Go west old man, to The Lerdy, Lerderderg River, in Lerderderg State Park and hike the East Walk. My hiking guidebook “called” so off I went.
Lerderderg State Park is almost 90km northwest of Melbourne but easily accessible via motorways. East Walk means east of Lerderderg River and of O’Briens Crossing. The latter being de facto “trailhead” for several hikes.
O’Briens Crossing seemed popular with various overnight campers. Several campervans and many tents there.
The actual crossing.
Given the name East Walk and arriving from west, I crossed the crossing and began hiking. Finally a “proper” bush trail. No suburbia could be seen or heard. Plenty of bird noise though.
East Walk follows the eastern bank of Lerderderg River southwards from O’Briens Crossing. No other humans around…
Early morning and the sun couldn’t yet reach everywhere. Plenty of debris around.
A cairn where the trail was less obvious. Good Mrs and I called this “vortexing” during our 2013 overseas travel. Almost brought a tear to my eye.
Track on right. Short distance rock scrambling above water. Nowhere else to go. Not hard and no risk of falling into the water. Hopefully not…
Yes, plenty of debris and driftwood around. Here it was permanent enough for an orange arrow to direct hikers.
Up the riverside, the sun looked great among tall trees.
Suddenly, an extremely noisy cockatoo followed me. Flying from tree to tree above me as I hiked. No swooping, but there was a message there…
Some signage pics… No rigorous maintenance, tape works just fine.
Better signage at East Track / Cowan Track junction. Including marking shortest route out.
Above the previous sign was… another sign. Loose. Rustic, improvised, beautiful.
Cowan Track climbs up almost 200 meters over a 650 meters stretch. Given today’s heat, possibly close to 30 degrees Celsius, I arrived here in sweat.
Cowan Track continued on a little used maintenance track. Today’s first and only kangaroo soon skipped across. I bumped into the only other hikers on today’s trail, 2 rugged and tough looking elderly women. We chatted, about hiking poles pros and cons and more.
Cowan Track, left, finishes on O’Briens Road.
I arrived at Lerderderg State Park driving O’Briens Road, but west of O’Briens Crossing. Now I am returning on O’Briens Road from the east. Some short road walking.
Then a short cut track called… Short Cut Track.
What goes up earlier… must now come down. Serious downhill here. Not long, but hiking poles were handy.
Hike completed. I’m back at O’Briens Crossing and it was lunchtime. For me and for an extended duck family.
By far the tamest ducks and unafraid ducklings I have ever encountered. The parent didn’t worry, they just wanted bread. So I obliged. A lot. Come on, the ducklings were seriously cute as they hovered around my feet. I didn’t fancy moving my feet in case I kicked a little one.
The ducklings were not still, so no great photography here. Then suddenly, as on cue, the whole family jumped into the river and started swimming away. Amazing.
Reflecting over my diminished lunch, 2 bread and ham rolls, I realised how much I enjoyed “real” bush hiking. The last several hikes have had suburbia as backdrop, but here… Even mobile reception was scarce with none around O’Brien Crossing.
Leaving Lerderderg State Park, I drove into nearby Blackwood town. General store closed at 2pm and it was 2.15pm. I was after a cold drink, but thankfully Blackwood Pub was open. Only 2 old timer customers there, drinking half pints. And can you believe it, I received a glass of soda water with ice for free. Plus a free refill. Country hospitality. Love it!!
Blackwood Pub also offers accommodation, 2 double room and 1 twin room. $100 per night.
I will be back. Stay in the pub a few days and hike to your heart’s content…