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