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Riparian Walk #5 – Hughes Creek, Tarcombe

With forecasts rapidly changing in the leadup to the walk, we weren’t sure what to expect from this unexpectedly fine Sunday morning. But as luck had it, the rain held off and made way for perfect walking conditions on the final walk in this series.

A drone shot looking upstream from the starting point

An experienced gang of 7 rallied at the picnic ground on Hughes Creek Rd (near the start of Jeffreys Rd) before setting off downstream of the Hughes Creek. Right off the bat, a creek crossing was needed to get to the more interesting side of the creek, with most walkers opting to go barefoot through the creek instead of risking waterlogged shoes. Since the walk was scouted, the creek level had risen significantly, making these crossings much more difficult than just a few weeks earlier.

An early creek crossing meant shoes off for those who weren’t keen on wet socks

The shire’s resident geologist Neil Phillps, had provided us with a geological map of the walking area, with the walk starting just south of granite country and descending further down into hornfels. For those interested, hornfels is a fine grained, super tough contact metamorphic rock quite distinct from the usual larger grained granite of the bogies.

Neil Phillips’ geological map showing the boundary between granite and hornfels country

The old road that ran along side the Hughes Creek was constantly dipping down to meet walkers, with the old earthworks still quite visible to those who were looking for them. The established trees in the middle of the road were a good indicator of it’s age.

A section of the old Hughes Creek Rd

Blackberrys were not as prevalent as further down toward the gorge, but the odd outcrop of gorse still reared it’s ugly head, as well as a solitary, partially eaten paddy melon. A few wombats in no particular hurry were spied, but that was it for fauna sightings.

After reaching “the end”, another, more dramatic creek crossing put walkers back on the Hughes Creek Rd for an easy amble back to the cars. This was not the end however, as a short drive up Wicket Hill Rd took walkers to a very special and little known culturally significant indigenous site. Nestled among the branching streams of the Hughes Creek were the stone tool sharpening grooves, a recently re-discovered sight right under everyone’s nose.

Aboriginal sharpening grooves
The water-filled grooves of sharpening sites

The walk started at 9am and concluded around 1:45pm (including the drive to the rock carvings), with the road walking making the walk back much faster than normal. Total length was around 7km, but there were some major discrepancies between walker’s phone GPS tracking apps.

The 7km walking path (including a double back to find lost sunglasses)

A series of geo-tagged photos has been uploaded to the SRCMN Flickr for public viewing.

Thanks to all of the walkers who came and helped each other out.

Riparian Walk #4 – County Creek, Ruffy

It was a wintry but clear morning in Ruffy, where 21 nature enthusiasts met to tackle the County Creek gorges. Starting again at the Ruffy CFA shed before driving down to the starting point where the County Creek intersects the Longwood-Ruffy Rd, the tradition of the first part of the walk being the hardest was upheld. A quick scramble down the creek bed and back up the other side ensured a serene start to the walk, with an easy meander through some paddocks, following the Country Creek to our first stop, the falls.

A massive lump of granite churns the County Creek before a steep descent back to its creek bed. This is a fantastic spot unlike any other that we’ve encountered on these walks.

The County Creek Falls

After descending down the side of the falls, another short stint beside the creek followed before reaching the first scramble of the walk. These small, steep sections were scattered throughout the journey as we descended into the gorges. In some parts, walking beside the creek was too difficult as there was little bank or heavy scrub surrounding it. This was however a great opportunity to walk along the top of the gorges and get a breathtaking birds-eye view of the County Creek.

Very few blackberries were spotted, as is the case with most walks, tended to be found in clusters. As is becoming a theme on these walks, some very quiet wallabies and a few skittish wombats were sighted, and a particular healthy looking Blue Tongue Lizard was spotted while scouting the walk a few weeks earlier.

A quiet Blue Tongue Lizard getting some precious sun

The walk started at 9am and concluded around 1pm, with the paddock walking making the walk much faster than normal. Total length was around 7km, but there were some major discrepancies between walker’s phone GPS tracking apps.

A series of geo-tagged photos has been uploaded to the SRCMN Flickr for public viewing.

Thanks to all of the walkers who came, to Justus Hagen for gaining permission from landholders for this walk, and to the generous landholders (the Hill family) for allowing us access to the creek through their properties.

