The trail begins and ends at Garden of St Erth, home to a sandstone cottage built in the 1860’s as part of the Simmons Reef gold mining township (visit here for the cafe, nursery and incredibly well-kept gardens – fees apply). Most of the trail follows old water races used to tap the river water for various gold mining purposes, and you’ll visit the site of Crown Dam, another relic of the area’s gold mining history.
Though the first (and last) couple of hundred metres of the trail is non-native, the pine trees are incredible. From here you’ll take in stringybark and dry box woodlands and then gullies thick with bracken fern and gigantic tree ferns. A good chunk of the second half of the trail follows the Lerderderg River which is very tempting for a paddle, so make sure you bring your swimmers if visiting in the warmer months.
We saw wallabies and all kinds of birds on our walk. The wombats were shy but their poo gave them away, so much so that the kids had a wombat poo count going for most of our walk. Strange indeed, but it kept them occupied.
Need to Know
Length: 9 km
Time: 3 hrs
Grade: Easy / Grade 3 (according to the Australian Walking Track Grading System).
Region: Western Victoria.
Park: Wombat State Forest.
Closest Town: Blackwood (7 km)
Path Taken: The Lerderderg Heritage River Walk departs from (and returns to) the carpark at Garden of St Erth. Its only intersections are with Lerderderg Road or a couple of unnamed 4WD tracks. Most junctions are either signed “Lerderderg Heritage River Walk” or “Great Dividing Trail”, or are marked with orange triangles. If any junctions seem tricky take the narrowest trail and keep on eye your map, noting your location relative to Lerderderg Road and the river.
Car Access: The trailhead is located opposite the Garden of St Erth in Blackwood (for those using Google Maps). Head west from Melbourne on the Western Freeway for about 70 km, taking the Greendale exit and following the signs to Greendale. In Greendale, take a right at the roundabout onto Greendale-Trentham Road and continue for 11 km to Blackwood. Turn left onto Simmons Reef Road and follow this to Garden of St Erth. Park in the carpark here where you’ll find the trailhead.
Extend this walk: This walk could be extended to 14.6 km / 5 hours by adding the nearby Whipstick Loop.
Map: All tracks are covered in the Meridian Maps Wombat State Forest 4WD Touring Map (but it’s only 1:50,000). Vicmap also have a 1:25,000 Trentham map but I haven’t been able to find it. 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 Meridian 1:50,000 for AUD$7.99.
Have you checked out the Lerderderg Heritage River Walk? Got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
Exploring the Great Ocean Road?
You won’t see the best sights from your car. Get the definitive guidebook, featuring the 25 best walks in the area with detailed instructions and maps.