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Lerderderg State Park...
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This Clearwater Gully hike explores the quiet Clearwater Creek, a rarely visited gully deep in the heart of the park. There are no formed trails for much of the hike but navigation along the creek bed should be fairly straight forward. The going will be slow if the creek and Lerderderg Rivers are flowing.
Clearwater Creek is a seldom visited tributary of the Lerderderg River set deep inside the Lerderderg State Park. The remote location and rugged terrain disguise the fact that the area was once actively explored for gold, with only the remnants of the mining activity still visible.
The walk is a balance of management access tracks and off-track river gorges and creek gullies. A drop of 350 m from the start to the banks of the Lerderderg River is matched by an equal climb back up the path of the Clearwater Creek and onto the return management track.
The walk is only suitable for fit and experienced walkers. Exposed rock surfaces and grassy flats provide a diversity of walking conditions; however, the former can be dangerous in wet conditions.
About the region
Rising in the Great Dividing Range, the Lerderderg River has cut a 300 metre deep gorge through sandstone and slate, almost bisecting the park. The park has a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife and some interesting relics of gold mining. Lerderderg State Park encompasses scenic and geological gorge formations surrounding the Lerderderg River as well as the volcanic cone of Mount Blackwood. The adjacent and separate block called the Pyrete Range forms part of the park. The Lerderderg is known for its remote setting and the 300m deep Lerderderg River gorge is a dominant feature. Private land abuts the park to the south and the Wombat State forest abuts to the north and west.
Lerderderg State Park (incorporating the former Pyrete State Forest) is a 14,250-hectare park located between Bacchus Marsh and Blackwood, an hour's drive from Melbourne, Australia. There are several maintained tracks for walking through the park and camping is allowed.
The park is named for the Lerderderg River which has cut the 300 metre deep Lerderderg Gorge through sandstone and slate, almost bisecting the park. Parks Victoria maintains six designated walks: three short walks of 3.5 km or less; Blackwood-O'Briens Crossing and return (22 km); O'Briens Crossing-Cowan Track loop (14 km); and the overnight walk O'Briens Crossing to Mackenzies Flat (20 km).
In addition, one leg of the Great Dividing Trail, the Lerderderg Track, passes through the park, entering from Blackwood in the park's northwest, and exiting south towards Bacchus Marsh. Bicycles are prohibited from one section of this track, due to a conservation area.
From Melbourne follow the Calder Freeway 53Km and turn off at Girborne. Continue along the Bacchus Marsh-Gisborne Road for 11Km then turn right onto Carrolls Lane. Veer left at Firth Road and drive a further 2.8Km before turning left onto O'Briens Road. Follow O'Briens Road for 4.5Km and park at the start of the Lerderderg Track. You can also approach Carrolls Lane via the Western Highway and Bacchus Marsh.
Suggested items to pack: Day Pack with picnic lunch and at least 2 litres of water. Maybe also a good idea to bring a change of clothes, socks and towel.
Most of this hike is off trail and along river beds. A walking pole will come in handy along the river and creek.
Max elevation: 646 m
Min elevation: 329 m
Total climbing: 601 m
Total descent: -603 m