This was a Gisborne Bushwalking Club organised walk that incorporated sections of the Wilhelmina Falls Walk and the Murrindindi River Walk. The experience of walking with a group of fifteen is quite different, but equally enjoyable, to when there is just two of us.
As this was organised for a Saturday, we decided to take the opportunity to camp in the Murrindindi Scenic Reserve on the Friday and Saturday nights. This not only meant that we didn’t have a two hour drive before and after the walk, but we were also able to take in a couple of other walks on the Sunday before leaving for home.
The walk was organised to leave from the Water Gauge Campground, one of seven campgrounds on the Reserve. This made it easy for us to choose where to set up camp. All the campgrounds are well set up with toilets and numbered sites of various sizes defined by fences and/or vegetation, giving a bit of privacy. The sites and the picnic areas also generally feature properly constructed fireplaces.
Being on site already also meant that we had a leisurely start to the day before meeting up with our fellow club members at 10:00. By the time the late arrivals appeared and we got organised, it was 10:30 when we set off in a northerly direction along a short section of the River Walk, which, despite its name, didn’t give us any views of the river. However, it was an easy ‘warm up’ in preparation for the climb to Wilhelmina Falls.
This next section is a steady 280m climb to the top of the Falls that includes sections of metal stairs and chain link handrails. On the way up, it is well-worth taking the short unofficial path to the base of the Falls from where the full 75m drop of the Falls over a steep smooth granite rock face can be seen. A small group with some young teenagers had overtaken us on the way up, so we noticed when we arrived that these intrepid youngsters had scrambled up the side of the waterfall – what it is to be young and fearless!
From there the climb up the stairs and rock steps took us to the lookout at the top of the falls from where the views across the valleys and hills beyond was quite spectacular, but with sombre reminders of the hell that Black Saturday brought to the area. From this point the Boroondara Track Circuit continued up the hill on a gentle gradient for a further 200m, where we stopped for lunch. The track from this point is wide enough for two or three abreast and allowed us to have some good conversations with our fellow walkers. For me, this was very welcome on the very long descent back to the River Walk as it took my mind off the constant downward pressure on my knees, which thankfully held up.
On turning north along the River Walk, we were once again disappointed that there were no views of the river, however, after the descent, the relative flatness of this section gave a most welcome relief to the knees.
We arrived back to the campground at about 15:00 where we hosted afternoon tea for the group at our campsite.
The great aspect of walking as a group is that it is very sociable and on this length of walk it is easy to rotate around and catch up with everyone although this does tend to slow things down a bit. However, for me, it restricts my photography opportunities as some of these can take a bit of time. So, in this regard my future posts describing walks with the group will have limited photos, except for this one where I managed a few.