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On Walkabout In: Werribee Gorge State Park – Part 2

Prior Posting: Werribee Gorge State Park – Part 1

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Into the Gorge
From the upper rock walls of Werribee Gorge I proceeded down the winding trail and finally reached the bottom and was greeted with this fantastic sight of these rock walls:

This rock face is very popular with rock climbers and if you look closely in the below picture you can the people rappelling down the rock cliff:

As I continued down the trail, it followed the left side of the creek that runs through the gorge:

The creek is not very fast moving, but the water did appear fairly clean and I wouldn’t be concerned about using it for camp cooking as long as it is boiled:

Also along the creek there is a bunch of these plants with what appears to be small tomatoes:

I have no idea if these are edible or not. If you know please leave a comment because I have never seen this type of plant anywhere else in Australia. As I continued down the trail it suddenly became nothing more than a rock wall:

At this point of the trail you have to hug the rock wall and slowly make your way forward until the trail reappears. Just a short walk from the rock wall is Needles Beach:

Across from the beach are some impressive rock walls and the creek turns into a pleasant swimming hole at this location:

I’m assuming that during the summer people may use this swimming hole to go swimming in, but now since it is winter here in Victoria, it is much to cold to even think about jumping into that water. From Needles Beach the trail continues to follow the creek and all around me dramatic rock walls rose up around the trail:

Eventually the trail came to another beach known as Lion’s Head Beach:

The big rock pictured above is supposed to look like a lion’s head, which I can kind of make out. From Lion’s Head Beach the trail eventually becomes nothing more than a rock cliff hanging over the creek:

To navigate this portion of the trail, the park service has installed a cable to allow hikers to cross the rocky face. Here is a picture of the water hole right below the rock wall:

If I let go of the cable this water hole is what I would have fell into. Fortunately it appeared deep enough that I wouldn’t have been hurt if for someone reason I slipped and fell off the rock cliff.  Upstream was just more impressive rock walls. To get upstream I had to get pass the rock wall I was hanging on. Getting across the rock face using the cables was actually quite fun, however make sure you bring gloves. I always make it a rule of thumb to always bring gloves with me when I go hiking just in case I do need to use any ropes or in this case a cable.

Once you get across the rock face the trail becomes part of what used to be an old canal that brought water from the creek to the city of Bacchus Marsh:

The canal is not needed any more, but it was supposedly quite important many decades ago for the development of Bacchus Marsh and the surrounding farming communities. There are actually some sections of the canal that are still able to hold water:

Towards the eastern section of the park the terrain starts to flatten out and no more massive rock walls are evident:

On the far eastern end of the state park there is actually a nice little park along the creek. There are picnic tables, campsites, and restrooms for people using the park:

Conclusion

From the riverside park it is just a short walk up the hill to the quarry campground where the circuit gorge trail begins. In total the trail covers 10 kilometers and offers a great variety of terrain and environment to see in such a short distance. I covered the trail in three and half hours walking at a moderate pace and stopping to have lunch.

I think this combination of terrain, distance, and time makes this trail one of the top day hikes in the Melbourne area. Plus if you are climber you have the added bonus of being able to get some climbing in as well. Really the only thing the gorge was lacking was abundant wildlife. I did not see one animal the entire day. Allegedly the gorge has quite a few platypuses living in it, but since they only come out at night, I didn’t see any. I am planning on camping here one night this summer just so I can try and spot one of the platypuses that live here.

Anyway I highly recommend the gorge and I hope anyone that decides to check it out has a great time.  The Werribee Gorge is not one of the scenic wonders of Victoria that I would recommend a visitor with limited time in Australia to visit.  However, if you live in the Melbourne area this park actually is a really nice place to spend a day or even camp out at to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

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