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The Tunnel and Sardine Creek is a 11.3 km, grade 4 circuit hike, located in Lerderderg State Park, Victoria. The hike should take approximately 4hrs to complete.
The Tunnel and Sardine Creek hike commences at O’Briens Crossing in the Lerderderg State Park. Walk up the steps past the toilet blocks and follow the steep ridge following Byers Back track. The trail crosses Amber Lane then continues along to Gribble Track. Turns right at the Gribble Track junction and descend the steep track down to the Lerderderg River and the Tunnel.
The track then leaves the river behind the tunnel entrance and continues across the Eastern bank of the river. The trail beyond this point is not particularly easy to follow and in some places it may be easier to simply follow the Lerderderg River through to the Ambler Lane ford. There is a section on this part of the trail that requires you to scramble over a cliff face before descending to the river.
Turn left onto Ambler lane and follow this track for a few kilometres to reach the Trout Track junction. Alternatively (in dry weather) you can follow Clear Water Creek for approximately 2km to the end of Trout Track.
Descend Trout track (steep) until you reach Sardine Creek. Cross the creek at the ford and continue along Trout Track until its end at O’Briens Road. Turning right you then walk a few hundred metres until you reach Short Cut Track on your left. This is indicated by two marked posts at the start of the track.
Follow Short Cut Track back to O’Briens Road and continue along until you reach O’Briens Crossing and the end of the hike.
There are some steep sections that will benefit from the use of poles. Following rain, when the river is high, several creek crossings may be required. The trail along Clear Water Creek is not marked and you will need to pick your way along its length. Best not to attempt this section following heavy rains.
Max elevation: 613 m
Min elevation: 449 m
Total climbing: 522 m
Total descent: -524 m