The Big Pats to Starlings Gap walk is a small section of the longer 'Walk Into History'. The Big Pats to Starlings Gap walk provides an entertaining outing along an old tramway encompassing two bush mill sites. Walkers will enjoy the beautiful forest, the picturesque creeks and the unique creatures of the Yarra State Forest. This is an ideal walk to pack a lunch for.
Location and Access
The Big Pats to Starlings Gap walk is located between Big Pats Bridge and Starlings Gap. From Warburton drive down Riverside Road and along Big Pats Creek Road. Park at Big Pats Bridge and walk 100m along Smyth Creek Rd to find the walking track to your right. Warburton is located about 80km east of Melbourne and can be accessed through Yarra Junction or East Warburton.
Alternatively, this walk can be started at Starlings Gap, which is about a 30 minute drive from Powelltown. Powelltown can be easily accessed from either Yarra Junction or Noojee.
This walk follows the Federal tramway, which was constructed in 1933 and used on a daily basis by the timber workers in the area. You will be able to locate lengths of the old tram tracks by the side of the path in some places. You will also come across two huge sawdust heaps, which indicate the sites of two old bush mills that operated in this area. The first heap marks the site of Ezards sawmill. The second sawmill, which was fully operational until 1942, was located close to Starlings Gap.
The Big Pats to Starlings Gap walk takes around 3.5 hours to complete one way, along a 9km track of moderate grade. The walk is slightly challenging at times, but well worth the effort. The walk can easily be broken into a two day trip by camping at Starlings Gap overnight and making the return trip to Big Pats Bridge the following day.
This walk is probably the most well facilitated walk within the Yarra State Forest. The Big Pats Recreation Area is equipped with toilets and plenty of room for camping. The creek provides a very pleasant setting for a relaxing stay. At the other end of the walk, Starlings Gap is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Yarra State Forest. Toilets, sheltered picnic tables and fireplaces fitted with cooking stands are all provided. This is also one of the prettiest camping grounds in the forest, and is very popular with family groups, overnight hikers and international visitors.