Distillery Creek Picnic area:
Currawong Falls loop:
Back at the picnic area for a late lunch with the wildlife:
When we went: Friday May 1
How we got there: we drove to Aireys Inlet from Melbourne, it’s about a 90 minute drive.
There is also a Great Ocean Road Vline bus from Melbourne that stops at Bambra Road, it’s then a 30 min or so hike up to Distillery Creek picnic ground and the start of the walk.
Activity summary: Four hour forest walk loop on good tracks; taking in Ironbark Gorge, Currawong falls, a fern grove and edging around a malaeuca swamp.
What we did (the details):
We arrived at Distillery Creek Picnic grounds at around 10:30am. The picnic area itself is very pretty. The tracks are well signed, and we started off by following the track to Ironbark Gorge, in the north of the picnic area.
The gorge walk was through attractive dry eucalypt forest with many dark textured trunks of the ironbark trees along the way. The stream at the bottom of the gorge was barely flowing, I imagine it would be amazing after some rain. It took us about an hour to walk around the gorge.
We then took the left branch up the hill and climbed steadily to a rock platform that looks out over the Ironbark gorge below. We stopped here for a drink and a snack to enjoy the view over the valley and the sea.
The trail then leaves the gorge, crosses over a four wheel drive track and enters dry, open low scrubby forest. This is where we realised we’d forgotten our hats! The sun was glorious, but late enough in the year we didn’t get sunburnt, phew! The sandy track headed down and down into the next valley floor, the vegetation changing constantly as the trail curves around to the shadow of the hills in the north.
Currawong falls were dry, but then everything I’ve read suggests they usually are. The Fern tree grove was beautiful, even if a few look like they’ve suffered at some point and/or were dying. The melaleuca swamp was brilliantly green and very pretty, and noisy with birdlife. It was short walk from there back to the picnic area and lunch.
We arrived back at the Distillery Creek picnic area just after 2pm, so the walk took us 3.5 – 4 hours.
Birds we saw: One eastern yellow robin sitting on a branch watching patiently for prey. Lots of fantails and numerous small birds flitting over head. Two very cheeky currawongs that arrived as soon as we sat on the picnic tables for lunch. They received our pear cores for their patience. They didn’t seem impressed.
Books: This hike is described in the “Ironbark Gorge and Currawong Falls” walk in Walking the Otways.
- Aireys Inlet & District Association: Walks starting in the Distillery Creek picnic area http://www.aireys-inlet.org/walks-starting-from-the-distillery-creek-picnic-area/ (On the map pictured, we did walks 3 & 4)
- Hilarious blog post covering three walks on this track: http://www.hikingfiasco.com/2013/11/currawong-falls-aireys-inlet-victoria.html