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Labertouche South Hells Gate is a 13.7km, grade 3 Circuit hike located in Labertouche Cave Geological Reserve Victoria. The hike should take approximately 4-5hrs to complete.
The Labertouche South Hells Gate circuit commences at the locked management gate of Last Creek Track. Follow the track past the gate and follow the track as it gradually descends south west into a forested gully. (The track makes a number of turns at various trail junctions that are not sign posted so downloading the GPX file will be beneficial). After approximately 1.2 km the track turns west and descends along the management track down a narrow spur. After crossing a gully the track then turns south before arriving at a junction, at approximately 3.5km mark. Turning north at this point, continue for around 1km into the heart of the Labertouche Cave Geological Reserve. Here you will be able to take a quick look at the entry/exit points of the Labertouche Caves.
About the Caves
Labertouche cave is a stream passage cave developed in Tynong Granite. It is occupied by a tributary of Labertouche Creek which flows underground for a distance of 175 metres. The accessible cave section is slightly shorter than this and is entered through an old stream sink located above the currently active stream passages. The cave consists of a passage through a pile of corestones of granite and in places there are exposures of in situ granite. Vigorous stream flow is maintained, which transports sand and gravel through the cave. Grooved and polished boulder surfaces found at several levels throughout the cave illustrate the abrasive action of this transported sediment. A smaller cave 200 metres to the east is on another tributary stream, but as yet no accessible cave passage has been discovered to this cave.
It is important to note that you must not enter the caves unless you are an experienced caver. Please read the warning signs at the site.
After exploring this area, return a short distance and locate Cave Track on your left. This track ascends along a steep spur to the north and returns you to the top of the plateau and the official Labertouche Cave carpark. From the carpark, follow the vehicle track north as it winds it way to the Robertson Creek Fireline. Turn right and follow the fireline over the summit of South Hells Gate and onto the South Hells Gate Track. This section of the trail is often used by 4WD enthusiasts and is steep, muddy and deeply rutted. Take care of any vehicles using this track. At the bottom of the first steep descent take a hard left turn and follow the track that heads south to Dugout Track. Turn right onto Dugout Track and follow it south for approximately 900m. You can in fact follow the road back to your vehicle but if you keep a keen eye out to your right you will be able to locate the start of a hiking trail that runs parallel to the road and is a lot more enjoyable to walk along. After approximately 1km you will arrive at yet another track junction. Turn left then left again after a short distance and follow this track down hill and back to the trail head.
From Melbourne, take Citylink/M1 and head towards Berwick, Just after Longwarry North take the Labertouche Rd exit. Follow Labertouche Road to Jacksons Track and Stoll Rd to Last Creek Track in Jindivick. Park near the locked gate. Note there is not a lot of room for multiple cars.
While most of this hike is on well formed vehicle tracks care must be taken to ensure that you take the correct trails and turn at the correct spots. It would be easy to get disoriented as many of the maps do not show the track accurately and many of the side tracks are overgrown since the fires.
Max elevation: 613 m
Min elevation: 244 m
Total climbing: 588 m
Total descent: -584 m