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Salisbury Falls/Friends Track is a 14.3km, grade 3, circuit hike located in the Warby-Ovens National Park, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 4hrs to complete.
This is a very pleasant medium hike on the outskirts of Wangaratta. There is an array of wildlife from wedge tailed eagles to echidnas and iconic grass trees scattered the whole way. A more diverse walk than nearby Mt Glenrowan.
Follow the Salisbury Walk track uphill. Although signs warn of a difficult steep path it really is quite easy for anyone with normal bushwalking experience.
Early on there is a side track to Salisbury Falls. It is only flowing after decent rain. As you get higher up in the gully there are views back across the plains to Mt Buffalo. When the gully opens out to flat land you follow the creek for a while before branching off and joining the loop part of the trail.
At this point you need to decide which direction to head. These notes are for a clockwise (to the left) direction. In places the track is shared with mountain bike riders, who are going in the opposite direction, so you’ll see them approaching rather than have them creep up behind. They are not numerous, and well behaved, so don’t be put off from this pleasant trail.
Approx 200m on from joining the loop track there is a smaller path to the right which you take. A broken signpost marks the track. This climbs gently up to the stone cairn at the summit of Mt Warby. There are 2 paths here, stay relatively straight (or the left most one, again with the broken sign).
After a short while you approach a fence and road. Go right along the road for 200m where there is toilets and a camping ground. The path you are looking for is to the left of the end of the carpark – this is the Friends Track. It branches off shortly afterwards – stay right and the path will head downwards near another small creek. Again the track branches, and you stay right, crossing a small bridge to move to the other side of the creek.
The trail now swings back round the hill and crosses a couple of service tracks. At one of these a sign points straight ahead on Friends track (“Wenhams Camp 50min”). It is worth taking a side trip at this point, going left down the service track for 500m to the Kwat Kwat Lookout. This is the best uninterrupted view of the plains, the hills and Wangaratta.
Walk back to re-join the Friends Track. It follows a gully with stands of grass trees before climbing slightly and another fork in the track. This time you leave Friends Track and follow the Alpine Views Track to the left. At the right time of year (spring?) this has fields of wild flowers. Eventually the trail drops down to a wider service track. Turn right, signposted as the Alpine Views with right pointing arrow. This takes you back to the completion of the loop section, where you turn left, back along the way you came up (signposted as Carpark).
Just 8km from the middle of Wangaratta. Proceed to the very end of Shanley Rd. There is a small turning circle and you park on the roadside.
The path is well formed, but many signposts are broken. Orange triangles on trees point much of the way. A map and notes, the .gpx file or just good instincts will keep you on track. It’s not a deep wilderness area and despite talk of tracks branching off it’s easy to follow.
As suggested in the notes, I recommend a clockwise trip on the loop section.
Max elevation: 445 m
Min elevation: 159 m
Total climbing: 623 m
Total descent: -595 m