Lerderderg Gorge Walk - June 12-13th 2017

Trip reports, stories, track notes. Multiple/large photos are OK in this forum.
Forum rules
Posting large/multiple images in this forum is OK. Please start topic titles with the name of the location or track.

For topics focussed on photos rather than the trip, please consider posting in the 'Gallery' forum instead.

This forum is for posting information about trips you have done, not for requesting information about a track or area.

Lerderderg Gorge Walk - June 12-13th 2017

Postby HikerBrad » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 11:03 pm

Hi all,

Managed to take advantage of the long weekend and great weather forecast and went to Lerderderg State Park to do the through hike from O’Briens Crossing following the Lerderderg River to Mackenzies Flat. Distances are approximate and taken from Lerderderg & Werribee Gorges Meridian Map.

Saturday - O’Briens Crossing to Ah Kow Ruin - 12km

The forecast for the weekend was clear skies and mild temperatures and with a free weekend available I made a quick decision to do a hike that I have had in mind for a while : the through hike from O’Briens Crossing following the Lerderderg River to Mackenzies Flat. I’ve hiked a few times in Lerderderg on the marked tracks and on a previous trip had attempted to incorporate a section of the river from the Spanish Onion track heading south along the river. On that occasion the river level was up and I ended up sticking to one side of the river and battling around the outside curve on the river on steep terrain. After a few dicey scrambles I decided it wasn’t going to happen and so turned around. This time the water level was a bit lower and I was more intent on getting through.

I drove up from Melbourne and met a pre arranged taxi in Darley, left my car there and got the taxi to take me to O’Briens Crossing. At O’Briens Crossing the taxi driver headed back and I figured that I was now committed to getting through. I started off just a little after 10am. The first couple of hours of the walk is along a well defined track and the walking is easy with views along the river and up in to the surrounding hills. The weather was perfect, clear skies, no wind and the temperature about as warm as it gets this time of the year. I joined another walker along the way to the Nolan track where they turned off. I continued along to the Spanish Onion Track then followed it to the river which was the start of my off track section. My pace so far had been fairly leisurely and I was expecting about the same for the remainder of the day.

I had lunch next to the water enjoying the quiet and planned out the afternoons walking. There were a number of tracks coming down to the river so I broke the walk down in to sections between each track and headed off.

P1020834a.JPG
Track free walking
P1020834a.JPG (117.82 KiB) Viewed 7553 times


The afternoons walk varied between four main types of terrain :

    * Dry river bed with smooth rounded stones from tennis ball to soccer ball and larger. This was the easiest walking although it seemed to be the least common occurrence.

    * Dry river bed populated with small paperbark trees generally just over head height. Less easy walking although the trees all lay downstream and so it was fairly easy to push through them.

    * Riverbanks which were heavily populated with sword grass anywhere from knee to waist high. The ground was often uneven either due to overgrown rocks or dirt. There was quite a bit of debris from fallen trees which meant clambering over or under. Some of the debris was also overgrown necessitating careful foot placement to avoid twisting ankles etc. this was the least easy walking.

    * Edge of the riverbank sloping up to the surrounding hills. Uneven slope, some loose scree, more fallen tree debris.

P1020853a.JPG
The different types of terrain
P1020853a.JPG (112.54 KiB) Viewed 7553 times
P1020859a.JPG
Close up of the sword grass
P1020859a.JPG (129.7 KiB) Viewed 7553 times


Progression was a matter of trying to find the path of least resistance through the terrain while swapping from side to side of the river and sticking to the inside of the river bends to avoid any steep or impassable sections. The river was flowing although not very much and I managed to keep my feet dry although in a few crossings the stones were barely out of the water. Due to the terrain my pace was correspondingly fairly mild and it was pretty relaxing progressing along the river with only noise from galahs and running water. I followed the map carefully and tracked the left and right bends to keep an eye on where I was. I reached Ah Kow ruin about 3.30pm and figured that was far enough. There was a good flat camping area and I wasn’t sure of the likelihood of finding another flat spot further along. Plenty of time to relax now, I got some water and read for a while until it got dark and had dinner. Then I got into my bivy bag and read for a while longer before turning in.

P1020840a.JPG
Scenery during the day
P1020840a.JPG (125.41 KiB) Viewed 7553 times


Sunday - Ah Kow Ruin - Mackenzies Flat - 15km

I slept well overnight. The weather conditions were very mild, no wind overnight and no dew at all so the outside of the bivy bag was completely dry. I’d decided to make the trip as lightweight as possible : I slept in a bivy bag (no tent) and had sandwiches for dinner so didn’t take a stove or fuel. I extended the theme to breakfast and had crunched up weet-bix in a zip lock bag with some milk powder and sultanas, just add water and stir, ready to eat and no washing up required.

