Back to Lerderderg State Park outside Melbourne to hike the “Scenic Rim”, a first for me. The blurb I read stated that Scenic Rim is a good introduction to the southern end of Lerderderg Gorge. It offers great views and yet avoids the difficult terrain inside the gorge itself.
How my day panned out:
Grading for the Scenic Rim hike is “difficult”. After all, you start inside Lerderderg Gorge next to Lerderderg River. You then hike “up the hill”, descend back down to the river, up the other side and back down again. 810 meters elevation according to Runkeeper app.
I parked my car at Mackenzies Flat Picnic Area around 8.20am and got cracking. First off, you cross Lerderderg River.
Well, no worries about getting feet wet today. Not a single drop of water in Lerderderg River around here. A bit sad to see…
The first 2km stretch to Grahams Dam is flat and easy hiking. Suddenly, the grounds looked like the aftermath of a cockatoo fight. Plenty of white feathers strewn across the path. I visualised how that fight may have looked… Or maybe it was the result of something else altogether…
Grahams Dam contained some water. The only other time on the trail today I saw other people was here. 3 young people camping and with one having a swim. When I returned here later, the youngsters were all gone.
I didn’t tempt getting myself wet. Perhaps I should have. Skinny dipping all by myself. Nobody else around anyway.
I hiked on when rocks came crashing down on the path behind and beside me. What’s going on? I looked up and there were… feral goats. Perhaps 4 of them.
Not expected. Snakes, wallabies, kangaroos, an echidna yes, but not goats. The goats were shy and curious at the same time. You can see two of them in the photo below. My apologies for the low quality picture, zooming using an iPhone has limitations.
Beyond Grahams Dam, easy hiking was no more. The Spur Track commences here, up that… ehh… spur.
Next a steep and rocky 2.5km climb to the top of the range and to Lerderderg Tunnel Access Track.
What am I waiting for? Get on with it, Hans The Hiker!!
Steep! Not joking. And rocky. That never come across well in photos. So here is one of the more gentle sections.
Spur Track had some short flattish sections too. Like here with this burnt tree holding it together through that small “root”. Looking photogenic in the process. Likely through a lighting strike as surrounding vegetation showed no sign of fire.
I finally reached Lerderderg Tunnel Access Track panting and sweating. I deserved a break now, today’s first sit-down.
The redfaced hiker with my banana cover I bought for $1 at Healesville Markets. Such a silly item I had to buy it. Today was trail testing premiere. Verdict? Mmmm… not sure.
Next a gentle 2.3km stroll down Lerderderg Tunnel Access Track towards Lerderderg River Diversion Weir. Today’s easiest stretch. Great views as the trail hugged the ridge side.
Drive here but not further, but walkers permitted through at all times. Using that small right opening next to the gates.
Did I mention views? Here’s more.
Arriving at Lerderderg River Diversion Weir. It diverts water from here through 4km of underground tunnels to Merrimu Reservoir. Well, if there is any water to divert. Water was in short supply today.
You cross the weir and then cross Lerderderg River for today’s steep and rocky ascent number 2. You can see the track up the hill below. The beginning of Long Point Track, the next spur to conquer. Some 1.3km this time.
If anything, Long Point Track was even steeper and rockier than Spur Track. But with magnificent views. Like here. Looking down at Lerderderg River Diversion Weir. A great spot for a break or lunch. Except that today you would “bake” here. I continued.
This tree up the hill also looked great against its surroundings. Or maybe I used that as an excuse to stop and take the photo while catching my breath…
Long Point Track was a hard slog. Arriving at the Blackwood Ranges Track intersection, I was sweating bad. So much that I had to remove my shirt and dry it out (left signpost below).
No pictures of me. Trust me, you wouldn’t like to see a photo of me now. I had today’s second cup of tea and a longer break while recovering.
Next was 4km of gentle hiking south along the Blackwood Ranges Track, a management road.
More gorgeous views over Lerderderg State Park and Lerderderg Gorge. Scenic rim, wasn’t it just?
A little bit of down and a little less bit of up. Felt good to stretch out the legs after all that climbing. End of steep climbing for today…
…but not of steep descent. Link Track number 1 left below will return me to Grahams Dam. At the bottom of Lerderderg Gorge. Where we not are now.
OK, when I thought that the views couldn’t be any greater. A clearing some distance away from the top and you could see “everywhere”. So why do I have to interfere with those views?
That’s better 🙂
If by the off-chance that you didn’t believe that the descent was steep and rocky, look here.
No falls or dislocated shoulders or anything else silly today. No accidents. I arrive safe and well at Grahams Dam to stroll the remaining 2km back to Mackenzies Flat picnic area.
The track on the opposite side of Lerderderg River intrigued me. It went on for some distance and looked like a disused walking trail. A real goat track, perhaps?
A final picture of a tree hanging peculiar at the edge. I can’t believe that a future storm or downpour will not send it crashing down into the river. With or without water.
Returning to Mackenzies Flat picnic area moments later. Several cars parked there now (only me when I arrived). Some people were having a picnic. After all, it was Friday mid afternoon now.
I had a short break changing out of sweaty clothes thinking what a stunning hike this was. Not for the fainthearted, it was challenging at times, but the rewards were phenomenal. Views galore and a real sense of achievement.
Lerderderg State Park is my favourite Melbourne day hike destination. This hike reinforced that view I already had.
I read on a noticeboard that it is possible to hike between here and further north to the Blackwood area. Where I’ve hiked before. Investigation required.
On a final note, Mackenzies Flat picnic area is close to Bacchus Marsh. A lovely fruit and vegetables growing town. I even saw olive trees driving there for my cold post-hike drink before returning home.
If you are a reasonably fit and experienced hiker, you can also hike this. Allow 6 hours and prepare for a hardish slog. Your legs will hurt afterwards, but you will have a great day out.