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Published April 26th 2019
Shut 2016, reopened 2019, still worth a visit
In October 2016, a storm ripped through the Yarra Ranges causing damage to many areas of the National Park. Most affected was the Badger Weir Picnic ground, just out of Healesville. A favourite picnic spot for 100 years, it has been shut since then.
But now, after a summer rebuild and renovation, the picnic ground has reopened and people have very quickly returned. In many ways, the park has stayed the same, but in other ways, it has changed a whole lot.
Two toilet blocks have gone, replaced with a very modern new toilet block. Some tables and barbeques are new as well. Most obvious though is the new metal bridge crossing Badger Creek itself. The old wooden bridge was slippery and probably past its used by date even before the storm, so the new bridge is certainly a welcome addition.
Aside from that the most obvious change is the amount of damage the storm did to the forest. Even after two and a bit years, the damage is clear to see. In some sections of the park, trees have been ripped in two, and the entire canopy of the forest seems to have been ripped away. It's obvious why the park took so long to reopen.
Other sections of the park though have remained untouched, seemingly pristine forest. Certainly, on the walk from the picnic area to the weir itself, you quickly pass from areas of damaged forest, into rainforest that hasn't received any damage at all, past trees that appear ancient.
The walks themselves haven't changed much at all. There are three walks to the weir, a relatively flat one up a road and along the aqueduct (Coranderrk Track), or two others through the forest. All are around 1km long. The forest tracks do contain a lot of stairs, so they are more suited to people with good mobility.
The picnic area itself remains one of the nicest in the National Park, situated as it is on the banks of the creek. And Badger Creek remains a playground with rocks and fallen branches allowing for play and easy (and not so easy) navigation up and down the creek for children and adults alike.