Bushwalking with dogs: Yarra State Forest

So we love taking our dogs bushwalking all around Victoria, but I always find it challenging to find places to take them! So I’ll document our walks here and then if people are searching for places to go, hopefully this will help.

Where: Yarra State Forest

Difficulty/fitness required: 2/10 for the first 45 minutes, 8-9/10 for the hill.

Hilliness: Flat mostly for the first 3km, then sheer ridiculousness.

Leech-factor: I would have expected it to be VERY leechy, but neither I, nor the dogs had any. I wouldn’t go right after rain, though.

Map: Crummy DSE map from here was sufficient but it’s pretty crummy.

On Monday the dogs and I hit up the Yarra State Forest, taking the ‘Walk into History’ from Big Pat’s Creek picnic area. It was meh.

Today, however, we walked from ‘High Lead Carpark” off the Yarra Junction-Noojee Rd, doing section 6e on that map.

It starts off really beautifully, crossing the Big Creek over an old log and making your way through tall tree-ferns. Further on you cross a double log bridge and go up and down some stone steps into little gullies with creeks. Perfect dog drinking spots, and Lumen of course had to explore up and down the creek, cooling her feet off.

After about 45 minutes of fairly easy walking, we came to a junction- to the left looked flat but a bit overgrown, and to the right was a set of steps leading to the start of the big hill. The map warns you about this hill. It says that it’s a gradient of 1 in 4. I don’t know what that means though I’d assumed it was pretty steep. I also knew that at the start of the walk there was a sign telling me that the summit was in 4.8 km. I’d walked about 2.6km by this point with no climbing. Not a great sign.

Anyway, the hill was unlike any hill, ever. It was steep, and ongoing. It just went forever. Every time I thought there’d be a flat bit, there was more hill. I pushed and pushed. I walked a kilometer of hill and climbed 200+ meters in that time, and I still didn’t reach the top. It got to a point where I knew I could be going on for another kilometer still, I didn’t have lunch with me, and that eventually I’d have to go back DOWN the hill. We stopped and had a snack- Mallei came and lay promptly at my feet. He was tired. Lu of course was off exploring everywhere, she doesn’t GET tired. So at that point we came back down. The first part was really horrible, actually. I suspect it was the steepest of the 3 ‘hill parts’ that I climbed, and any little stick or twig acted as a roller under my feet. I counted 5 times nearly falling on my butt going down the first part. Down, down, down. I felt like it was slower going down that it was up. And my legs were burning- usually I don’t get sore legs on downhills, but today… Yup. So, the hill certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, and you’d need to be quite fit to make it up.

I’ll go back next time and see where the track on the left takes me (though I suspect it’ll just take me to the road and nowhere too exciting).


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