Warburton Week Away – October 2018
Warburton was the destination for this five day adventure, as new members of the walking group we were unsure of what to expect. The rambles, hikers and trekkers form the bushwalking family and that is exactly how we felt, in the presence of warm hearted people willing to have a laugh while enjoying their surroundings. Sharing the happy hour each day allowed the groups to mingle and get to know each other. I participated in the trekkers walks and below is my summary of the walks. Monday – Richards Tramline and the curves. This was the longest and most challenging of the walks, debris littered the track and care was needed to ensure everyone’s safety. A large tree obstruction saw most of us finding an alternative route, however one member showed her expertise in “tightrope walking”.
The tramway was rediscovered in 1983 following the Ash Wednesday fires and opened to walkers in 2002. The series of bends gave this track its name, “The curves” as the top curve strayed onto private property by a few metres and a new alignment had to be built. It became known as ” Firey curve” because the wooden brakes on the trucks would smoke and catch alight as the trucks passed around the sharp bend. (Tramway 1937-1939). Approximately 23km later we arrived back at camp Tuesday – Little Mt Joe. There was nothing little about this challenge, our group leader briefed us and we tackled the climb at our own pace.
The decline proved a challenge for some with less tread on their shoes. Stopping to take in the views was what it’s all about, we truly live in a beautiful country. Post walk we met for coffee or those who are milkshake connoisseurs compared notes. Thank you to “3 Sugars”, the cafe we attended for your quick service and friendly atmosphere. Wednesday – “Rest day” Today’s activity consisted of a number of smaller walks (with all walking groups combined). The Rainforest Gallery is a 40 metre long platform 15 metres above the rainforest floor surrounded by natures wonderland of Mountain Ash, Myrtle and Beech trees, lichen and ferns with the Cement Creek gently adding the sound of water to this very serine place. Information boards along the route pose the question – “lost in the bush, isolated and lonely separated from civilisation, in an unfamiliar place …. or quietly observing and appreciating absorbed by it. Lost in its beauty ….. to be lost in the bush…Blissed or dire? Either way…in touch with “wilderness”. Very profound.
Back in the cars we arrive at the Little Peninsula Goldfields Tunnel. The search for gold played an important part in the history of the Upper Yarra Valley. In the late 1860s miners seized upon the idea of diverting the natural course of the Yarra River. Dynamite was used to produce the 30 metre tunnel, lowering the water level helped miners to sluice the exposed gold bearing sediment.
Big Peninsula Tunnel was accessed via a descent of 84 metres, those who chose to tackle the concrete stepping stones were soon “walking on water”, fellow walkers always willing to help each other, which was really lovely to see.
The tunnel’s origin remains a little controversial, believed to have been attributed to the work of Chinese miners in the region in about 1870, yet local reports indicate Upper Yarra pioneer Frederick Hansen was among those who dug the Big Peninsula tunnel. Little information is readily available. The Redwoods – approximately1450 Californian redwood trees were planted back in 1930 as a Board of Works study. I felt this to be a very spiritual place, it did bring out the playful side of some of the members” – peak-a-boo”.
Walking paths crisis crossed all over the place with little to no ability to get lost we were left to explore on our own. Some of the Trekkers post coffee felt the need for more activity, so off to La La falls. We were really rewarded with a lyrebird sighting, he seemed totally unfazed at our presence.
Happy hour tonight was a highlight with some members putting on a “real show!!” Thursday – O’Shannassy Aqueduct When you start walking again you noticed the muscles that you must have used previously!!! Walking up Donna Buang Road, steeply graded to say the least. We were rewarded with lovely views of the valley, and an early lunch. The weather has been truly good to us, dappled light, bush smells, the light breeze on your face this is what it’s all about, not to forget the hum of chitchat among the members as you go along.
Dinner at the RSL, a good finish to the day. Friday – Mt Donna Buang Culminating our five day outing was a walk up Mt Victoria (1100 metres) then onto Mt Donna Buang, elevation 1250 meters. The outlook tower stands an impressive 21 meters high and offered panoramic views over Melbourne and the bays, Yarra Valley, Dandenong, the Cathedral Ranges, Mount Baw Baw and other parts of the Alps.
As new members of the walking group we would like to thank those who attended the week away and making Margaret and I (Susan) feel very welcome.