 hours)

W3 – Moondarra (Water, Camp):  – 7 km 3 hours (39 km - 10 hours)

Moondarra – Jacob’s Creek (Water, Camp): 11 km - 3 hours (50 km - 13 hours)

Maps: Moe North T8121-1-N to Walhalls South T8122-2-S

Jacob’s creek – Erica (Water, Supplies, Camp): 9 km – 2.5 hours (59 km - 15.5 hours)

Erica – Thomson Station (Water): 8 km – 2 hours (67 km - 17.5 hours)

Thomson Station – Walhalla (Water, Supplies, Camp): 4 km – 1 hour (71 km - 18.5 hours)

Walhalla – Poverty Point (Water): 7-8 km – 2-3 hours (79 km - 21 hours)

Poverty Point – O’Shea’s Mill (Water, Camp): 6 km – 2-3 hours (85 km - 24 hours)

O’Shea’s Mill to Mushroom Rocks Car Park (Water): 6-7 km- 2-3 hours (92 km - 27 hours) Walhalla South Map

Mushroom Rocks Car Park to Talbot Peak (Water, Camp): 3 km – 1.5-2 hours (95 km - 29 hours

Maps: Walhalls South T8122-2-S to Walhalla North T8122-2-N

Talbot Peak – Talhousie Glen (Below Mt St Gwinear Track Junction - Water, Camp): 7 km- 2-3  hours (102 km - 32 hours)

Talhousie Glen - Whitelaw’s Hut Site (Water, Camp): 9 km- 3-4 hours (111 km - 36 hours)

Maps: Walhalla North T8122-2-N to Noojee North T8122-3-N

Whitelaw’s Hut – Frangipani Saddle: 7 km - 2 hours (118 km - 38 hours) Add .5 hours to (Water, Camp)

Frangipani saddle - Newlands Rd camp (Water, Camp): 7 km – 2 hours (125 km - 40 hours)

Newlands Rd Camp to Toorongo Link Junction (Water, Camp): 9 km – 2-3 hours (134 km - 43 hours)

Toorongo (Link Junction) – Hill 956 (Falls): 7 km – 2 hours (141 km - 45 hours)

(Falls Return: 4 km – 4 hours)

Hill 956 – Fire Suppression Stream (3 x Water Camp) : 3 km - 1 hour (144 km - 46 hours)

(Fire Suppression Stream to Noojee = Water, Supplies, Camp @ 24 km – 6-8 hours = 54 hours =toMoe/30.5 =to Warburton. I will add intermediate route/water/camp points in to this short-cut later)

Suppression Stream - Mt Horsefall (Camp): 6 km - 2 hours (150 km - 48 hours)

(Mt Horesfall- Penny falls (Water Camp) 1 km - .5 hour each way)

Mt Horsefall - Davis No 2 Mill Site (Water): 4.5 – 1.5 hours ( 154.5 km - 49.5 hours)

Maps: Noojee North T8122-3-N to Neerim North TT8022-2-N:

Davis No 2 Mill Site - 7.5 North Loch Rd– 2 hours (162 km - 51.5 hours) (+1 km each way to (Water, Camp)

Maps: Neerim North TT8022-2-N:

North Loch Rd – Fire Dam (1 Km North of Track 14 near Hill 697 – Water, Camp) 9.5 km – 2.5 – 3 hours (171.5 km - 54.5 hours)

Fire dam –Mc Carthy Spur Track 8 km – 2 hours (179.5 km - 56.5 hours)

McCarthy Spur - Lashos Corner (Water.5 km South) : 6 km - 2 hours (185.5 km - 58.5 hours)

Lashos Corner - Ada Tree (Water, Camp): 5 km -1.5 hours (193.5 km - 60 hours)

Ada Tree – Starlings Gap (Water, Camp): 8 km – 3 hours (201.5 km - 63 hours)

Starlings Gap to Big Pats Picnic Area (Water): 9 km – 3.5 hours (210.5 km - 66.5 hours)

Big Pats Picnic Area – Warburton (Water, Supplies, Camp): 6-7 km – 2 hours (217.5 km - 68.5 hours)

Warburton – Lilydale (Water, Supplies, Camp) 40 km – 10 hours (247.5 km 2 80 hours) See: http://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Lists/Parks-Facilities/Lilydale-to-Warburton-Rail-Trail

 

Old DCNR Brochure (Courtesy Thomas Osburg)

 

 

1907 Map & Instructions:

 

 

Inset Detail:

 

 

The Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail is a great intro to Gippsland hiking. There are no signs at either of its ends! We spent some time yesterday exploring…300 metres East of Moe Railway Station you start on this trail (a little gravel track at the corner of Bennett St & Narracan Drive (50 metres east of that awful roundabout/railway bridge overpass). Why the trail has been allowed to overgrow UNDER that bridge IS a mystery: the old line clearly continues to the station car park, but…Latrobe Shire!). You set foot on it, and suddenly you are in the country (including sheep within 300 metres of Moe railway station). 8.5 km later you exit it amid a park full of ancient pine trees (perhaps even planted by Monash himself, who knows?) close on the Latrobe River bank (campsites) right beneath Yallourn PS’s majestic cooling towers. Cross the river North on the road bridge,  (one possible route – another in the detailed notes) turn East onto the Yallourn-Tyers Rd for a couple of kms, then turn North onto the first gravel road, into the bush! Great views of the valley from the top of the hill. East at the next intersection, then North at the next and you are at Wirilda Park (swimming, camping, toilets) ready to begin the Wirilda Track, five hours along the lazy Tyers River (campsites) - and onwards to Lilydale in @ 10 days time! Next (resupply) stop Erica/Walhalla/Rawson. If you are not going to (quite) make it to Wirilda, on the first day, you can (alternatively) camp at Tom’s Bridge (on the Latrobe). The same would be true if you had begun your journey by walking out of Morwell on Latrobe Rd which starts at the roundabout you can see 200 metres West of the Morwell Railway Station. The shortest route from the Gippsland Rail Line to Wirilda is out of Traralgon on the Tyers Rd. There is a beautiful park (camping not allowed – good luck with that!) on the banks of the Latrobe River just after you cross it (on the West side of the road) called Sandbanks Reserve (ACRES of beautiful mature oaks, no toilets – you could camp under the road bridge out of the rain, and prying eyes). Starting from Traralgon you can avoid the township of Tyers if you wish (and get off the busier main road) cutting off a couple of kms, by turning West into Archbolds Rd, thence North into Littles Lane, then West again into the Tyers-Yallourn North Rd…Again, See Rooftop’s ‘Adventure’ Maps: Yarra Valley-West Gippsland & Walhalla-Woods Point. PS: Yallourn North & Tyers both sell alcohol, groceries and take-away food. There are huge seven day a week supermarkets in Moe, Morwell and Traralgon.

Upper Yarra Track Section One: Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail:

The trail begins...

This lovely @ 8km (2 hour) trail starts @ 200 metres East of Moe Railway Station (just past the two railway bridges you can see from the station) at the corner of Narracan Drive & Bennett St.

Wiltshire Horn ewes and lambs no more than 200 metres from Moe Railway Station.

Within 100 metres you are in another world. On the right are the beautiful Moe Botanic Gardens; on the left a small paddock full of sheep – which is extraordinary.

Moe is a large country town (pop 15,000) a little over 1 hour by train with services approx hourly. You will be able to see a large Woolworths Supermarket on your left as you come up to the railway bridges. The shopping centre has at least one other supermarket and many other shops. The Botanic Gardens nestled along pretty Narracan Creek are worthy of a little exploration before you head off towards Walhalla. Then, on to the rail trail.

Being an old railway line it is obviously dead flat all the way to the Yallourn Power Station on the beautiful Latrobe River. So very easy, pleasant walking. Two retirees can (& did) easily make it to Yallourn North in 2 ½ hours.

Obviously there are toilets and water at the Railway Station before you set out, again in Sullivans Rd halfway to Yallourn PS (signposted), then at the picnic area behind it (signposted on the Yallourn North Rd Bridge crossing), and finally in the main street of Yallourn North.

The sights are varied. Surprisingly for almost the entire length of the walk to the power station you are enclosed in a curtain of native vegetation (of varying width) with abundant wildlife (birdlife especially). There are always some beautiful wildflowers in bloom.

Wattle Bird

Currawong

The concrete foundations of the old railway telegraph poles make excellent seats every 50 metres or so. Just great for a picnic lunch – perhaps a sandwich and a glass of wine bought back before leaving Moe. Here and there park benches are thoughtfully provided as well. The track has distance markers (which can be used as references for making emergency calls). Telstra NextG works fine the full length of this section.

In places the trail is fringed with forest.

Often there are glimpses of distant paddocks or beautiful Lake Narracan.

I see no reason you could not camp along the sides of the track (there are little flat spots here and there a tent could be erected), or along the banks of the Latrobe or in Sir John Monash Reserve. You would have to carry any water needed to them.

At Petit Lane it looks like you could divert and cross the Latrobe River and walk through a patch of bush into Yallourn North (if you did not want to see the magnificent cooling towers). I have not yet checked this route out. After Petits Lane (above) there is the opportunity to divert to the left and walk along the banks of the Latrobe River to Sir John Monash Reserve opposite the awesomely beautiful cooling towers.

The cooling towers are great works of art.

The diversion is worth it, what you are seeing is the lower reaches of Lake Narracan sometimes glimpsed earlier through the trees to the North, but it is also worth backtracking along the ‘proper’ route when you get there a bit and viewing the wonderful towers through the frame of the underneath of the Yallourn North Road Bridge.

Sir John Monash Reserve

From the ancient pines of Sir John Monash Reserve you can continue along 3-400 metres of riverbank track to the Latrobe River bridge. Thence it is an easy 2 km on grassy verges till you come into the township of Yalourn North (Reserve Rd on your left). The town has a café (pm), a small Foodworks supermarket (open every day from @8-9am till 7pm) visible at the end of the street, and a hotel with counter meals about 100 metres up the hill past the supermarket.

Next stop: Wirilda Wildlife Park at the delightful Tyers River Weir…

Announcing The Upper Yarra Cycling Track: Watch this space. As I noticed you could cycle the Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail, the idea also occurred to me that I could complement the Upper Yarra Walking Track with a cycling route which would share much of its route - except perhaps the Wirilda Track and the path along the Baw Baw Plateau and along the Ada and Little Ada valleys. I will give this some more thought, and will indicate it on the maps I will prepare shortly (I promise!) It will be able to share the same camping sites and water points, for example, but would take only 3-4 lovely days, I imagine – or one for the super-fit, I have no doubt!

I will also be doing a post soon about public transport to the track. For example, there is a regular weekday bus service to Noojee (about halfway), http://www.warragulbuslines.com.au/Timetables.htm#4 and obviously there are almost hourly trains/trams to Moe, Warburton and Lilydale. Mountain Top Experience provides a bus service from (eg Moe) to eg Walhalla/Mushroom Rocks Car Park etc, for those who might wish to shorten the trip a bit: http://www.mountaintopexperience.com/tours/

Upper Yarra Track Update: Section Two: Yallourn North to Wirilda Park

 

(@15 km – 3.5-4 hours)

 

 

Latrobe River flats; Yallourn Power Station beyond.

 

Yallourn North nestled in its hills.

 

Latrobe Valley Bus Lines run regularly to Yallourn North and Tyers townships: http://ptv.vic.gov.au/route/view/8366 This can save you nearly a day’s walk if you are pressed for time. Enquire if the bus will stop at Wirilda Park.

Murray Rd

This section is easy going along quiet country lanes with lovely vistas and ample shady spots if you need a roadside rest to enjoy the view. You look out Southwards over the verdant Latrobe Valley towards the beautiful Strzelecki Ranges, a tongue of forest which extends all the way down to Wilsons Promontory.

Looking Back at Yallourn Power Station

 

Australian Paper refinery Maryvale; Strzelecki Ranges Beyond.

 

(There are also many great walks at Wilsons Prom http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/wilsons-promontory-national-park/things-to-do/southern-prom-overnight-hikes and just across the valley is the Grand Strzelecki Track with over 100 kms of trails: http://www.tourismwellington.com.au/balook-tarra-bulga/attractions/item/grand-strzelecki-walking-track .)

