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Regional Melbourne

Yarra Falls

The walk to Falls Creek

 [ melb069 ]Easter '97. With a few days off work I decided to rediscover Yarra Falls. This waterfall is on Falls Creek, a small tributary high on the Yarra River, with another five waterfalls further upstream. It used to be a popular stop along the track from McVeigh's Hotel to Mt Baw Baw but all that has changed. Mc Veigh's Hotel is now somewhere at the bottom of the Maroondah Reservoir and Falls Creek is in the Melbourne Water catchment of the Upper Yarra Reservoir. There would be no tracks so I kept my compass handy, not that it was really necessary but I wanted to avoid entering the Falls Creek valley too soon as it was pretty steep.

 [ melb064 ] I drove along the dirt track to the south of the river and slowed down to look for the thinnest section of undergrowth to start my walk. There wasn't one really, so I reversed up and picked the "thinnest" undergrowth to walk through. After a short distance the undergrowth became much clearer and the going was much easier.  [ melb065 ] Another 100m or so and I found a piece of yellow electrical tape hanging from a twig. I guessed that someone else had marked a track to the first waterfall at the top of the Falls Creek valley (since there was really nowhere else to go) and sure enough I found another piece on the same bearing that I was walking. Enough people had walked this "track" that you could just make out a trail on the ground. The trail continued along tree trunks wherever possible to avoid walking through the bush.

 [ melb066 ] In no time at all I reached the top of the first waterfall. There used to be a track cut down the north side of the valley that went down to the other 4 waterfalls just below and then on to Yarra Falls further down the valley. From the gradient and the thickness of the bush I decided that I was not going to try to find any trace of it and would instead aim for the next ridge and follow that down to the Yarra River. I stopped here for lunch and to take a few photographs of the first fall.

 [ melb067 ]  [ melb077 ]

The forest had been reasonably open until this point. It then changed and became hopelessly tangled. The steep slope combined with the almost impenetrable undergrowth and countless slippery branches lying on the ground made the going very hard. I eventually reached the top of the ridge and was disheartened to find that it didn't get any clearer. After struggling through another 100m or so of thick undergrowth it all suddenly disappeared.

The forest opened up completely with only leaves and logs on the ground. And what logs they were. It's not often that I have to climb over a log but the trees here had been saved from logging and the fallen trees were huge. I found no sign of any blazed trees marking the old trail but occasionally I thought I could see a levelled overgrown track about 1.5m wide.

I made fairly quick time down the ridge which became steeper and steeper towards the end and as suddenly as the forest had opened up it became a dense tangle once more. The last 100m down the ridge was soul destroying. It required so much effort just to take one step that at one stage I just turned around and pushed through the undergrowth with my back pack. The undergrowth was so thick that I ended up walking on bent, intertwined branches and would occasionally find myself about a metre above the ground.

I eventually made it down to the beautiful junction of Falls Creek and the Yarra River, a broad fern gully, at sunset. I set up camp on a sand bank at the junction of the two streams and hoped that it wouldn't rain too much that night.

 [ me014 ]

The next day I planned to walk up Falls Creek to Yarra Falls and back.

 


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Ben Kreunen <bernardk@unimelb.edu.au>
Department of Pathology
Last modified: September 28, 2001