Murrindindi Day Walk, 30th March 2014
Well, it's my final qualifying walk of three to join the Diamond Valley Bushwalking Club, and it's another great day! The weather looks good as I pull into the Eltham North Adventure Playground carpark at about 8am to wait for the rest of the crew to arrive. After a short stroll to have a look around the playground, I see cars arriving and head over to meet the others. Already there are some familiar faces from previous walks, and we chat amongst ourselves, subconsciously forming a circle in readiness for a short briefing when Peter, or walk leader arrives. As mentioned, this is my third walk with the club, and so far I have had three different Peters as leader!
Today we are heading for Murrindindi, or actually the Murrindindi River, which winds it's way through the Toolangi State Forest, approximately half way between Whittlesea and Marysville. The fires of 2009 swept through and decimated this area, so it will be interesting to see how the forest has bounced back.
We arrange car pooling for the 12 walking members into three cars (we will collect another walker in Yarra Glen) and load in our packs. By 8.30am we are on the road and heading for adventure!
After a pleasant drive we turn off the Melba Highway and head down Murrindindi Road, passing several camping grounds (Blackwood Camp, Cassinia Camp, SEC Picnic Area, and Water Gauge Camp, all very popular judging by the number of cars and tents here) to park in a small area adjacent to the start of the Boroondara Track Loop at Ferns Camping Ground. The drive in highlighted the areas that succumbed to the fires, with tall blackened silhouettes of Mountain Ash trees standing tall above the lush undergrowth. Peter informed me later that the Mountain Ash do not generally recover well from fires, whereas other species tend to recover much better, and this was evident in a lot of trees that showed healthy growth sprouting from charred trunks and limbs, but the Mountain Ash stood like grey ghosts after the blackened bark had fallen off.
|Pre-walk meeting after arrival at Ferns Camp.|
|Burnt trunks tower above.|
|Regrouping along the trail.|
|Metal bridges replace the original wooden crossings.|
|Water dances over the rocks.|
After covering a decent length of trail, we find a convenient fallen tree on the side of the trail and pull up for morning tea. The sun has a bit more bite now, and it is becoming humid. It's nice to sit and chat whilst we refuel with a snack and drink.
|Morning tea is always a welcome break.|
|Dew sprinkled on leaves won't last long now.|
|Looking over the edge of the sawdust.|
|This little bloke should have plenty to eat!|
We stopped once more at the top of the hill to allow the walkers to regroup at a junction in the trail, with great views across to nearby hills through the trees.
|Nice downhill before a decent uphill...|
|Looking back down a nice steep climb.|
|A glimpse of the next hill.|
|Burnt tree springs back to life.|
|The Murrindindi Cascades|
|Water makes it's way through the rocks.|
|A decent flow down the falls.|
|A truly beautiful area.|
|The top of the falls.|
|Information sign at the Cascades Picnic Ground|
|Enjoying the break.|
The return section of our walk was a lovely ramble along Camp Creek Road, with many gentle rises and falls. The road is walled with trees and ferns, the tall skeletons of one-green Mountain Ash towering like ghosts above the lush growth.
|Heading back along Camp Creek Road.|
Peter has tea, coffee and cake waiting for us as a finale to the walk before we jump in the cars and head back to Eltham.
|Back at the cars, and the start of Boroondara Track.|
It has been another fantastic and enjoyable hike with the Diamond Valley Bushwalking Club. I have racked up my 3rd preliminary walk, and after sending in my forms, I will now (hopefully!) be accepted as a full member. We are heading into the cooler months now, and for me this is perfect hiking weather. I am looking forward to venturing out with the club to enjoy new places, sights and sounds in the beautiful spots we have around us, that too few people know about and experience.
Hope to see you there!