 

Loy Yang Power station, Strzelecki Ranges Beyond

 

Once you leave the licenced Foodworks Supermarket, walk up the hill to your West (3/4km) and turn North down Baillie Street. Follow Baillie Street ¾ km till it joins Murray Rd. Turn East. Murray Rd become Saviges Rd.

 

Anderson Creek.

 

¾ km along Murray Rd you cross the very pretty Anderson Creek which is your last water for the next 12.5 km  (3 hours) except for numerous beautiful dams in farmer’s paddocks (beware bulls if you need to jump a fence on a hot day!)

 

When you reach Saviges Rd’s intersection with Quarry Rd after 2.5 km, turn North and follow it (1.5 km) to Manuels Rd where you head East.

 

 

Follow Manuels Rd (ignoring three turns to the North) to Barbour Rd (2.5 km) which (after 3.5 km) becomes Clarkes Rd. Follow this 1.75 km until you see the turn North to Wirilda Park just before you get to the Tyers River.

 

 

From there it is about ¾ km to lovely shady flat campsites along the river near the weir (great swimming hole in hot weather). Toilets, seats and water available. The Wirilda Track begins here and is clearly signposted next to the Morwell Pumping Station building.

 

Above & Below: Wirilda park - a lovely spot to camp.

 

 

You may happen to stay a few days at Wirilda: there are innumerable bush tracks and swimming holes to explore. The river abounds with trout, blackfish, spinyback crays (and unfortunately European carp) so a fishing licence is recommended.

 

Above & Below: Tyers River at Wirilda.

 

 

It is 4.5 km walk East in to the township of Tyers along the main tar road (Brown Coalmine Rd on the map - follow the river downstream 3/4 km till you reach it). Tyers has toilets, water, a licenced general store with hot food and yummy cakes! You can replenish your supplies here. It is approx 1 ½ - 2 days to Erica where you can again purchase food, liquor etc in the main street. After Erica supplies (and liquor) can be bought at Rawson and Walhalla. The Rawson General Store is in the shopping centre in the main street. The hotel however is in the caravan park.  All the shops in Walhalla are in the main street. The Coopers Creek Hotel closed unfortunately in 2007. It was a great ‘watering hole’ between Erica and Walhalla on a hot day!

 

Weir at Wirilda - a great swimming hole.

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

 

Upper Yarra Track Update: Section Three: Wirilda to Moondarra

 

(@15 km – 6 hours) The track follows the true right bank (ie facing downstream) of the Tyers river until it crosses on an old pipeline. There are numerous spots where you could stop for a picnic, overnight or for a fish.

 

There are many beautiful wildflowers.

 

I usually don't like dogwood, but it has its beauties...

 

The impressive cliffs below Peterson’s lookout are a feature. Birdlife, wildlife and wild flowers abound. There are a number of side tracks which can be explored. Keep your eye out for signs of the old pipelines one of which was made of wood!

Old wooden water supply pipe.

 

Parks Victoria reckon this section to be 18 km and to take 5-7 hours (see brochure) http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/315766/Park-note-Tyers-Park.pdf

Giant Tor along the way: wouldn't have want to be around when the Titans were playing marbles with these guys!

 

 

Pipeline crossing just South of w3 track.

 

Park notes: ‘The open forests are dominated by Yertchuk and Silvertop, with an understorey of wattles, tea trees, sedges and grasses. Along the ridges, an open forest of Silvertop and an understorey of Variable Sallow Wattle, Prickly Tea-tree, Bushy Needlewood and Common Heath flourish. Red Box and Apple Box thrive on the steep rocky slopes neighbouring Tyers Gorge. The park hosts over 30 species of orchid and a number of rare plants. Colourful wildflowers in spring feature Correas, Bush peas, Guineaflowers and wattles. Birdlife is found in abundance including Superb Lyrebirds, Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, Rose Robins, Thornbills, Boobook Owls and Peregrine Falcons. Gippsland Water Dragons can often be seen basking in the sun on rocks along the Tyers River. The park is also home to the Common Wombat, Swamp Wallaby, Common Ringtail Possum, Sugar Glider, Short-beaked Echidna and Brown Antechinus.’

 

Figure 1Old lime kilns on W3 track.

 

Frequent glimpses of the river.

 

Rock face just right for climbing.

 

It is approximately 2- 2.5 hours to two splendid camps on the W3 track. The first may need you to carry water 15 minutes from the pipeline crossing point (sometimes just under water) just below the W3. At the second camp where the old limestone kilns and some ancient apple trees can still be seen, water can easily be obtained from the river (100 metres). The cliff face opposite the kilns is popular for rock climbing practice. Don’t! An alternative more private camp can be found earlier by turning towards and passing through the locked gate when you hit the W3 track, approx a further 1km along past it. Water is available from the river. There are many miles of locked roads in the Tyers State Park which you can walk along. This one will take you across a bridge over the Tyers, past Connan Scout camp (water) and link up again with the W12 track.

 

It is a lovely little river.

 

So many pretty stretches.

 

The track descends from the W3 to Whites creek (water) then contours through fern groves until it meets a 4WD track which joins the W12. You follow the W12 downhill to the river. There is a camp 45 minutes along the track from the W3 just off the W12 track .5 km South of the bridge Just before you get to it you may notice another old picturesque water supply weir in the river.  From the W12 track it is approx 2 hours to the W18 track (Moondarra).

The river is canoeable, but some places you can get stuck.

 

The river is canoeable for a very long way…You can probably start at Christmas Creek on the Western Tyers (certainly just below Growler’s Track - I have) and canoe all the way to Wirilda. Many days. Unfortunately there are many logs and other obstacles you will have to contend with. If these were cleared it would be a wonderful trip. Clearly you can put in at the W3 track (4-5 hours paddling) or the W12 track (better to take two days) exiting at Wirilda. The river is suitable for packrafting due to the many walking/cycling tracks which give access.

A diverse range of different trees.

 

 

Camping on the many sandbars is an option.

 

 

 

The trout were rising here: fresh fish for supper!

 

After you leave the W12 the track crosses a minor stream (water) then zig zags upwards away from the river until it meets a 4WD track (the W18.2) which it follows for about a km, then it descends fairly steeply to the river once more. The track follows the river for the last kilometre or so and is mostly only 10-20 metres from it. You can be looking out for a spot along here to put up a small tent (even in the middle of the track would be fine); lots of spots. You can camp just before the Moondarra end of the track., just before the spillway viewing area (keep an eye out for it) , or near the bridge over the small stream about 200 metres from the W18 Track. The next good camp with water is about 3 hours further on…

 

Spillway from viewing area approx 300 metres from the end of this section.

 

View downstream from spillway.

 

When you come out onto the W18 track (which crosses the dam wall .5 km to your West – great views of the lake) you can also walk up to the gardens and recreation grounds a further 1 km beyond the dam viewing area where there is water and toilets and lot of mown grassy flats, as there is below the dam wall as well.

Moondarra end of the track within site of the railing of the bridge across the spillway.

 

This lovely stream: Last chance to camp.

 

The Vic map for this section is Moe North: T8121-1-N

 

See also: http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

 

Upper Yarra Track: Section Four: Moondarra to Erica:

 

20 km - 5.5 hours

 

Lake Moondarra

 

When you come to the end of the walking track, our walk continues on East along the W18 through beautiful serene forest. The first suitable campsite, a really beautiful spot with water is when the trail crosses Jacob’s Creek on the Old Traralgon ‘Road’.

 

It is about 11 km and 3 hours easy walking away. Follow the W 18 East 1.5 kms. You will see an old (closed) bush track exiting North. This loops back onto the W18 about 1km further along. It can be taken to provide scenic views of the dam, and a quieter walk (though the W18 track is never busy). It adds about 1.5 km to the trip. You could possibly camp along it and scramble down to the lake for water, but it is a fair way.

 

Gardens at Lake Moondarra.

Otherwise you walk along the W18 for approx 3.5 km to just before the tar road (1-200 metres). You will see a motorcycle track join the W18 from the South and exit it to the North where it has more the appearance of a dirt road. This motorcycle track parallels the main road (about 100 metres inside the bush) all the way to the Old Traralgon Road and should be taken for a shorter, quieter walk. There are a number of spots where it crosses dirt tracks running roughly East-West.

 

 

If you are short of water you can take one of these and go out on to the main road (also not busy) as there are fire dams along it (at least ten of them!) every .5 km or so; the last being just after your turn-off at ‘Conference Corner’, where you would turn to go to Cowwarr Weir and Brunton’s Bridge if you were heading that way. Each of these dams is set back 20-30 metres from the main road and surrounded by a grassy flat. I imagine you could find somewhere along here to camp if you needed to.

 

 

It is approximately 5 km to the W2 Track or ‘Old Traralgon Road’ which runs to the West. Following the W2 2.5 km to the West you will come to the delightful campsite at Jacob’s Creek amid majestic gums where you may catch a trout or a cray during you stay.

Jacob’s Creek to Erica: 9 km (2.5  hours) No water until you get to Erica.

Jacob's Creek.

 

Leaving this camp continue West on the Old Traralgon Road 1.5 km until you come to the Old Coach Rd then turn North. Follow it 1.5 km until you come to Bluff (or Jacob’s Creek Rd) and turn West. If you are thirsty you can walk east on Bluff  Rd about 200 metres for a drink to where it crosses Jacob’s Creek. A further 2 km West brings you out on to the main Moe-Erica Rd. You can walk along the power line track (North) just before it. The gravel road (an old railway easement) which parallels the main Rd criss-crosses it, (eg at Collins Siding - where the houses are at the Carringal or Tyers Junction turn-off (1.5 km) It is about 2.5 km from this turnoff in to Erica.

 

Jacob’s Creek Rd

 

As you come in to Erica there is a Hotel (which serves excellent meals) on the West side of the street and a Caravan Park/ camp ground opposite on the East side, just behind the recreation grounds (public toilets, water). The General Store is about .5 km further North up the street. The Erica-Walhalla Rail Trail begins at the end of the laneway (.5 km) on the North side of the caravan park. It is well signposted and marked. You can easily follow it all the way in to Walhalla (approx 12 km – 4 hours). You could drive a vehicle along it, but you may not.

 

Remnants of the old railway line in Erica.

 

The Erica Walhalla Rail Trail Begins: Only `12 km to go!

 

The Vicmaps for this section are Moe North T8121-1-N and Walhalla South T8122-2-S

 

See also: http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

 

Upper Yarra Track Sidetrip: Horseshoe Tunnel/Coopers Creek

 

Only a bit over a km from Platina Station on the walk from Erica to Walhalla you can take this lovely walk down to the historic Horseshoe Tunnel. The tunnel was created over a century ago to divert the river so the dry river bed could be sluiced for gold. The sidetrip takes about 1.5 hours (or several days if you decide to camp out!) This early section is fringed with wild cherries. Seats are provided at strategic intervals for the weary traveler.

The track passes through a beautiful fern gully as it zig zags down the hill to the river.

There is some good timber along the way.

At the bottom there is this delightful picnic table and informative signs. You could easily camp right here. There is a fireplace as well.

You can see the river exiting from the tunnel if you stand on the table – as I did for this shot.

Close up it looks much fiercer.

You walk alpong the dry river bed to the inlet.

As usual Spot leads the way. Plenty of places you could camp along here.

The track is fringed with lots of wild mint which casts up a delightful aromatic fragrance – another memento of the pioneer women of yesteryear.

You would not want to accidentally fall into the inlet. You would be pretty sore and sorry by the time you came out the other side – if you lived to tell the tale at all! Apparently on the day it opened the builder, his wife and children were swept through it – and they survived!

There is a beautiful beach both at the inlet and the exit – lovely places for a swim on a hot day.

Spot and Tiny were more interested in lunch than in the tunnel – background.

This shaggy local barely noticed us as we passed.

Coopers Creek is also only a couple of km from Platina Station. Excellent canoeing and swimming.

And extensive camping opportunities (with toilet facilities).

The Vicmap for this section is Walhalla South T8122-2-S

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

Mobile Phone works beautifully until you plunge downhill towards the Thomson River. SMS may still work. You will come back into mobile range after you leave Walhalla and begin the climb up from the Thomson River after the Poverty Point bridge.

