Walk Warburton and get a taste of local attractions
|Trail||High-Low Aqueduct & River Walk|
|Grade (if available)||Moderate|
|Start||Warburton Main street|
|Finish||Warburton Main Street|
|Distance||8 km (return)|
|Max Elevation||290 m|
|Features||Historic aqueduct, giant fern walls and water race, hard-packed aqueduct trail; native bushland, hard hill climb, views of the Warburton Valley, famous Swing Bridge|
|Facilities||Toilets: Warburton township
Car parking: Warburton township
|Notes||Can be undertaken all year though in winter be prepared for cold temperatures and mud puddles|
For a great walk that gives you a little taste from all of Warburton’s major natural attractions you can’t go past the High-Low Aqueduct & River Walk.
From the idyllic river and the feeling of peace you get on the valley floor to the historic Aqueduct and its impressive fern walls between which you snatch wide vistas over the Upper Yarra Valley and plenty of native bushland, this is a great walk.
This loop takes walkers first out west along the riverbank towards the golf course. Crossing the river on Mayer Bridge, it heads back towards town before turning off and up a short but tough climb, one of the bonuses of which is the bragging rights you get at having marched up one of the Southern Hemisphere’s steepest residential streets.
From there it’s on to the O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail. Carved into the mountainside and benching along its contours, this trail was once the access road for one of Melbourne’s most important water supply routes, an open concrete water race built between 1911 and 1914 to service the city’s fast-growing eastern suburbs. Today the Aqueduct makes for a wonderful, mostly flat walk from Don Valley all the way out to O'Shannassy Weir, with Warburton placed roughly in the middle.
As you head east, you’ll cruise past peaceful and tranquil forests of bright green understory watched over by impossibly tall and straight trees, maybe even spying a few lyrebirds, for which the Warburton Valley is famous. Remember that the Aqueduct Trail is shared-use, be mindful of runners, riders and horse-riders in addition to other walkers.
Just before crossing the Donna Buang Rd at the eastern end of Warburton, the route exits the Aqueduct Trail, linking a short roadside stretch back to riverside trails that lead you back into the township.
You can join the loop anywhere, and it can be done in both directions. We begin from near the famous Swing Bridge and head clockwise in order to complete the one big climb early on.
- From the Main St, head west towards the Melbourne-end town entrance (i.e. downstream). You will pick up a gravel footpath to the rear of the car park found at the rotunda near the Swing Bridge.
- Follow the riverside path approx. 700m beyond the rotunda, leading behind The Patchwork tearooms to greet the Mayer Bridge.
- Cross Mayer Bridge, keeping right. Reaching Dammans Rd, and pick up the trail alongside the riverbank to head back upstream.
- The trail follows parallel to the river and Dammans Rd for approx. 400m. Looking to your left, find Martyr Rd, which shoots steeply up the mountain flank.
- Take a deep breath, it’s 603m of vertical ascent in 450m to reach the top.
- At the top veer off the road (which continues in a sweep to the right) to take the signposted Donna Buang Walking Track. After a short dip into a gully, it’s another 660m / 97m vertical ascent before popping out on the O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail.
- Catch your breath then turn eastwards (right) and enjoy the 1.8km of easy walking on the flat, well-maintained path that cuts through absolutely gorgeous forest until you reach the top of Yuonga Rd. Stop for a breather and admire the views over town.
- Head down Yuonga Rd, past the rear of the old hospital, to meet Donna Buang Rd. Continue down this, being mindful of traffic and slim verges.
- You will reach the main Warburton Hwy shortly. Turn right and head west back towards the town centre. After passing a retirement home on your right, you will cross a bridge over the Yarra River. Here, turn right and pick up the trail on river left, heading downstream.
- This trail is quite the stunner as it flows back toward the mountainside, with great views of the fern walls on the riverbank opposite.
- The trail will curl around and eventually funnel you to a bridge intersection. Here you can choose to stay river left or cross over and continue downstream on river right. For this guide we cross over.
- Path chosen, follow the singletrack all the way back into town. It is wedded to the river the entire way so you can’t get lost.
- Once you hit the Swing Bridge, hook back over the river and return to where you started on Main St.
As described, you can tackle this loop in either direction. You can also extend the distance by walking out and back sections at either end of the Aqueduct Trail.
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