Monday, October 25, 2010

Day Walks Melbourne #37 - Reids Tramline (Powelltown)


I was attending a school fete at Yarra Junction yesterday, with my wife and a daughter Zoe, and used the opportunity to drive another 10 minutes up the road to "Timber land" - Powelltown, to do the Reids Tramline walk from the Day Walks Melbourne book.

Did the reverse route to the book, which gave us a decent hill climb for the first 20 minute, following a logging road.  Was met with a bit of protest from the youngest party member.

From the highest point, the road descends through a less used section, before we headed offroad, to a bush track down to the site of the mill.  The mill site is just that - a site.  So not much to see.   The track then follows a pleasant path beside a stream until we got back to the main road.

The 'Powellsy' is a favorite stop for bikers and bushwalkers.  There is a craft shop alongside it with an interesting range of wood carvings. My wife was able to pick up some cheap home made soap.

Finally got back to the route start/stop point at the picnic ground.  Took a few minutes to scale an enormous log before heading back to Melbourne.

The Wrap
Took us 1 hour 40 mins, with no breaks.  Very scenic, bush walk for the most part, though the main road section detracts a bit.

Verdict: Recommended

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bear Grylls Challenge

Something a bit different for this post.   My daughter Zoe & I are both big fans of celebrity survival expert, Bear Grylls, and we never miss episodes of his show, Man vs Wild.

Like many people, I have generally settled on satisfying any adventuring urges vicariously through the likes of Bear.  However, I recently got challenged by a friend, Brett, to join him (and others) on what he is calling a Bear Grylls Challenge.  Here's his email:


The 24 hour Bear Grylls Survival Challenge

So you have watched every episode of Man vs. Wild and want to put your survival skills to the test?

Scheduled for late November/early December, the idea is to survive from noon Saturday until noon on Sunday with only the following:
- The clothes you are wearing (which can include a hat and waterproof jacket)
- A knife
- A flint
- 1 litre of water
- 5 metres of parachute cord or thin line
- Any medication you might need like an asthma puffer
- [Still considering whether we can take a small torch for emergencies and a fish hook]

There is no need to spend up big at Paddy Pallin for this trip.

The intention will be to get from point A to point B in Victoria's beautiful state forest .

Participants should travel together but have to make their own fire, shelter and source their own food. Anyone considering drinking their own fluids or eating a scorpion should ask for assistance.

People who want to join in the fun but don't enjoy roasted wombat can either tag along as the camera crew with a backpack or camp with all the comforts at the basecamp/carpark.

So if anyone is keen to participate let me know.

My first reaction was to be impressed and to wish him well.  Then I thought "well, I could at least be a camera man". And then I thought, "you know what - I am going to give this a shot".

Then I thought - "shit - I don't know the first thing about surviving in the bush..."

To be continued...

Day Walks Melbourne #38 - Tree Fern Walk (Gembrook)

10/10/2010   Headed out to Gembrook with my daughter, Zoe, for walk #38 in the Day Walks Melbourne book.   I was looking for a bit of exercise and Zoe was looking to wear in her new hiking boots - picked up the week before at a bargain price from Paddy Pallins in Ringwood.

The walk is in the Bunyip State Forest, with the start/finish point at Mortimer Picnic Ground, a few kilometres from Gembrook.

Nice track.  Fairly easy going..

Got a bit confused at the 7.5km mark, mistaking the Silvertop Ridge Track for Triangle Road.  

Got back onto the main track via Windy Point Road.

Almost missed the entrance to the Parker Link Track, as it was a bit overgrown.  However, that next section proved to be the most interesting part of the whole track.  It was clearly less frequented and more 'untouched'.

The last section is a nature trail, with a number of handy signs providing insight into the local flora.

The Wrap
Our detour route took us 2 1/2 hours to complete.  Not particularly challenging, but a pleasant walk to do.
Verdict: Recommended

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day Walks Melbourne #36 - Estate Spur

The Estate Spur walking track is at Lake Eildon.  It is walk #36 of the book, Day Walks Melbourne.

I headed out there on a Sunday afternoon in early October.  I went via Lilydale (close to my home), then via Yarra Glen, to avoid the windy roads of the Black Spur.

Got to Alexandra and stopped at the Information Centre for directions. (At this stage, I didn't have a copy of the book - which has perfectly fine directions I later found out).  Turns out that the lady on duty wasn't a local and hadn't heard of the Estate Spur Track.  Also there were no flyers, etc in the Centre that mentioned the track.  She gave me her best guess at where to go and, happily, it was a good guess as 20 mins later I arrived at the start of the track!

Fairly steep climb from the road. 

The climb from the road

Some nice views on the way

Got onto the Spur after 20-odd minutes.

Nice walk along the Spur, with great views of Lake Eildon.

The descent from the highest point is quite steep.  I followed the trail for a while then came to path dropping back down the the lakeside.  I decided to keep following the ridge rather than follow the trail - the bush is fairly open and looked interesting.

Crossed paths with a kangaroo just above the Point.  Would have been around  1.6 metre tall - was quite impressive.
After a steep descent and a bit of bush-bashing I found the lakeside trail and this provided a very pleasant return trip to the car.

The Wrap

All up, the Estate Spur track walk took 2 1/4 hours, including a couple of brief stops.
I found it to be a decent work-out with great views.
Verdict: Recommended.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day Walks Melbourne

I found this great book by John Chapman,  Day Walks Melbourne,   on the Bushwalking Melbourne blog.

I decided that I should get off my arse and do as many of these as I can. 

First up, Estate Spur at Lake Eildon.

On the way

I plan to do a bit of hiking and trekking over the next little while.  I will use this blog to jot down a few notes on the places I go to  - perhaps you may be able to use this to help you with your own trekking plans.