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-five-erica-to-walhalla/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

Upper Yarra Track: Section Five: Erica to Walhalla:

 

12 km – @ 4 hours.

 

It is 2 km (a bit over half an hour) along the rail trail to the Tyers-Rawson Road or Knotts Siding. The trail exits right at the Walhalla turn-off. There is an information board opposite. It is very easy walking having been an old railway line. It is about 7 km (1.5-2 hours) from there to Thomson Station where you can catch a train sometimes into Walhalla. The times are on the noticeboard: Wed, Sat, Sun Public & Xmas school holidays about three times a day. It costs $15-20, but you may be lucky: http://www.walhallarail.com.au/index.php?EXP=697

 

 

Half way (3 km) along the trail (Platina Station – shelter hut) you can turn off and drop down (2 km) to Coopers creek on the Thomson where there is a popular camp ground (toilets, water). The hotel there is now (unfortunately) closed.

 

From Platina Station you can also take an (approx ½ hour each way) excursion to the ‘Horseshoe Tunnel’ (http://www.visitbawbaw.com.au/walking-cycling/horseshoe-bend-tunnel) a river diversion put in during the early C20th to extract gold from the stream bed (Toilets, water, camp). The whole river was intended to flow through, it thus granting access to any alluvial gold in the river bed.

 

From Thomson Station to Walhalla Station along the rail trail (watch out for trains!) is about 4 km (1 hour). Walking is not allowed on the railway line. You can walk along the ‘Alpine Walking Track’ what used to be (part of) the Poverty Point Tramline (as we did), or the Mormon Town Track& Telecom Tracks or along the main road. Both start on the true left bank immediately you cross the bridge across the Thomson. There is a trail on either side of the river upstream of the Thomson road bridge. The one on the West bank can be used to access the township of Rawson just  couple of kms away (store, hotel – weekends, accommodation etc) , or you may use it if you are avoiding Walhalla and/or walking across the Baw Baw Plateau (in the winter) perhaps. See Winter Route.

 

The trail passes though some magnificent timber (huge mountain ash, vast tree ferns, etc – with magnificent views down to the mighty Thomson River. The trail passes a magnificent dam ten minutes out of Erica. There is also water at Micah Creek between Knotts Siding and Platina (scramble down the gully on the uphill side). You could camp there on the side of the track – as with many spots long the track. Between Thomson Station and Walhalla the track crosses two side gullies which often have water. The trail is wide enough to set up a tent whilst still allowing others to pass. There are few walkers. Lots of people used to camp on the ‘beach’ at the bottom of Stringers Gully (opposite Thomson Bridge/Station ie East bank). You would have to scramble down off the main road after you had crossed the bridge as they seem to have removed the vehicle track…

 

The township of Walhalla (General Store, Hotel, camp ground, accommodation, etc) is a further 1 km (15 minutes) North from the railway Station up the main street. The Upper Yarra and Alpine Walking Tracks start/end opposite the General Store & Post Office where you will see a huge set of stairs ascending the mountain towards the Long Tunnel Mine. The tracks are not signposted at the main road (mysteriously) but there are signs about 100 metres up the hill, though none mention the Upper Yarra Track! Walhalla seems to be suffering from a fit of amnesia regarding this iconic track, so important to its existence for so long!

 

There is plenty to see and explore in and around Walhalla. You may want to spend a few days thereabouts. If you have never been there before you are going to be astonished by the beauty (and history) of this quaint old gold mining town nestled in the deep valley of Stringers Creek. Take a look at the cemetery and cricket ground. Maybe do a tour of the Long Tunnel mine. Most of the buildings are authentic mid C19th. Heading out of Walhalla you can divert via Rawson to pick up additional supplies if needed before you tackle the beautiful and awesome Baw Baw Plateau. For example, a side trip via Happy-Go-Lucky to Bruntons Bridge (water, toilets camps) is highly recommended.

 

The Thomson River is a wonderful canoeing experience (beginning at the Thomson dam outfall). It is 3-4 days of delightful white water interspersed with serene long pools and many campsites before you reach Cowwarr Weir. A day from the dam to the Thomson Bridge. Half a day from Thomson Bridge to Coopers Creek. The section between the Thomson Bridge and Coopers Creek contains a river diversion known as the Horseshoe Tunnel which is not canoeable, requiring a portage of over 1 km (there is a track - easy if you are packrafting!) From Coopers Creek to Bruntons is about half a day, another two days from Bruntons on. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoeing-the-thomson-river-gippsland-victoria/ & http://www.theultralighthiker.com/videos/thomson-river-canoe-trip-2006-complete/ (one hour video)

 

The trail begins just as you enter Erica on the East side of the road opposite the hotel next to a shelter, convenience stop and caravan park and these mementoes of the region's logging history.

Right on the outskirts of Erica the trail plunges from lush green paddocks replete with fat kine into the enfolding forest.

Minutes out of Erica a lovely dam makes for a refreshing rest stop.

Straightaway you plunge into magnificent mountain ash country: this species is the tallest tree/plant in the world.

The trail is in wonderful condition.

As always the Jack Russels Spot and Tiny lead the way.

Through beautiful tree fern tunnels.

Along the way a very late summer foxglove in a shady nook is a touching reminder of the C19th goldfields women who followed their menfolk to the ends of the earth.

After about 40 minutes the track crosses the Tyers-Rawson Rd to this information point, formally Knotts Siding.

Once again you are plunged into magnificent ash and tree fern. As we were walking this section we heard a sound like a cannonade as one of these giants crashed unexpectedly to the ground. This happens often over summer. Gums are ‘self-pruning’ – a dangerous habit should you be foolish enough to camp underneath one!

The track is wide enough most of its length that two can walk abreast.

After Micah Creek (water, camp) Platina Station marks the turn off for Coopers Creek campground a couple of kilometres away and/or the Horseshoe Tunnel.

The Horseshoe Tunnel diversion track below: as you can see an easy portage if you are packrafting the Thomson.

There are many glimpses of the mighty Thomson River through a screen of trees.

It is a lovely wide well-graded track: easy walking. Spot, as usual is out in front.

Many mementoes of the old Moe-Walhalla line along the way. A fallen bridge.

Abandoned railway tracks.

Road and rail bridges span the river at Thomson Station. You can see from their height how far this river can rise.

The Thomson is a beautiful river to canoe: view upstream from the Thomson road bridge towards the dam (starting point).

After crossing the Thomson, the Mormon Town track on a dry ridge marks a change in vegetation to peppermint gums.

The Australian bush is always a riot of wildlowers. Indeed very few places offer the bewildering array of species you find all about you here.

Native Bugle flower.

Native trigger flower: a carnivorous variety.

This is a wild cherry. It is a parasitic plant with an edible fruit (hence the name). It is only one of two trees in the world which bears its nuts outside its fruit (hence ‘exocarpus’), the other being the pecan.

The Poverty Point tramline was in many places hacked out of a near vertical hillside. The main road is about fifty metres below - straight down!

Early glimpses of Walhalla through the trees: below the new 'Visitor's Centre'.

Early settlers could not quite believe Australian Eucalypts, a dominant genera in today's landscape as they kept their leaves whilst shedding their bark. Another annoying habit they have is turning their leaves to avoid the sun, thus casting little shade on a hot day.

 

There are some majestic examples in the wetter gullies. Hard to believe that a hundred years ago there was not s single tree growing within thirty kilometres of Walhalla - so great was its voracious appetite for wood! They are quite quick growing. Trees which sprang up from seeds after the 1939 fires had trunks which made a single semi-trailer load a mere fifty years later.

Spot really enjoys a walk. He is way ahead of Della here.

The road goes ever on and on...That is bark on the track, though we did see a small snake and a water dragon at the river crossing – and at least fifty species of birds!

Someone had removed one of the forbidden things on the sign. Tiny cannot believe it was 'dogs'. We saw indications that both horses and pushbikes have also ‘strayed’ onto this lovely track. Someday no doubt such misdeeds will be a capital offence! Or forgotten quite.

At trail's end Walhalla lies nestled in the valley of Stringers Creek. The General Store is centre; the old Post Office on the right. The staircase on the far left marks the beginning/end of the trail.

See also:

The Vicmap for this section is Walhalla South T8122-2-S

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

Mobile Phone works beautifully until you plunge downhill towards the Thomson River. SMS may still work. You will come back into mobile range after you leave Walhalla and begin the climb up from the Thomson River after the Poverty Point bridge.

The Upper Yarra Track: Walhalla to Warburton:

 

from John Siseman’s  ‘Australian Alps Walking Track’

 

14/03/2016: Upper Yarra Track Side Trip: Poverty Point: From the Thomson River Bridge/s (‘Thomson Station’) you can walk a lovely 8 km circuit up along the West bank of the river then down along the East bank. If I were walking the entire UYT I would come down to Thomson Station as soon as it joined the Mormon Town Track and walk up the West bank as it is far more beautiful, and would otherwise be missed – as would the two excellent campsites to be found along it. The first only about 200 metres from the main roads is large enough for several caravans (there was a 25’ one parked there as we walked by). The second campsite is on a large flat along the river about 300 metres below the Poverty Point Bridge – there is a track down to it. The track also crosses two small creeks on each side of the river which would provide a campsite on a flat section of the track (if you can get your tent pegs in).

Within 100 yards of the main road you start to see these beautiful fern gullies. You cross Jack Creek and take the walking track to the right (signposted).

Both tracks follow the routes of old timber tramlines so they are delightful easy going. A Jack Russell like Spot can really tear along them!

Here he comes again!

The track on the West side provides splendid views of the beautiful Thomson River - which provides wonderful canoeing opportunities when the river heights are right. See http://www.theultralighthiker.com/canoeing-the-thomson-river-gippsland-victoria/ and this video: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/videos/thomson-river-canoe-trip-2006-complete/

There are plenty of cool, shady areas to stop and rest. Soon you come to the second stream:

 

'By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,

And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling’ Bellbirds, Henry Kendall: http://www.mountainman.com.au/kendall.html

You can dimly glimpse the waterfall above the last photo.

 

After about 1.5 hours the Poverty Point Bridge looms in sight.

 

 

 

Unbelievably the bridge was constructed (prefabricated) in England in 1900 and shipped out to this remote place.

 

View downstream from the bridge: you can just make out the flat in the river mentioned earlier where you can camp.

Tiny is 16 but still enjoys a long walk (and a cool puddle). This is a stream on the east bank. She is looking up to a bench where once a timber getter's house stood. They had cellars under their bark huts for milk/cheese (from their goats) and pocket handkerchief vegie gardens up along the streams. Saturday nights they would walk (10 km) into Walhalla to socialise. In the past people had to ‘make do’. They raised a nation of strong, independent people.

Maps for this section:

Walhalla South T8122-2-S  and Avenza Pdf App.

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-five-erica-to-walhalla/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-seven-mushroom-rocks-carpark-to-phillack-saddle/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-nine-phillack-saddle-to-block-10-road/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-ada-tree-to-big-pats-creek/

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route & Side Trips:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-st-gwinear-track-junction-to-whitelaws-hut/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-glamping-baw-baw-overnight-hike/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-side-trip-poverty-point/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-sidetrip-horseshoe-tunnelcoopers-creek/

30/11/2015: Upper Yarra Track: O’Shea’s Mill: Now (also) called East Tyers Campground I see. This is the first major stop after you leave Walhalla (12.5km away), some of them fairly steep. As you can see it is where the Alpine/Upper Yarra Walking Track crosses the East Tyers River. Campsites, Water, Toilet available. You could have dropped by Rawson on the way here for supplies. It is also where you would turn off for the Winter Route to avoid snow/cold dangers on the Baw Baw Plateau if you had not turned off at Collins siding just before Erica. Several possible routes allow you to walk to Caringal (Tyers Junction) or Western Tyers. We chose Finns Track today, a very pleasant quiet bush track on a good grade through mostly peppermint gums. I have not yet checked out the East Tyers Walking Track. The Caringal caretaker ‘thought’ it was open still, but he was less well-informed about the Western Tyers Walking Track (which we found is NOT). It would descend along the river through beautiful fern gullies and mountain ash. It certainly exists at Caringal, but whether it still goes all the way to Monettes is not yet known. At Caringal Scout Camp there is camping for $12/night (with hot showers! And some other facilities eg Mess Hut, toilets, phone etc). It is a very beautiful spot amid giant mountain ash where the two branches of the Tyers River join.

