• Length: 15.4km

  • Duration: 4-5hrs

  • Grade: 4

  • Style: Circuit

  • Start: Lerderderg Track

  • End: Lerderderg Track

  • Location: Lerderderg State Park

  • Closest Town: Gisborne

  • Distance from CBD: 76km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.49924817

  • Longitude: 144.4019699

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Clearwater Gully is a 15.4km, grade 4 circuit hike, located in Lerderderg State Park, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 4-5hrs to complete.

Hike Summary

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.

Getting there

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.

GPX File

Total distance: 15409 m
Max elevation: 646 m
Min elevation: 329 m
Total climbing: 601 m
Total descent: -603 m
Download GPX File

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12 thoughts on “Clearwater Gully (15.4km)

  1. Where we diverted off the unmarked track and made our own way and I nearly fell to my death. ?? Anny Au my hero. Let me just tag you guys so you can relive that special day. Cheng Ung, Cindy Au, Alvin Vitor.

  2. Hike report: A spectacular but brutal 16km (7.5 hour for me) hike along Lerderderg River and Clearwater Creek via Lerderderg Track. After four hours of picking my way along the dry beds and climbing over flood debris, I bailed halfway up Clearwater Creek by climbing a spur out of the gully after my knee started playing up. I had a choice between a very steep climb out or another 2 km of unstable rock hopping. I chose the climb.

    The gorges are wild and spectacular, worth the hard work.

    Total elevation change for the day was over 1200m. You must be fit for this walk. I used all my 3 litres of water and all my food. It was just enough, but I would have been hungry had I got stuck. I recommend a water filter on this trip.

    The two hero bits of gear for this hike were my walking pole, without which I would have taken more falls on the unstable rocks than I did, and my Swanndri, which acted as excellent protection when pushing through scrub. Long pants are a must. I would suggest strong boots with ankle support due to the unstable terrain. Mine need replacing.

  3. An extremely challenging and somewhat dangerous hike. We were a small group in our late twenties that ending up taking almost 9 hours to complete the route. Extra time was required due to high water levels in the creek that we needed to cross on a few occasions. As it took far longer than expected, we spent several hours navigating in the dark with torchlight and were only able to get out thanks to pre-loading the GPX map on our phones. The lengthy walk along the creek bed was covered in mossy, slippery rocks and plenty of pools of water to try and avoid. Additionally, countless fallen trees made this extremely challenging. Even without rain for a few days, there were extremely wet and slippery conditions. The situation became extremely concerning and we were at risk of not finding the dirt road back up the mountain if not for the torches and the GPX map. Would strongly recommend allowing plenty of daylight for experienced hikers, or avoiding this hike altogether due to the dangerous conditions. May be more suitable in summer (drier, longer daylight), as this was undertaken in winter.

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