Upper Yarra Track Instructions:

I have posted dozens of times about this wonderful trail which (in an extended version) can be walked all the way from Moe to Lilydale. Here  is some indication of track times and distances and here is a detailed set of instructions. Below you can find some of my posts about it in the order you would encounter them if you began from Moe Railway Station.

You will see here Gerard White’s trip vivid report of a week spent (going the opposite direction) on the track recently. You will also notice that some posts suggest a ‘winter route’ where you can avoid the Baw Baw Plateau when it is snowed in. There is public transport to Moe, Warburton and Noojee. There are also a number of towns/resupply points along the way.

The route no longer goes past the tallest falls in Victoria the Yarra Falls on Falls Creek in the Upper Yarra Catchment They used to be Victoria’s premier tourist attraction. There is a spot on the Forty Mile Break rd where you are only about a kilometre from the falls which intrepid visitors still sometimes illegally access. They are clearly well worth the visit.

Section One: Moe-Yallourn North Rail Trail

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This lovely trail starts @ 200 metres East of Moe Railway Station. It passes through Moe’s wonderful Botanic Gardens nestled along Narracan Creek and follows a fringe of bush to the splendid Latrobe River where the awesome cooling towers of the Yallourn Power Station are a reminder of the unity of mature and artifice. (10 km – 2.5 hours)

Section Two: Yallourn North to Wirilda Park

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This section is easy going along quiet country lanes with lovely vistas and ample shady spots if you need a roadside rest to enjoy the view. You look out Southwards over the verdant Latrobe Valley towards the beautiful Strzelecki Ranges, a tongue of forest which extends all the way down to Wilsons Promontory. (15 km – 3.5-4 hours)

Section Three: Wirilda to Moondarra

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The track follows the true right bank (ie facing downstream) of the Tyers river until it crosses on an old pipeline. There are numerous spots where you could stop for a picnic, overnight or for a fish. The impressive cliffs below Peterson’s lookout are a feature. Birdlife, wildlife and wild flowers abound. There are a number of side tracks which can be explored. Keep your eye out for signs of the old pipelines one of which was made of wood! (15 km – 6 hours)

Section Four: Moondarra to Erica

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When you come to the end of the Wirilda Walking Track, our walk continues on East along the W18 through beautiful serene forest. The first suitable campsite, a really beautiful spot with water is when the trail crosses Jacob’s Creek on the Old Traralgon ‘Road’. (20 km – 5.5 hours)

Sidetrip: Horseshoe Tunnel/Coopers Creek

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Only a bit over a km from Platina Station on the walk from Erica to Walhalla you can take this lovely walk down to the historic Horseshoe Tunnel. The tunnel was created over a century ago to divert the river so the dry river bed could be sluiced for gold. The sidetrip takes about 1.5 hours (or several days if you decide to camp out!) This early section is fringed with wild cherries. Seats are provided at strategic intervals for the weary traveler.

Section Five: Erica to Walhalla

This is a delightful easy section following historic tramways linking two of the most beautiful small towns in the world. It perambulates gently through majestic mountain ash and tree fern gullies with splendid views of the awesome Thomson River. It offers numerous opportunities to sightsee, sidetrack or camp. ( 12 km – @ 4 hours.)

Side Trip: Poverty Point

From the Thomson River Bridge/s (‘Thomson Station’) you can walk a lovely 8 km circuit up along the West bank of the river then down along the East bank. If I were walking the entire UYT I would come down to Thomson Station as soon as it joined the Mormon Town Track and walk up the West bank as it is far more beautiful, and would otherwise be missed – as would the two excellent campsites to be found along it. ( 8 km – 2-3 hrs)

O’Shea’s Mill

Now (also) called East Tyers Campground I see. This is the first major stop after you leave Walhalla (12.5km away), some of them fairly steep. As you can see it is where the Alpine Walking Track crosses the East Tyers River. Campsites, Water, Toilet available. You could have dropped by Rawson on the way here for supplies. It is also where you would turn off for the Winter Route to avoid snow/cold dangers on the Baw Baw Plateau.

Winter Route:

East Tyers Walking Track

I spent six hours yesterday working on this excellent track which had been long neglected and overgrown. Apparently there were six other people on it too, though I never saw them – which indicates you can have a lovely solitary experience on the track. It connects O’Shea’s Mill to Caringal Scout camp and thus comprises an interesting addition to the Upper Yarra Track Winter route

A Beautiful World

We did a little afternoon excursion today to check on the existence of some old walking tracks around Erica. The first pic is of Steve Jones with Spot where the walking track disappears at Tyers Junction near the Caringal Scout Camp. It seems to be one of the ‘roads less traveled’ judging by the overgrowth of blackberries and abundance of fallen timber.

