How we got there: we drove to the Brisbane Ranges from Melbourne, via the closest town, Bacchus Marsh; it’s just over an hours drive.
Activity summary: around 3.5 hours of mostly easy walking in forest. There is a steep climb up out of a gorge at the halfway point.
What we did (the details):
We arrived at Boars Gully caground car park at 8:45 and gheaded onto the well signposted Burchell trail. Our walk followed part of this three day trail for some of the first half.
The trail was on 4wd tracks for most of the walk, well marked with orange arrows at trail junctures.
The vegetation was really interesting: open forest with very little shrubby undergrowth, and a scattering of beautiful grass trees. Sadly, some of the grass trees have succumbed to cinnamon rust and died, there were warningsregarding straying off track and spreading the fungus. In the morning light, the grasstrees were all dangling little droplets on the ends of their leaves. It reminded me of our bamboos, so I wondered if it was the same guttation effect. On one of the sections of Kangaroo track, we kept seeing this low almost prostrate shrub with holly-like leaves that we did not recognise at all. After some research it seems like we were seeing the Brisbane Ranges Grevillea, albeit not in flower at this time of year.
At around the half way point of the walk, we left Slate track and headed down a well marked foot track that snaked down the side of a gorge and past old slate mining digs. At the bottom, we crossed a foot bridge and walked alongside the (at the time dry) creek bed. The messy nature of the gully and the shapes of the shore led us to wonder of the history of the creek, it looked like it had been victim to mining disruptions at some point in its past.
We then turned off the creekside track, scrambling over a fallen tree and climbed steeply up out of the gorge. At the top, we crossed over a road and headed back into the forest, once again on 4wd tracks and back northwards, generally following Little River. The vegetation was different again in the valley, it was here that we noticed that the track was often flanked on both sides by a blush mat of sundews. We continued on the Little River track, passing the Link track intersection and then retraced our trail back to the car. When of course, it started to drizzle on us!
We enjoyed this walk, but it would be better in spring: with some water in the creeks, and wild flowers in bloom.
Birds we saw: crimson rosellas, eastern spinebills, scarlet robins, eastern yellow robins.
And not birds! but we saw quite a few swamp wallabies, and a family of easten grey kangaroos.
Books: This walk is described as the Grass Tree walk in Melbourne’s Western Gorges by Glenn Tempest.
- Park notes for Brisbane Ranes National Park: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/313593/Park-note-Brisbane-Ranges-National-Park.pdf
- Friends of the Brisbane Ranges has some great resources http://fobr.org.au