O'Shea's Mill Camp Site.

Even a picnic table in a sunny clearing.

DSCN0774 comp

Lots of grassy flat spots to pitch a tent.

Mountain Ash grow quickly. This one easily 2-2.5 metres diameter at the base is likely younger than me!

Pristine water from the East Tyers River.

Or a waterfall.

 

Australian Alps Walking Track near Talbot Peak camp.

Australian Alps Walking Track near Mushroom Rocks car park.

Australian Alps Walking Track near Mushroom Rocks.

 

09/01/2014: Ah, the rush to publish…Della has beaten me hands down on this one – I blame a nasty episode of Meniere’s: Foxbaits laid on our intended route, we ventured instead into the Baw Baw Nat Park (of course not telling the dogs; they were doing anything wrong – you wouldn’t want to fill them with guilt; they were enjoying themselves too much). I used to hunt over that whole area with hounds before it was declared a Nat Park (in 1983?) and indeed until we were ourselves hunted out of there by police in helicopters one Queen’s Birthday weekend in the mid 80’s! Della was there then too. There is still a hunter’s hut no more than a km from the Mushroom rocks (NOT the scout hut!) where once I warmed Della’s frozen feet on a snowy morn about five years ago. This is sometimes called the NBW Hut’. I have been wanting to take Della on the full Warburton to Walhalla walk (four days (?) – and GREAT in hot weather because temp drops by @1C per 100 metres elevation). I think I may persuade her now. We walked past the Mushroom Rocks, climbed Mt Erica and went on to the ruins of the Talbot Hut and the extraordinary stream nearby right on the top of the mountain. There are many such streams right across the Baw Baw plateau so that water is never a problem. Beautiful clear, & icy-cold too. The plateau is well-named as there are @ two days of quite flat walking from Mt Erica on until you begin your descent after Mt Whitelaw amid beautiful snow gums and other interesting alpine veg such as prostrate conifers and many mountain flowers. It is about 1 ½ hours walk from the Mushroom Rocks car park (toilet, water) to Talbot Peak (water/camp) via Mushroom Rocks ½ hour (rock bivy, water, camp, accommodation). There is a much smaller rock bivy at the track turn off to Mt St Gwinear (suitable only for 1-2 folk). From this corner (due North) you can see where most people camp just below the falls. You can reach the NBW Hut by walking past the Mushroom Rocks then following the ridge down from a large rock outcrop on your right (facing West)keeping to the true right bank (facing downstream) of the stream (the delightfully named ‘Rum Creek – though it tasted just like water to me!) You may see a small clearing on your map (Walhalla South) just across the creek about ¾ km NW of Mushroom Rocks. The hut is just downstream of that clearing on the North bank. You could camp in it. There is a fireplace and water from the creek. Don’t go off track if you don’t have the necessary navigation skills to find your way back.

Talbot Peak: where this stream on the top of the mountain comes from is a mystery...

 

23/02/2016: Upper Yarra Track Section Seven: Mushroom Rocks Carpark to Phillack Saddle:

This is a beautiful easy section comprising widely varying vegetation and topography, the spectacular ‘Mushroom Rocks’, the ruin of the Talbot Peak hut, Mt St Phillack, the highest point on the Baw Baws, and a delightful camp at Phillack Saddle. Side trips can be taken to Mt St Gwinear and Baw Baw Alpine Village.

It is about 20 minutes walk from the car park (toilets, water, scenic side-trip) to the Mushroom Rocks where there is scout hut accommodation if you have arranged it. It is another hour to Talbot Peak hut site (each way). From there it is about 2.5 hours to the St Gwinear turn-off and about another half hour to the Phillack Saddle and and the Baw Baw turn-off and a further 1-1.5 hours to the Baw Baw Village. Say about 5.5 hours from the car park to the Village each way. You can stay at the village, even have a meal, so you could do this walk overnight with just day packs.

Some parts of the track are even board-walked. You won’t get your shoes dirty as far as Mushroom Rocks at least.

Lots of lovely smells to interest the dogs who wondered which generation (of dogs) was this all being 'saved' for. Well, this one apparently!

Mushroom rocks shelter, There is another (one person) at the St Gwinear turn-off.

You can see why they are named 'mushroom rocks'.

These alpine meadows are delightful.

There is a small steepish section.

Water often collects in hollows in rocks or weeps out from underneath them. Tiny slakes her thirst.

Mt Erica summit.

Suddenly you break out into an entirely different landscape.

The dogs were as puzzled as we were by where the stream at Talbot Peak was flowing from!

Remains of the old Talbot Peak hut, quite a pleasant campsite with a delightful mountain stream nearby.

An old sign at Talbot Peak still in miles! Signage used to be better in the past – usually reflective so you could even find your way in the dark as well you might need to in an area which can be beset by blizzard conditions at any time of the year!

 

The plateau is easy walking. Surprisingly flat, in fact.

The path is wide and well maintained. Many places two can walk abreast.

Here and there are small clearings inviting solitary camps if you have thought to carry enough water from the last supply.

Huge granite boulders are common all over the plateau. It would not have been so pleasant on the day they were falling from the sky!

In many places the terrain and vegetation are clearly windswept. It us a good walk to carry a few extra tent pegs.

There are many lovely scenes to greet the eye.

As you cross the plateau you get only occasional glimpses of what would be a magnificent view if only they would cut all the wretched trees down!

 

One wet night I camped right across the track in my hammock. It rained during the night turning the track into a stream 150mm deep. Yet I stayed dry – one of the advantages of hammock camping. During the night it was so humid that a light rain fell under my hammock tarp. The DWR on my sleeping bag handled it fine.

Mt St Gwinear track intersection looking towards Mt St Gwinear.

View towards Mt St Gwinear from the track intersection. Water can be obtained from the North Cascade Creek below.

Mt St Phillack (cairn) the highest point on the plateau.

Phillack Saddle just before the turn-off to Baw Baw is a fine place for an overnight camp. Water on the South side.

This is the real turn-off to Baw Baw a hundred metres or so past Phillack Saddle heading West. The old track exited right at the saddle but is unmaintained and well-nigh impassable today (though scenic). Whereas it takes about 1.5 hours to walk across the new route it takes twice as long on the old.

PS: My thanks to Gerard White for some of the preceding photos.

Telstra NextG mobile phone works most places across the Plateau.

Maps for this section:

Mostly Walhalla North T8122-2-N and part of WalhallaSouth T8122-2-S and Avenza Pdf App.

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-five-erica-to-walhalla/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-st-gwinear-track-junction-to-whitelaws-hut/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

24/02/2016: Upper Yarra Track Sidetrip: Baw Baw to Mt St Phillack:

 

What a way to escape the heat! Others may flock to the beach. We give our hearts to the mountains. Mt Baw Baw was to be 8C cooler than home (with no power) and with a delightful cooling 30 kph breeze. When we left our car at the bottom of Candleheath Drive (Go down Frosti Lane next to the shop until you come to the sign for Mueller’s Track) it was a balmy 24C with a cool breeze blowing. So suck eggs!

 

Take Mueller’s track. Just cross this magic bridge – watch out for trolls!

Once more into the bush dear friends!

Jackie Winters are as common as sparrows up there.

So are native snowdrops! Follow Mueller’s Track. Take every turn to the left until you come to here:

The turnoff to the new (St Gwinear) track near Baragwanath Flat (where the old track also exits – don’t take that!) is impossible to miss. On the way back take every turn to the right. Mt Baw Baw is a maze of tracks. You can wander round in circles for hours! It is very lovely though! The track follows a ridge but crosses two gullies – so water every km.

This one is West Tanjil Creek.

Time for Tiny to have a bath.

A host of golden everlasting daisies - so much better than those fleeting daffodils!

Spot races ahead, then races back. I was calling him back for fear of snakes. We saw none, but there were innumerable very fat skinks. They must store it against the winter cold.

He leaps on a giant tor having similar (lichen) spots to himself.

The intersection with the Alps & Upper Yarra Tracks. ‘This is the way we went last week’, says Spot.

Here we are again at Phillack Saddle (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-nine-phillack-saddle-to-block-10-road/ ) Such a delightful place to camp. You can read the track distances if you zoom in (double click). Are we staying again, the dogs want to know. Not this trip.

 
‘To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower’ (Blake)

 

Wonder too at these amazing miniature native violets! The tip of my hiking pole for comparison.

This snow gum has loved this stone ever so long...

And this one galled by man's cruel sign - anthropomorphism is fun, but do not seek truth that way!

At last (after 1.5 hours) Mt St Phillack: Spotty barked several times at the cairn. His opinion is cairns ought not to be there - but Jack Russells...they can go anywhere!

This is a walk you might do on a summer trip to Mt Baw Baw. There is plenty of accommodation – even a restaurant: https://mountbawbaw.com.au/

 

07/02/2016: Della: Steve and I, with Tiny and Spot, spent the last 2 days walking over the Baw Baw Plateau from Baw Baw across to Newlands Road on the Upper Yarra Walking Track. It was a delightful walk and we selected good weather for it (which is needed!). One section on the first day was particularly hard-going, and only on the second day did we discover that we had taken an old, heavily overgrown route to Phillack saddle instead of the (apparently!) new route which now exists. Computer maps are not always up to date! It was beautiful, but daunting. We will return to try out the new route another time! The second day's walk from Phillack Saddle to Newlands Road was lovely and good walking, apart from the last couple of kilometres where the track was overgrown with seasonal weeds. A beautiful trip overall!

Mueller's cairn, Baw Baw summit. Leaping dogs!

Baw Baw, Mueller's Lookout. Love the bearded fence!

Old (wrong) Baw Baw to Phillack Saddle track. The track is well below the chest height of the vegetation.


But even wrong tracks have their bonuses. This is indeed a splendid vista. Freeman's Flat.

Phillack Saddle: first night's camp. Dogs being helpful. Tiny went to bed before the tent was up!

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Tiny and me warm in in our tent.

Mount Whitelaw hut ruin. Lunch, day 2.

Love this pic that Steve took! He was going to snap this fairly mundane rock when the 2 dogs leapt on top and made the picture a winner!

Great scenery. Spot leaping ahead.

Spot leading the way.

Mobile Phone works most places along the top of the Baw Baw Plateau.

Vicmaps: Walhalla North T8122-2-N & Noojee North T 8122-3-N

WARNING: The Vicmaps incorrectly locate the trail from Baw Baw to St Gwinear as coming off the 'Village Trail' at Baragwanath Flat: This is the old trail which is well-nigh impassable (though we did!). The new (well-maintained) trail begins a little west of there and exits onto the Alps Walking Track West of St Phillack Saddle (where there is an excellent campsite with water), not right at the saddle as does the old trail. Warning 2: Trails down from the Alps Walking Trail to Newlands Road: there is only one trail, not two as shown on the Vicmaps. It is an old gently sloping forestry road approx 7 metres wide. In places it is a little overgrown (mostly with annual weeds), but easy to follow. I marked it with coloured tape every half a km or so. The beautiful 3 km down to Newlands Rd will likely take you 1.5-2 hours. NOTE: There is a good camp with water on this old road as it crosses the diminutive Thomson River (here just a brook) about .5 km off the main Alps Trail. After hitting Newlands Rd you can camp on the side of the road every time it crosses the river or is near enough to the river for water (lots). About a km before the end of Newlands Rd after the last Thomson River crossing (with its 'No Camping' sign - ignore), there is a track off to the North which leads to a beautiful dam about half a km away full of trout with delightful campsites. This is the last good campsite with water before you get to Toorongo (Link Rd)

23/02/2016: Upper Yarra Track Section Eight: Phillack Saddle to Block 10 Road:

What a lovely section of track! The high country has so much beauty, so many surprises. Phillack Saddle is a wonderful spot to camp on lawns tended by nature’s gardeners amid the alpine heath. There is beautiful clear water just off the saddle and a lovely stream (below) at Freeemans Flat. It will be about 7.5 hours to our car at the Block 10 Road – if we make it!

