Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies Flat

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Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies Flat

Postby Robbo » Sat 08 Jan, 2011 4:27 pm

My two daughters and myself set off for this three-day two-night walk on Wednesday afternoon. The walk is rated a hard two to three-day walk (32 km) and this proved to be correct from our experience. It is quite possible to complete the walk in this time, but from our point of view for this trip it would have been a ‘destination oriented’ rather than ‘a process oriented’ and we wanted to be out by midday on Friday so we cut our walk short by quite a distance.

From O’Briens Crossing the easy to follow track made for good pace for this part of the walk. There were plenty of good views of the river with many quite spots to camp along the river on this section of the walk. The final descent to the river at Razorback North Track was quite steep but easily negotiated with care.

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We set up our camp for the first night on the small flat spot right beside the river. As this a State Park fires are allowed, and so the girls cooked themselves some marshmallows until it came time for bed.

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The next stage of the walk is river walking. It turned out to take longer for us than expected and so we decided early that we wouldn’t make it all the way to Mackenzies Flat by midday Friday and so took our time making our way along the river eventually deciding to camp on a nice shaded spot from the afternoon sun near the start of the Ah Kow Track.

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The walk along the river was amazing with numerous quite waterholes and excellent camping spots. There are myriads of native plants to enjoy and bird life is prevalent – especially the Sulfur-crested Cockatoos – for those so inclined. The recent rains have brought the river to life with many tadpoles and frogs frequenting the ponds along the way. Just lazing on the rocks overlooking the reflective pools was enough to convince us that we need to take the time to complete the rest of the walk in the not too distant future. For the history buffs, there are numerous examples of old mining sites to be found along river, usually where there are large bends. The all-consuming desire to find the precious metal was obviously extremely strong for the miners who worked these sites!

While this section of the walk is hard, as there is no track and the river is crisscrossed numerous times to bypass the cliffs and scrub, there are a number of access tracks on both sides of the river all the way to Mackenzies Flat, especially to as far as the Ah Kow Ruin and Mine. There was Telstra coverage every time I turned on my phone, so it was easy to call my wife to arrange for a different pick up spot.

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We used the Lerderderg and Werribee Gorges map (3rd Ed.) published by Meridian Maps. If you PM me I can give the grid references of the campsites we thought best.
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby trickos » Wed 12 Jan, 2011 7:03 am

Thanks Robbo,
Excellent report.

The river is usually dry...or reduced to a trickle, therefore the easiest way to walk along the river is in it. Are the banks of the river easily negotiated without getting wet?
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby Robbo » Wed 12 Jan, 2011 4:45 pm

trickos wrote:Are the banks of the river easily negotiated without getting wet?


Yes Trickos it can stay dry by walking along the baks - crossing from one side to the other is a different story, however, especially if you are a little shaky on slippery rocks...

Cheers

Robbo
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby Snowzone » Wed 12 Jan, 2011 7:39 pm

Hi Robbo,

I enjoyed your report. I have always wanted to do this 3 day walk but so far have only managed both ends of it. O'Briens Crossing through to Spanish Onion Track and out that way and MacKenzies Flat to Long Point and out.

Was the river flowing? If not, were the pools of water you spoke of suitable for collecting drinking water from? Last time I was there, which was a while ago I admit, I found the pools of water to be very stagnant.

Great to see you getting the family out as well. Great Report!

cheers,

Vicki
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby Robbo » Fri 14 Jan, 2011 10:04 am

Thanks Snowzone

Snowzone wrote:Was the river flowing? If not, were the pools of water you spoke of suitable for collecting drinking water from?


The water was flowing very well, and we drank the water from the river, without boiling, from the time our water bottles (1lt) ran out without a problem. I figured that there has been so much water down through there in the past few months that if it wasn't OK now it never would be! And after the rain we've had in the last couple of days it is probably flooded again as well.

