Thursday, January 30, 2014

Steavensons Falls and Kepple Lookout circuit, Marysville - Jan 2014

Marysville is only a hour's drive from Melbourne - and a pleasant hour too, for the most part, especially the section of the Black Spur - a winding, hilly road, through a fabulous forest of tall mountain ash trees.

This walk loops past Steavensons Falls and the Kepple Lookout, for a decent 12km jaunt.  After parking at the information centre, I headed off.   The trail starts through some public parkland, before joining the Tree Fern Gully Track.

Pond, Marysville

Steavenson River

Tree Fern Gully Tk

Massive ferns in the Tree Fern Gully Tk

Log jam in the Steavenson River, near Marysville

Steavenson Falls

Steavenson Falls

Steavenson Falls from top-of-falls lookout

After the falls, where the trail is less frequented, it becomes a bit 'rougher', but still straightforward to follow. The climb first to the falls lookout, then to the ridgetop is quite steep and is a good workout.  From there the trail is fairly easy through to the Kepple Lookout.
Sugarloaf Peak and the Cathedral  in the distance at centre

Marysville in the foreground left; the Cathedral and Sugarloaf Peak at centre rear

Bush on Keppel Tk
Did you know? Unlike other, more tough-skinned Eucalypts, Mountain Ash trees are 'thin-skinned' and can be destroyed or badly damaged by bushfire. However, this very cool tree has answer to the regular bush fires in Australia. An adult Mountain Ash tree spreads a bed of seeds all around it. These lie dormant until a bushfire and they are 'cooked' by the ashes, making them spring into life. So, after a bush fire, around the burnt mountain ash trees you will find a gazillion little saplings, shooting up as fast as they can - they've got 20 years until they're adults. So though a tree may die, there's another generation ready to replace it and continue the species.

Kepple Lookout. Marysville, the Cathedral and Sugarloaf Peak in view

After the lookout, the trail drops steeply down to the valley, passing through stunning bush on the way.    Approaching Marysville it was great to see all the new houses that are have been built.  It's a beautiful area and it is a good that people are still choosing to live here, despite the hardship brought on by the 2009 bush fire.

Wild flowers near Marysville

New houses in Marysville, built since the 2009 bushfires that wiped out the town
The key facts:

Distance: 12 km
Time: 3 hours
  -  "Daywalks Around Melbourne" Glenn Tempest. Walk #62. Avail. from Open Spaces Publishing;
Navigation: The trail is well maintained and with good signage
Challenge level:  Those with moderate fitness should knock this over in 3-3.5 hours. If you're a slow walker or you are taking younger children, you should allow 4-4.5 hours.
Phone reception: Good reception on most of the trail.
Water: Carry what you need.


  1. Nice post. Did this years ago. Recall Fern Tree Gully tk was really "closed in" then.

  2. Thanks, Journeyman. Yes, it's quite open down there, though still stunning. Will be even better as the vegetation continues to assert itself.

  3. hey andrew, i went on this walk today. i wasn't overly impressed with the trail up to the point of steavensons falls, but keppel track is good. just a tip to people, don't be surprised if you see a lot of weekend get-away city folk at steavensons falls since you can drive up to this. however, keppel track is all clear for 5km since it is a physical effort. oh, and the vegetation has come back nicely, you can see the signs of the bushfire, but it's recovering

  4. We took this same track few months back. It was really nice. Looking at your blog, it's like revisiting it all once again

  5. Thanks, Vindy. It's a terrific area!



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