Phillack Saddle

Freemans Flat

 

100 yards after Phillack Saddle you come to the new track across to Baw Baw

Spot helped put up the Zpacks Solo Plus tent whilst Tiny rested.

Della and Tiny went to bed early. They are old girls!

The new Maratac torch makes a great lantern: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/mini-super-torch-a-weeks-light-weighs-50-grams/

Tiny was tired out. She is 16 1/2.

There are other lovely spots to camp along the way but no water until Whitelaws Hut and then .5 km after  the Upper Yarra turn-off.  After two hours you reach the Whitelaw Hut site (water to the North). Another hour brings you out onto the old forest road up from Newlands which you will follow. Half an hour along it you come to the intersection. It is only @3km down to Newlands Rd but the road is overgrown with seasonal weeds which will slow you down. 1.5-2 hours for this section, then about 2.5 to the Block 10 Road.

The dogs demonstrate: 'High Point'.

There are many friendly critters along the way: fantail.

'Hurry Up' says Spot.

We are always too slow for him. He is only 3!

Here we are for lunch at Whitelaws Hut. There are plenty of camps here.

Tiny helped hreself to a muesli bar from my pack when I wasn't looking. Chewy!

Many beautiful flowers adorn the path.

And interesting denizens: this was the fattest skink I have ever seen. Must have been nearly 1" in diameter but only 6" long!

An hour after Whitelaws Hut you hit an old road - which shou;ld be kept clear for emergencies and park maintenance in my opinion, but it is neglected.

You can easily walk abreast along here.

This is the turnoff. Turn downhill, South. Parks have stuffed a hopeless map between the timbers. That is the sum total of their efforts.

There were many beautiful sites in this section, but as much of it needed slashing, Inforgot to take photos.

Lots of spots you could camp on the way down to Newlands. There is water as well where you first cross the Thomson - which is 60 cm wide at this point. The road is wide and level.

A huge dead tree suddenly crashed down as we passed: There but for fortune...

The Frangipani Saddle - and the skull of a hiker our dogs pulled down and ate!

Snack time at Frangipani Saddle.

Newlands Rd is the most gorgeous in the whole world!

Della striding out once more.

You cross (and parallel) the diminutive Thomson River lots of times. It abounds in trout. There are numerous camping opportunities in Newlands Rd. The last is at the final crossing where there is a fine spot and a sign saying, ‘ No Camping’.

Newlands is just outstandingly beautiful...

And no cars...

Just the bush, Spot and Tiny, and us.

Anything for me, Della? Smackos?

This grnite tor had rolled a long way!

There are bridges so you won't get your feet wet anywhere from the Mushroom Rocks car park.

 

After the last crossing you can take a prominent road to the North.

Well something had been eating them. Not me unless I'm sure though.

After about half a km there is a pretty little lake full of trout!

A superb camp site. Nobody around.

MMBW Control gates.

We encountered this giant worm pout for a walk!

Figure 1At last, here we are at the Block 10 Road gates. There are a couple of nice spots to camp here, but no water - go back to the lake!

 

For the section Baw Baw to Phillack Saddle see:  http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-baw-baw-to-newlands-rd/

This map may help. You should walk along the Village Trail clockwise. That way you will come to the new track to Phillack Saddle before you come to the old which is wee-nigh impassable – though we managed it. On the new track it is 1-1.5 hours; probably nearer 3 on the old. Be warned!

Telstra NextG mobile phone works most places across the Plateau.

Maps for this section:

Mostly Walhalla North T8122-2-N and part of Noojee North  T8122-3-N and Avenza Pdf App.

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-seven-mushroom-rocks-carpark-to-phillack-saddle/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-ada-tree-to-big-pats-creek/

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-five-erica-to-walhalla/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-st-gwinear-track-junction-to-whitelaws-hut/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

Upper Yarra Track: St Gwinear Track Junction to Whitelaw’s Hut:

 

The route along the tops is a delightful mix of alpine heath and snow gums. Every couple of kms you will find a small stream (sometimes to the side of the track) with fresh water. For example there is water near the St Gwinear turnoff, just after Mt St Phillack, at Mustering Flat and in the valley next to the Mt Whitelaw Hut site. Gerard White and his partner Bridgette kindly shared these photos from January 2015. Near Mt St Phillack:

Most times of the year (save winter) there is a riot of wildflowers

These lovely little fellows close up.

The path is well defined and maintained.

With many things of interest on all sides.

The grass is well clipped by small herbivores whom you may see morning/evening.

Large granite tors are a feature of the Baw Baws.

There are some lovely vistas.

As the evening shadows lengthen.

Some of these prostrate plants amongst the snow gums are dwarf native pines.

Whitelaws Hut site. There used to be four huts: the first at the Yarra Falls, the second in Newland Rd, the third at Mt Whitelaw, the fourth at Talbot Peak (Mt Erica). Walkers coming from Melbourne used to stay at McVeighs Hotel (now under the Yarra dam) the first night out, and were in Walhalla on the sixth night.

A shame these huts were destroyed by the 1939 fires and never rebuilt. They were quite large, had concrete floors and fireplace, bunks, pots, pans, crockery. Delightful spots to stay as you journeyed along. Still camping out today is not without its pleasures.

Many pleasant views around the hut.

As you lie abed, this is the view of the sky you see.

Water can be obtained from this stream nearby.

Snow gums are very slow growing. Some of these trees are very old.

The path continues on towards its turn-off to Newlands Rd in about 2 km.

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-five-erica-to-walhalla/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-ada-tree-to-big-pats-creek/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

The Whitelaw Hut Camp site is a couple of km before you get to Mt Whitelaw. I haven’t yet checked on how clear the track from Mt Whitelaw down to Newlands Rd is, but people have obviously been walking it. It is quite clear and well marked with tape (signposted) at the bottom at Frangipani Saddle. It may soon be much clearer…If you miss the turn-off to it (when travelling from Walhalla towards Warburton) you can continue down to Stronach’s Camp and to the Upper Thomson Rd where you will turn West, then South when you come to Toorongo Rd (the next road). Soon you will come to its intersection with the Block 10 Rd, pass Myrrhee (on the left) and onwards to Toorongo at the corner of Link Rd. But if you have the appropriate Vicmap Noojee North T8122-2-N and the Avenza PDF App on your mobile phone you should have no trouble and not miss your turn off.

 

20/01/2014: Upper Yarra Track Update: After camping the night in the Block 10 Rd (Toorongo), we headed off along Newlands Rd towards Mt Whitelaw Hut (ruins) to investigate the section of the Upper Yarra Track which we wanted to ascertain was ‘clear’. This road is pretty much the most beautiful road in Victoria: an easy and pleasant walk (turn back when you feel like it, or camp out in a sunny spot somewhere on the many crossings of the diminutive Thomson River, or at the trout-filled dam just off it to the North about two km in). We lunched at the spot where the Upper Yarra Walking Track diverges from the Newland Rd, ie Frangipani Saddle under the excellent shelter of a giant myrtle beech. It is approx an 8 km walk from the gate to this spot. It took us about 2 hours from the Block 10 Rd. It is another 3km (according to the signpost) to the intersection with the Alpine Walking Track along the top of the Baw Baws, and a further approx 2 km (East) to the Whitelaw Hut ruins (chimney and foundation), a good camping spot with water. The track leading upwards from the Saddle is a little overgrown but easy enough to follow as there is a gap between the trees – and others have clearly walked it (albeit irregularly) and marked it with tape, etc. Unfortunately a kilometre or so up the ridge above the Frangipani Saddle we encountered blizzard-like conditions. Della started to become very cold (and wet – as did Tiny!) so we decided to turn back and returned to the car, somewhat wearied after an approx 18-20 km walk! The camp in Block 10 Rd where we stayed the night was on the South side about half a km from Newlands Rd going towards Toorongo. There is no water though.

 

Diminutive Thomson River

Tiny was cold and tired

Start Newlands Rd: Off we Go!

Diminutive Thomson River: numerous small trout abound.

Many large granite tors are a feature of the Baw Baws. This is a small one.

Newlands Rd

Newlands Rd

Lunch: Frangipani Saddle

Frangipani Saddle. Sign reads AWT 3km thataway! Skull of lost walker...

Diminutive Thomson River

 

Mt Whitelaw to Warburton: (in reverse order (sorry): I will rewrite these instructions BOTH ways in time, but as they stand they WILL get you through the whole track safely. Read them from the bottom up:

 

From: Experience Yarra Valley Activities Website: http://www.experienceyarravalley.com.au/?eyv_activity=walk-into-history-big-pats-creek-to-powelltown

 

Big Pats Creek / Starlings Gap / Ada Tree / Powelltown

 

The Walk into History follows some well preserved sections of the historic timber tramlines, past old mills and other relics of the early timber industry. Several creek crossings are required and a map of the area is essential. Due to the steepness of the High Lead section, the easiest way to do the walk is from Big Pats Creek down to Powelltown. The walk can be done in sections as detailed below.

 

 A) Big Pats Picnic Area to Starlings Gap – 9Km, 3.5hrs

 

Bush workers used to walk this section of the track on a Sunday evening to be ready to begin work early Monday morning.  On a Saturday afternoon however, some workers were known to have run the 9km distance back to Big Pats Creek in time to make the weekly football match. Two sawdust heaps are all that remains to indicate the sites of the bush mills along this section.  The first marks the site of Ezards Sawmill, the second near Starlings Gap operated here until 1942.  Starlings Gap provides a good place to rest, explore or even camp overnight before beginning the next section. When at Starlings Gap take a few minutes to visit the old winch and boiler located on a level track 200m past the toilet block.

 

 B) Starlings Gap to Ada No. 2 Mill – 8km, 3hrs

 

The journey to the Ada No. 2 Mill takes walkers through the Ada River Valley.  In the first 2km of this walk alone, nine trestle bridges were required to move timber from the mill to Starlings Gap. 7.5km into this section visitors reach the tramway junction known as the ‘crossroads’.  From this intersection you can head north to the New Ada Mill (2.8km return), or east to the New Federal Mill (4.3km return) and Ada Tree (5.7km return) or continue the walk south to the Ada No.2 Mill.

 

Upper Yarra Track: Ada Tree to Big Pat’s Creek:

 

As you can see the track is well made, delightful and easy to follow from the Ada Tree all the way to Warburton, with numerous signposts. If you have a couple of days to spare, this is a pleasant jaunt. You can turn it into a loop: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ada-tree-loop-walk-4-days/ Gerard White and his partner Bridgette completed this section of the walk back in July 2015 (even encountering snow at Starlings Gap!) and have kindly provided the photos below:

The Ada Tree is huge,

With a tiny crown typical of these giant Mountain Ash.

Many photo ops along the trail. Hobbits would like this.

A few stream crossings which do not even daunt Jack Russells – though they may need a raincoat in the wetter weather. See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/tyvek-jack-russell-rain-coat-13-grams/

 

You pass the remnants of a number of old timber settlements, eg ‘The New Ada Mill’,

What a colossal log jam

And again. Fortunately you don’t have to scramble over it.

You can gently tiptoe round it.

Wondrous how the memories of yesteryear meld into the forest.

The turnoff to the Walk into History (High Lead) trail.

Jack Russels always lead the way.

Ruins of an enormous drum used for winch logging.

And an old steam boiler

From Starlings gap it is 9 km to Big Pats creek camp ground.

Starlings gap is quite beautiful, and can be reached by car for day walks..

With delightful facilities.

Lots of logs to sit on. Picnic tables, fire pits.

Even a light dusting of snow in July.

A beautiful track leads along the river towards Warburton.

Fringed by some splendid timber.

Delightful mossy logs.

A simply beautiful stream.

Plenty of crays here.

The track is an old timber tramway.

The track begins/ends here.

Big Pats Creek.

Turnoff to/from Big Pats Creek. A pleasant stroll into Warburton: 6-7 km, say 2 hours.

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.finnsheep.com/Track%20Instructions.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-two-yallourn-north-to-wirilda-park/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

See also Upper Yarra Track Winter Route:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-five-erica-to-walhalla/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-st-gwinear-track-junction-to-whitelaws-hut/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-downey-to-newlands/

 

The Ada Tree off New Turkey Spur Rd North of Noojee

 

Still some great timber around: 1939 regrowth! — at M15 Track off Boundary Rd.

