Walk: Circuit Walk. Approximately 10km in length, although not all the signs gave the same information. We did it in an anti-clockwise direction.
Location: Not far from Bacchus Marsh, about an hour from Melbourne. The park itself was surprisingly close to the highway so it’s pretty hard to get lost.
Where to park: Meikles Point Picnic Area. Some maps suggest to park at the Quarry Picnic Area however we found the steepest hill was at the very start of the walk from Meikles Point, and I’d hate to end with that.
How long it took: 4 hours, including a few lookout stops and longer food breaks.
Terrain: This is definitely not an easy track. It was a little steep at times, sandy at times, and had a few good rock scrambles. One river section involves a ‘climb’ around the outside of the rock face with the assistance of a metal rope. We had to wait at this point for a young family to come through, and you could tell the young boys needed a lot of assistance. I probably wouldn’t recommend doing the whole circuit with young kids or a dog.
Best things about it: Huge cliffs and some really interesting coloured rocks. Some great rock scrambling and adventurous path finding. Going from the top of the gorge right down to the riverbed was really nice.
What’s nearby/other options: If you don’t have time to do the whole circuit, there are other options. I don’t know what the short circuit is like, but the river walk (3km return) is the end of the big circuit and a nice walk. There are also a few other lookout points that are part of shorter walks.
How busy: We did this walk on a Saturday around lunchtime and there was a lot of other people around. The circuit was long enough however that we very quickly lost sight of a couple of people who started around the same time as us, and were walking on our own for most of the time. There were a few moments where we waited a few minutes for a lookout to clear but all in all it was very quiet considering the amount of people out walking the same trail.
Recommendations: Take plenty of water (particularly on a hot day) and shoes with good grip. I definitely would not want to do this walk when it’s wet as some of the rock sections could become dangerous if slippery. Parks Victoria also states the river track can become impassable after heavy rains.
Facilities: There are toilets at both of the carparks (drop toilets). Make sure you take plenty of your own water.
Weather conditions: We did this walk on a sunny day in the middle of winter so it was still cool in the shade. I would recommend only doing it on a dry day.
Other info: I loved that the walk started off through some fairly regular bush terrain, heading uphill until we hit the top of the gorge, with a fantastic view. There was a few really great lookout points, both out over the green hills as well as straight inside the gorge to the river. The whole walk didn’t feel too long and the end was fairly flat so we weren’t too tired. We started just before lunchtime, and I’m glad we took snacks.