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Lerderderg State Park...
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The Scenic Rim and River via Link 1 hike is a difficult 16km circuit . The trail includes water crossings (possibility of your feet getting wet unless river is dry), one steep and steady climb our of the river from Grahams Dam and a significant river section back to Grahams Dam on loose and possibly wet terrain.
Follow the river upstream from Mackenzies Flat Picnic Area to Grahams Dam, which is an attractive pool ideal for swimming. Cross the river to the north at this point and locate the Link No. 1 trail marker on the northern bank. Ascent The Scenic Rim and River via Link 1 Track to the top of the range. Turn right when you reach the Blackwood Ranges Track and continue along this track, past Link No. 2 track to the junction of Long Point Track. The Blackwood Ranges track is a well made vehicle track which follows relatively level ground.
Long Point Track descends a steep and rocky ridge into the gorge below. Follow this trail along its length until you emerge onto the Lerderderg River and Weir.
Once you reach the weir, locate a set of metal stairs that run alongside a concrete fish ladder which consists of a series of stepped concrete boxes with two holes connecting to the next box up and down. Head down the stairs and south along the Lerderderg river. The level of the water and surrounding area will dictate the path you take as you pick your way along the river and its banks. There are no trail markers in this section ao take time to look ahead and plan which side to take. There are a few places where there is a cliff on either side that would need to be avoided so use your best judgement Once you arrive back at Graham's Dam simply follow the river track back to Mackenzies Flat.
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 and turn left off at C704 the Bacchus Marsh -Gisborne exit (this is a clearly sign posted Freeway exit). Drive 1.8kms towards Gisborne then turn left along Lerderderg Gorge Road and follow it 5.4kms to Mackenzies Flat picnic area.
- Trail can be taken in any direction.
- The river is prone to flooding so avoid after heavy rains.
- Walking poles will be beneficial.
- This is a challenging walk in the Lerderderg Gorge and is for experienced hikers only. It is best to do the hike when the river is fairly low, as many crossings are necessary and at times the riverbed itself is the track. Here you can experience remote, unspoiled bush land.
- Map used: Lerderderg and Werribee Gorges by Meridian.
Max elevation: 531 m
Min elevation: 144 m
Total climbing: 753 m
Total descent: -751 m