A short note on a nice little walk just under an hour (50km) north west of Melbourne.
The Wombat Forest was proclaimed in 1871 after being effectively destroyed during the Victorian gold rush. A Royal Commission resulted in the forest being closed and for 50 years a process of rejuvenating the forest begun.
The Whipstick Loop Walk starts and ends at the Jack Cann Reserve, adjacent to the Garden of St Erth, which is worth incorporating into your day if only for the cafe! The circuit is 5km in length and will take you around 1.5 hours. The first section of the walk is shared with part of the Great Dividing Trail. Next it crosses the pretty Whipstick Creek, which the loop follows for the rest of the walk. There is some interesting historic remnants of the gold rush era which are well signed throughout this part of the walk, including a water race constructed to direct water to gold areas. The difficulty of constructing such systems is made clear by the obstacles existing throughout the walk.
In terms of Flora, you will experience a number of different landscapes across the walk. This includes some great examples of the Blackwood trees that give the nearby town its name.
As this is a State Forest, dogs are allowed. We took our little pooch, but make sure yours remains under direct control at all times and is leashed to protect native wildlife (and of course pick up their poo!)
The Wombat State Forest is managed by the DSE. Information on visiting Victoria’s State Forests can be found here. Interesting to note about the management of Wombat State Forest in particular is that it is quite unique in its operation of ‘community forestry‘.
Finally, having the long weekend on our side we decided to spend the night camping at the nearby Firth Park Campground. It is a free campground with no bookings required, and its historic arboretum, horse corral and dam make it a great spot to spend the night. Toilets, picnic tables and wood barbeques are available.