I don’t get out and explore as much as I would like to, but when I do I want to make the absolute most of it and find places that take my breath away. For a very long time I have made many drives from Ballarat to Melbourne and vice versa, and along the way there are some amazing views and scenery. For years I have driven past the Werribee Gorge and had no idea what it was or if it was even a place I could explore, but I loved looking at it from the corner of my eye as I drove past. The other night I came across a list of walking trails around Melbourne and noticed Werribee Gorge being on that list. I messaged my sister and made a date of it.
It was all I imagined it would be and more!
It’s about an hours drive from Melbourne taking the Western Highway, which is worth the drive! We arrived at the Quarry Picnic area parking our cars and checking out the map. At first we found it confusing to where the paths were as they aren’t exactly marked with anything, being kept as natural as it can be. We ended up walking off the track and getting lost in some bushland, which wasn’t all to bad because it was fun climbing rocks and trees. Eventually after 20 minutes or so we found the actual track and began the Circuit Track, which is about 10km in total and is categorised as medium to hard.
It was a real trek to begin with as the slopes were steep and the ground was very rocky, which I realised that this hike would be much more comfortable in hiking boots, but not completely necessary. Even though someone who isn’t completely motivate might feel the need to turn back and take a smaller and easier track, believe me when you get to the top and beyond it is so worth it! Just before you get to the top of the first part of the hike you come to a sign pointing towards a small narrow track saying ‘Eastern View Point 100m’. We made our way to an incredible view of the east side of the gorge, where you can see bushland spreading to the freeway then bright, clean green paddocks and rolling hills. I was amazed!
We continued on further and our path became more narrow, steeper and sometimes made us wonder if it was even the path. We curved around edges of the gorge until we got to, probably, the most incredible place I have been to here in Australia. I would say in the world but the Grand Canyon stole my heart completely. It is at Western View Point where the beauty comes alive. A sight like that would make you feel like you can die a happy person. A clear view of the valley, the gorges cliff faces and endless green it is the perfect spot to sit and think about life, or swing off a tree over the edge…
The tracks scenery changed dramatically as we continued downhill when we reached the bottom of the gorge along the river. The sound of the running river and a lot of bush to trek through, we managed to get deep within the gorge finding small private freshwater swim holes against the faces of the cliff edges. It was amazing looking up and around and realising just how small you are, but how big your heart becomes as you take in all of natures givings.
The path along the river become unrecognisable as you climb over rocks, which may become slippery, especially if you are wearing the wrong shoes. A big thing you must be careful of is not slipping and sliding then rolling your ankle or something, not something you want to do when you are out in the middle of this terrine. At one point the path becomes the bottom of the cliff edge, which you must balance through. Don’t worry, if you fall you will only manage to get wet from the shallow part of the river. As you continue the path varies from rocks to sand to clay to stick then back to rocks before you hit the best part of the track. The path disappears and to carry on you must guide yourself along the edge of a cliff face, a bit harder than the previous one. There are cables attached to the face of the cliff to assist you. It feels like a little rock climbing activity and brought joy to my sister and I.
After that the track becomes quite easy for a good 1.2km or so before you reach a Y bend. On path continues on by the river, taking you on another circuit and pass the other picnic ground or there is the short circuit track that takes you back to the start of the long circuit track. We chose to continue on the circuit track and boy, this is the ahrd part! There isn’t much to see as you trek up hard, very steep bushland, weaving in and out of the trees. At times the path zig zags up and makes you feel depressed of how much further to go. It was challenge my sister and I, at times, felt we were unable to complete. There was a point where my sister was nearly crying, but we soldiered on. As hard as that last 2km or so of the short circuit was, it really tested our mental strength as well as our physical strength and we made it! As you walk back on to the picnic grounds a massive wave of accomplishment and happiness hits you. I felt so proud that I was able to finish that 10-12km hike with out completely breaking down. The views and scenery was reward enough.
Not only did today test my strength and give me the most breathtaking views and scenery, it gave me an opportunity to spend time with my sister Jess. I don’t often spend time alone with her like this and it was a real booster for our relationship. I wouldn’t have had this day any other way!