A superb walk that winds through woodland and a beautiful wet heathland. Along the way you will encounter a variety of flora including hakeas, wattles, tea-tree and button grass.
At the centre of this loop walk is a wet heathland area. The trail meanders through the surrounding woodland and at times dips into the wet heathland. The walker gets to explore the diversity of fauna in these two distinct areas along the walk.
Heathland is one of the oldest recognised ecosystems in the world. The term Heathen was originally coined to represent those people who lived in heathland away from the major townships. The first part of the trail takes you under a canopy of eucalypts - Silver-leaf Stringybark and Narrow-leaf Peppermint. The Peppermint trees have a finer bark and smaller leaves. If you find a fresh leaf, crush it and smell the peppermint. If you are walking in Spring you will encounter many bright yellow 'rods' along the way, the Spike Wattle in bloom. You might also spot Sweet Wattle with its pale yellow to white and ball-shaped flowers. Among the many bird species that call this area their home, keep an eye out for Honeyeater birds. They can be found feasting on the blossoms of eucalypts and banksias and prising insects from the bark of trees. Although the walk is quite level overall, you might notice the path gently ascending at first before dropping slightly into the wet heathland area.
Wet heathland is poorly drained because of a layer in the soil that keeps the ground above it wet. Plants here must be able to cope with periods of standing water, these include Rapier Sedges, Button-grass, heaths and Tea-trees. The walk includes boardwalks to keep your feet dry and to protect the vegetation. Near the end of the trail you will encounter the plant that gives the walk its name. Button-grass is a type of sedge, characterised by its long stems and rounded flowering heads. The track finally returns to Guide Track. Turn left here and return to the car park at Camp Road.
Facilities: The nearest toilets are at Mortimer Camp Ground, 5km away on the Gembrook-Tonimbuk Road. There are two seats along the trail.
Access: From Gembrook, drive east along the Gembrook-Tonimbuk Road. After 11 km turn right onto Camp Road. After 200m you will reach a small car park at the gated Guide Track. The track is suitable for walkers only.
Its a 200m walk along Guide Track to the start of the Button-grass walk.
Friends of Bunyip State Park developed the walk over three years with the aid of Parks Victoria Community Grant funding. For more information about the group see http://bit.ly/VTBsXk.
Look out for hakeas, particularly along the first part of the walk. Hakeas need bushfires to propagate. The fire opens the woody fruits on the parent plant, releasing the seeds to germinate.
Walkers wandering through a forest of Silver-leaf Stringybark and Narrow-leaf Peppermint trees. Look out for wattles, hakeas and tea-trees in the shrub.
Pay attention to where you step. You might spot a skink out enjoying the sun. They are well camouflaged to avoid detection.
For lots of detail about the abundant flora along the walk, pick up a copy of the flora notes at the beginning of the walk. The notes have matching numbered markers along the route.
Notice the dramatic changes in flora as we drop down into the wet heathland areas along the walk. You will also be treated to excellent views of the nearby Black Snake Range.
A boardwalk allows the waker to keep their feet dry while giving the opportunity to explore parts of the wet heathland that would otherwise be hard to access.
Sedges, such as Button-grass, are tufted plants and over time develop quite dense and tall stools from which the leaves grow. These tufts are elevated above the water-table.
The dam is feed by Button-grass creek. Notice the many water plants and ferns that boarder the waters edge, a habitat for birds, frogs and insects.