We wake to another gorgeous spring day and I decide it’s the perfect opportunity to show Lori another of my favourite places near Melbourne – Werribee Gorge.
My knee is still good, but I’m under strict instructions from the osteo not to push it too hard, so the full Werribee Gorge Circuit is out of the question. Lori isn’t feeling much like a punishing full-day hike either, so we head to Falcons Lookout instead.
We set off from the car and immediately descend into Ironbark Gorge. The path is steep in places, but wide and stepped. I’m already nervous about what the return ascent will do to my knee but, for now, at least, it’s easy going.
Once in the gorge, we follow a narrow but well-worn track alongside a dry creek bed, sticking left at a couple of intersections, and soon we’re slowly ascending again. We notice lizards of varying sizes scurry away as we walk, but they’re too quick for us to get a good look. The gorge is rugged and beautiful, but the highlight at this time of year is undoubtedly the wildflowers. At every turn, we’re surrounded by wattles in full bloom.
Soon we’re ascending from the gorge again on another wide track through open woodland. The slow climb is enough to take our breath away, but that’s because we’re so out of shape. At the top of the hill, we reach a signed junction. Falcons Lookout is to the right, and only 5 minutes away. Apparently.
I’d say it’s closer to 15 minutes when we finally arrive, but the reward is immediately obvious. We can see almost the entire gorge from here, not to mention the rolling green hills of the surrounding farmland.
As we chill out and have some lunch I point out the path of the Werribee Gorge Circuit to Lori, suggesting we do that in a few months when my knee is stronger. She looks at me, eyes wide, and nods her head, humouring me in that way she does.
“It’s not as big as it looks,” I assure her. I can tell she’s not convinced.
We retrace our steps back to the car, and I’m impressed at how different Ironbark Gorge looks heading the other way. It’s one of those return walks where you absolutely don’t mind following the same path.
My knee aches by the time we reach the car, confirming my initial fears. It’s just a dull ache, though, and I’m confident it will still be alright with some ice and compression. Now I know why the osteo was so adamant that I not overdo it.
To look at the positives, Lori and the kids are more likely to be joining me on my hikes for a while.
Need to Know
Last Visited: 30/09/2015
Length (km): 3 km
Time (hrs/min): 2 hours
Grade: Grade 3 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Return / Circuit / One-Way / Partial Circuit: Return
Region: Western Victoria
Park: Werribee Gorge Park
Closest Town: Bacchus Marsh (11.5 km)
Car Access: From the main street of Bacchus Marsh, follow the signs to Geelong and then turn right at the roundabout just before the railway line (onto Griffith Street). Turn right into McCormack Road after approximately 2 km and after a further 2 km, turn right into Ballan-Ingliston Road (aka Ironbark Road). You will cross a railway line after about 6 km and after a few hundred metres there is a small carpark on the right. The hike is signed from here.
Alternative hikes: If you’re looking for something longer, you can add Ingliston Granites to this hike or take on the full Werribee Gorge Circuit for an up-close look at the gorge.
Have you visited Falcons Lookout? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.