Caringal Scout Camp: Tyers Junction

You might reach here by walking down the rail trail from Collins Siding (10 km – 2-3 hours), where the cottages are on the main Erica-Moe Rd at the Caringal turnoff. The trail runs along behind the cottage on the West side starting to the North of them. Or, you might come down the East Tyers Walking Track (I will check whether this is still open). We came along Finns Track from O’Shea’s Mill via the South Face Rd, a pretty quiet forest path. All three routes are a similar distance (and time)

Western Tyers: Morgans Mill & Skinners Camp

From Caringal you can journey to Western Tyers via Morgans Mill Rd (open forest) or Buckle Spur, cool wet forest tree ferns and mountain ash. Probably 2-3 hours either way. There used to be a walking track along the river which followed the old railway line all the way to Growlers, but it has grown over (we checked). It was really beautiful. A job of clearing for someone, but maybe not me.

Western Tyers River – Great for Crays

Escaping the heat: The Western Tyers is the BEST place I know to spend a couple of hot days: nestled under the South face of Mt Baw Baw, enclosed by Antarctic Beech and majestic Mountain Ash, it is always a lovely spot on such a day. You can brave the icy water (if you dare) or just lounge around in the shade on a folding chair, betimes catching the odd spinyback crayfish or mountain trout – or a platypus if your fancy so takes you

The Western Tyers

Spent a couple of days at our old campsite on the Western Tyers (haven’t camped there for years). Still as beautiful as ever. We will be going back for a longer stay. So many beautiful places in Victoria. This tree has had thirty years to fall on us. Just have to give it another chance. Lots of trout and crays we haven’t eaten from this excellent stream

Western Tyers to Tanjil Bren

After you have camped the night, cooked and eaten your trout &/or crayfish, walk West along the Tyers. The Western Tyers Road follows the course of the old timber tramline which carried the forest’s products via Caringal to Collins Siding (Erica) and onwards to a wider market where they were used to construct houses and buildings elsewhere in Victoria – and sometimes much farther afield.

Kirchubel: If you go nowhere else in the world, at least go here

Just a few kms walk outside the small township of Tanjil Bren in Gippsland Victoria is the most beautiful place in the whole world! You go out along Saxtons Road beginning in the heart of Tanjil Bren.

Downey to Newlands

Last Monday we spent ‘beating around the bush’ near Downey (Tanjil Bren area). Downey is another one of those ‘lost’ towns of the Victorian mountains. Pretty much all that remains is this huge sawdust heap in the forest: how many woodland giants went to make it up I wonder? Mostly the trees milled here were fire killed mountain ash from the vast ‘Black Friday’ fires of 1939

Up Into the Singing Mountains

Our family celebrate Xmas tomorrow (due to work commitments), so what better day to continue our exploration of the ‘closed track’ which used to link Downey (North of Tanjil Bren) with Newlands Rd (Baw Baw Plateau)? We are hoping that this track will complete our ‘Winter Route’ of The Upper Yarra Track

NB: You can alternatively walk from Tanjil Bren to Toorongo along the Link Rd ( a couple of hours at most – water every couple of km). There is a camp at Toorongo Road intersection with toilets and water! Just before you reach Toorongo you can take the Mundic Road and head for Toorongo Falls and Noojee.

End of Winter Route

Section Seven: Mushroom Rocks Carpark to Phillack Saddle

This is a beautiful easy section comprising widely varying vegetation and topography, the spectacular ‘Mushroom Rocks’, the ruin of the Talbot Peak hut, Mt St Phillack, the highest point on the Baw Baws, and a delightful camp at Phillack Saddle. Side trips can be taken to Mt St Gwinear and Baw Baw Alpine Village.

It is about 20 minutes walk from the car park (toilets, water, scenic side-trip) to the Mushroom Rocks where there is scout hut accommodation if you have arranged it. It is another hour to Talbot Peak hut site (each way). From there it is about 2.5 hours to the St Gwinear turn-off and about another half hour to the Phillack Saddle and and the Baw Baw turn-off and a further 1-1.5 hours to the Baw Baw Village. Say about 5.5 hours from the car park to the Village each way.

Sidetrip: Baw Baw to Mt St Phillack

What a way to escape the heat! Others may flock to the beach. We give our hearts to the mountains. Mt Baw Baw was to be 8C cooler than home (with no power) and with a delightful cooling 30 kph breeze. When we left our car at the bottom of Candleheath Drive (Go down Frosti Lane next to the shop until you come to the sign for Mueller’s Track) it was a balmy 24C with a cool breeze blowing.

