Mount Worth is certainly ‘worth the hike’, an unassuming locale that delivers more than you expect.
Mount Worth State Park is located approx. 125km south east of Melbourne in the remnants of the western Strzelecki ranges, Gippsland. A short detour to Moonlight Creek Picnic area from the Princes Hwy at Warragul is where we start out walk.
The cool, freshness of the air meets exposed skin as we walk towards the Moonlight creek track, the grandeur of the tall mountain ash and ferns meld into a green space that stands over us like giants as we follow the narrow trail into the rainforest.
The Moonlight creek circuit winds through a gully of ferns that provides canopy for a section of the walk, over bridges and through some muddy patches that only add to the adventure. The dance of sunlight through the fern fronds has me in a relaxed trance as we walk silently through the wet under-story of the rainforest.
Japanese have a name for this, Komorebi. It means “sunlight leaking through” and refers to the beautiful dance of light filtering through the leaves.
A little detour off track to an unnamed waterfall along the way, depicts what bath time could have looked like for the millers that had operated here in the early 1900’s. A small but beautiful waterfall, it captures in a bath at the bottom of the fall before narrowing to Affleck creek and back towards to the picnic area where we started.
Little evidence is left of the 12 Timber Mills that operated on Mount Worth from this era and I can only imagine that the rainforest has reclaimed the stripped land. Some relics can be found at the side of the track marked by Parks Victoria.
Continuing along the track we navigate a fallen foot bridge across a narrow creek before coming to an opening where wallabies have recently slept, sunning in the open vista. I suspect that we roused them on our approach as we clambered over the obstacles and laughed, audaciously.
The Mountain Ash tower overhead and the birdsong is a chorus of Crimson Rosella, King Parrot, Olive Whistler, and Grey Butcherbird along others that reside here. Wombat dens built on the path remind me that very few people visit the park.
The Moonlight Creek track turns off to link track and follows a steep incline for a few hundred metres. We rest at the top under the Mountain Grey Gum and Blackwood’s to enjoy our lunch and listen to the sounds of animals thriving here. We continue after a short break before a left turn onto Moonlight divide track. Both the link track and Moonlight Divide tracks are wider however Hubby and I are here for an adventure and follow the narrow track down Waterfall Bower Track.
The track is narrow and some branches obscure overhead a little, it makes for more fun as we continue along the track to a waterfall where the view point is from the top, rather than the bottom and it was more of a trickle than a waterfall, all the same, it allows for a different perspective.
Steep, slippery steps are assisted with a hand rail (aka large fallen tree that Parks Victoria have carved steps into to navigate over and through) that lead to a forest of tall ferns. It’s a magical place and I can almost spot the local lyrebirds that parade through the under-story. The diversity of the ferns s more than I have seen in one place and the soft, delicate moss that clings to the side of any plant it can. It truly is an untamed, wild place, an eco-system that interplay's and thrives.
Waterfall Bower Track opens to a wider section of path where it I apparent more people traverses the smaller sections nearer the picnic area. We turn into the Giants Circuit for our finale to see the 300 year old Mountain Ash that towers overhead. The girth at the base is over 14 metres to which you truly have to see firsthand to appreciate the beauty of it.
An easy stroll back to picnic area from here and relics of the bygone Millers era are found along the track. Nature doing her best to disguise any sign that humans once stripped the slopes of valuable timber.
The walk is steep in sections, with some branches and tree’s that obscured the path, although easily routable and the muddy sections provided childlike fun to navigate. I’d advise experience walkers. In the cooler weather or after rain it would be advisable to take a hiking pole for stability and assistance in the slippery sections.
The trail we did was approx. 13km and was moderate graded. Take the day to explore and pack a picnic. A little hidden gem, you won’t be jostling for space on this hike and be lucky to see another person until you return closer to picnic area.
Worth the hike!
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