This is a lovely short and generally easy walk through the gorge created by the Lerderderg River.
The walk is mostly through native forest along the river. This is great for kids because it's fairly short and there are lots of opportunities to explore around the river. However people of any age are likely to enjoy it. Allow at least an hour to walk to Graham's Dam and back.
The walk starts at McKenzie's Flat, with a picnic area next to the river. Facilities include car parking area, toilets, BBQ, picnic tables and a shelter with information signs.
The changes in the flow of the river between seasons are surprisingly big. In the winter and spring it is usually a substantial river but in the summer it can stop flowing and dry up entirely in places. If you arrive to find the river is dry at McKenzie's Flat don't be too disheartened - there may still be some very pleasant waterholes upstream in the forest, which also provides some shade as you walk. There may be some good spots for swimming even if the river is largely dry. However if you are looking for a scenic walk alongside a flowing river, winter or spring is the time to go.
The weather here is typically drier and sunnier than Melbourne, so this could be a good walk to do when the weather is not so great in the city. Check the forecast for Bacchus Marsh.
The walk is mostly flat and easy, but it does involve fixed artificial stepping stones across the river at two different points, so it is not suitable for prams, wheelchairs or people with limited mobility.
Things to note:
- Locations of the points of interest on this walk are approximate only.
- While DOGS are permitted on-leash in parts of Lerderderg state park, they are not permitted on this walk (dogs prohibited from conservation zones, MacKenzies Flat Picnic Area and on the walking track to Grahams Dam).
The walk makes a fun start with some stepping stones across the river.
Off the main path there is a steep dirt track down to the river, giving you views across the main waterhole back to McKenzie's Flat, and the rocks at the edge of the water (good for climbing).
You walk through some low shrubland and pretty quickly come to another set of stepping stones to cross the river again.
Once you've crossed the river again you find yourself in the forest.
At various points you can get down to the shallow riverbed, fun to explore.
Not really a dam, more a pile of rocks across the river (which don't stop it flowing) and a waterhole.
At various points you can get views to the hills on the other side of the river. The vegetation on the dry hills is quite different to the higher forest at the bottom of the gorge.
At a turn in the river the path becomes narrow as it goes around the edge of the escarpment. The path provides a passage through the rocks.
In this area there is a good waterhole for swimming. Look for the steep track down from the main path to the water.
Not sure of the history of this tree, but another curiosity for the kids.
Make sure you look up every now and then to admire the trees as you walk through the forest
Take a moment to admire the river as you cross it.
McKenzie's Flat is next to the river and makes a pretty good place for a picnic at the start or finish of your walk.