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Werribee Gorge State Park...
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Parts of this hiking trail traverse through private land. You will need to seek an alternate route or seek permission of the land owner to access their land.
The Pyramid Rock - Ironbark Gorge Circuit commences at the Western Bluff car park and gradually descends the ridge to the rocky outcrop of Western Bluff. From the bluff the main trail descends steeply via Needles spur into the depths of the Werribee Gorge.
This next section of the hike is completely off trail so do not follow the main trail down into the gorge. Instead you will need to retrace your steeps for 20 metres from the viewpoint and slowly descend onto the head of the gully to your south. Cross over the gully and continue heading south south east until you reach a fence line. Turning left at the fence continue along its length until you reach a rusty farm gate. Cross over the fence at this point and head east through open farm land for 200m. You will clearly see the ridge line of the hills extending out into the gorge in front of you. Follow this ridge along its length until you reach a rocky outcrop which is Pyramid Rock.
From this high vantage point you will be rewarded with possibly the best views of Werribee Gorge and the Werribee River below. To the south east you will see the plains of Bacchus Marsh while to the north you can see as far as Centenary hill at the other end of the gorge.
After you have finished soaking in the views retrace your steps along the left hand side of the ridge and you will be further rewarded with views over the steep gorge walls below. When you reach the top of the ridge keep heading south east across a few shallow gullies until you reach a large cleared gully. You can choose to descent the gully or follow the open ridge in a northerly direction down into the gorge and the Werribee River.
Once you reach the Werribee River locate the best crossing point (as this will vary depending on water levels) then turn left to follow the old water race along the Werribee River gorge trail to Needles Beach. Through this section you will encounter rocky trails and even a cable traverse across a rocky overhang. Continue along the trail for about 150m beyond Needles Beach before finding a suitable crossing point back to the opposite side of the river. Listen out for running water as that is where you will often find the best crossing points. Once across the river turn left and walk back to the entrance to Ironbark Gorge.
From here you can ascend the steep ridge immediately to the right of the gorge. This is called Falcons Spur and is a well defined but rocky trail. Alternatively you can follow Ironbark Gorge along its length to rejoin the Falcons lookout trail.
Ironbark Gorge is a narrow winding gorge with changing scenery including small grassy flats to open rocky gullies. It is a very interesting trail and is not as challenging as ascending Falcons Spur.
The gully ends at the point where it meets the Ironbark Gorge trail. As a variation you can turn right at this point to ascent a shady gully through to Falcons Spur and the Granites. This particular hike turns left at the trail junction then enters the upper section of Ironbark Gorge before climbing out of the valley and on to IronBark car park.
From the car park it was then a short 400m walk back to the trail head at Western Bluff car park.
About the region
Werribee Gorge is a wild, rugged natural beauty shaped by 500 million years of geological history. A range of challenging walks amid the steep, river-washed gorge and surrounding rocky ridges offer spectacular views and access to a rock-climbing site within the park. The main feature of this park is the Werribee Gorge, through which the Werribee River meanders. This gorge has acquired some renown throughout the 20th century for its geological value.
Werribee Gorge has attracted the attention of geologists as one of the earliest known ancient glacial deposits, parts of which can be seen. The 200m deep gorge was formed about a million years ago when movements along a fault in the Earth's crust steepened the river's gradient. Since then the stream has continued to deepen the gorge through underlying rock to ancient sediments deposited in a sea more than 400 million years ago. Other geological events that have since occurred include the advance and retreat of an ice sheet and the inflow of volcanic lava.
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, do not attempt the river crossings. The trail from Western Bluff through to the Werribee River and the entire length of Ironbark Gorge are unmarked so some navigation skills will be required.
Max elevation: 370 m
Min elevation: 166 m
Total climbing: 455 m
Total descent: -455 m