Walk Into History
  • Length: 51.2km

  • Duration: 2-3 days

  • Grade: 4

  • Style: One Way

  • Start: Warburton

  • End: Powelltown

  • Location: Warburton

  • Closest Town: Warburton

  • Distance from CBD: 84km

  • State: VIC

  • Latitude: -37.86078187

  • Longitude: 145.7448402

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Trail Access

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2WD Access

4WD Access

Public Transport

Bitumen Road

Gravel Road

Steep Road

Winding Road

Speed Bumps

Vehicle Ford

Entry Fee

Large Car Park

Small Car Park

Accessible Parking

Accessible Toilet

Public Toilets

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Picnic Shelter

Picnic Table

BBQ Facilities

Campfire Pit

Camping Area

Trail Features

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Concrete Path

Timber Boardwalk

Gravel Path

Sandy Trail

Rough Trail

Undefined Trail

Prams & Strollers

Manual Wheelchair

Motorised Wheelchair

Bicycle Trail

Mountain Bike Trail

Historic Rail Trail

Dog Friendly

Urban Walk

Coast & Beach

Historic Lighthouse

Waterfalls & Lakes

Rainforest Walk

Goldfields & Mining

Heritage Walk

Aboriginal Art

Alpine Region

Alpine Huts

Exposed Ledges

Rock Scrambling

Steep Terrain

Bush Bashing

River Crossings

Scenic Viewpoints

Well Marked

Drinking Water

Untreated Water

Fishing Spots

Swimming Spots

Overnight Campsites

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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.

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
Download GPX File  ; 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 to download the file. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. 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. If you are a commercial operator, a member of a club, an online group, blogger or commercial website and wish to use these digital downloads, my eBooks, any information from this site or printed publications you are required to first seek written permission from the copyright owner. Please read the Terms of Use, Copyright and Title of Ownership information.

 

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  ; 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 to download the file. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. 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. If you are a commercial operator, a member of a club, an online group, blogger or commercial website and wish to use these digital downloads, my eBooks, any information from this site or printed publications you are required to first seek written permission from the copyright owner. Please read the Terms of Use, Copyright and Title of Ownership information.

 

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  ; 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 to download the file. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. 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. If you are a commercial operator, a member of a club, an online group, blogger or commercial website and wish to use these digital downloads, my eBooks, any information from this site or printed publications you are required to first seek written permission from the copyright owner. Please read the Terms of Use, Copyright and Title of Ownership information.

 

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  ; 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 to download the file. By downloading any GPX files from this site you agree its use, and reliance upon, is entirely at your own risk. 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. If you are a commercial operator, a member of a club, an online group, blogger or commercial website and wish to use these digital downloads, my eBooks, any information from this site or printed publications you are required to first seek written permission from the copyright owner. Please read the Terms of Use, Copyright and Title of Ownership information.

 


For more information about this trail go to Visit Warburton

 

34 thoughts on “Walk Into History (51.2km)

  1. Has anyone done that track recently? I’m planning on doing it next week with dogs and I’d like to find track updates (eg do I need to pack a machete? is there water at campsites?)

  2. Completed this trail in full recently, absolutely stunning – thought I’d share some thoughts I would’ve liked prior to setting out.

    Warburton section is quite nice, there is an option to wade through the Yarra. BPC to Starlings is a gentle gradient. We did the hike on some very hot days and only bumped into one tiger. There is no water at any of the campsites. At Starlings gap, 300m down the track towards the crossing there is a creek the flows through the path that can be collected for filtering – very clear cold water. At the Ada camps there are rivers that flow nearby both that are quite easy to find. High lead is steep however we met a lot of people who were purposely avoiding this section and so losing a lot of the full experience. I would definitely say that with a paid of good boots and poles high lead is definitely not worth avoiding / missing out other sections over. Just past high lead, right before it spits you out onto the Yarra Junction – Noojee Road, there is a fork – one path continues forward and another bears left (south). The one forward seems logical however will only result in a painful thicket of blackberry bush. Take the left turn. One you exit here, you actually have to venture down the pioneer fireline a little before again picking up the signs for walk into history – this would be easy to get wrong I would imagine.

    All in all, a really pretty hike, the history is great as is the towering mountain ash, and the Ada Tree sections Myrtle and Beech rainforest.