Map: Highlighted extract from ParkWeb Park Note (Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve – Visitor Guide).
Last Visited: 07/04/2010
Length (km): approx. 8 km (according to MapMyHike.com)
Time (hrs/min): 3 hours
Grade: Easy
Return / Circuit / One-Way / Partial Circuit: Partial Circuit
Region: Melbourne
Park: Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve
Closest Town: Bacchus Marsh (12 km)
Maximum Elevation: approx. 187 m (according to MapMyHike.com)
Total Ascent: approx. 46 m (according to MapMyHike.com)
Further Details / Source(s): I had set out to do walk #27 in Daywalks Around Melbourne (by Glenn Tempest – available in many bookstores) but struggled to follow the directions (probably my fault) so this is a slightly altered version of that walk. Information about Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve can be found in the ParkWeb Park Note: Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve – Visitor Guide.
Car Access: The hike starts from Happy Valley Carpark on Long Forest Road, which can be accessed from the Western Freeway Diggers Rest – Coimadai Road (via the Calder Freeway, getting off at the Diggers Rest exit).

Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve was created in 1981 to protect the threatened birds and many other siginificant animal and plant species that call the area home. I’m no botanist but I could see how diverse the vegetation here was within a few minutes of starting this hike. Follow the track heading north from the carpark and you’ll pass some old farm machinery on your left. Keep going straight ahead and follow Happy Valley Track around the north-side of a (mostly dry) lake. The highlight here is the Mallee vegetation which is the only patch of Mallee that has been found south of the Great Divide.

The farm machinery made for some
interesting photos

 

Keep following the main trail, ignoring any unofficial looking tracks and the official ones on the left. Sticking to the right will bring you to Coimadai Creek Track, which leads down the hill to the creek. You need to cross the creek here and continue along the track on the other side. For this reason it’s probably not a good idea to attempt this walk after heavy rain. The creek crossings on this hike are not marked in the Park Note but they are marked in Daywalks Around Melbourne. I’ve highlighted them roughly in the excerpt above.

The track continues on the west side of the creek for just over a kilometre before an open area is reached. This part was a bit confusing but I just tried to go straight ahead until the track is more clear. After crossing the open area, it should lead you down to the banks of the creek, where you need to cross over again and pick up the track on the east side.Coimadai Creek Track on the west side of the creek

The ring formation of this Mallee indicates great age

 


Long Forest is full of strange trees, succulents and mosses…
Bushwalking Blog reader SHEYES has commented below
to say that this is Inland Pigface (Carpobrotus modestus).
Apparently it has a fruit that “tastes a little like salty kiwi fruit”.
Doesn’t exactly have my mouth watering.

 


Another plant that caught my eye… SHEYES has also
commented to say “the berries are the berries of the
Fragrant Saltbush (Rhagodia parabolica) and although
edible are rather reminiscent of the
flavour of felt tipped pens”.

 

After roughly another kilometre, you’ll reach another open area where the track is again unclear. Daywalks Around Melbourne suggests that the track continues along the bank of the creek here but I kept finding walls of vegetation and/or rocks that I didn’t much feel like trying to get around, so I headed up the track to the right (look out for two trees with spraypainted lines on them). This track isn’t marked on the map in the Park Note so again, I’ve highlighted it’s rough location in my excerpt above.

Coimadai Creek Track on the west side of Coimadai Creek

 

This unnamed track joings Long Point Track, where a right turn will quickly bring you to another intersection. Turn right again here to head back down to the creek on Coimadai Track. It was here that I started to notice the amazing birds. I had noticed the diverse and unfamiliar bird calls previously but hadn’t seen the incredible creatures that had been making them. I’m not fantastic at recognising birds but the most notable is the Red-Capped Robin. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to snap any photos of them. It was as if they were teasing me, leaping from tree to tree and sitting still only just long enough for me to get them in focus.

The area is also diverse in insects… EQUIPnTRIP suggests
that this is “probably a Red-headed Mouse (Trapdoor) Spider”.
See the comments below for more info. Thanks EQUIPnTRIP!

 

Coimadai Track brings you back to a T-intersection with Coimadai Creek Track, so you’ll need to turn left and follow the same path back to your car from here. The creek crossings are the most tricky part to find, so make sure you look out for landmarks on the way to make it easier for yourself on the way back.

 

Have you visited Long Forest yourself? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.