 

Beautiful Forty Mile Break Road

 

Newlands Rd

03/12/2014: Della: Day 3 of our reconnaissance of the Upper Yarra walking track: We cannot believe that such an outstandingly beautiful area lies so close to home and, even more amazingly, so close to Melbourne. In the 3 days we saw only 3 other vehicles, none of which was recreational. We sorted out the available streams for when we walk the track seriously and had a superbly relaxing 3 days. The ents, incidentally, were out in force, as my pictures will show. Peter Weir, eat your heart out!

Ada Tree Rainforest Walk near Noojee

Ada Tree Rainforest Walk near Noojee

Ada Tree Rainforest Walk near Noojee

Ada Tree Rainforest Walk near Noojee

Ada Tree Rainforest Walk near Noojee

Ent: Boundary Rd near Noojee

Ent: Boundary Rd near Noojee

Prostanthera looking fabulous at the summit of Mt Horsefall

02/12/2014: Della: Checking out the Upper Yarra walking track with a view to doing the 82km walk from Warburton to Walhalla. We are trying to locate water sources as the information on the track is a couple of decades old. Scenery is just beautiful, and tonight we are camped on top of Mt Horsefall (1134 metres). The view from my outdoor shower tonight was hard to beat!

 

View from Mt Horsefall across the Yarra Ranges

 

Newlands Track near Toorongo

 

Forty Mile Break Road near Toorongo

 

Myrtle Beech

 

Tree Ferns

 

Spot eager to be gone

 

Camp in the Mist Block 10 Rd near Toorongo

 

Of course there is good water in Walhalla, and from the Thomson River where you cross it at Poverty Point. There is secure water (and good camps) at O’Shea’s Mill, along the Baw Baw Plateau in various places eg near the Mushroom Rocks car park, Talbot Peak, Mustering Flat (though hard to get to), Talhousie Glen ie 300 metres North-West of the junction with the track to St Gwinear, (allegedly) near the Mt Whitelaw hut ruins, from the Thompson River (several spots) in Newlands Rd and (just East of) and at the Link Rd Recreation grounds (two sources: the dam, and the tap works) on the corner of Toorongo Rd. There are also toilets here. As you walk up Newlands Rd towards Block 10 Rd (after the last crossing of the Thomson – whee the camp site is), there is a road off to the North. A bit over a km along it there is a lake (dam) full of trout! Of course there are many trout in the innumerable crossing of the Thomson along Newlands Rd but the river is overhung, so fishing is difficult. You might find water in the gully at Myrrhee to the South of the camp site below the huge old sawdust heap.You should have the maps and App I recommended in my post on 29/11. It will probably take you 3-4 days to get from Walhalla to the camp at the secure water on Forty Mile Break Rd (4-5 sources, the best being the (Fire Suppression) stream off the track to the south which  used to go to Toorongo Mill site) about 5km short of Mt Horsefall. Just 200 metres East of Mt Horsefall, a track to the South used to go down about 1km to the Penny Falls (it is through a logging coup at the moment but you can find it) where there is good running water and a single campsite – though you could camp on the track as no-one uses it). Mt Horsefall is the most astonishingly beautiful campsite with breathtaking 360 degree views (but there is no water on the top of the mountain). NB (2014) There IS no water at the 21km post as John Siseman says, though you might be able to scratch a hole in the fern gully he mentions and find some if you are desperate. It is damp there. Instead there is a fire dam on the West side of the road approx 6km further on (ie 1km on the Walhalla side of  the No 14 Track) which may need filtering/boiling. Alternatively, if you are very thirsty (and don’t mind trespassing), you can find excellent running water in MacMahon’s Creek (inside the Yarra catchment) approx 1km down the No 14 track. You can also reach this point by looping down the No 15 track and exiting at the No 14 track. The next day you would aim to get to the the Ada Tree. You could also (illegally) get water at the Davis No 2 Mill site. There is running water 1 km down the Lock North Track, at a dam 1 km before the 15M track (I mentioned earlier) & running water almost at the corner of Lashos Track; afterwards PLENTY.

 

 

Picture

 

Yarra Falls is/are situated approx 800 metres inside the (forbidden) Yarra catchment. The closest/easiest access point is from a point approx 1km west of the Toorongo No 3 Rd between two (small) ‘peaks’ 966 metres on the south of the track and 968 on the north. You would follow the ridge from the 966 metre ‘peak’ (on a left hand bend of the road facing west) north to the 968 metre peak, then in a north-easterly direction keeping to the North of the side gully until you reach the Falls Creek (after approx 500 metres). This point is immediately above the three (minor) Yarra Falls. It looks less steep on the true left bank (facing downstream) but there was an old zig-zag track (in 1907) on the true right bank past the upper falls which followed the Falls Creek to the bottom where it joins the Yarra River with a side zig-zag track to view the bottom of the main falls. The ridge on the true right bank looks quite clear. There used to be a path on it too, as well as one from the top of the upper falls to the ridge. I strongly suggest it may be possible to locate this – and less dangerous than clambering down on the right beside the falls. The old hut was further down on the (true) left bank just below the junction with the Yarra River. The main hut was 50’ x 15’ with a concrete floor and chimney, so should not be impossible to find. You MAY find others have helpfully broken paths through for you and possibly even marked the route (or not). It is forbidden to access these falls and a fine may apply if you are caught, so remember the 11th commandment. (Thou shall not get caught!) It is quite likely though that no-one has the power to demand your identity or apprehend you if you chose not to give it and quite possibly just continue on your way. It is most unlikely anyway you will meet with any gendarmes if you are on foot! A car parked at the beginning of your descent might be more of a giveaway. Remember though, these falls (allegedly the largest in Victoria - 800 feet tall!) used to be a major tourist attraction before they were closed. They are quite spectacular – as old photos reveal. The original track to them came up the Yarra from McVeighs Hotel (crossed the road which now descends to the Yarra from just West of Hill 968 on the Forty Mile Break Rd), past where the hut ruins would be just downstream of the junction of Falls Creek and the Yarra River, ascended the ridge between the Falls Creek & the Yarra and came out onto what is now the Eighteen Mile Rd which you would follow South for a couple of kms then exit opposite Myrree - if you could still locate the route. Following rivers and ridges is pretty easy though, particularly if you have a map and App, so good luck!

 

Picture

 

1925 Sketch map of Yarra Falls:

 

 

Converted distances taken from 1925 Baw Baw Tourist Maps:

Falls Hut to Falls Creek (4 Chains) = 80 metres

Falls Creek to Main Falls Track (8 Chains) = 160 metres

Thence to View of Upper Falls (81 Chains) = 1629 metres

Thence to Upper Falls Track (7 Chains) = 543 metres

 

This ‘Sketch map’ is better quality then the one I found before and reveals details I had not been able to see. For example, I now see that there was a path down alongside the ‘Minor’ Falls from top to bottom on the true right bank. Then there was a path from the bottom to just below the main Falls, (from there a zig-zag path to the bottom of the Main Falls, and again on to the Falls Hut. The converted measurements above should enable me to superimpose these features on to a ‘current’ Victopo map to show the easiest path to all these features should there be anyone wishing to commit the peccadillo of visiting them. Something like this:

 

 

I noticed that ‘Big Ben’ has already been there, and that there is a campsite at the junction of Falls Creek and the Yarra River! (http://archive.bigben.id.au/victoria/melb/yarra_falls.html) He offers some useful instructions such as,

 

‘I drove along the dirt track to the south of the river and slowed down to look for the thinnest section of undergrowth to start my walk. There wasn't one really, so I reversed up and picked the "thinnest" undergrowth to walk through. After a short distance the undergrowth became much clearer and the going was much easier. Another 100m or so and I found a piece of yellow electrical tape hanging from a twig. I guessed that someone else had marked a track to the first waterfall at the top of the Falls Creek valley (since there was really nowhere else to go) and sure enough I found another piece on the same bearing that I was walking. Enough people had walked this "track" that you could just make out a trail on the ground. The trail continued along tree trunks wherever possible to avoid walking through the bush.’

 

(NB: ‘Ben’ would be referring to beginning in the vicinity of Hill 968 between Toorongo No 3 Rd to the South and Rd 12 to the North off the Forty Mile Break Rd eg on 25K Vicmap Noojee North T­­­­­­­­­8122-3-N)

 

‘In no time at all I reached the top of the first waterfall. There used to be a track cut down the north side of the valley that went down to the other 4 waterfalls just below and then on to Yarra Falls further down the valley. From the gradient and the thickness of the bush I decided that I was not going to try to find any trace of it and would instead aim for the next ridge and follow that down to the Yarra River. I stopped here for lunch and to take a few photographs of the first fall.

 

The forest had been reasonably open until this point. It then changed and became hopelessly tangled. The steep slope combined with the almost impenetrable undergrowth and countless slippery branches lying on the ground made the going very hard. I eventually reached the top of the ridge and was disheartened to find that it didn't get any clearer. After struggling through another 100m or so of thick undergrowth it all suddenly disappeared.

 

The forest opened up completely with only leaves and logs on the ground. And what logs they were. It's not often that I have to climb over a log but the trees here had been saved from logging and the fallen trees were huge. I found no sign of any blazed trees marking the old trail but occasionally I thought I could see a levelled overgrown track about 1.5m wide.

 

I made fairly quick time down the ridge which became steeper and steeper towards the end and as suddenly as the forest had opened up it became a dense tangle once more. The last 100m down the ridge was soul destroying. It required so much effort just to take one step that at one stage I just turned around and pushed through the undergrowth with my back pack. The undergrowth was so thick that I ended up walking on bent, intertwined branches and would occasionally find myself about a metre above the ground.

 

I eventually made it down to the beautiful junction of Falls Creek and the Yarra River, a broad fern gully, at sunset. I set up camp on a sand bank at the junction of the two streams and hoped that it wouldn't rain too much that night.

 

The walk up Falls creek turned out to be a relatively simple one. The entire walk was in amongst a wonderful fern gully. I had to keep swapping from one side to the other as the bank became to steep but there was always somewhere to walk, even if it was on top of a 1.5m wide tree trunk. The only really annoying part was the leeches, but considering the length of the walk I didn't fair that badly.

 

Eventually I reached it, 'the black hole' as it was sometimes known. The sides of the valley are so steep that from above, you could hear the waterfall but not see it. The falls were a little shorter than I expected and the gorge into which it fell a little wider. This was certainly not, though, a black hole. After emerging from the darkness of the tree ferns this was quite the opposite and I spent most of my time waiting for the sun to go behind a cloud.

 

The original photograph that I had seen of these falls was taken from a small ledge about 5m higher than the viewpoint for the photographs above. A tree fern obscured the view from this ledge so I didn't bother attempting the tricky climb to it.

 

I stayed there for lunch before heading back down along the creek. While I made 'good' progress it must have been slower than I thought as I returned to the tent in fading light. After evicting the leeches from my tent I settled down for a good nights sleep in preparation for the walk back through those two stretches of thick undergrowth and a few unexpected finds.

 

A few light showers overnight had made everything dripping with water but it wasn't really very cold. I decided against putting my waterproof pants on as they would probably make me too hot. This turned out to be a good move. After packing up my campsite I tried to find a break through the undergrowth for my return journey. There were none. It was going to be a couple of hours of take one step, part the branches, put the camera bag on the ground ahead, part more branches, take one small step, part the branches..... over and over.

 

When I reached the clearer forest again I found a piece of green electrical tape on a small tree. It was on what appeared to be another remnant of the old track, a level section cut across the slope about 1.5m wide. The track went left across the ridge and another piece of tape made me guess that someone had tried to retrace the old track. That's all very nice but I just wanted to go home and I headed straight up the ridge.

 

The old tourist map of Yarra Falls marks a lookout where you can see the upper five falls. I had looked for it briefly on the way down without success but found it on the way up. I could only hear them at first but found the spot after wandering down the side of the ridge a little. And then it was back into the thick undergrowth. By now I had developed a technique for getting through the bushes, and knew which trees to avoid. It was still tough going and I reached Falls Creek again slightly above the first fall.

