An easy walk with river views, mining relics and scenic bush
For anyone interested in an easy yet picturesque bushwalk, look no further than the Lerderderg Heritage River Walk in the Wombat State Forest. At 8.5 km in length, and relatively flat, this loop walk makes for a superb day trip from Melbourne – with time afterwards to explore the nearby historical village of Blackwood, or the beautiful Garden of St Erth.
The picturesque Lerderderg River in the Wombat State Forest
The walk starts and finishes from Jack Cann Reserve, Blackwood. To get to the reserve, drive down Simmons Reef Road, south of the centre of Blackwood. The carpark for the Jack Cann Reserve is also the carpark the Garden of St Erth. If the main carpark is full then follow the signs up the unsealed track for more car parking.
Two walks depart from the carpark: the Whipstick Loop Walk, which heads off to the south, and the Lerderderg Heritage River Walk, which heads off to the north. The walk is well signposted and starts by heading through a small grove of pine trees.
The track is well-marked, easy to follow and and mostly flat
The first half of the walk follows along a contour near the Lerderderg River, with glimpses of the flowing water through the trees. This part is quite flat, although some parts are a bit rocky.
The lovely Lerderderg River
At one point our walking group turned off down a vehicle track to explore the river itself – and it's well worth a look up close. The area was once part of a bustling gold mine region, and there are plenty of relics of the era along the way, including entrances to old mining shafts, and historic water races.
There is plenty of mining history in the area including old mine shafts
The track passes through scenic forest dotted with wildflowers in winter and spring, including the pink and white flowers of the Common Heath (Epacris impressa), Victoria's Floral Emblem, and colourful fungi in autumn. In wetter gullies, there are pockets of bright green tree ferns and mossy logs.
The return track then remains fairly flat as it weaves through the forest back to the carpark. It crosses over a vehicle track on several occasions, but the walking track itself is well marked at these intersections.
Back at the carpark, the Jack Cann Reserve has a toilet block and picnic area. For walkers who want to cover more kilometres, the Lerderderg Heritage River Walk can be combined with the Whipstick Loop Walk (5 km) for a longer hike.