Blog of the Otway Ranges Walking Track Association
Reports and photos from our monthly walks into rainforest and waterfall areas of The Otway Ranges, Victoria, Australia. Also included, will be regular updates on the progress of the feasibility study into the development of designated trails at the back of Apollo Bay.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Wild Dog Track ~Turtons
Track to Crows~ Sunday 7th
The relieved party having reached the top of the big hill, with the rugged Wild Dog Ridge
in the centre in the background.
Walkers: Les Roe (leader), Alan Dow, Andrew Noseda, Debra White, Conrad
White, Kim Attard, Sarah Coll, David Vaughan, members of GBC, ORWTA and
We gathered at Haines Junction in the early
morning mist, while the carefully organised car shuffle was put in place. Then
a short ride down Turton's Track, and eight very keen walkers were ready for
the off. As we made our way up the short hill at the beginning, the sun broke
through, and we were treated to a beautiful blue sky sunny day. The good
weather spurred us on and we reached the morning "tea break" stop at
Log Landing in just an hour. Then despite some ribbon maintenance, and having
to clear a large branch blocking the path, we reached the lunch spot in the
farm paddock by 12:30, and enjoyed a leisurely break, while taking in the
Thanks to a new gate at the bottom of the
paddock, we were soon able to find the start of the big hill climb up to the
ridge. As we were ahead of schedule, we had a well-earned rest at the top of
the climb and enjoyed the magnificent views across the Wild Dog Valley to the
hills beyond. Then an enjoyable walk along the ridge, with more magnificent
views before approaching Crow's Nest Lookout.
We reached the finish at 2:30, and having
had such an enjoyable walk, Andrew offered us all refreshments at the Great
Ocean Road Brewhouse. This offer was gratefully received, and was a perfect end
to a very enjoyable and energetic walk. Thanks for the good company! Les
Walkers: Bernard Jordan (Leader), Linda
Carter, Alan Dow, Bruce McGinness, Matthew Kinross-Smith, Ann & Lauren
Molan, Annie Mostin, Les Roe, Conrad and Deborah White. Members of GBC, ORWTA
and Camperdown Bushwalking Club.
This sign seemed to summarize our walk nicely; 5 waterfalls & 1 canyon … WOW !!
We left the carpark at Allenvale
Mill Site and headed north to flowing Phantom Falls. Then we went via the
intriguing Canyon to Henderson and Won Wondah Falls, before walking along old
tramway paths to Lower and Upper Kalimna Falls. Continuing on, some of us saw,
and all of us heard, a tree fall down nearby. As we were walking along Garvey
Track we met an artist painting a mural of the bush including a man searching
for his car keys in the bush. I think most of us have got car keys stories!! From
Garvey Track, we took Sheoak Track towards the coast, visiting Swallow Cave
(alas no swallows) and Sheoak Falls (alas not much water) before the finish.
Walkers:- John Piesse (Trip Leader), Richard
& Jennifer Morrow, Nick & Wendy Speer, Les Roe, Jenny
Grice, Christine Barr, Tom Cobb, Vivien Watts, Lisa Hunter, Alan Dow.
A dozen walkers set off from the Sunnyside Road
carpark to embark on a challenging day in the Otway ‘bush.’ We made our way
passed the old Henry Mill site and worked our way to Smythes Creek. We descended
to the two Upper Sabine Falls before returning to the main track. We soon reached
to old logging track of which we slowly followed all the way along the spur to
the creek once again. Following this watercourse for a while, we came to the small
lovely Gorge Falls where lunch was had.
the initial steepness to leave the valley floor, the track meandered until we
came to main viewing platform. Sabine Falls is the tallest waterfall complex in
the Otways, consisting of three waterfalls, plunging down a 130 metre
escarpment. Although Sabine Falls wasn’t looking at its best because of the
lack water flow, it was a good chance to take a group photo.
We then continued
upwards to where we were earlier, thus completing the circuit. After finishing
at 4pm, some walkers
chose to have coffee n snack between two different venues in Forrest.
whole day was a pleasure to walk, not saying it was easy, but a chance to
appreciate the majesty of the rainforest; from the understory saplings to the
huge Eucalyptus trees, from the filmy ferns to the big tree ferns, and the
fungi was everywhere. And the weather was fine and cool. Thanks to the Leader, walkers, and a mention
to the ones who cleaned up the track prior to the walk.
Leader :- Kim
Attard. Walkers :- Rosemary Vince, Linda Carter, Odette Sheills, Helen
Cuell, Joan McMahon, Margaret Lennox, Sarah Coll, Alan Dow, Jenny Gna, Chris
Barr, Louise Kemp, Andrew Hackett, Les
Roe, Tim Cobb, Marion Bakker, Sue Mackay, Tilly Brynton, Cody Mills, Gile Behn.
The heavy rain the night before was no
deterrent for 20 eager walkers who travelled from all directions (and countries
– our 2 American’s) to arrive at Lavers Hill for a 9.30 start. The weather was
looking threatening, but when isn’t it in the Otway’s?