 

This part of the creek was typical of the difference between this forest and any other that I had walked through. Normal fire prevention management reduces the amount of dead timber and leaf litter on the ground. Here, in the absence of such practices there were logs everywhere... not just across the creek but everywhere down the slope. This made walking quite tricky with the occasional slide down a slippery log to get the adrenaline going.

 

While heading back towards the first fall I came across a beautiful patch of forest. Three giant tree trunks crossed a small creek at different angles, providing a perfect bridge and an excellent 'aerial' view of the forest floor. From here I followed the yellow tape back to the road and emerged from the forest a short distance from my car. What else lies hidden in these Yarra Ranges?’

 

Remember John’s instructions below are from West to East:

 

Picture

 

Wildlife & etc:

 

Snakes: Just about the only people who ever get bitten by a snake are folk who pick them up to play with them. Don’t. There are a number of venomous snakes in Gippsland, Victoria, eg King Brown, Tiger, Red-Bellied Black, etc. They are beautiful creatures which don’t mind being photographed from a distance. Keep your dogs away from them. Just give the snake time to move off. You may need to lob a stone or stick near one to convince it to move off. Wear loose trousers and keep them tucked into your socks. Their mouths are really too small for biting and eating people: they are ‘intended’ for biting small prey such as frogs and mice. I have realised I was standing on a Tiger snake for about five minutes once. All it did was wait until I lifted my foot, then it scooted off expeditiously! Even if they attempt to bite is most likely they will only manage to bite your trousers. Don’t worry about them, but don’t worry them either. That’s how dogs get bitten. I used to supplement my (student) income when I was a youngster by catching and selling venomous snakes. Even though I have played with a lot of snakes I have not been bitten – but I recommend you just leave them alone. It is now illegal to catch and sell wild snakes anyway. If you are bitten the usual advice is: (Kill the snake and keep it for ID). Wrap the bitten area in a pressure bandage. Call an ambulance so you can be taken quietly to a hospital who will administer an antivenom which will cure you. Don’t exert yourself while waiting. Deaths from snakebite are much rarer than choking to death on sandwiches.

13/12/2015: Leeches: In Australia (and elsewhere) it is quite common to encounter these beasties in the wetter areas. They avoid sunny patches. They do you no harm, though many (like me) have an allergic reaction to their ‘bites’, so it is good to avoid them as much as you can. I have already recommended ‘Anthisan’ antihistamine ointment to treat allergic reactions to bites http://www.theultralighthiker.com/insects-can-ruin-a-camping-trip/ (you will have to order it over from a NZ pharmacy) and the practice of using surface spray (eg on your calves), tucking your trousers into your socks and wearing long-sleeve shirts in ‘leechy’ spots such as rainforest areas http://www.theultralighthiker.com/ultralight-personal-hygiene/ .

When you put up your tent for the night you don’t want to erect it on a hundred leeches and have them wriggling all over you all night. I have seen shady areas where when you wave your warm hand over the ground a hundred leeches will stand up and wave at you! You need to carry a small atomiser containing surface spray such as ‘Baygon’ (which can be bought from some supermarkets in bulk - ie not in spray cans) to suit such decanting. Atomisers of various sizes are available all over (try eBay). You will need to match the size to your need. You need to be able to spray the entire footprint of your tent plus an area say a metre around it. If/when you do have a leech attach to you, remember it will do you no harm (indeed they have been used for centuries for their supposed health benefits) and will eventually drop off. If you want to hurry that along a bit, a lighted cigarette or some salt will move them on mighty quickly.

If (like my wife) you don’t like the idea of sleeping on surface spray, carry enough salt in a snap lock bag to sprinkle the same area. This will kill and keep leeches at bay too.

01/09/2015: Tick removal: Spot’s First Tick: This is the very first tick either myself or one of my animals has acquired in Southern Victoria – even though I hunted with hounds here for over thirty years and have owned as many as a dozen and a half dogs at a time. I used to see tiny ticks infecting the ears of Bluetongue lizards probably causing the deafness which results in their suffering from so many road casualties. It is possible to tediously remove them – an operation they lizards do not appreciate – but I have long since given up on it: in no time they find some more anyway.

 Spot acquired this particular tick West of Yinnar yesterday when he was trying out his handsome new raincoat (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/tyvek-jack-russell-rain-coat-13-grams/) . I can report I have discovered yet another reason for preferring methylated spirits as a hiking fuel. After dousing the parasite liberally with it (from a teaspoon), and waiting about a minute, it was easy to pull the dead tick out complete with its head (as you can see) leaving nothing to cause an infection or irritation. I used a fine pair of tweezers gripping it just above its head. Easier than pulling a tooth! I have no idea whether it is a paralysis tick (probably not), but you do have to be careful to check your pets for the blighters as they can cause death!

In the US ticks have been implicated in the spread of Lyme Disease (a real nasty previously mostly an occupational hazard to rat-catchers!), so apart from the fact that they will create a very nasty itchy spot, and maybe an infection, it is important to get them out (particularly of yourself) as quickly and safely as possible. The meths is also a good antiseptic.

 

 Winter Route: I anticipate people will turn off in winter (or just for a fishing hike anytime) either at O’Shea’s Mill (if they want to travel via Walhalla) or at Collins Siding (just before they get to Erica) and travel to Caringal, Western Tyers, Christmas Creek, Youngs Rd to  the Tanjil River, then up the Long Spur and Rowleys to Tanji Bren, Saxtons Rd to Downey and thence back to Newlands Rd. (I am working on these instructions too).

 

19/05/2015: UPPER YARRA TRACK WINTER UPDATE: Spot and I planned to finish some further exploration of the path to the Mystery Falls on Sunday, but we had to defer as seasonal road closures have come into force. The gates now have all these nice new signs on them. Perhaps someone at DSE has been noting my posts. Now we have dates for the road closures May-Oct inclusive, & lovely new ‘Upper Yarra Track’ signs. These roads (40 Mile Break & Boundary) are VERY quiet (serene & beautiful) anyway, but walking them during those months will be especially delightful (if a little cold). I WILL work out an alternative route to the Baw Baw Plateau for the three winter months when it could be too cold/dangerous. For example, I think one could drop down from O’Shea’s Mill just below Mushroom Rocks to Carringal (Tyers Junction) via the Eastern Tyers Walking Track. From Caringal once there was a walking track to Western Tyers (along the river – maybe now overgrown with blackberries; I will check) so one would eg have to walk up Buckle Spur and down Pitmans Creek track to get there. Skinners camp: a huge unused camping ground (no longer) with toilets . Follow the Western Tyers Road upriver (seasonally closed but well-nigh impassable to vehicles nowadays - but VERY beautiful). Many camping spots a few metres from the river which abounds in trout, crays and platypodes. 200 metres after Palmers (Camp) you can bush-bash the old railway line through to Growlers. I had it cleared once many years ago, and used to canoe regularly down to Western Tyers (Skinners). There is a spectacular Grade 4 rapid just below Growlers (Camp) near where the old railway line comes out onto the road – you will see people sometimes camp there. Walk back along the railway line (if you weren’t already following it) a couple of hundred yards to have a look. It is a ripper! This abandoned railway line is a delightful section so if a few other people bring along their machetes it will be wonderful again. Make your way West to Tanjil Bren via the Tanjil Bren Road or via Youngs Rd, Tanji River, the Long Spur and Rowleys Hill Rd or Christmas Creek and the New South Road, all delightful quiet forest roads. From near Tanjil Bren you can go up Saxton Road to Downey and thence along a closed track to Newlands Road. Or walk up the Link Rd to Toorongo, then West a few hundred yards before you turn North onto the Forty Mile Break Rd.

 

Spot keen to walk the Forty Mile Break behind the locked gate Upper Yarra Track

 

01/12/2015: Upper Yarra Track: Winter Route: Caringal Scout Camp: Tyers Junction

You might reach here by walking down the rail trail from Collins Siding (10 km – 2-3 hours), where the cottages are on the main Erica-Moe Rd at the Caringal turnoff. The trail runs along behind the cottage on the West side starting to the North of them. Or, you might came down the East Tyers Walking Track (I will check whether this is still open). We came along Finns Track from O’Shea’s Mill via the South Face Rd, a pretty quiet forest path. All three routes are a similar distance (and time).

See: Tyers Junction Rail Trail: http://www.railtrails.org.au/component/railtrails/?view=trail&id=49&layout=print&tmpl=component

 

Della, Spot, old railway cutting.

Caringal Webpage: http://www.vicscouts.com.au/caringal.html

There are both powered and unpowered campsites at the Scout camp. I notice other folk camp at the picnic area outside too, or on the roadside across the river. I imagine though a hot shower, proper toilet facilities, undercover cooking, maybe some company etc are worth the $12.

They also have more motel-style accommodation for less intrepid, better-heeled adventurers. Of course there is similar paid lodging elsewhere on the trail, for example: Yallourn North, Erica, Rawson, Walhalla, Mushroom Rocks, Baw Baw, Tanjil Bren, Noojee…

It is a really beautiful spot where the waters of the East and West Tyers meet. The managed gardens meld into the natural forest of mountain ash and antarctic beech wonderfully. Lots of soft mown lawns to pitch your tent on. Crystal clear water (trout and crays) in the pristine streams.

From Caringal you can journey to Western Tyers via Morgans Mill Rd (open forest) or Buckle Spur, cool wet forest tree ferns and mountain ash. It will be no more than a further 2-3 hours. There used to be a walking track along the river which followed the old railway line all the way to Growlers, but it has grown over (we checked).

It was really beautiful. A job of clearing for someone, but maybe not me. It is worth walking along it as far as the old washed out bridge. You might pick it up on the other side (and if you have your machete with you http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-worlds-greatest-machete/ ) journey on to Western Tyers along it. There can be nothing unlawful about helping to keep a designated waling track clear, after all!

See also:

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

02/12/2015: Upper Yarra Track: Winter Route: Western Tyers: Morgans Mill & Skinners Camp:

From Caringal you can journey to Western Tyers via Morgans Mill Rd (open forest) or Buckle Spur, cool wet forest tree ferns and mountain ash. Probably 2-3 hours either way. There used to be a walking track along the river which followed the old railway line all the way to Growlers, but it has grown over (we checked). It was really beautiful. A job of clearing for someone, but maybe not me.

Pitmans Creek Track.

If you come down the Pitmans Creek Track from Buckle Spur you will first encounter Skinners camp just before you get to the river. It used to be a beautiful well-maintained camping area with toilets, barbecue facilities, shelter, information boards, etc. The Government seems to have abandoned it. You can still camp there though, or you can carefully cross the bridge and camp on the South side of the river. There are lots of blackberries and a few old fruit trees about, so you might get a feed – apart from the abundant trout and freshwater crays in the river. There are rabbits about in the blackberries too, so if you have brought your sling (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/how-to-make-a-sling/ - plenty of stones in the river) , you might be in luck!

Skinners camp.

The dogs managed the bridge - surely you can?

Camp South side.

As you cross the river to the South bank there is a river heights gauge on your left. It was just below .2 metres yesterday and the river quite canoeable. If you walk East along the riverbank reserve about 200 metres, after crossing a small rivulet you will come to the abandoned chimney of Morgan’s Mill which is on private land. There are two or three cottages about. It is worth a photo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Tyers,_Victoria I believe there is a road easement through the two locked gates (you can step around them) on Morgan’s Mill Road linking it to Western Tyers Road if you came that way, also a steel government footbridge across the rivulet. The remaining cottages and ruins are what remain of the timber-getting settlement of Morgans Mill. After it was abandoned as forestry it became a strata-title commune for many years, something like the ‘New Australia’ in Paraguay. Shares might still be available. The remaining members (who must be in their 70s and 80s) clearly still visit infrequently.

Mill Chimney ruins.

Creates some interesting perspectives...

There are a number of other pleasant spots to camp every km or so as you make your way to the West along the Western Tyers Road towards the Christmas Creek campsite. Our family has spent many pleasant holidays camped along this stretch of river. We have canoed it many times from Palmers to Skinners, even all the way down from Growlers, just below which there is a Grade 4 rapid, so check it out first. I have continued down it as far as Delpretes Rd. It needs a lot of clearing, but would make a wonderful little wilderness river for canoeing all the way to Wirilda, perhaps nearly a week (by water) away.

Upstream from the bridge.

