Enjoy strolling to the sound of the Tyers River and birdlife along a hillside of diverse vegetation. Wear walking shoes and keep an eye out for historic remnants of the original pipeline.
This is a 2km return walk, and is reasonably easy although you are walking on the slope of a hill so be prepared for the odd wobble in your step. You begin your walk at an easy pace to the sound of the water pouring over the weir and a generous diversity of birdsong. A regular scuttling of skinks makes a gentle rustle in the leaf litter as you walk along the track. Stunning scenery of the Tyers River is a feature, as is the sense of balancing on the edge as you follow the ridge line above the riverbank and witness noticeable changes in the vegetation. There are some beautiful swimming and fishing spots dotted along the way, so if you have the time to idle away, this is a good place to spend it. Bring your binoculars if you’re a birdwatcher, and you’ll be kept happily occupied.
Note: It’s important to head back when you reach the intersection sign-posting the Wirilda Track one way (along the river) and Pipeline Track (heading uphill). Wirilda Track is a one-day walk that requires bushwalking experience.
Directions: Approximately 180km from Melbourne, you head towards Tyers (on the way to Walhalla) and take the left just before the Tyers River Bridge. Follow Clarkes Rd for a short distance and take a hard right to the Wirilda Environment Park, which is sign-posted. You’ll pass the homestead and Environment Centre, dip down across a wooden bridge and then straight ahead the car park where the Gippsland Water Pumping Station is situated, next to the weir and picnic area.
If you take the gravel road on the left as you’re heading in, you’ll drive up the hilltop to an amazing visual contrast between the industrial iconography of the Latrobe Valley on one side and the wild forests of the Tyers River and Moondarra State Parks on the other. It’s a brilliant view but not a walk, so hop back in your car and down the track towards Ollie’s track, which is accessible from the carpark.
Ollie’s Track is named in honour of Ollie Thompson, a dedicated local field naturalist whose constant participation and commitment goes way back to when the Park was an idea, with a steering committee seeking support. Along with his wife Bon, he was widely acknowledged for his generosity of spirit and a long-term friend of the Park.
The Park Tracks project is an initiative of the Latrobe City Council, which acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Gunaikurnai nation. Through their cultural traditions, the Gunaikurnai identifies this area as part of their Traditional Country.
It’s a shame how many of us haven’t visited this beautiful river, because the idyllic walk along its riverbanks is well worth your while.
Whether you’re going to sling your hook or just sit and look, there are tracks leading down to the riverbank where you can spend quite a bit of time.
There’s some memorabilia of times gone by in this area, including the old pipeline that transported water from the river to the township of Traralgon.
Small orange arrows are situated on trees as you make your way along the track, but make sure you don’t go further than the sign to Wirilda Track if you aren’t planning a very long walk.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know you are safely balanced between the base of a large hill and the fall to the riverbank.
One of the joys of this walk is the contrasting heights and varying vegetation types that come with the changes.
This burrow sits at the edge of the track, so presumably its resident waits until nightfall when the walkers have left the park before it takes its own stroll.
The lush forest sensation hits you when look up, but also when you look down to discover a flush of ferns (also known as Fish Bone Ferns) by your feet.
Great swathes of Dogwood (Cassinia aculeata) can be seen as you wander along the track, as well as numerous other understorey plants.