Walk Into History
  • Length: 51.2km

  • Duration: 2-3 days

  • Grade: 4

  • Style: One Way

  • Start: Warburton

  • End: Powelltown

  • Closest Town: Warburton

  • Location: Warburton

  • Distance from state capital: 84km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.86078187

  • Longitude: 145.7448402

Walk Into History is a 51.2km, grade 4 One Way hike located in Warburton Victoria. The hike should take approximately 2-3 days to complete.

Summary

This is a fascinating journey on foot along well-preserved timber industry tramways, past old bush mills and relics of yesteryear hidden amongst the forest, reminders of when gangs of foresters called this wilderness their office.

The route as described includes a very worthwhile out-and-back to the famous Ada Tree, a 75.1 metre-high mountain ash considered one of Victoria’s largest living trees and estimated to be over 300 years old.

If you are seeking to complete the full length in one push this is best done as a multiday walk. Most guides advise walking from Warburton to Powelltown, this ensures the climbing is of a mostly-gentle gradient, ascended over a longer distance early on, and the steep section along High Lead – which rises/drops 500m in only 2km – is tackled as a downhill rather than uphill. [NOTE: the Run guide to Walk Into History describes the route beginning in Powelltown and travelling to Warburton via the Ada Tree, should you wish to complete it in this direction].

The Warburton/Big Pats Creek to Powelltown traverse is an approach that delivers most of the climbing over a 9km singletrack stretch. This was once the main thoroughfare for timber workers traipsing on foot to and from the Warburton township for their working week spent in the isolated bush mills.

The trail rises up from Big Pats Creek towards Starlings Gap campsite and picnic area, an excellent place to pitch the tent for an overnight stop.

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From Starlings Gap, a mostly-benched trail follows an old tramway downstream along the Ada Valley, through tall, wet forest and more temperate rainforest, with views across tea tree and melaleuca zones.

Reaching a major trail intersection, The Crossing, walkers can choose to explore a short out-and-back trail leading north to the New Ada Sawmill site (which, of course, is not new at all!), or head further east to explore the New Federal Mill, once the biggest and most prolific producer of the area, and the impressive Ada Tree, one of Victoria’s biggest. Or you can skip the out-and-back and instead go straight to the rapid descent into the Big Creek valley, via the knee-crumbling High Lead, dropping 500m in 2km.

Reaching the valley, it’s a moderate walk through stunning rainforest pockets and multiple creek crossings as you follow old tramway trails all the way into Powelltown.

There are shorter walk options (see Alternatives header). Our guide takes on the full-shebang from Warburton but you can always begin at Big Pats Creek (most people do).

Or, to halve the distance and take out the big drop down High Lead, try the Starlings Gap to Ada Tree return, at 24km and 422m of climbing.

Those seeking a still shorter, but no less impressive experience, can drive to near the Ada Tree, and complete a beautiful 5km loop walk to the tree and back to the car.


For more information about this trail go to Visit Warburton


Getting there

From Melbourne City to Yarra Valley (via Eastlink Tollway) – Make your way onto the Eastern Freeway and travel towards Ringwood. The Eastern Freeway turns into the Eastlink Toolway after Springvale Road. If you have an Eastlink or Citylink pass, continue on the Eastlink Tollway and go through the Mullum Mullum tunnel – make sure to stay in the left lane as the turnoff is straight after the tunnel ends. Turn left after exiting the tunnel towards Ringwood. Turn left onto the Maroondah Highway towards Lilydale. Once past Lilydale, turn right at the Warburton Highway turnoff to explore the Warburton Valley. Slight right onto Warburton Hwy/B380. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Warburton Hwy/B380. Turn right onto Little Yarra Rd/C425. Turn left onto Reids Tramline Walk.

By Public Transport Public Transport Victoria has regular trains heading to Lilydale Station. From Lilydale Station, catch a Martyrs bus to travel to Warburton .

About the region

With the Yarra River meandering through the town, lined with gorgeous trees and numerous parks, Warburton offers a relaxing experience. The Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail begins here. Warburton is where it all begins. Just one hour from Melbourne, the Warburton Valley is life at nature’s pace. Always green, Warburton is where the Yarra River runs clear.

Tips

Best completed in summer and shoulder season; muddy, slippery, potentially snowbound and difficult going in winter; car shuffle required if walking one way. There is no direct public transport between Powelltown and Warburton.

 

Total distance: 51408 m
Max elevation: 795 m
Min elevation: 156 m
Total climbing: 1877 m
Total descent: -1834 m
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Alternatives

Begin your walk at Big Pats Creek, thereby cutting off the transit section from Warburton. You can also terminate your walk at High Lead Car Park, saving another 11km (from Big Pats Creek trailhead to High Lead is 31km).

Total distance: 43048 m
Max elevation: 795 m
Min elevation: 193 m
Total climbing: 1668 m
Total descent: -1686 m
Download GPX File

Please note that you need to be registered and logged in to download GPX Files. If you aren't you will automatically be redirected to the registration/login screen before being returned to this page. Then click the download button again. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree that its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. These files are for non-commercial, personal use only. I will endeavour to ensure the accuracy and currency of the data, but accept no responsibility in this regard, or the results of any actions taken, when using the digital route files.

 

For a shorter walk that is out-and-back with less climbing, you can park at Starlings Gap, and walk out to The Ada Tree and back. This is a €˜highlights route’ as it takes in the most spectacular parts and includes most of the historical artefacts to be discovered, plus Ada herself! It’s still a decent distance, however, clocking in at just over 24km and 422m of ascent, so you may want to camp at the New Federal Mill site, 9.5km in (or 14.5km if you complete the Ada Tree loop before pitching your tent).

Total distance: 24258 m
Max elevation: 807 m
Min elevation: 695 m
Total climbing: 571 m
Total descent: -571 m
Download GPX File

Please note that you need to be registered and logged in to download GPX Files. If you aren't you will automatically be redirected to the registration/login screen before being returned to this page. Then click the download button again. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree that its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. These files are for non-commercial, personal use only. I will endeavour to ensure the accuracy and currency of the data, but accept no responsibility in this regard, or the results of any actions taken, when using the digital route files.

 

Or, for an even quicker burst, try the 5km loop (142m ascent) that goes into the famed big tree from the Ada Tree Picnic Area – it’s short but worth the drive in, such is the bang for your rainforest-buck.

 

Total distance: 4966 m
Max elevation: 807 m
Min elevation: 731 m
Total climbing: 183 m
Total descent: -183 m
Download GPX File

Please note that you need to be registered and logged in to download GPX Files. If you aren't you will automatically be redirected to the registration/login screen before being returned to this page. Then click the download button again. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree that its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. These files are for non-commercial, personal use only. I will endeavour to ensure the accuracy and currency of the data, but accept no responsibility in this regard, or the results of any actions taken, when using the digital route files.

 


For more information about this trail go to Visit Warburton

 

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