Downstream from the bridge. Note gauge.

A Note on Crays: These guys are not yabbies. As you can see they are as big as lobsters, and just as delicious! They are easily caught especially if you have some string and bait. Some spoiled meat or fish-heads perhaps. I would usually put out a number of baits along the river in likely spots (near logs, bank overhangs, deep holes, etc) tied to @ 2 metres of string (I find the coloured builder’s line easiest to spot). As you come back to check them you will notice you ‘have’ a cray if the string is taut. Slowly pull it towards you, being sure not to jerk it and frighten HIM off. (Lady crays with babies are always out of season). A trout landing net is handy for scooping him up, or you can pin him with a forked stick, then step into the river and pick him up behind the claws. Don’t let those claws bite: it is as bad as getting on the wrong side of a ferret! If you don’t have any bait or string you can still pin them with a forked stick. A pair of polarised sunglasses will help you spot them on the river bottom where they are greenish rather than the red which is their cooked colour. When you cook them, you only need to wait until they change colour. A couple of minutes at most. If you haven’t a billy large enough, you might need to kill them by plunging a knife through their brains, then breaking them into cookpot-sized pieces - or throw them on the hot coals for a couple of minutes. They are Della's favourite food!

Typical Mountain Ash and Beech forest.

Much less typical, but strikingly beautiful plantation trees: Norfolks?

See also:

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/ http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

10/12/2015: Upper Yarra Track Winter Route: Western Tyers to Tanjil Bren: After you have camped the night, cooked and eaten your trout &/or crayfish, walk West along the Tyers. The Western Tyers Road follows the course of the old timber tramline which carried the forest’s products via Caringal to Collins Siding (Erica) and onwards to a wider market where they were used to construct houses and buildings elsewhere in Victoria – amnd sometimes much farther afield. In April Della and I walked the South Coast Track in Fiordland New Zealand. A feature of part of the track were huge trestle bridges which had been constructed from logs imported from Australia in the 1920s!

Percy Burn Viaduct, South Coast Track, Fiordland New Zealand.

There are a number of pleasant spots to camp along the way. I can’t tell you how many times my kids played on this old log as they grew. The oldest is now 34: she first went there when she was two! I have caught a couple of lovely crays or three underneath it. up

There are two campsites at Palmers. This is the first.

The second one where the bridge used to cross the river is where the tramline carried on to Growlers. It is still possible to walk along it – and the more who do, the easier it will be. You can continue on along the road, but the views of the river and forest are better from the tramway. nowadays.

A refreshing dip on a hot day will surprise you how very cold the water is on the South Face of the Baw Baw Plateau.

There are some wonderful rapids in this section of the river I used to enjoy when I was suicidally young and ebullient! There is also great fishing. The 2-3 km of the old railway is quite flat – a serene & peaceful camp could be made here and there along it. There is also a single pleasant camp where it rejoins the road just below Growlers, and multiple sites a little over a km further at Growlers itself.

The old railway is easy going in places at least.

With great views of the river.

And some amazing rapids.

You never tire of watching water flow over stone.

Spot enjoys the view too.

The road carries on up the river to Growlers.

There are many wonderful stands of ash regrowth.

Growlers is a pleasant camp.

A quarter century ago I used to walk across the bridge at Growlers and follow the road which has now disappeared into the forest a couple of kms downstream to where there were immense sawdust piles over 20 metres high scattered along the river flats. Who knows how many forest giants they represented? Their insulative ability and I guess decomposition in their depths made them magically warm spots in the forest where no frost or snow would linger. They were a favourite bedding spot for deer, for that reason. I often put up a fine stag here. The forest is probably far too thick for hunting.

After you come out on to the Tanjil Bren Rd it is only a few kms to the turn off to Christmas Creek, a very pretty camping spot where you may wish to spend a night a couple of kms off your main route.

You can imagine camping by the bridge at Christmas Creek for a couple of days.

You continue along the Tanjil Bren Road at least as far as Young’s Track. Here you can choose to continue, or divert to the Tanjil River (campsites) which you cross, follow the Long Spur track until it joins Rowley’s Hill Road. And then it  until you finally come to Tanjil Bren. There are toilets, a shelter house, water, accommodation – even some supplies in the ski season, though this is not certain. If you instead continue along the Tanjil Bren Rd (there is water from flowing streams every 2-3 kms), you will eventually come to the Baw Baw Rd. Turn West towards Tanjil Bren and continue on the tar road for about three kilometres until you come to the Big Tree Track. You can follow this to Saxton’s Road where you can either turn to Tanjil Bren or go on to Downey to camp on the West Tanjil River.

After Tanjil Bren, a really beautiful side trip is to walk west along the West Tanjil River along the old tramline until you come to Tramway falls. The forest along the way is spectacular. There are vast stands of Antarctic Beech which will make you think you are in Fiordland, New Zealand. It is quite the most beautiful spot in the world. The falls too are quite lovely.

11/12/2015: Kirchubel: If you go nowhere else in the world, at least go here. Just a few kms walk outside the small township of Tanjil Bren in Gippsland Victoria is the most beautiful place in the whole world! You go out along Saxtons Road beginning in the heart of Tanjil Bren.

Many beautiful wildflowers carpet the verges: buttercups,

And Alstromoerias.

Just before Downey you turn west onto the old tramway. Parts of it are Antarctic beech forest.

It is so like Fiordland, New Zealand. Why travel?

The dogs enjoy the rich, earthy smells of the deep forest litter beneath the majestic gums.

An old (closed) bridge begins Kirchubel‘s Tramway, its exploration to be saved for another day. Maybe some of the 18 old timber bridges yet survive?

The first of the Tramway Falls is magnificent.

There is a cast iron pipe at the top of the falls. Water supply to the lost township of Kirchubel, perhaps.

Some recollections of this township (lost over 50 year ago) yet survive: Colin Bigwood  writes, ‘In the early 40's my dad Roley Bigwood, my mum Elsie, and my younger Brother David and myself Colin went to Kirchubel's sawmill to live. My Dad worked mainly on the breaking down saw, and had a scar on his right upper-arm to show until he died where the saw grabbed his thumb while fitting a packing block to the leading edge of the bottom blade. He also was a leader in on one of the benches. When we first got there Mr. and Mrs. Ireland operated the boarding house (it was more of a mess house, because the single men’s huts were a bit away from the boarding house) The men only came to have their meals. We lived in a newly built house next to Gill and Lorna Cooper south of the boarding house and north behind the single men huts. When Mrs. Ireland left ,my Mum Elsie Bigwood took over the running of the Boarding house and we moved from our house to live in the back of the B/house. We stayed until I was seven (1945) when the war ended and (we) returned to Tasmania. I can still remember the layout of Kirchubel's sawmill and little village, even down to where the Dug out in case of bush fires was. Later on this year I hope to revisit Tanjil Bren and to explore the remains.’

21/12/2015: Upper Yarra Track Winter Route: Downey to Newlands: Last Monday we spent ‘beating around the bush’ near Downey (Tanjil Bren area). Downey is another one of those ‘lost’ towns of the Victorian mountains. Pretty much all that remains is this huge sawdust heap in the forest: how many woodland giants went to make it up I wonder? Mostly the trees milled here were fire killed mountain ash from the vast ‘Black Friday’ fires of 1939

We were looking for a ‘closed road’ which shows on the map Noojee North T8122—3-N. The GPS claimed it crossed the river around about here, but there was no sign of it.

West Tanjil River.

Turns out the GPS and map are seriously ‘out of kilter’ in this small area of map. I have found this before, eg on my walk to Mt Darling last year (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/snowy-bluff-mt-darling-wilderness/) I guess up to a km wrong! This meant I did a fair amount of bush bashing no doubt along what had once been old snig tracks etc, finding nothing but photo ops.

 Finally we managed to locate the spot where the ‘road’ had crossed the river. Several huge pipes still lying in the river bed over which we were able to clamber without even getting our feet wet. This was on the way back actually. On the way across we took off our shoes and waded in our Crocs, as it did not appear we could make it dry-footed across the pipes. The water was so chill Della practically had a seizure. Sissy!

After we had crossed the old road was easy to see and we followed it a couple of kms up the mountain, but not quite as far as Newlands Rd. In places the way was unclear as it was very overgrown, whilst in others three semi-trailers could have passed easily. There were huge cuttings where there roar would have echoed mightily long ago.

Disease can sometimes look beautiful: observe this amazing gall.

Della has not quite recovered from her (second) eye operation, so we turned back without having found our way to Frangipani Saddle where this route meets the ‘Upper Yarra Walking Track’ thus completing our ‘Winter Route’. There is always room for another adventure. It will most likely be a couple of weeks before we get back as we are working in the kids’ store Xmas-New Year. We have cleared and marked the path (with blue tape) from the end of the driveable section of Saxtons Rd (which begins in Tanjil Bren), so you may have a chance to finish our exploration before we do. Be sure to also check out the ‘Tramway Falls http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/ on the left fork (this one is the right fork: PS: the map is more or less correct; it is the GPS location which is wrong).

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/western-tyers-river-great-for-crays/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/the-western-tyers/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-three-wirilda-to-moondarra/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-section-four-moondarra-to-erica/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-summary-cumulative-distancestimes/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-osheas-mill/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/a-beautiful-world/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-caringal-scout-camp-tyers-junction/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-morgans-mill-skinners-camp/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-winter-route-western-tyers-to-tanjil-bren/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/kirchubel-if-you-go-nowhere-else-in-the-world-at-least-go-here/

26/12/2015: Up Into the Singing Mountains:

 

Our family celebrate Xmas tomorrow (due to work commitments), so what better day to continue our exploration of the ‘closed track’ which used to link Downey (North of  Tanjil Bren) with Newlands Rd (Baw Baw Plateau)? We are hoping that this track will complete our ‘Winter Route’ of The Upper Yarra Track (http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm) . It has been very hard going, so we might have to find an alternative track up the ridge from Strahan (North West of Tanjil Bren) to the Block 10 Road.This track crosses the West Tanjil River just below Downey, follows it upstream on the true right bank for a couple of kms then heads up a ridge towards the plateau.

 

Spot is an expert at these river crossings, well practiced in keeping his paws dry. These huge iron pipes used to form an immense culvert.

He loves to lead the way; having a good time, I'd say! We are marking the track with tape as we go.

Sometimes it is hard going for the dogs (as well as the people)! This herringbone fern is particularly awkward to navigate.

Sometimes you come across the ruins of a forest giant. Who knows how tall this one was before its top broke off? Remember, these were the world's largest trees - up to 120 metres tall!

 

This younger tree is vying for the record.

It has come up right next to the stump of its parent tree. The younger tree is more than 3 metres diameter at its base; The stump larger still.

It was quite a substantial road once. This cutting is over 5 metres deep. 2-3 semis could easily pass on it. Such a pity such tracks were not retained for land management and recreational purposes.

Tiny just can't help but drink from every deer wallow! There was plenty of good deer sign, but the area must be well-nigh impossible to hunt.

Everywhere along the way are scenes of great beauty.

And interesting wildlife: this pigeon was almost as tame as Della's! Gippsland is wonderful!

Unfortunately we made it only about half way to the top. We may try coming down from Newlands Rd next time to see how far you can get that way. Hope you all had just as wonderful a Xmas day!

 

Even though the forecast was for 35C yesterday, at Mt Baw Baw and Tanjil Bren it only reached 21C! 14 degrees difference! We are so lucky to have these mountain areas (relatively) so close by. Wonderful for cool summer hikes. The Upper Yarra Track traverses the outstanding Baw Baw Plateau with many camping and scenic attractions. The Mt Darling- Snowy Bluff wilderness is also only a couple of hours away and (also) being around 1.5km in elevation is much cooler in the summer months. Of course, check the weather outlook. It can snow at any time of the year at these elevations - and there is always the risk of bushfire in very dry conditions. After rain is always nice, as everything will be cool and freshened up.

See also: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/spots-hunting-adventures-1-mystery-river/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/not-quite-alone-in-the-wilderness/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/camping-by-the-moroka-river/

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/snowy-bluff-mt-darling-wilderness/

http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm

http://www.theultralighthiker.com/upper-yarra-track-update-section-one-moe-yallourn-rail-trail/