Cheers

Robbo
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby trickos » Wed 02 Mar, 2011 1:26 pm

I did a variation to this walk yesterday...a fairly serious looped day walk that takes in the most remote part of the Gorge.
Starting from the very top of Razorback Track and followed that down steeply to the river, then struggled on along the bank trying to find a possible path downstream. This was hard going and negotiating cliff faces, snakes and river crossings made for slow going.
My original plan was to walk the river all the way down to Ah Kow track but I used my contingency plan and exited via McKenzie Track (nice campsite here - also lots of wild goats everywhere) as I found the going ridiculously difficult along the river which was flowing nicely. I returned to the car via Mt. Blackwood as per the Great Dividing Trail. Probably aroung 12 - 13 km's length

I also used the Meridian Maps (Lerderderg and Werribee Gorge) and found it to be excellent.
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Lerderderg Gorge
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Grassy camp at McKenzie Track
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Lerderderg from Mt Blackwood
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby CenVicCharlie » Thu 03 Mar, 2011 9:01 pm

Can anybody tell us whats the fishing like in this area of the river? Have been looking for a place to try out my Tenkara rod close to home? It looks trouty
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby trickos » Fri 04 Mar, 2011 9:57 am

Plenty of nice shallow runs for trout just near the campsite pictured above at McKenzie track. That would be a nice weekend away - really remote here. Plenty of Red belly black snakes tho.
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby andrewbish » Sun 13 Mar, 2011 4:41 pm

I am thinking about doing the the O-Briens Crossing to MacKensies Flat over 3 days at Easter, with my wife and one or more of my daughters.

I haven't been there before, so am wondering...

- is the visitor traffic likely to be anything like the Prom over Easter?
- Is there any/much bush-bashing? (should I be shopping for gaiters for the girls?)
- is it physically very challenging - steep hills, etc (thinking of my 11 year old)?

Cheers,
Andrew
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby Robbo » Mon 14 Mar, 2011 6:16 am

I can't make a comment about likely numbers, but I would very much doubt that the walk would be over run with walkers any time of year.

It is not a particularly easy walk, with quite a bit of river walking with numerous crossings and no obvious tracks, and I would very much recommend gaiters due the amount of long grass and likelihood of snakes.

Depends on the experience and fitness of your daughters, it would be doable just allow plenty of time, the middle section of the walk has no tracks and requires crossing the river many times. It is only steep, and therefore really physically demanding, if you need to walk out early using one of the many exit options available.

I found Telstra mobile coverage whenever I turned on my phone...

Cheers

TR
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby andrewbish » Mon 14 Mar, 2011 11:01 am

Thanks, Robbo.
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby trickos » Mon 14 Mar, 2011 3:20 pm

yeah, I agree Robbo. Plenty of escape routes if the going gets to tough. I think when i did the walk the river was fairly high and getting across the river was easier said than done. There is also some serious bush bashing and if you get stuck on the wrong side of the river there is a bit of rock scrambling as well. Did not see another soul on my day trip.
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby andrewbish » Sun 20 Mar, 2011 8:20 pm

Drove up to the Lerderberg State Park yesterday, with the plan to spend a couple of days walking. First up was following walk 32 in 'Day Walks Around Melbourne'.

Parked at the end of Lohs Lane. Followed the easy-going Foxy Gully (4WD) Track to where it meets Blackwood Ranges Track, then followed the foot trail down the increasingly steep and interesting spur to the Lerderberg River. Then slowly made my way up Watties Gully to a waterfall. Stopped for coffee then did a scramble up the side of the steep gorge to a ridge that joined the Ah Kow Track (MVO road section). That led to the old Ah Kow mining ruins before another steep climb out of the gorge with a gently hill-top walk out. 8 hours walking (the books suggest 7), plus breaks. Had planned on spending a night at MacKensie Picnic Area, but it turned out you could ONLY picnic there ie. no camping.

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The pleasant walk along the Foxy Gully Track.

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Harmless--looking foliage...but there were heaps of webs across the track, at head height, usually with a large (Orb?) spider lurking. Required judicious use of the walking pole.

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View of the Lederberg River from the spur down to Watties Gully

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Looking up the Lerderberg River near Watties Gully.

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Watties Gully


(Continued in separate post)
Last edited by andrewbish on Sun 20 Mar, 2011 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby andrewbish » Sun 20 Mar, 2011 8:25 pm

(Continuation of previous post)
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The waterfall in Watties Gully that marks the point where you head up the gully wall.
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Pausing mid-scamble to enjoy the view looking down to the waterfall on Watties gully
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The easier walking along the ridge top towards the Ah Kow track.
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby Robbo » Mon 21 Mar, 2011 6:27 pm

Thanks for the report and photos, Andrew. There really are some interesting walks in the area...

TR
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Re: Lerderderg State Park – O’Briens Crossing to Mackenzies

Postby Skender » Fri 19 Oct, 2012 1:48 pm

hey guys - a couple of great reports there with some brilliant snaps. Thanks for posting.
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