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Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr, 2017 1:25 pm
by DanielJ
In April 2017, my partner and I did a quick overnight hike in the Otways on the Curtis Track.
Driving from Melbourne via Geelong it was an easy 2+ hours drive. Not too far out of Deans Marsh we turned onto Benwerrin-Mt Sabine Rd which was gravel, but well maintained. Half way along the main road swings to the left but a smaller gravel road continues straight, which takes you to the start of the Curtis track. These roads were surprisingly busy, but it was the Easter break.
We parked our car at the start of the Curtis Track and hiked in from there.
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The walk in took less then an hour and was all down hill. At the start it was quite flat and dry, but the closer we got to the river, the steeper and wetter the ground got.
On the north side of the river, on the right side of the track was signs of a campfire and a spot where you could put a tent or two. The left hand side was too wet to consider camping there.
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Across the river, and up a steep incline was a better spot to camp, which is what we did. There was probably enough room for several tents, depending on how close you wanted to get to your neighbours.
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After we had set up camp, we went for a wander to try and find some waterfalls that were marked on the map. On the north side of the river, there was a track at the back of the camping area described earlier which was really easy to follow for the first part. There were orange ribbons that help keep us on track. We had to cross the river twice before getting close to the first waterfall, with the second crossing being quite tricky. Unfortunately, by the time the track got close to the first waterfall, it had nearly disappeared. We only got to see a glimps of the water fall and then decided to turn back.
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Once back at the river, we searched for the second track that went down stream. This was hard to find as the bush is quite thick, It turned out to be about a third the way up the incline that lead back to our camp. This track, however, was much worst then the other. Fallen trees made it hard to see the way through, and we lost track of the orange and pink ribbons, so turned back pretty early.
The next day we hiked out. Hiking out is quite strenuous for the first half because it is really steep. Overall, it was an easy hike, which I could recommend to people wanting a quick get away.
Other things to note: There were mosquito, but not too unmanageable and while we were at camp we had 2 four wheel drive (It is a four wheel drive track) come through. But they did well before dark.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr, 2017 2:16 pm
by MickyB
Good stuff Daniel. I can't remember crossing the creek at all from where you camped to Galliebarinda Falls. I do agree though that the track can be hard to find in places. From memory it took us about 8 hours to complete the circuit that passes the four falls.

We couldn't find the track to Amphitheatre Falls either but managed to rock hop up to the falls. There are a couple of falls upstream from Amphitheatre Falls as well as a few on the right hand side (west??) of Curtis Track as you are heading down hill.

Was thinking of heading down to that region in a few weeks. Was there much water in the rivers?

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr, 2017 3:19 pm
by ianslater
Hi Daniel, enjoyed checking out the photo's and reading about your adventure . Also enjoyed the gardening reference from MickeyB. There are plenty in the family who'll get a chuckle from that.Cheers guys.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr, 2017 3:33 pm
by DanielJ
The river was flowing well, but easily crossed. At the ford it would have been probably ankle deep. If we went again, I would probably take some shoes that I would be happy to get wet, and then maybe we would have had a better shot at getting up to the waterfalls.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr, 2017 5:51 pm
by nezumi
Was this all on "tracks" rather than bushwalking trails - possibly suitable for cycling?

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr, 2017 7:26 pm
by MickyB
nezumi wrote:possibly suitable for cycling?

Curtis Track would be suitable for MB but the tracks off it wouldn't be.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Mon 17 Apr, 2017 11:36 am
by MickyB
MickyB wrote:I can't remember crossing the creek at all from where you camped to Galliebarinda Falls.


I just had a look at my map and photos of the area and I would have crossed the creek to see Galliebarinda Falls. There are 4 crossings in total when visiting Brunswick Falls.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Wed 19 Jul, 2017 11:54 am
by Biggles
The flagging tape was put there many years ago by surveyors with the Otway Ranges Walking Track Association (based in Apollo Bay and still active). DO NOT REMOVE THESE MARKERS. It has not been maintained, though the track to Allambee Beek Falls and Staircase Falls is in reasonably good condition at this time (falls flowing poorly).

Tracks to Galliebarinda, Amphitheatre, Black Velvet Falls et al are poorly defined at this time due to vigorous vegetation/fallen trees obscuring tapes. It is not not recommended to move off Curtis Road unless you have a GPS and can track back. Galliebarinda Falls has seen a few people get hopelessly lost earlier this year just looking for it!

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jul, 2018 7:52 pm
by CraigVIC
Easy, if slippery, walking to Allambee falls from Curtis trk atm.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jul, 2018 8:17 pm
by MickyB
Nice Craig. Did you see any other falls nearby?

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jul, 2018 8:34 pm
by CraigVIC
My goal was Allambee and Staircase but we only got to Allambee which was very well taped. The notes I had said there would be a taped track on the north side of the river to Staircase falls but we couldn't locate it. We weren't really setup to head in without some guidance but I'll be back with more time up my sleeve in the future

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sun 01 Jul, 2018 9:32 pm
by MickyB
CraigVIC wrote:My goal was Allambee and Staircase but we only got to Allambee which was very well taped. The notes I had said there would be a taped track on the north side of the river to Staircase falls but we couldn't locate it. We weren't really setup to head in without some guidance but I'll be back with more time up my sleeve in the future

Pm sent.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2018 2:55 pm
by Biggles
CraigVIC wrote:My goal was Allambee and Staircase but we only got to Allambee which was very well taped. The notes I had said there would be a taped track on the north side of the river to Staircase falls but we couldn't locate it. We weren't really setup to head in without some guidance but I'll be back with more time up my sleeve in the future


AB Falls is flowing a lot better in that image than when I visited in February -- 'twas nowt but an unimpressive trickle, with snakes to boot. I photographed it in 2007 in bone-chillingly cold conditions (my niece said the temperature was —1) and it has gone on to be made into around a thousand prints of various sizes.

Most parties entering from Curtis Tk [a second, obscure track exists at Wye River Road] proceed to Staircase Falls first, then climb steeply out to pick-up the track heading back to Allambee Beek. From memory, the track is indistinct in a lot of places and congested — I have had to resort compass/GPS on one occasion, not helped by heavily overcast light that significantly reduced visibility. It could do with a thorough going-over with a whipper-snipper. Otherwise, the messy route (there is no marked track) is straight ahead coming up from the falls (rather than turning left and proceeding along the creek on a retrace of route coming in) after clambering over that gigantic log, the route is straight ahead. The final descent to Staircase Falls is best done on your bum with a splashdown into the creek (you'll need a wash anyway...). Come to think of it, I don't think anybody has walked the circuit for a long time now, but will check up on a reliable contact that leads walkers in there in the warmer months.

Allambee Beek Falls (June, 2007)

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2018 5:42 pm
by MickyB
Biggles wrote:The final descent to Staircase Falls is best done on your bum

Staircase Falls? Do you mean Allambee Beek?

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2018 6:11 pm
by Biggles
It is a bum slide steeply off the track, down into the creek, and Staircase Falls is a few metres up on your right.

I am trying to recall a climb out of the Allambee Beek tk environ (not particularly steep) which gains a ridge that is followed to Staircase. I did the circuit in 2009, and again in 2013. The only standout recollection is the steep haul-up from Staircase (visited first) and then getting lost and flustered searching for and following the route to AB Falls (which was our lunch stop in 2013).

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2018 7:27 pm
by MickyB
Been a couple of years since I was there but can't recall a bum slide down to Staircase. I do recall a steep-ish track down to Allambee Beek.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2018 10:26 pm
by CraigVIC
Thanks Biggles. With some help from MickyB I'm pretty sure where I went wrong so I'll be back down shortly to see if I can sort it out. The footpad between Allambee and Curtis track is well established (despite a number of small fallen trees) atm.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2018 12:57 pm
by Biggles
CraigVIC wrote:Thanks Biggles. With some help from MickyB I'm pretty sure where I went wrong so I'll be back down shortly to see if I can sort it out. The footpad between Allambee and Curtis track is well established (despite a number of small fallen trees) atm.


Good to know the track is in an uncomplicated condition. I have not been down for a few years now because most of my walking is around the Sabine block of Great Otway National Park. A recurrent theme for many unfamiliar walkers is that get a little disoriented when the AB Falls track swings around for the final descent to the river -- and again when they are coming out. Last time I was on the track four pieces of pink flagging tape were attached to a tree indicating the change of direction (veering right, heading down; going left coming back up). Not a problem if the track is clearly defined rather than overgrown and congested.

Your photo shows a fair fIow of water over AB Falls; we are having a fairly dry winter with only occasional spurts of rain then long stretches of dry conditions. Still, I might head down again in the Spring, but really, I've never been one to be looking forward to the tedious, testing quagmires of Curtis "Goat" Track, even less so when it is steadily raining! :?

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2018 8:57 pm
by CraigVIC
Haha, fair enough! I took a walk around the Lorne falls in the last lot of heavy rain and even the Parks tracks are an acquired taste, turning mainly into shallow streams. The falls certainly take on a different character though, eg. here's Hendersons.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2018 11:45 pm
by blast4
Wow Craig ,
Hendersons is bangin' there . Amazing. Bit late to the party after that rain but managed a short walk to these , Apollo Bay way

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2018 10:26 am
by Biggles
CraigVIC wrote:Haha, fair enough! I took a walk around the Lorne falls in the last lot of heavy rain and even the Parks tracks are an acquired taste, turning mainly into shallow streams. The falls certainly take on a different character though, eg. here's Hendersons.


Oh Lord, that is colossal!! :shock:

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2018 10:29 am
by Biggles
blast4 wrote:Wow Craig ,
Hendersons is bangin' there . Amazing. Bit late to the party after that rain but managed a short walk to these , Apollo Bay way


Mmmm. I love how this photo has been rendered to tug at the forelocks of a romantic, bygone era of photography. It might be called the "glow" effect in digital. In analogue, it is accomplished by multiple exposure: one image in focus, another one, or two, out of focus with shallow apertures. Either way, it is a cheerful change from the jarring uber-saturated HDR photography that is so prevalent today. Beautiful.

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2018 12:21 pm
by blast4
Biggles wrote: In analogue, it is accomplished by multiple exposure: one image in focus, another one, or two, out of focus with shallow apertures. Beautiful.


Exactly how its done in digital Biggles , out of focus layer put over original layer and blended in slightly to certain areas of photo

Re: Otways Overnight hike - April 2017

PostPosted: Thu 25 Apr, 2019 7:39 pm
by CraigVIC
I still haven't made it back to Staircase but I went down river to Galliebarinda and Brunswick Falls today exiting by the track direct to Cumberland track.

There's enough tape and bits of footpad to get to Galliebarinda without too much difficulty. From there to the junction near Brunswick the tape and footpad is even clearer. All the crossings have visible tape on both sides. I could not find a track either to or from Brunswick Falls from the junction but at that point you can head towards the falls and you'll soon hear them.

As said above, best to be absolutley confident you can make it back to Curtis trk without help if you lose the tape.

Thanks again MickyB