New Years Resolutions. Love them or hate them, it’s that time of year and I’m choosing to embrace the concept. The extent of my embrace is the subject of another post, but one of my 2019 goals is to “EXPLORE”. So get ready for a bunch of ‘Get out there’ posts with new trails, new locations and lots of adventures.
But before we begin, I’m going to say something a little shameful. I grew up in Bacchus Marsh (that isn’t the shameful part) and I don’t remember ever going to Werribee Gorge! I’m sure I did but probably as an angsty teen and most of that I’ve erased from my adult memory.
Situated about 67 km west of Melbourne and 8ish km from Bacchus Marsh, Werribee Gorge State Park is a secret treasure hidden just off the main freeway.
Werribee Gorge is home to various running/hiking trails, bbq/picnic areas and rock climbing challenges.
With a car it’s pretty easy to get there. From Melbourne, straight down the Western Highway and head towards Ballarat. Right after you pass Bacchus Marsh you’ll see a sign on the left for Pentland Hills Road. There’s also a teeny tiny brown sign that says “Werribee Gorge” but it’s pretty hard to see if you aren’t really looking for it.
Public transport is a bit harder. It’s about 12 km from Bacchus Marsh Train station to entrance of the park and walking/riding is pretty much your only option. To be honest I probably wouldn’t try it, safer to get an uber or a taxi rather than walk or ride down the side of a freeway.
The Circuit Walk is the main track at the park. It was about 8km long, although Parks Vic says it’s 10km so maybe I took a short cut somewhere.
I got a bit of a surprise with this one. Usually when I see “hard” or “technical” or “advanced” in any description I always assume that’s for other people, that’s not for me. Well maybe this time I should have listened. There was rock climbing! Rock climbing I tell you.
As a looped course or circuit you can choose to either go clockwise or anti clockwise. Having never been there before and having not done any real planning (except to take my mandatory trail supplies), I started at a spot as close to where I could park my car as possible. As a general rule, I avoid driving in parks. Mostly because I drive a Mazda 2 and it doesn’t love gravel roads and also because people drive on these roads like dickheads and those who aren’t being dickheads are tourists which is almost worse.
Follow the signs that say “circuit walk”
I parked my car right at the top near the Werribee Gorge sign and entered the track right at the top of the carpark to the left.
The course is perfectly marked with little orange triangle reflectors placed along the route.
In this direction, it was mostly a wide track that was downhill to the picnic area. After the picnic area, the track follows the Werribee river at the bottom of the gorge until you get to the part where you can’t go any further and the options are climb or swim.Video here!
The river and slate stones are marvellous. As is the view from the top of the big climb.
There were signs for all sorts of things but I didn’t even see a skink!
There are five main segments including the full circuit and the three climbs, Ironbark Ed, Myers road and Lot 2 Western Freeway.
|Track||Mostly single track|
|Elevation Gain:||280 m|
|Elevation Max:||360 m|
|Water available:||theres taps at the picnic grounds but take a hand held|
|Toilets:||At Picnic grounds and carparks|
|Shoes:||Road shoes are fine|
|GPX File||Coming soon:|
I’m not aware of any races in the area.
Go out and have a crack. Parks Vic says it will take 4.5 hours to walk, took me 1:22 including all the videos, selfies, water breaks etc!