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Thursday, July 09, 2009

O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail, Dee Rd Section, Warburton

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 Reservoir, about 80 km east of Melbourne, past the town of Warburton.

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 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, Mt Victoria and Ben Cairn, passing many aqueduct engineering works, bridges, syphons, huts, distance marker posts and old maintenance sheds.

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 sections of the Aqueduct.

I have completed the 23 km of the Trail which is open to walkers - 46 km return, in several trips!

On Wednesday afternoon July 8, 2009, I reviewed a section of the Trail, starting at the access point at the newly constructed car-park and picnic ground at the end of Dee Rd, West Warburton.

There is an informative display board and map at the picnic ground.

My exploration took me east over the old trestle bridge, then on to the abandoned Outlet Valve No. 1 at the creek. This was my turnaround point - the distance was about 4 km overall.

See the full set of Photos of the features and views along this section of the Trail.

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


  1. Anonymous4:16 PM

    We rode our bicycles from Warburton (Yuonga Rd) to Don Road yesterday along the Aquaduct trail. It was a very gentle downhill all the way, with a very short steep section to rejoin Don Road. We then did a lovely downhill on the road to Launching Place, where we rejoined the Lillydale to Warburton Rail trail. The aquaduct trail was clear and easily accessible to Dee Road, and then a bit more slushy and a few downed tree branches from there to Don Road. It was absolutely beautiful, and I would thoroughy recommend it for anyone - particularly as an alternate return route from the Lillydale to Warburton Rail Trail.

  2. Anonymous11:25 PM

    Hi, I've ridden the Lilydale to Warburton rail trail a number of times now but only today (15th Jan 2010) did i incorporate it with the beautiful O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail. The difficult part was the steep climb on Younga Road to get to the trail but you'll soon realise it was well worth it. You'll come across some fallen trees on the trail and one very big tree which you'll have to investigate first to plan your route over the tree with your bike. Having said that, the trail is as close to nature as you can get on a bike and well shaded.
    At Don Road i took a left turn and it was a fast and exciting downhill ride towards Launching Place where i reconnected onto the Rail Trail back to Lilydale.

    Good luck and happy riding