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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

O'Shannassy Aqueduct Track - Woods Pt Rd Sector

Now part of the Yarra Ranges National Park, the O'Shannassy Aqueduct Track is a long, step-on, step-off 19.1 km walking/cycling/horse route starting at Don Rd, Launching Place, and ending at the Cement Creek Rd, about 70 km east of Melbourne, near the town of Warbuton.

The Aqueduct was constructed between 1911 and 1915, and decommissioned in 1997. The maintenance track is being progressively opened up for walkers, horse-riders and cyclists, following transfer of land ownership from Melbourne Water to Parks Victoria.

As at July 2008, work is in progress to extend the Track westerly by 4 km (from Don Rd to Parrot Rd), and wasterly by 7.6 km (from Cement Creek Rd to the Reservoir Gate).

The Section from Cement Creek to the Reservoir may be used by walkers, horses and cyclists, but has not as yet been officially opened.

When complete, the Track will be 30.7 km in total.

The latest section to be opened is the 2 km route between Yuonga Rd and the easterly diversion tunnel.

The Track 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.

The maintenance route is known as Road 18.

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

I walked a 4 km (return) section starting at the Wood's Point Rd on July 1, 2008, where the Aqueduct emerges from the tunnel. This was a follow-up walk to check the status of this part of the Track - I had previously done this Sector in July 2006. Since then, there has been massive encroachment of vegitation, fallen trees, branches, and weeds in the Aqueduct.

I have completed 23 km of the full route - 46 km return!

The images of this walk in my Photo Album include pictures of the Aqueduct, the walkers' access gate near the Wood's Pt Rd, views across the Yarra Valley towards Starling Gap, and some quaint black-headed sheep in an adjoining farm.There are also two images of historical significance, showing the construction of the Aqueduct in 1911, and how it appeared in 1940.

Please see my previous eight photo albums covering my exploration of other sections of this magnificent track, which I consider to be amongst the best in the Yarra Ranges National Park!

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

The history and development of the aqueduct may be viewed at

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