Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lerderderg Heritage River Walk, Saturday 10th November

On this chilly Spring morning nine Walkabouters met at the Jack Cann Reserve in Blackwood. Our plan was to complete the 9 km Lerderderg Heritage River Walk.

After hoisting our packs onto our shoulders and brief introduction to the area, we set off at a leisurely pace along the walking track through this landscape of heritage significance.

Blackwood is a small town located 89 kms northwest of Melbourne and is situated on the Lerderderg River. The town was founded in 1855 during the Victorian Gold Rush. The area surrounding the River was mined extensively in the search for gold by thousands of prospectors looking to make their fortunes.

 The Lerderderg River was classified as a Heritage River in 1992 due to geological and geomorphological formations of State and International significance.

Evidence of the gold mining activities with many tailing heaps, man-made water courses and mine shafts were clearly visible throughout the forest. Leaving the track requires great caution as a missed step could be greater than expected.

This mine shaft was certainly very deep and had filled with rain water.

Blackened tree trunks from recent bush fires dotted the landscape

 and provided a dramatic contrast with the fresh green grass from Spring growth.

Amongst the grasses we were able to spot wild flowers in abundance.

The following photos show a few of the many flowers that we saw.

A Milk Maid

A Bearded orchid

A Grevillea

A cluster of Bird Orchids

A Trigger Plant

Here we are looking up and down at the vegetation all around.

In this north-western part of the Lerderderg Hertitage River corridor, the vegetation 
consists mainly of tall damp messmate-peppermint gum forests.

There over 320 different species of native flora to be found in the L. Heritage River corridor.
Eleven of these species are considered to be rare or threatened to become extinct in Victoria. Careful management of this area is needed to keep these species protected to ensure bio-diversity of this unique ecological habitat for the future. 

The Lederderg Gorge was created about 1 million years ago as a result of uplifting 
along the Rowsley fault caused down-cutting of the Lerderderg River.

It wasn't long before we had excellent views down into the River from 
the tops of the steep slopes.

You can just see down on the right.

Or just look at the next photo for a better view!

Lerderderg River

We walked past an excellent example of the steep rocky cliffs created by all that 
geological uplifting and down-cutting. I am glad I wasn't there at the time!

Lunch was had on the River banks next to an old damn that was built by an enterprising woman during the gold rush.

The walls were created by placing logs vertically side by side cutting off the flow of the river. Water was then able to be sold and released to prospectors to wash mounds of freshly dug dirt hoping to reveal specks and maybe nuggets of gold.

View downstream

A water race was dug that followed the course of the River. This allowed water to be released from the damn to then be diverted to individual claims.

We were soon on the move again after finishing our sandwiches, fruit 
and curry with yogurt.

We followed the River walking along the remains of the water race.

And it wasn't too long

before we were back to where we started...

the Jack Cann Reserve which is right next door the the Garden of St Erth.
A perfect place to finish our last walk for the year!

I'm already looking forward to walking next year!

If you are interested in joining us or 
would like more information about any of our walks
please send an email to:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Scotchmans Creek Trail - Saturday 27th, October

Here is the very belated post about the walk along Scotchmans Creek Trail.

On the Saturday morning in question, an intrepid group of Walkabouters met at Brickmakers Park in Oakleigh.

But as I wasn't there, here is a brief description of the walk in past tense.

We left the park via the NE corner and after crossing Stamford Road we linked up with the sealed path that took us to Scotchman's Run Reserve. At the highest point of the Reserve we had excellent views along the creek valley to the skyline of Melbourne. 
We continued to follow this path, which brought us out to Estelle Street and turned right. After crossing Huntingdale Road we walked beside Melbourne Water Retarding Basin under the Monash Freeway, and Stephensons Road. The trail took us through many very attractive settings which have been maintained by local Councils and Friends Groups.

Morning tea was had at Fairway Reserve. we then walked north on Forster Road and then east along Waverley Road, before turning north on Regent Street and into the gravel path leading to Valley Reserve. Here we enjoyed lunch before retuning along the trail back to where we started. 

Eucalyptus trees were in flower along the trail, sending their sweet scent into the air. The delicate flowers are always a joy to see in spring time.

From all accounts, everyone enjoyed the walk, including Dante the Dog!

Looking forward to joining everyone on the next walk at St Erth in Blackwood for a walk along the Lerderderg River!

