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Lerderderg State Park...
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The Old River Circuit is a challenging variation to the Bears Head Circuit hike and is one of my favorite Lerderderg hikes as it descends into one of the remotest and least visited sections of the Lerderderg Gorge. The descent into the gorge via Bears Head Range or the Ah Kow Spur is steep and slippery. Take great care in this section of the track as well as in the Watties Gully Section as the gully is rocky with steep banks. There is a section of off-trail which requires good navigation skills between Watties Gully and Hogans Track. There are also multiple river crossings and rock scrambling which make this hike suitable for experienced hikers only.
The surroundings are spectacular and experienced hikers will enjoy a genuine sense of isolation and adventure.
A remote gorge walk along the Lerderderg River. It's a demanding walk into one of the more remote areas of the Lerderderg Gorge. Steep sections, river crossings with some rock scrambling required. Approximately 2.5km follows the river bed so some wading may be required depending on water levels.
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.
Follow the Western Freeway 9km past Bacchus Marsh and take the Myrniong exit. Continue along the Myrniong-Greendale Road for 1km, then turn right on the Mount Blackwood Road. Follow this narrow surfaced road north for 8km and turn right onto Lohs Lane. Drive a further 500m to the gate and park on the right.
- Suggested items to pack: Day Pack with Picnic Lunch and at least 2-3 litres of water.
- Do now enter the gorge following heavy rain.
- Hiking poles recommended and I also highly recommend water shoes if you have them as it will make the crossings easier.
Max elevation: 629 m
Min elevation: 270 m
Total climbing: 867 m
Total descent: -867 m