Moonlight Track - Gippsland 22nd July 2006
An early morning pick-up, a quick stop off to collect coffees and chocolate filled croissants in Toorak and before we knew it we were off the freeway and heading out through the open country side of East Gippsland.
We climbed the northern faces of the Strzlecki Ranges with the winding road offering grand views across cloud filled valleys. The road wound around the edges of Mt Worth State Park, bringing us to the lush green Moonlight Creek Picnic area; our early morning start ensuring we were the only visitors apart from a flighty lyrebird.
Our walk commenced at 10:00am, with the trail starting directly from the picnic ground, crossing a small bridge over Larkin Creek and then climbing reasonably steeply up Moonlight Divide Track past the tall Mountain Ash. After the initial climb, the track followed the ridge top, with the odd view between the wattle trees into the distance. The sounds of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos were unmistakable, and we watched these for a while before continuing our journey.
The track left the forest near Grand Ridge Road, opening out into an old farm paddock, and we stopped for a while near a dam. Westernport Bay was visible to the east.
A short muddy track led from the paddocks down to the road, which we followed a further few kilometres past dense tree ferned gullies.
We turned off Grand Ridge Road onto McDonalds Track, passing some large properties before coming across a very scraggy wombat munching away on the grassy verge. We got quite close before he was aware of our presense. Not happy with us getting any closer, he bounded off through a fence and into the nearby forest.
We had to back track a little, as the junction of the track and road wasn't clearly marked, but were soon heading in the right direction past some old farm buildings and then a rapid descent through linial plantings of mountain ash and grey gum. The track descended quite steeply as the forest grew thicker, eventually depositing us near moonlight creek.
We stopped at a wooden bench and ate our lunch, the sun now starting to warm up the cooler valley, coaxing some steam from the still damp bench.
The track along Moonlight Creek took us through ferny areas interspersed with tall straight mountain ash.
There was a pretty little waterfall near Bromfields Mill Site, and we passed a number of mill sites and sawdust heaps as we travelled the sometimes boggy, often muddy walking track.
We finished the walk in 4 hours, including our lunch stop. A bit quicker than the advised 4.5 hours, so we decided to continue walking along the Giant's Circuit bringing our total walk to 15.5km.
At Trevorrow's Mill, there was an old boiler slowly dissapearing into the forest.
No, that's not a ghostly appirition making it's way towards us on the bridge. It's my breath misting when I took the photo. yes, it must have been below 8 degrees.
After the walk, we went exploring along the Tarwin River to investigate some of the camping spots along here if ever down this way again. The allocated camping spots were barren muddy patches, not very close to the river however further down Allembee Estate Rd there was a nice grassy spot where we decided to set-up for dinner. Further exploring confirmed that this was the best spot, so after collecting some firewood we returned here and got a nice fire going.
Mark cooked up some tasty prawns for entree, and we had BBQ kangaroo for main with potato slices and salad.