Trails Review – Werribee Gorge State Park

Got to the top just in time

I figure every once and a while a location review would be cool to write about and gives me a chance to share some photos. So this past weekend I went out with friend’s Anthony and Erin to check out Werribee Gorge State Park. Don’t be mislead first of all – it is over 40km from the township of Werribee. The park is just off the Western Highway past Bacchus Marsh.

I had been wanted to check out this spot for a while and never got the time until now. And I am glad I did! Great spot. We got out there nice and early before 6am as we all had a few things on later in the day. Pitch black and pretty fresh as well. We parked at the Quarry Picnic Area and started off on the Circuit Loop. State Park’s map say it is around 10km (ended up being just over 8km) so we thought this would be a good start. Anthony ran the 1st loop with Erin and I before heading off to kick ass at his Park Run. Erin and I continued on another loop with a detour up to the Island Lookout on the way.

So early, so happy!

So early, so happy!

The Circuit Loop itself really started to kick ass scenery wise as it wound its way down into the gorge. Wide easy rocky trails transformed into so nice flowing single track down alongside the river.

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Majestic cliffs popped up all along the gorge, with the sun shining on them they looked unreal.

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Quite a few sections where you had to ‘rock-hop’  and really take it easy.

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Amazing scenery the entire way down the gorge.

The section of cable attached to the rock where you actually had to do a little amateur rock climbing had to be one of the highlights of the trail.

Coming out of the gorge you finish with a run alongside a historic aqueduct – here’s where you can get a bit of speed on. The aqueduct leads you out of the gorge to Meikles Point Picnic Area where you take a left. Here is the biggest climb of the loop, a nice wide track ending with a small section of single track that brings you back to Quarry Picnic Area.

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The Centenary Track that detours off the Circuit Loop Track takes you up to Island Lookout. A beautiful start to the track leads you down to Junction Pool. You then leave the State Park area and enter the W James Whyte Island Reserve area. This was basically farmland with a short, and in some places overgrown, section of single track before leading up and up and up and decent hill on a 4wd farm track. Lot of kangaroos around this area and we made it to the top to see a gorgeous sunrise. A 1km loop at the top takes you around the top of the hill with views on all side – the best being into Werribee Gorge. We then took a bit of a short-cut (not recommended) and headed down what we thought was the shortest route back to Junction Pool. It did get very steep however and luckily we had some nice long grass to hang onto and support us. Definitely added a sense of adventure to the day haha

Overall a fantastic area to go and have a trail run. The circuit loop has everything. Technical sections, good descents, challenging ascents, flat speedier sections, ‘rock climbing’ and some spectacular scenery. Definitely a hidden gem out here in the west of Melbourne. Because of the short 8+km loop this would be suited for all abilities at your chosen pace. You could easily do 3 loops out here for a good hit out. Each loop has around 380m elevation. Erin and I ran 2 loops with a Island Lookout detour – 21+km and 1150m elevation. I know I will be heading out here again!

For more information check out the State Parks website – http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/werribee-gorge-state-park

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