After a briefing from Kim, we set off
for our first destination – South Chapple Falls. We walked along a dirt track
and then down into the forest on a slightly overgrown track which received some
housekeeping by the one and only Allan followed by 19 pairs of feet to finish
off the job. We had plenty of time to
take in the magnificent rain forest in all its glory and the smells of the
fresh rain within.
Right on cue as we arrived at the falls
– the rain too arrived. This did not impede on the beautiful view. From here we re-traced our steps back up to
the road and headed down Morris track for around 6 kilometers.
A bridge was our marker to enter, once
again, into the forest heading to Glasgow Falls. We were not far in when a very
apparent obstacle was to stop us in our tracks. There sunning itself on a tree
which lay across the track - was a 1mtr tiger snake. The snake was not too happy to see us and we were
not too happy to see it, so with a little encouragement from our fearless
leader it went on its merry way.
The tree ferns we saw in this part of
the forest were so tall – “as big as they ever grow “, we were told.
The final decent down to the falls
required some handy work on a rope which had been very skillfully tied to a
network of trees. We mostly arrived at the bottom unscathed with a bit of
slipping and sliding on the way down. The Glasgow Falls are magnificent – such
beautiful scenery - huge boulders, rocks, ferns, moss and of course - the water
For the not so faint-hearted and with
a lot of help from Alan (thank you Alan we do hope your knee is still operating
after providing it to us as a step) - we were treated to a stunning view as we
sat (balancing precariously) on a ledge IN BEHIND the waterfall.
After enjoying our lunch in this very
special setting, we made our way out of the forest the same way we came in –
onto the Road and after quite a long drudge we stopped at the Lavers Hill
Swimming Pool for an afternoon snack.
Many years ago -this pool was used by the Lavers Hill School as their
only swimming pool. We were told “it was very cold” – surprise, surprise…
We arrived back at Lavers Hill at 4pm
to say our goodbyes.
year has well and truly started and I would like to take this opportunity to
wish everyone a ‘Happy Australia Day’!! I think these days, time flies whether
you’re having fun or not. However, we
prefer to have fun! And for most of us,
bushwalking is one way of having FUN!!
It just takes an effort to arrange this great pastime around our busy
I see it, there are two major reasons for ORWTA’s existence. The first is to
continue to lobby the Government and persevere with various avenues that will
result in the Trans Otway Waterfalls Walk coming to fruition. However, for many reasons, there has been no
progress on this of late.
second reason is to foster the fun, social and healthy aspects of bushwalking
in the Otways. The Otways is an amazingly diverse place with the cool temperate
rainforest, tall eucalypt forests, the multitude of waterfalls, the coastal
heathlands and the rugged but pristine coastline. Whether you are new to walking in this
region, a regular visitor or, like myself, who has lived here all of one’s
life, it is a very rewarding area to explore. The social walks conducted
monthly are still proving popular and necessary to continue to be able to keep
our proposed route clear.
Over many years, ORWTA members have enjoyed so many
walks both along the proposed Trans Otway Waterfall Walk and other locations in
the Otways. Very few of our walks in that time have needed to be cancelled or
rescheduled. However, we have had
trouble of late. Bushwalkers, whether regular walkers or not, are certainly
keen to get out in the bush. I fully appreciate that, especially if it’s been a
while since you’ve had a walk, or a favourite walk is on or you just want a
break from your normal routine. However, sometimes things happen beyond our
control with weather, trip leader unavailability and communication. As a club,
we must be proactive and show that we are a responsible organisation and make
tough decisions when needed. Presently,
some of our routes do need a tidy-up with clearing away fallen limbs. Some of
us are able get into the bush regularly to help with carrying out this task. In
saying that, we are a volunteer organisation and most of us still work so we
can only do as much as we can do with the volunteers we have available as this
needs to fit around with the rest of our lives.
Wild Dog Track is one track that we normally like
to do every year. We were not able to do it when scheduled last February due to
a Total Fire Ban Day. In December, again
this walk was rescheduled to be done, but a predicted widespread rain event led
to an executive decision to call the walk off. So it will be a case of ‘take 3’
as it is down for May’s walk.
ORWTA are very thankful for all our trip leaders;
most are our members and some are members of other clubs that assist from time
to time. Through their knowledge (maybe of a particular area), passion and
expertize, we are able to offer many diverse walks.
lost several key committee members over the last year which have been due to
illness, work commitments, retirement and having left the area, our club is
certainly going through a rebuilding stage. ORWTA membership continues to be
steady which is extremely encouraging. Although, we do have a good member base,
one of our problems is that our members come from a very wide area. So ORWTA would appreciate any help that can
be given; maybe on the day of the walk, leading a walk, help with a recce or
clearing tracks, or your expertise may be communicating / liaising with various
Government agencies. Any
help will be gratefully appreciated.
Let’s hope our
Club has a successful 2015.
