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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Mt Lofty circuit, hike, Warrandyte State Park

East to Yarra Ranges from Summit

The Gorge, from the Summit

Yarra, near Canoe Launching Ramp

Stephen Rd, view to Dandenong Ranges
To celebrate the beginning of autumn, on Easter Saturday, I went to the summit of Mt Lofty on April 3, 2010, 40 km east of Melbourne town, in the Warrandyte State Park.

Parking at the gate at Lower Homestead Rd, I trudged up Stephen Track, a management road, reaching the picnic table which sits all on its own on the exposed summit!

The views, as always, were spectacular, easterly to the Yarra Ranges, and southerly to the Dandenong Ranges, across the huge Heritage and Country Club Golf Course.

Whilst admiring this beantiful view, I couldn't help but wonder that this panorama would not exist if the proposal to construct a vast Yarra Brae Reservoir had gone shead in 1973.

That reservoir was to have dammed the Yarra with a 30 m high concrete wall just to the east of Warrandyte, at the Yarra Brae Homestead site. This would have inundated most of the Yarra Valley for 20 km out to Yarra Glen and the base of the Christmas Hills.

It was to be part of the Sugarloaf Reservoir project, but was abandoned due to public protests, and sanity prevailed.

Most of what is now the Bend of Islands would have been lost, as well as the Clifford Park Activity Centre, the Gun Club, the Model Aircraft Club, Spadoni's Bushland Reserve, the white-water canoeing/kayaking/fishing areas, scores of farms and properties, and everything in between.

The Sugarloaf Reservoir was built, without Yarra Brae, and was commissioned in 1981. In reality, Sugarloaf was a disaster, as it is basically a holding dam, built over a small creek, drawing water from the Yarra and other storages. It is now almost dry.

After looking at the views, I scrub-bashed down into the Gorge, reaching an unmarked foot-track, and followed this around the river to its end at the base of the cliffs.

I then returned back through the small picnic area at the end of the management track, then around the river to the Observation Platform, then along the boardwalk to the Lower Homestead Rd carpark and canoe launching ramp. From there, back to home base up Lower Homestead Rd.

All this was ahout 3 km - the route ascends from 65 m at the gate to the summit picnic table at 102 m. It takes over an hour!

See all of the Photos of my expedition!

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