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Plenty Gorge Park...
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Arrive at the Red Gum Picnic area and head towards the Le Page Homestead track to pick up the trail. This hike takes you through the gorge alongside the Plenty River.
The track is mostly a single file trail except for a short section at the beginning of the hike. The trail is shared with mountain bikers and you'll most likely encounter a biker or two. Track can be hiked in either direction.
The trail takes you past the Wilton Vale ruins, Carome Homestead (where you can grab a bite to eat if it's open), Carome Falls and you can access the Stuchbery Farm ruins and Le Page homestead as side trips (not included in recorded trail).
The gorge is usually full of bird song and the surrounding park is a safe haven for the local mob of kangaroos and other wildlife.
It's easy to forget that you're surrounded by suburbia when walking through the gorge. There is the distant sound of the occasional train or visuals of powerlines during the northern part of this hike but it doesn't take away from how great this hike is.
About the region
Plenty Gorge Park offers a wide range of natural and cultural experiences only 20 km from Melbourne, where the spectacular gorge sets a backdrop for stunning landscape views and the abundant native wildlife are always on show. Walk the tracks to the beautiful gorge and marvel at the diverse wildlife living within the park. Shaped by volcanic activity, the Plenty River is a dividing line between two distinct geological types. The basalt on the west and sedimentary rock on the eastern side generate a wonderful diversity of habitats, making the park an important refuge for both threatened and regionally significant species.
Red Gum Picnic Area is accessed from the eastern side of Gordons Road, South Morang. There is carparking available. Middle Gorge and Hawkstowe train stations are also within walking distance of the picnic area. There are a number of bus stops along Plenty Road near the Gordons Road entrance too.
There is one creek crossing which shouldn't pose any issues unless there's been heavy rains. There are alternative turn around points using one of the multiple wooden bridges if you wish to shorten the hike.
If you're catching the train, you could get off at Mernda station and start the hike at the turn around point near Bridge Inn Road instead of the Red Gum Picnic area.
Hike information provided by Leah Smith
Max elevation: 180 m
Min elevation: 107 m
Total climbing: 1024 m
Total descent: -1016 m