See a big tree, a big view and a pretty mountain waterfall
The Cumberland Walk winds through the cool rainforest gullies and towering mountain ash forests of the Yarra Ranges National Park. It's a four-kilometre bushwalk that has so much to see along the way: the lovely Cora Lynn Falls, the 84-metre tall Big Tree, spectacular valley views, and remnants of the area's gold prospecting history.
The pretty Cora Lynn Falls tumbling down the rocks
The Cumberland Walk is a loop walk with two main options for parking. One option is to start the walk from the small but clearly signposted carpark off the Marysville-Woods Point Road. It's about 16 kilometres from Marysville. This is a great option for those who might only want to see Cora Lynn Falls – it's just a short (but steep) 550 metre walk down to the falls, south of the main road. Alternatively, heading north from this starting point means that one of the first highlights of the walk is the Big Tree.
The carpark along the Marysville-Woods Point Road: a good place to start and finish the loop walk
The second option for the start of the walk is to drive a little further along the Marysville-Woods Point Road and turn left into Cambarville Road. The walk starts and ends at the Cambarville Picnic area, a short distance up this road, where there are picnic tables, toilets and information boards.
I started from the first carpark on the Marysville-Woods Point Road, wandering north from the road through forest recovering from bushfires. The track then winds through patches of cool temperate rainforest, dominated by Myrtle Beech, with mossy logs and ferns blanketing the forest floor. The track crosses over the Cumberland Creek, gurgling its way through the forest to the valley below.
Shortly the track emerges into the towering mountain ash forest. The highlight is the Big Tree – a huge Mountain Ash that is also very old. According to the signs, it's about 300 years old and coming to the end of its life. Apparently it used to be even taller, but a windstorm in the 1950s broke the tree's top off.
A short distance further along the track is a clinometer, a device used to measure the heights of trees. At first it's a bit of a surprise seeing this man-made metal object in the forest. But it's definitely a fun stop: read the sign and see if you can measure the height of the Big Tree!
The track continues on through the forest, and past some more big trees, before arriving at the Cambarville Picnic area – a great spot to stop for a bite to eat. The track up to this point has been a pretty easy walk, soft underfoot and fairly flat.
The next section of the walk follows the Cambarville Road down to the main road where the track crosses over (watch for cars) and heads south. This second part of the walk has more steep up-and-down sections than the first part of the walk, and a few rocky sections. But it's worth it for the occasional views and lookouts over the valley below.
Along the way, there's information signs about the area's gold mining history, such as a water race designed to divert water from the Cumberland Creek to power water pumps at the (short-lived!) gold mine, as well as information about Melbourne's water catchments and the vegetation of the area.
Towards the end, before the track heads back up to the carpark, there's the turn-off to see Cora Lynn Falls. There's a few stairs to get down to the falls. The water tumbles down a series of rock faces, flowing down the rainforest gully past tree ferns and glossy green shrubs.
From here, the track heads back up the hill to finish at the car park. If you've still got time, see here for a Parks Victoria brochure for other activities in the nearby area (pdf), including other waterfalls, or head back to Marysville where there's plenty to eat and drink.