Alan Dow (President) ~
between ORWTA and Geelong Bushwalking Club:-
now is a good time to mention the efforts of Bernard
Jordon who has been involved in ORWTA for a very long time. Like a few in our
club, Bernard is a member of both ORWTA and the Geelong Bushwalking Clubs. He
had a very important role of being the liaison between the two Clubs, making
sure the correct walk info & trip report was submitted to GBC’s monthly
magazine, being the Geelong contact to organise
in the reconnaissance of tracks and has lead so many of our walks. He is stepping down from his role with ORWTA to watch the ‘grass grow’
and will no doubt be spending more time at Sandy Point.
On behalf of the Committee and members of ORWTA, I
would like to take this opportunity to thank Bernard for all his involvement
over the many years with ORWTA. His willingness to lead walks has certainly been invaluable in our club.A job well done and much appreciated !!! Hopefully, you will join us on
our walks from time to time.
and Bad news regarding tracks in Lorne area:-
heard, from a couple of sources, that several tracks in the long-established
network of paths in the Lorne area were to be closed permanently. However, in December when this matter was
raised, the Parks Vic Ranger for Lorne was adamant that no such closures were
forthcoming. Let’s hope for all lovers of walking that these tracks stay open
NOTE- It was very sad
to hear of young child recently who was critically injured after being hit by a
fallen branch on one of the Lorne tracks near Erskine Falls. He was on an
outing with his family when the tragedy happened. We all love walking in the
Australian Bush, but these incidents, although very rare, do make us aware that
it can be dangerous at times.
while we are on the subject of closures, Marriners Falls has been closed for
many years now. It has been assessed as being ‘unsafe’. There is been a
concentrated push in 2014 to re-open these Falls before they are ‘closed’
permanently. The track to the falls is certainly no more dangerous than many of
the tracks through the Otway forests.
is now a group known as "Friends of Marriners Falls". The ORWTA
committee members wholeheartedly support this group, and we encourage all
members to add to and support their Facebook page. This can be found by going
to the Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce & Tourism website, at;
"www.abcct.com.au/friends" and clicking on the 'leave a comment'
option just below the page title. Also,
if anyone has any photos or history of past visits to these Falls please feel
free to share them with this group.
Marriners Falls is such
an important asset to Apollo Bay. It has
a rich history dating back to early settlers visiting the Falls in the late
1800s. Unlike Lorne, which has many waterfalls and forest tracks of which to
walk, Apollo Bay has only got the short track to Marriners Lookout, the start
of the Great Ocean Walk and Marriners Falls. Marriners Falls have been a lovely
cool place to visit with the family particularly on those hot days in the Summer
is new walk / cycle signage around Apollo Bay to help visitors get to places in
the town. On several of these signs,
there is a photo that our Secretary took on the proposed ‘Highview Walk’ that
we did last August which acknowledges our organisation. Great Les !
The authors of ‘250
Victorian Waterfalls’ have decided on doing another book, but this time on
Otway waterfalls. So if anyone has any
information regarding location, name or history of any known or ‘hidden’
waterfalls in the Otways then Ray and Ian would be happy to correspond with
you. You can reach Ian via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We still have several copies of 250 Victorian Waterfalls,
so if anyone would like a copy sent to them, contact Alan
on 0400 404 046.
We have just
released our 2015 Calendar of Walks. I
hope there is something in this for everyone and that you have free time
available to do some of them. Our social
walks are normally held on the first Sunday of the each month. However, sometimes we hold it on the 2nd
Sunday of the month to avoid such events as Father’s Day or Easter. We do ask
for a gold coin donation from participants on the day of our walks.
·Sunday 1st February, 2015
- Day: Wild Dog Falls
- Evening: Dinner & ORWTA meeting at Forrest
(Venue to be arranged)
Trip Leader: Alan Dow 0400 404 046
·Sunday 1st March, 2015
- Day: Glasgow Falls
- Evening: (Dinner & Meeting to be arranged)
Trip Leader: Kim Attard: 0422 880 817
·Sunday 12th April, 2015
- Day: Sabine Falls Grand Circuit
- Evening: Dinner & ORWTA meeting at Forrest
(Venue to be
Trip Leader: John Piesse: 9852 8924
To register or enquire more information regarding
any of the walks; please contact the Trip Leader or the President Alan Dow –
0400 404 046.
Meetings of ORWTA Inc. usually take place after the scheduled Social Walk. The
venues for the Meetings are generally in the region of that month’s walk.
Typically held at Apollo Bay, Forrest or Lorne, however, we
have held them at Wye River, Deans Marsh and Beech Forest in the past. They
involve a relaxed meeting often over dinner or a drink.
We acknowledge the assistance given to us from
the Bendigo Bank in sponsoring the yearly costs of our Website.
Membership 2014 / 2015.
and return members are always welcome. We are asking all members to inform
their family and friends as to what our organization does and so they may
become ORWTA members or at least enjoy a walk with us.
new members that have joined are Stephen Kerr and Andy Hewat. I hope you enjoy meeting the many
other walkers and gain some great experiences while walking in the Otways.
The upcoming Social walk is to beautiful Wild Dog
Falls on February 1st 2015