Wonga Park

Wonga Park
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gurdies Bushland Reserve and Lookout


The Gurdies, represents some of the largest remaining areas of native vegetation on the eastern shore of Western Port and covers an area of about 260 hectares.

In 1798, Western Port and Bass Strait were discovered by George Bass and a volunteer crew, who sailed and rowed from Port Jackson in an open whaleboat. Many features of the local area have been named after George Bass, such as the Bass Highway, the township of Bass, the Bass Ranges and the Bass River. During the 1800s Western Port was a very busy harbour and areas such as Corinella and Grantville were settled. Also during the 1800s, many of the grand eucalypts of the ranges such as Messmate and Bluegum (some 70 metres in height), were felled and used in the construction of wharves, railway bridges and railway lines.

In 1977, the Gurdies bushland area was recognised as significant in terms of its flora and fauna values and in 1992 the area was was proclaimed a Flora and Fauna Reserve.

The main entrance to the Reserve is at the car park, picnic area, and information kiosk, located on the Bass Highway, about 80 km SE of Melbourne, 12 km south-east of its intersection with the South Gippsland Highway.

The signposted walk starts here, initially passing through bushland, then joining a wide management track. This track is followed up a gentle gradient, through regrowth forest, eventually reaching the Lookout picnic area, adjacent to cleared private property at the end of Dunbabbar Rd.

There is a spectacular view across Westernport, and an information board describes the history of Westernport.

There is a rise in altitude from 41 m to 123 m.

The return descent to the car park is along the same route - a side trip can be made to the nearby quarry if desired.

There are several other tracks in the Reserve, offering alternative routes to and from the Bass Highway - these are well signposted with distances shown.

Nearby is the settlement of Grantville, and a visit to the jetty is worthwhile, just off the Bass Highway, with good views across Westernport to French Island and the mountains to the north.

My visit was on February 14, 2009 - walking distance was about 5 km total.

For further information, see the Track Notes/Map from Parks Victoria, at
http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/resources05/05_2304.pdf

See the full set of Photos of my trip

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