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Starling Gap Ada Tree Circuit is a 25km, grade 3 circuit hike located in Yarra State Forest, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 6-7hrs to complete.
This beautiful circuit hike follows the remnants of historic tramways past a number of sawmills that operated in the early 20th
century. The route to the Ada Tree passes a number of old mill sites, scattered with historic mill machinery and sections of tram lines.
The circuit commences near the old Portas Mill site and follows a short section of bush trail before returning to Big Creek Road. You will follow this road fore approximately 3.7km before you will need to locate a walking track on your right. This track heads south East through tall mountain ash forest, interspersed with myrtle beech and sassafras to the New Ada Mill site. A lot of the Mill Sites are not obvious so you will need to keep a sharp eye out for remnants of our past. The trail then heads due south to a 4-way trail junction.
Turning East at this point the trail then follows the Little Ada River to the site of the Ada Tree. Heading south from the Ada Tree, follow Federal Track to another trail junction. Turn west and follow the trail past the New Federal Mill site and back to the 4-way junction you were at earlier. A short detour south to the Ada No 2 Mill Site is well worth the ten minute return as it is an area which contains the most prolific display of sawmill history.
From the junction, follow the Ada River Walking Track as it twists and turns north west, past the Ada No 1 and Ada Mill Sites and back to the Starling Gap Campground.
The Ada Tree
The Ada Tree, a giant mountain ash that is one of Victoria’s largest trees and also one of the largest known flowering trees in the world. Estimated to be at least 300 years old, the Ada Tree stands about 76 metres tall with a circumference of 15 metres.
Starling Gap Campground
An attractive ridge top site designed mainly for free car/tent camping.
The well grassed camping/picnic ground descends from the roadside parking area surrounded by lush green wet sclerophyll forest – large Mountain Ash with a dense understory of Blackwood, wattles and tree ferns. Shade to the parking area is limited until late afternoon.
Facilities include fire pits, picnic tables, shelter and public toilet. The area is well maintained.
Nearby are old sawmill sawdust heaps and tramway graded tracks. Starlings Gap is the centre of over 100k of walking trails. The Gap can be crowded with bush walkers at weekends.
There are various access routes but perhaps the simplest is to find your way to Powelltown (assuming you come from the West), then look for the turn off to Big Creek Road on your left (roughly 6km after Powelltown). Follow the signs to Ada Tree and keep right at the junction of Fitzpatrick Road. After a few more km you will locate the campground on your right.
- This area can have a lot of leeches so bring your favourite leech remedy or repellant.
- May be muddy in places, sturdy footwear and gaiters recommended.
Max elevation: 850 m
Min elevation: 672 m
Total climbing: 1063 m
Total descent: -1063 m