Riparian Walk #4 – County Creek, Ruffy – Pre event description

Another month, another beautiful walk, with this being the 4th in this series of famous SRCMN Riparian walks.

Ruffy is proving to be a bounty of new and exciting waterways to discover, and we’ll explore the beautiful County Creek this time.

The aim of these walks is to become better acquainted with our local waterways, and record some of their standout features along the way.

This walk is long (7km) and of moderate difficulty with some steep scrambles over loose, gravelly terrain. Hiking experience isn’t necessary, but an average level of fitness and mobility will be required. Difficulty will increase drastically if wet weather precedes it, or if it’s hot.

We’ll meet at the Ruffy CFA shed before driving out to the starting point at the bridge on Longwood-Ruffy Rd. From there, we’ll descend down the County Creek and it’s gorges, before taking a shortcut through paddocks back to the starting point (YAY! no car shuffle).

Please note, as we’ll be traversing private property, no dogs or other pets will be allowed.

Time/Date: 8:45am to 1pm, Saturday the 27th of April, 2019

Meeting Location: Ruffy CFA Shed – 1 Nolans Rd, Ruffy VIC 3666

Finishing Location: Longwood-Ruffy Rd

Length: 7km

Difficulty: Moderate

RSVPs are essential, so please email us at strathbogierangescmn@gmail.com to register your interest.

Riparian Walk #3 – Hughes Creek to Tarcombe

Despite the drizzle, 25 stoic walkers braved the weather to peruse this beautiful section of the Hughes Creek. Meeting at the Ruffy CFA shed, walkers piled into vehicles to the start point at Donovans Rd. The traditional pre-walk photo was taken before setting off down into the gorge.

The customary pre-walk rock photo

Rain from the chilly, saturnine night before had made the rocks along the first section of the walk just slippery enough to be worth avoiding, so the procession skirted them by walking off-piste above the creek and were rewarded by the spectacular views down into the rocky gorge.

Not much wildlife was seen other than a friendly wombat and a shy turtle/tortoise (debate still rages on this distinction) that were spotted by eagle eyed walkers. Neil Phillips captivated fellow walkers by sharing his vast knowledge of the district’s unique geological features, with his extemporary expositions on rock holes, granite varieties.

Weeds were surprisingly few and far between, with the occasional blackberry bush rearing it’s head, although the time of year made the leafless bushes more tricky to spot than usual. Electric fences and creek crossing were formidable foes, and it was noted that the creek was flowing stronger than a few weeks previous.

The walk started at 9am and concluded around 1:30pm, with the avoidance of slippery rocks accelerating the pace while still feeling leisurely.

A series of geo-tagged photos has been uploaded to the SRCMN Flickrfor public viewing.

Thanks to all of the walkers who came and helped out with the car shuffle, to the SRCMN members for their help and enthusiasm and to the generous landholders for allowing us access to the creek through their properties.

Children’s Artwork

A recurring theme across our events has been engaging with school children to create artworks based around the themes of our events.

The SRCMN acknowledges the significant contribution of Euroa Primary School teacher Pauline Fraser in the production of most of these beautiful artworks which were made during class time. The school has collaborated with us on many projects between 2012 and 2016 including several Butterfly Festivals and Festivals of Fungi.
Pauline’s work and that of her students has contributed greatly to successful community engagement in the community. Apart from the first six superb drawings of butterflies and moths shown here which were made by Peranbin Primary School students in 2012. All of the artworks shown were made in Pauline’s classroom at the Euroa Primary School

This is a collection of the various artworks by local kids across the shire.

Riparian Walk #5 – Hughes Creek, Tarcombe – Pre-event description

As we descend into winter, we mark the end of our Riparian Walk series for a while. What better way to finish than with a jaunt down a winding section of the Hughes Creek.

The aim of these walks is to become better acquainted with our local waterways, and record some of their standout features along the way.

This walk is long (6km) and of easy to moderate difficulty. There’ll be several creek crossings, so please bring waterproof shoes and dry backup socks. Hiking experience isn’t necessary, but an average level of fitness and mobility will be required.

We’ll meet at the picnic ground near the start of Jeffreys Rd which will serve as our start and end point. From there, we’ll descend down the Hughes Creek before taking a shortcut down the road to the starting point (YAY! no car shuffle).

For anyone interested, an optional excursion upstream to the culturally significant Aboriginal stone carving sight will follow the walk.

Please note, as we’ll be near private property, no dogs or other pets will be allowed.

Time/Date: 8:45am to 1pm, Sunday the 26th of May, 2019

Start/Finish Location: Picnic ground near the start of Jeffreys Rd (GPS Coordinate: -37.001778, 145.332028)

Length: 6km

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

RSVPs are essential, so please email us at strathbogierangescmn@gmail.com to register your interest.

Riparian Walk #2 – Wombat Creek

Our first walk for 2019 started with a bang, with 27 keen walkers setting out to explore the hidden gem that is Wombat Creek. With walkers from all over the state converging on Fergusons Rd, the cool, albeit dry conditions, were perfect for rambling down the creek.

With the creek constantly rearing its head and dipping back underground, crossing the creek was a breeze. Plenty of crevasses, rocks, holes, fences, boulders and fallen trees kept things interesting for walkers. with the creek playing equal parts nature hike and obstacle course. No snakes were spotted this time, but sunbathing lizards, sleepy wombats, grazing wallabies and a timid fox kept everyone entertained. The creek was notable for it’s lack of weeds, especially blackberries.

Among the walkers were experts in local flora, fauna, hydrology and geology, who were keen to share their vast knowledge with anyone keen to learn.

The walk started at 9am and concluded around 1pm, travelling at what some would call a very leisurely pace. As with previous walks, the locations of interesting features and weeds were logged via GPS, and a series of geo-tagged photos has been uploaded to the SRCMN Flickrfor public viewing.

Thanks to all of the walkers who came, to the SRCMN members for their help and enthusiasm and to Ian Pruess and Bruce and Jenny McMahen for allowing us access to the creek through their properties.

You can find a more detailed writeup of the walk at the Strathbogie Naturview website here.

Under the Microscope

We all know that the Strathbogie Ranges are a remarkable part of Australia without parallel. But what exactly happens when the average person isn’t looking? In the dark, damp, difficult to reach places? Places where only those with a curious mind, steadfast dedication and a formidable grasp of the scientific method dare to explore?
What do those people see, what do they know, and what can they teach us about a place that we feel we know intimately?

With help from the GBCMA, we’ve created Under the Microscope to answer these burning questions and fuel the curious minds in the audience to see the ranges in a new light.

With 8 expert speakers in the diverse fields of Geology, Conservation, Botany, Biodiversity, Ornithology, Ecology and Ichthyology, there will be something for everyone who wants to learn and interact with some of the finest academic minds in their respective fields. Lunch will be provided.

Time/Date: 10am to 3pm, Thursday the 27th of June, 2019
Venue: Euroa Football Club
Cost: Free

Riparian Walk #3 – Hughes Creek Tarcombe – Pre event description

Come along to our 3rd walk in this series of famous SRCMN Riparian Walks.

After a few bogie based walks, it’s now time to revisit the stunning Hughes Creek.

The aim of these walks is to become better acquainted with our local waterways, and record some of their standout features along the way.

This walk is long (5.5km/3.5hours) and of moderate difficulty with several creek crossings and a lot of rock hopping. Hiking experience isn’t necessary, but an average level of fitness and mobility will be required. Difficulty will increase drastically if wet weather precedes it, or if it’s hot on the day.

Walkers will meet down at the Ruffy CFA shed before driving out to the starting point at Donovan Rd. From there, walkers will descend down the Hughes Creek, following it to Ponkeen Creek Rd. Walkers will then be driven back to their cars at the starting point.

Please note, as we’ll be traversing private property on these walks, no dogs or other pets are allowed.

Time/Date: 8:45am to 1pm, Sunday the 31st of March, 2019

Meeting Location: Strathbogie CFA Shed – 1 Nolans Rd, Ruffy VIC 3666

Finishing Location: Ponkeen Creek Rd

Length: 5.5km

Difficulty: Moderate

RSVPs are essential, so please email us at strathbogierangescmn@gmail.com to register your interest.