Lerderderg Gorge is wild. I’d go as far as saying there’s no other park within a day trip of Melbourne where you’ll experience this level of wilderness.
This circuit in the northern section of Lerderderg State Park gives you a feeling of true remoteness. Once the initial 5.4 kilometre stretch on Lerderderg Track is over and you find yourself at the Lerderderg River, there are no tracks for another 5.3 kilometres.
As far as off-track hiking goes, though, navigation here is relatively easy since you’ll be following the river and then Watties Creek (aka Clearwater Creek).
With all that riverbank (and creek bank) walking, you’ll want to avoid visiting after heavy rains. There are river and creek crossings along the way, too, where we found (after the first couple of attempts) that it was easier to just get your feet wet. By the end of our hike, we’d given up trying to find paths along the banks of Watties Creek and were just trudging up the creek bed through water that was at times thigh-deep.
This hike is worth doing for the remote wilderness feel, the thrill of hiking with no tracks, the wildlife (watch out for snakes), and the stunning, rugged Lerderderg Gorge.
The most common feedback I get from readers of The Bushwalking Blog is that they “just want more hikes to do”. I get it – hiking is my passion too. I do more hikes than I’d ever have the time to write about, so that’s why I’ve decided Bare Bones Bushwalking is now a thing. Not every hike has a story I can attach to it and some I just don’t get around to writing up, so in an effort to share ALL of (or at least more of) the hikes with you I’m doing this. A more simplified blog post that gives you everything you need to go and do the hike yourself. Make your own stories.
Need to Know
Last Visited: 2012
Length: 14 km
Time: 7 hrs
Grade: Moderate – Difficult / Grade 4 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Style Partial Circuit
Region: Western Victoria
Park: Lerderderg State Park
Closest Town: Gisborne (20 km)
Path Taken: Lerderderg Track – Lerderderg River – Watties Creek (aka Clearwater Creek) – Lerderderg No. 2 Track (heading north-west from Watties Creek) – Lerderderg Track.
Car Access: From Gisborne, head west on Robertson Road / C704, which turns into Bacchus Marsh Road. After about 10 km, turn right (north) into Carrolls Lane. Veer left onto Firth Road, and then again onto Obriens Road. Follow this to its intersection with Lerderderg Track.
Map: Here’s a rough map I’ve created, but you’ll need to grab the Lerderderg State Park 1:35,000 topographic map from Meridian Maps. If you’re happy to use your phone as your map you can download the free Avenza Maps app (on Android, iPhone, or Windows) and purchase the same map for AUD$14.99 (NOTE: This map doesn’t show Lerderderg No. 2 Track so you’ll have to keep an eye out for it yourself.
Have you visited Lerderderg State Park? Got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
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