P1020844a.JPG
Minimising gear carried
P1020844a.JPG (78.44 KiB) Viewed 7553 times

I headed off about 8am thinking that the river might broaden out a bit and make for easier walking but it didn’t turn out to be the case. The terrain was very similar to the first day with lots of swapping back and forth across the river to try and find the easiest path through. The distance to the end wasn’t that far for a day so I could again take a fairly easy pace and enjoy the scenery and isolation. There were more large pools in this section and at one stage the banks came down to small cliffs on both sides of the river which required a bit of scrambling to get past. There were some people camped at the Bears Head Range Track intersection, I could hear voices and smell smoke, but they were the only people I noticed until I got close to the end of the walk.

P1020857a.JPG
Pleasant walking
P1020857a.JPG (109.49 KiB) Viewed 7553 times

P1020858a.JPG
Swimming hole
P1020858a.JPG (101.4 KiB) Viewed 7553 times


I reached the weir about 12pm and had lunch (more sandwiches) then continued on downstream along the ever so slightly broader river. I came across another group of people camped at the Link Track No. 2 intersection. The map I was using indicated a track from this point on to Mackenzies Flat and I was looking forward to some easier walking. As it turned out the track was only on the map and not on the ground although thankfully it was only a few more river crossings before I reached a well trodden path. From there it was a quick walk back to Mackenzies Flat past lots of people out enjoying the beautiful day. I reached Mackenzies Flat about 2.30pm and only had left the flat road slog back to my car in Darley, about 5km. For whatever reason this section seemed about the hardest of the weekend and I was glad to get back to the car and give my legs a rest before heading home.

An enjoyable walk overall, good scenery and pretty isolated.
HikerBrad
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri 11 Nov, 2016 8:30 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Lerderderg Gorge Walk - June 12-13th 2017

Postby GregR » Thu 15 Jun, 2017 5:47 pm

Thanks for the write up Brad.
You have inspired me to do a thru walk, like you I have wanted to for ages but never get around to it. I'm a huge Lederderg fan.

Cheers
Greg
User avatar
GregR
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 348
Joined: Mon 07 Jan, 2013 11:24 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Lerderderg Gorge Walk - June 12-13th 2017

Postby bigkev » Fri 16 Jun, 2017 4:49 pm

Hi Brad,

Like Greg I've often thought about doing the walk through the gorge but have never got around to it, it's a wild old spot and it's so close to Melbourne. Strangely enough I've had the walk penciled in for late summer when the river is more or less dry, there is generally always enough deep pools left over for water (and a swim) and as you said, the dry river bed makes for the easiest walking.

I was actually up there on the Saturday of the long weekend doing a longish day walk at the southern end of the gorge, I have to agree with you that the weather was almost perfect. I walked up the gorge to Spur Track, climbed the eastern rim before descending the tunnel access track down to the weir. In the afternoon I climbed Long Point Track up onto the western rim and walked Blackwood Ranges Track down to Link Track No 1, before dropping back into the gorge and returning to Mackenzie Flat, all in all a pretty good day out.

If your interested here's a link to the post on my blog http://goinferalonedayatatime.blogspot. ... -park.html

I actually took almost the exact same photo as you a day or two earlier, standing on the down stream side of the weir looking downstream.

DSC_0052.JPG
I headed off up stream pretty early which made getting photos a bit tricky with one side of the gorge bathed in bright sunshine and the other deep in the shadows.

DSC_0109.JPG
Just down steam from the weir.

DSC_0118.JPG
Long Point Track is steep but the scenery makes it all worth while.
User avatar
bigkev
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat 30 Jun, 2012 6:44 pm
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Lerderderg Gorge Walk - June 12-13th 2017

Postby neilmny » Fri 16 Jun, 2017 7:51 pm

Great write up Brad thanks for posting and Big Kev you've done it again. :D
User avatar
neilmny
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 2392
Joined: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 11:19 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male

Re: Lerderderg Gorge Walk - June 12-13th 2017

Postby HikerBrad » Mon 19 Jun, 2017 3:54 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback. Get out there if you get the chance. It's a good time of year, not too much heat, not too much water, not too many snakes....

Bigkev - great blog write up and photos, very comprehensive. Good luck for your AAWT - one day when I make the time ....


Thanks.
Brad.
HikerBrad
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri 11 Nov, 2016 8:30 am
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male


Return to VIC Trip Reports & Track Notes

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest