Corner Rice & Mckenzies Tracks, Heathcote – Graytown National Park, Moormbool West 3523
8.5km, Grade 3 (intermediate)
Walking in this less frequented part of the National Park has its reward, quiet solitude for intimate sharing of a Box Ironbark forest with its inhabitants.
1. 6.7km. Stick to the main tracks by not taking the Mansbridge Track extension loop beyond Cherry Tree Track.
2. 8.5km. Do the full walk as mapped.
If you are looking for some quiet solitude or a peaceful walk with friends in a place that feels remote, this could be a place for you. It may be a bit out of the way, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that probably explains the absence of evidence of visitation you see in some other places. It also means there is something more intimate about experiencing this place.
These low gravelly hills, dry slopes and gullies are a small portion of the enormous Box Ironbark Forest of Heathcote – Graytown National Park. It is heavily wooded, but still retains long sightlines – you can see the wood and the trees. You can see the fauna and the birds. You can spot the flora, and the grass-trees can be spotted by the dozen scattered throughout the woodland in varying densities. They are the ancient sentinels of this forest.
The loops follow well maintained dirt and gravel tracks along waterway gullies, +/- water, depending on the season. Some are used occasionally by vehicles, possibly motorbikes. Trackside signage is clear and present for the principal routes.
Start at Mckenzies & Rice Track intersection. Walk until you meet Cherry Gully Track (well signed), turn left, walk 570m. Turn right into the hill skirting extension of Mansbridge Track (unsigned, but the track is evident). Follow Mansbridge Track around the hill, over Cherry Hill Track and back to Mckenzies Track. Take Mckenzies Track back to Rice Track and have a well earned picnic by Mckenzie Dam.
It can be very hot in summer and can turn very cold in winter. Late winter and spring see wildflowers aplenty.
NOTE: Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea) are vulnerable to phytophera infection. It is important visitors stay on formed tracks to prevent transmission.
Camping is available at Dargile (Heathcote-Graytown National Park) Camping & Picnic Ground, Plantation Track, Mt Camel 3523
Limbs may fall
No potable water
Subject to flooding
Road surfaces vary
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart
Be equipped for self-reliant hiking
Grass-trees are vulnerable to Cinnamon Fungus, spread by foot wear. Please stay on the tracks.
Take rubbish with you
No rubbish dumping
No firewood collection
Do not remove soil or rock
Native flora and fauna are protected
Do not remove timber from standing trees
No fires in the open
Closed on days of total fire ban
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed, be registered