Day 3: THE BIG GIPPSLAND LOOP
It was about 7:20am when we left the Melbourne CBD for Gippsland. With no need to go vagabonding, it didn’t take long to get into the car and move on.
We weren’t exactly sure which roads we were supposed to take to leave Melbourne, so we ended up taking surface streets until we eventually got onto the Hwy 380 (Warburton Hwy) then we took the C425 Warragul exit by Mt Baw Baw.
It wasn’t until around 9:17am that we finally arrived at the Toorongo Falls car park after driving the unsealed gravel Toorongo Valley Road to get here. Julie decided to stay in the car thinking that it might start raining and that she wanted to nap a little while longer in the car.
So I headed out and did a little loop hike that took in the Toorongo Falls first. It turned out the falls was actually quite tall but the viewing platform only took me to the main tier, which itself wasn’t that tall. There were more drops below the viewing deck, and I quickly realized that it wasn’t easy to try to show the full size of the falls in the photos.
The walk to get here was quite easy and well signposted. There were a lot of ferns and greenery around this place, suggesting that this area tended to get a lot of rain. Of course, I wasn’t complaining considering the general sentiment that Australia badly needed some rain.
After having my fill of Toorongo Falls, I then continued onwards to Amphitheatre Falls, which was a tiny waterfall probably only 3m tall. There were other cascades flowing consistantly further downstream, which the trail followed.
After a bit of driving further east from Warragul, we eventually took the C482 bound for Lor Yang and Yarram. And by 12:10pm, we found the visitor center at Traralgon, where we picked up some more literature and info concerning some of the waterfalls in the Tarra Bulga region.
We continued driving south on the C482 towards Yarram, them we took the C483 towards Tarra Park. The road to get there was quite narrow. We parked at the Tarra Valley Trailhead at 1:38pm and took the trail for Cyathea Falls.
Thinking that we might get similar success as Toorongo Falls this morning, we eagerly anticipated seeing this waterfall, which was said to be fringed by plenty of ferns and other greenery seemingly assuring us that this part also was perhaps not terribly hit by the drought.
Then, when we showed up to the falls, we were disappointed to see that the falls wasn’t doing so well, and it was in the bright sun while the rest of the scenery was in shadow. So not only was it not doing well, it also wasn’t that photographable!
So we didn’t linger here for long and we eventually got back to the car park at 2:20pm. The 35-minute loop walk felt like it was kind of a waste though we did enjoy the rainforest settings.
About 5 minutes later, we then stopped by the Tarra Falls, which had a signpost. It was merely a sloping cascade that seemed rather flat from the side. There was nothing that special about this falls so we left by 2:25pm.
At this point, it was getting late in the afternoon so we made haste as we drove out of Tarra Valley and eventually headed west on the C484 for Yarram. Then, we were on the A440 bound for Melbourne.
Along the way, we made it to the Agnes Falls Reserve, and we parked at 3:25pm. From looking at the photos in the literature, we anticipated seeing this 59m waterfall. However, when we looked at it, it wasn’t flowing nearly as well as in the literature. Still, it had some appreciable flow so it wasn’t terribly disappointing.
After a short walk to see as much of the falls as we could, we returned from the 200m walk. We weren’t sure if some of the flow of the falls might have been interrupted by the Cooks Dam and Pierson Weir, but I figured that the overall low rainfall was probably more of the culprit than the man-made interventions.
At 4pm, we were back in the car and then we continued our long drive back to Melbourne. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful though we were always on the lookout for exits before getting to the CBD because apparently we were supposed to pay for Express Lane passes in order to take the most direct routes into the Melbourne CBD.
I wasn’t sure whether we violated any rules or not, but I recalled we might have briefly gotten onto the pay lane before exiting as we started to recognize parts of the CBD where we were supposed to get off and get to the familiar shopping plaza where the car park was.
So by 6:30pm, we were finally back at the Mercure Hotel in Melbourne. And thus, we concluded a very long looping tour through Gippsland east of Melbourne. Tomorrow, we’d leave Melbourne and head west into the western parts of Victoria.