Grass-tree Walk, Moormbool West

Corner Rice & Mckenzies Tracks, Heathcote - Graytown National Park, Moormbool West 3523

Grass-tree Walk, Moormbool West

Corner Rice & Mckenzies Tracks, Heathcote - Graytown National Park, Moormbool West 3523

Staff Pick
2 h 1 m
8.13 km
Intermediate

Walking in this less frequented part of the National Park has its reward, quiet solitude for intimate sharing of a Box Ironbark forest with its inhabitants.

Grass-tree Walk, Moormbool West

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Summary

Walking in this less frequented part of the National Park has its reward, quiet solitude for intimate sharing of a Box Ironbark forest with its inhabitants.

Description

Options
1. 6.7km. Stick to the main tracks by not taking the Mansbridge Track extension loop beyond Cherry Tree Track.

2. 8.2km. Do the full walk as mapped.

If you are looking for some quiet solitude or a peaceful walk with friends in a place that feels remote, this could be a place for you. It may be a bit out of the way, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that probably explains the absence of evidence of visitation you see in some other places. It also means there is something more intimate about experiencing this place.

These low gravelly hills, dry slopes and gullies are a small portion of the enormous Box Ironbark Forest of Heathcote – Graytown National Park. It is heavily wooded, but still retains long sightlines – you can see the wood and the trees. You can see the fauna and the birds. You can spot the flora, and the grass-trees can be spotted by the dozen scattered throughout the woodland in varying densities. They are the ancient sentinels of this forest.

The loops follow well maintained dirt and gravel tracks along waterway gullies, +/- water, depending on the season. Some are used occasionally by vehicles, possibly motorbikes. Trackside signage is clear and present for the principal routes.

Start at Mckenzies & Rice Track intersection. Walk until you meet Cherry Gully Track (well signed), turn left, walk 570m. Turn right into the hill skirting extension of Mansbridge Track (unsigned, but the track is evident). Follow Mansbridge Track around the hill, over Cherry Hill Track and back to Mckenzies Track. Take Mckenzies Track back to Rice Track and have a well earned picnic by Mckenzie Dam.

It can be very hot in summer and can turn very cold in winter. Late winter and spring see wildflowers aplenty.

Amenities:
None
Camping is available at Dargile (Heathcote-Graytown National Park) Camping & Picnic Ground, Plantation Track, Mt Camel 3523

Cautions:
Open water
Limbs may fall
Embankments
Uneven ground
No potable water
Slippery surfaces
Subject to flooding
Road surfaces vary
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart
Be equipped for self-reliant hiking
Grass-trees are vulnerable to Cinnamon Fungus, spread by foot wear. Please stay on the tracks.

Restrictions:
No dogs
No hunting
No camping
Take rubbish with you
No rubbish dumping
No firewood collection
Do not remove soil or rock
Native flora and fauna are protected
Do not remove timber from standing trees
No fires in the open
Closed on days of total fire ban
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed, be registered

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Points of Interest

1. Start at Mckenzie Dam

There is plenty of room for parking at the beginning of Rice Track or directly opposite by the the rush fringed Mckenzie Dam. This is perfect place for a picnic or to await watering wildlife.

2. Where there is water

The walk follows waterway gullies. However, these dry quickly in this water shedding country, leaving waterholes or dams for wildlife. Stop and sit to see. Here a Fuscous Honeyeater pokes its tongue.

3. Butterflies

Spring sees an abundance of wildflowers and pollinating insects, such as this Cabbage White on a Common Rice Flower. All make the most of the milder and wetter months before a hot, dry, harsh summer.

4. More birdlife

The bird calls and activity in evidence around you quickly raise hopes for observations. A busy flock of White-browed Babblers appeared amongst the Grey Box early in the walk.

5. Skeletal sedimentary soils

These stony, gravelly hills deliver a range of interesting formations and colours. Exposed surface seams present in sandy browns and include quartz. Red ironstone gravel litters the tracks.

6. The tracks

All the tracks are well maintained. They are quite broad and have either a gravel or clay surface. Creek washes cross tracks in many places. It can be muddy.

7. Floral shrubs

Common Woodruff does well on the dry slopes.

8. Evidence of past occupation

Prior to mod cons, living conditions must have been tough in this area. On this part of the track see some remnants of the past.

9. Principal tracks are well signed

The main tracks are signed as seen here. However, the middle intersection of the walk at Cherry Tree & Mansbridge Tracks is not signposted. It is a minor track.

10. Grasstrees for company

As you walk you will be accompanied by grass trees. Fat ones, skinny ones, tall ones, short ones, straight ones, bent ones, each has its own character.

11. Stand alone wildflowers

This Blue Finger Flower is one of many species you can discover as you walk. There are many other species to enjoy.


Features

Picnic Spot Picnic Spot
Nature trail Nature trail
Coast/River/Lake Coast/River/Lake