• Werribee Gorge

    WERRIBEE GORGEous: Day Walk in Werribee Gorge

    Weekend Day Walk on 2 July 2016
    Walk Leader: Greg R.

    This was a day walk of epic proportions, well maybe a slight exaggeration, but hey, one of the best ‘day walks’ I’ve done.

    Why, I hear you ask? Variation, yes, lots of variations. There’s rock pools, plateau’s, expansive vistas, rock walls, rolling hills, not so rolling hills, spur walking, rock hopping, goats, volcanic rock formations, aqueducts and river rock wall straddling with the aid of cable in chilly overcast skies…..

    The route started at Quarry Picnic Ground heading in a north-westerly direction towards Hanson’s Farm (est. 1871) where ruins of the old house and farm buildings lie amongst open


    Needle Beach

    woodland forest a short distance up the track. After a 5 min exploratory, getting back on track of undulation, a final descent had us resting like seals on a rocky outcrop above a pool nestled in the wider gorge. Not inviting enough to slide of for a bathe though.

    From Junction Pool a long semi-circumnavigation ascent took us to the top of The Island – a high plateau isolated from surrounding hills – where we took in the vast vistas over the gorge and beyond for many a mile. After completing a small circuit track we descended The Island with green rolling hills across the valley looking like we could be somewhere in the English countryside.

    Backtracking our way to the Gorge circuit track, another ascent took us to Eastern Viewpoint in which views back toward The Island and Lederderg in the north. From here a short hike takes us to the southern side of the hill to Picnic point for lunch. Sitting high above the Gorge proper we can see ‘people-ants’ at Needles Beach, where we will end up in another hour and half.

    With our energy replenished, descent along a spur to the Werribee River took back on a southern route with the track just metres above the river and often on narrow rock ledges one foot after the other, perfect for our twinkled-toed leader. Arriving at Needles Beach, we stopped briefly at what would be an idyllic summers day swimming hole, but alas, it’s mid-winter and we pushed on down the river with magnificent volcanic rock formations rich in iron colours of twists and bends exposed by the weathering of time above our heads.

    A few hundred metres on our biggest challenge loomed as vertical rock meets river. We must successfully master our ‘via ferrata’ or we are doomed! Okay, not quite that dramatic but we must traverse the rock wall with the assistance of cable and sure footing otherwise someone may just get a little wet. Successfully completing our task our penultimate leg on this journey took us on more even ground along remnants of an early 1900’s irrigation (McFarlane’s Farm) aqueduct.

    Leaving the river we headed up a track back to the carpark….. THE END

    Alright, the track was a little more interesting than that, up, up, then down, around, then up then down to the cars.

  • Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve

    The Last Walk: the Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve

    Morning Walk on Thursday 21 July 2016
    Walk Leader: Chris S.

    The reservoir

    The reservoir

    As the light/moderate rain was falling on us, Chris, along his beloved partner, delivered his pre-walk briefing for the very last time. Chris is leaving us and moving to another coastal town for his second “retirement”. Today, Chris led his very last walk for the PBC. Few walkers,  including me, came to this walk to farewell Chris and Philippa.

    Today mid-week walk took place in the Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve which is a 98 hectares reserve with a 10 hectare of reservoir. The drinking water reservoir was decommissioned in 2008. However, the reserve supports regionally significant flora and fauna species, plant communities and fauna habitats, including 6 ecological vegetation classes of State significance (such as the endangered Grassy Woodland). The reserve was closed for almost
    95 years and has reopened early this year.

    The morning walk started at the Delacombe Park. We headed down to the south, navigating through several quiet suburban streets and some muddy pipe reserves, and reaching the entry of the reserve. We were met by a park ranger at the front gate and briefly told us about the reserve. Apparently, walkers can get a free guided walk if there are ten or more people, and we missed out the free guided walk by just one person! We walked along the reservoir on the Kookabura Bush Trail in a clock-wise direction. The trail meanders through various habitats, including Grassy Woodland and Gully Woodland. There were some “steep” sections but all of us handled them pretty easy. The highest point was only 120 m above the sea level. I used my walking time to get know a couple of members whom I would not normally meet on weekend walks.

    We had our morning tea at the Kur-Bur-Rer Crossing (Koala Bridge). As we sat quietly, we heard clearly the croaks from frogs in the reserves. After morning, we continued through the Stringybark woodland, returning to the dam wall via the Turtle Track. At the end of the track, we faced with a gigantic water tank of 53 megalitre which contributes partially to our drink water supply. We made a detour, having a quick walk along the Heathland Trail. We returned to the park entry via the dam walk. The Sun shone through the dark rain cloud, making the reservoir
    magnificent. With such a beautiful scene, we took a couple of farewell photos with Chris and Philippa  in front of the reservoir. We returned to the Delacombe Park via the walking trail along the Sweetwater Creek.

    At the conclusion of the walk, everyone thanked Chris for such a wonderful morning walk and wished Chris and Philippa best of luck on their next endeavour. We will miss you, Chris and Philippa.

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