Section Eight: St Gwinear Track Junction to Whitelaw’s Hut

The route along the tops is a delightful mix of alpine heath and snow gums. Every couple of kms you will find a small stream (sometimes to the side of the track) with fresh water. For example there is water near the St Gwinear turnoff, just after Mt St Phillack, at Mustering Flat and in the valley next to the Mt Whitelaw Hut site.

Section Eight: Baw Baw to Newlands Rd

Della: Steve and I, with Tiny and Spot, spent the last 2 days walking over the Baw Baw Plateau from Baw Baw across to Newlands Road on the Upper Yarra Walking Track. It was a delightful walk and we selected good weather for it (which is needed!). One section on the first day was particularly hard-going, and only on the second day did we discover that we had taken an old, heavily overgrown route to Phillack saddle instead of the (apparently!) new route which now exists.

Section Eight: Phillack Saddle to Block 10 Road

What a lovely section of track! The high country has so much beauty, so many surprises. Phillack Saddle is a wonderful spot to camp on lawns tended by nature’s gardeners amid the alpine heath. There is beautiful clear water just off the saddle and a lovely stream (below) at Freemans Flat. It will be about 7.5 hours to our car at the Block 10 Road – if we make it!

Escaping the Heat

Who needs an air conditioner? Go up a thousand metres and you lose approx 8C. The Baw Baw Plateau this week has been beautiful with maximums in the low twenties whilst folks below in the Latrobe Valley or Melbourne sweltered in the high thirties. We are so lucky we have the Upper Yarra Track (http://www.finnsheep.com/THE%20UPPER%20YARRA%20WALKING%20TRACK.htm) to retreat to in these circumstances. We were camped on the top of Mt Horsefall during the worst of this ‘heat wave’ where there was also a lovely cool breeze.

Upper Yarra & Australian Alps Walking Tracks

There is secure water (and good camps) at O’Shea’s Mill, along the Baw Baw Plateau, from the Thompson River in Newlands Rd and at the Link Rd Recreation grounds on the corner of Toorongo Rd. You should have the maps and App I recommended in my post on 29/11. It will probably take you 3-4 days to get to the camp at the secure water on the Forty Mile Break Rd about 5km short of Mt Horsefall. The next day you would aim to get to the the Ada Tree. There is running water 1 km down the Lock North Track, at a dam 1 km before the 15M track & running water at the corner of Lashos Track;

Upper Yarra & Australian Alps Walking Tracks 2

If you simply followed Siseman’s instructions after @ 10km (from New Turkey Spur Rd) without water you would come to a DRY water point at the 21km post on Boundary Track and would not know that there is a (muddy) water hole a further 6km ahead, so would almost certainly, sensibly give up! Personally I prefer clear running water with grassy campsites nearby.

Section Eleven: Ada Tree to Big Pat’s Creek

As you can see the track is well made, delightful  and easy to follow from the Ada Tree all the way to Warburton, with numerous signposts. If you have a couple of days to spare, this is a pleasant jaunt.

More Side Trips

Yarra Falls

Mystery Falls First Cascade (1 of 6). This minor fall plunges approx 20 metres.

A reader writes: ‘We decided to use the day searching for the lost ‘Yarra’ Falls. Quite a lot of bush bashing (nearly three hours in, one and a quarter out) brought us to the top of the first cascade, No #1 of SIX (!) which plummet hundreds of metres down the valley!) Perhaps Victoria’s greatest treasure!

Yarra Falls 2

A reader writes: ‘Spent another seven hours yesterday pushing ever closer to this ‘lost’ treasure. From the top fall, the prostrate scrub was unbelievably thick for the next kilometre or so. I was wondering whether I should give up. I guess I spent three hours hacking my way through it, then after about another kilometre of ‘hill-siding’ I was on a relatively clear ridge.

Yarra Falls 3

There are some amazing wilderness areas in Victoria. Some maybe only a half dozen living eyes have seen. Such as this. People have been forbidden to venture here since c1955. This is the junction of Falls Creek and the Yarra River forwarded to me by an anonymous reader. Falls Creek is seen entering from the left.

Yarra Falls Shelter House

A reader has located the ruins of this magical place and forwarded some wonderful photos: ‘It is on the South West side of the junction fairly high up, where the tree ferns diminish (beneath one of the highest on the edge of the spur). It is extremely difficult to find and you could walk within a few metres and pass it.’

PS: I realise that the above is still very incomplete, but I’m sure you will fill in more of it with your won explorations.

 

 

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