Balmattum Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve. Mahers Rd., Violet Town 3669 – 6km

Grade 2. Easy

Big, flat and beautiful in its own special way, Balmattum Grassland provides an excellent 6km walk for those wanting to spend a quiet time in a sizeable natural space with its own unique character.

Options
There are two entrances to choose from, the origin mapped here at Mahers Rd or from the Old Euroa Rd.

1. For the mapped loop, a Mahers Rd start introduces you to the site as a natural progression from grassland into and through grassy woodland. It may be a bit wet underfoot at the beginning as you cross some boggy ground. This route follows an established track to a disused shearing shed. By the time you get there you will feel comfortable enough with the site to enjoy free ranging back to the start. You can make this a much longer walk if you choose to explore the whole Reserve.

2. If you can only drop in for a short visit or picnic, choose the Old Euroa Rd entrance to scout the different landscapes close at hand.

This is Gilgai Plains country made up of heavy clays, broad grasslands, Grey Box and Red Gum grassy woodlands. Also known as “crabholes,” gligai are ephemeral water holes or lakes that form on the surface of cracking clay soils. An important water source for Aboriginals where permanent water was unreliable, gilgai extended their food gathering range. They are also important for local fauna as a water source. During wetter months, shallow gilgai are scattered throughout as swampy ground. In some places they may form a mosaic of pools in superficial depressions that can make much of the ground seem boggy. However, you can either navigate your way around or some will be shallow enough to walk through.

Grey Box woodland is a favoured habitat of the Grey-crowned Babbler (listed as endangered in Victoria). Balmattum Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve is one of the Victorian sites for a Project that targets improvement of Grey-crowned Babbler habitat. A finding from Project monitoring has been the greater the number of large mature trees the more likely Babbler populations will continue to occupy a site. Fortunately, with a remnant of large mature trees, this site is still home to a Babbler population. Taking your time, being patient and quiet,may well see you rewarded with a sighting of a busy family flock as they duck, dart, dive, forage and chase from tree to tree. They are a very entertaining bird.

Wildflowers are best in spring, with swathes of Billy Buttons across the wetter ground.

Amenities:
Car parking
Reserve sign
Alternative routes
Designated flora & fauna habitat

Cautions:
Open water
Limbs may fall
Embankments
Uneven ground
No potable water
Remnant fencing
Slippery surfaces
Subject to flooding
Snakes may be active
Tracks may not be clear
Carry food, water, be SunSmart
Be equipped for self-reliant hiking
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Be mindful to keep within the Reserve

Restrictions:
No dogs
No firearms
No hunting
No camping
Take rubbish with you
No rubbish dumping
No wildlife poaching
No firewood collection
Do not remove soil or rock
No theft of forest produce
Native flora & fauna are protected
Closed on days of total fire ban
No 4WD or motor bike access

VictoriaWalks walkingmaps version