Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trip Report: Lerderderg Gorge, Vic, Australia

Lerderderg State Park is about 2 hours drive west of Melbourne. It's main feature is a 300 metre deep gorge that runs north-south through the park, as well as some history gold mining relics in a few places.

Had nothing planned for the weekend so drove up there with the plan to stop overnight somewhere in the gorge.

Stopped at a quaint old general store in Myrniong - unhappy to discover that the only store in the area did not serve coffee! Headed off again, muttering about country bumpkins.

There are a number of possible walks in the park. The most documented one is the walk that follows the river, from O'Brien's Crossing Camping ground in the north to MacKensies Flat Picnic Area in the South. My route involved a circuit, accessing gorge around the mid-point, at Lane, then following Foxy Lane Track and Bears Head Range Track into the gorge, up a tributary, back around to the old Ah Kow mine area, then out via Hogan Track and Ah Kow Track.

At the start - a lovely rural vista

The track on Foxy Lane is easy going.

Got a bit of regrowth on Bears Head Gully track, above the river.

There were a heap of these orb-type spiders in this section. They specialised in building webs at about head height - required judicious and frequent use of the staff to clear a path.

The steep drop down to the river.

Found what would be a top spot to camp.

The river

Entrance to the tributary. The route involved following up this for about a kilometre.

Finally came to the waterfall which marked the end of the river scramble. Stopped for a lunch and a 'cowboy coffee'.

Did a pose at the Ah Kow camping area. It's harder than you think to use the camera timer when you have a pack.

The gorge in many parts has very steep sides. The track leaving Ah Kow is particularly steep and it was an hands and feet scramble to get up and out.

Got back to car at nightfall. Car was covered in grass clippings. Seems I had parked on the local farmers grass on lawnmowing day, so he just cut all around the car.

Headed over to MacKensie Picnic ground with the plan to do some stealth camping, but the place was locked up - it really was just a day picnics area. A better choice would have been to drive up to O'Briens. Instead I called it a day and headed home for a regular bed.

I really enjoyed the day at Lerderderg and would definitely recommend it for a 1-2 day hike.

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