Walkabouters Club of Victoria Inc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne - The Australian Garden - Saturday 6th October

Part 2

The Australian Garden

It is very rare to see Sturt's Desert Pea growing in red sand in Victoria. But if you venture into the Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, you may see this wonderful desert plant growing happily in 
Victoria's cool and wet climate.

Swainsona formosa

The Red Sand Garden is at the heart of the Australian Garden. It has been designed to mimic the shapes and colours of the Australian Outback. Wild flowers and salt bush have been planted here to show the seasonal flush of growth of 
plants from the desert centre of Australia.

The circular vibrant Red Sand Garden is surrounded by a number of different 
gardens and displays aimed at bringing the beauty and diversity of Australian 
plants and landscapes to the public.

We followed the paths that lead us through these wonderful gardens. Walking around the Red Centre, we came upon a stream bubbling water to the surface of the parched landscape. Where water flows, plants grow. The Waterway is lined with the Smooth-barked Apple Gum, Dwarf Lilly Pillies, and Guinea Flowers. 

The very tall red flower on the spike is a Gymea Lilly. 
 Those flower spikes can grow 4 meters tall!

Also flowering well this season were blue watering cans,

yellow watering cans,

and of course the red flowering variety of watering cans.

These watering cans have been used to highlight differing watering needs and drought tolerance of the different plants in the Water Saving Gardens. This system highlight to home gardeners that not all Australian plants need a lot of water. Plants growing near the red watering cans hardly need any water at all!

Many displays show how the diversity of texture and colour of Australian plants can be used in the home garden. Here, Kangaroo Paw with it's strappy, upright leaves, provides a strong textural back drop to low growing shrub that is in full bloom. A striking contrast.

Wade between the flags

The Escarpment Wall and the Rockpool Waterway reflect the many waterways and escarpments such as Kings Canyon and Palm Valley found in Central Australia.

No one feel in and got wet today.

No kids today, too wet!

Remember playing in your back yard as a child. Back yards are almost a thing of the past as houses get larger and blocks get smaller. Here is a garden designed just for children. 

Mind you this structure would be hard to fit in any ones back yard! 

Please excuse the rain drops on the lens

The view backup the Rockpool Waterway.

The following two photos are of Waratahs in full bloom. The Waratah belongs to the Telopea family and generally grow as large shrubs or small trees. They are very popular with home gardeners for their very showy display of flowers during Spring.

White Telopea

The red Waratah (Telopea speciosissima) is the floral emblem of New South Wales. The name waratah comes from the Eora people who originally inhabited the Sydney area.

Red waratah

We continued along the path as it snaked it's way through the garden. The undulating landscape provided different views and perspectives of the gardens.

As it was such a grey day and with rain drops all over the camera lens, 
the above photo does not do justice to the view.

So here is a photo of the same view that was prepared earlier.

And here is a closer up photo of the same view.

There are over 700 species of Eucalyptus trees in Australia.

Quite a few of them have been planted in these gardens. 

The Eucalyptus Walk features some of the most well known Eucalypt species including ironbark, box, peppermint, blood wood and stringybark.

The Eucalyptus Walk also features the red flowering wattle (Acacia leprosa),  the orange flowering Banksia burdettii, two prehistoric cycads and 
some ancient Grass-trees.

The Grass-trees, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, are hundreds of years old 
and are currently in flower!

The tall flowering spikes were prominent against the grey sky. 

So were the birds fluttering up and down along the flower spikes 
feeding on the sweet nectar.

Purple and green minty haze.
The above photo shows a hedge made from Prostanthera or Mint Bush. Brushing up against the hedge or rubbing the leaves with between your finger releases 
a strong, fresh minty aroma. So refreshing!

And so our tour of the Australian Gardens came to an end.

Even though it was such a grey day, it was still a fantastic experience wandering 
through the Gardens in the light rain.

So I will leave you with a few photos taken on a bright sunny day 
from earlier this Spring.

The Visitor Centre and cafe is a great place to sit and relax. This little ring-tailed possum has also made itself at home in between the shutters and the window overlooking the cafe.

We enjoyed watching the possum sleep while we sipped on
lattes and chatted about our day's grand tour of the
Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.

The Australian Garden is expanding!

The second stage of the Gardens is opening on the 21st & 22nd of October 2012. 

What a good excuse to come and visit this magnificent collection and display 
of Australian flora!

For more information about the Australian Garden click here.

And here is a link to a map of the Australian Garden.

Walkabouters Club of Victoria Inc.

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