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Thursday, June 21, 2012

O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail - east of Cement Creek crossing

Cement Creek
The Aqueduct and Trail
 Now part of the Yarra Ranges National Park, the O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail is a long, step-on, step-off 27 km walking/cycling/horse route starting at Don Rd, Launching Place, and ending at the O'Shannassy Weir, about 80 km east of Melbourne, near the town of Warburton.

Inside the Hut
The Aqueduct was constructed between 1911 and 1915, and decommissioned in 1997. The maintenance track, known as Road 18, has been opened up progressively for walkers, horse-riders and cyclists, following transfer of land ownership from Melbourne Water to Parks Victoria.

The old steel pipe
The Trail passes through magnificent Mountain Ash forest, past fern gullies, with excellent views across the Yarra Valley towards Mt Little Joe and the mountains near Big Pats Creek. It winds its way around the base of Mt Donna Buang and Ben Cairn, passing many aqueduct engineering works, bridges, syphons, huts, distance marker posts and old maintenance sheds.

Control valve machinery
New access gates for management vehicles and walkers have been built at various locations along the route.

Sadly, there has been massive encroachment of vegetation, fallen trees, branches, and weeds in the Aqueduct.

Closeup of the original pipe
I have completed 23 km of the full Trail (46 km return), in several trips!

My photo albums of these trips may be viewed at

A comprehensive set of Trail Notes, and detailed maps, may be downloaded from the Parks Victoria Web site:

The history and development of the aqueduct may be viewed at

On June 20, 2012, I did a review exploration of about 4 km (return) of the section of the Trail easterly from the new gate at the end of Cement Creek Rd.

About 1 km from the Cement Creek Rd entry point the former maintenance hut and workshop remain - the hut is available for hikers and cyclists, and contains a fireplace, lounge chairs, a bed, and table! This hut is at the junction of the open section of the Aqueduct with the steel pipe section. The control valves and machinery are still intact!

Warning: The top section of Cement Creek Rd is unsuitable for small 2WD vehicles. It is badly potholed and rutted, with large stones, and after heavy rain becomes very muddy. If this is a problem, there is a turning point about half way along the road, where small cars may be parked, and about ten minutes hike to the end of the road.

Some of the management Roads in the area are prohibited to walkers, as they are located in the Melbourne Water catchment area - these are prominently signed, with gates. Walkers should not venture along these tracks.

See all of the Photos of my visit!

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