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
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.