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Lerderderg State Park...
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This hike starts from O'Briens Crossing Camp Ground and follows the famed East Walk along the eastern banks of the Lerderderg River. This part of the circuit twists and turns along intermittent water races and foot trails for approximately 5.3Km before ascending Nolan Spur to intersect the end of Nolan Track. Ascend Nolan spur (initially steep) and follow it along its length for approximately 3Km to its end at O'Briens Road. Walk along O'Briens Road for 500m until you reach Gribble Track on your right.
After following Gribble Track for almost 2.5Km you will arrive at the junction of Byers back Track. You can turn right at this point and return to O'Briens Crossing. This hike continues straight ahead descending the steep track down to the Lerderderg River and the Tunnel.
The track then leaves the downstream of the tunnel entrance and continues across the Eastern bank of the river. The trail beyond this point is not particularly easy to follow and in some places it may be easier, during drier weather, to simply follow the Lerderderg River through to the Ambler Lane ford. There is a section on this part of the trail that requires you to scramble over a cliff face before descending to the river.
From Ambler Lane ford contunie downstream along the Lerderderg River for approximately 1km until you reach a trail on your right. Return via this trail to your starting point at O'Briens Crossing.
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.
A varied hike with steep sections and changing scenery. Hiking poles will be useful on ascents and descents. Carry at least 2 litres of water and food to keep your energy levels up. There are some steep sections that will benefit from the use of poles. Following rain, when the river is high, several creek crossings may be required. The trail along the Lerderderg River following the Tunnel is not marked and you will need to pick your way along its length. Best not to attempt this section following heavy rains.
Max elevation: 628 m
Min elevation: 418 m
Total climbing: 462 m
Total descent: -462 m