Nicholls-BogieMerton-Jukes Loop

nichollsbomertonjukes

The welcome arrival of Lesley, Marie and Michele usually leads to a walk. Today was no exception. Since they were on the way back to Melbourne this afternoon, the time between lunch and departure was fairly tight. We needed a route, preferably a circuit, of around 5km. At 5.05km, this loop fitted the bill.

Starting at the corner of Nicholls Lane and Jukes Rd we headed toward the Strathbogie Merton Rd on a gentle downward gradient. The dirt had been recently graded smooth to the driveway of the only farm house. This was a just few hundred metres down the 900m lane. Beyond was a pretty, little used, leaf-littered, dusty grey track. This track cut between dry woodland above. Below is a rustic dell including a rush bordered pond within romantic farmland, submerged in forest.

Turning left into the Strathbogie-Merton Rd began a modest incline on narrow winding white gravel. This road is closely skirted by forest across steep slopes and within deep gullies. All are dotted with beautiful, lichen draped granite boulders and formations. The grey green of eucalyptus leaves is set against the walls of white trunked manna gums. The salmon patches exposed by long strips of ribbon bark falling to the ground create a glorious summer palette.

Cresting the top of the rise, we made the transition to the rolling hills of wood bound farmland. The cultivated top of the Tableland. From there it was downhill to the Jukes Rd intersection. There is a short stretch of bitumen to the sharp “V” where the roads meet. Jukes Rd takes off up the hill in a climb that has to recover the previous loss of elevation. It is enough to get the heart rate going if you push it.

The usual wildlife presented. However, unusually, we saw a wallaby chasing a hare as they both bounded down the slope and over the road in front of us! Something I can’t explain. A white throated tree creeper was spotted working the tree trunks. Currawongs chimed and kookaburras laughed at our passage with gusto. We startled a pair of common bronze wing pigeons into a panicked flight. They looked very guilty. A large echidna was foraging in the bush, but dug in deeply before Marie could get a good look. Very sensible with Marie around! Three swamp wallabies suspiciously watched our progress from behind a fallen log. They looked like they were waiting to ambush someone, but fortunately it wasn’t us.

This was a very pleasant walk. A fairly steep rise through the manna, narrow leafed peppermint and stringy-bark forest to the peak would make an interesting side expedition. However, the tree clad crown might not lend itself to a view.

screen shot 2019-01-27 at 7.00.03 pm

Spring Creek Bridge – Armstrong St – Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve Loop

Mode of Transit: Walk

Distance from Melbourne: 150km

Location: Strathbogie Township & surrounds

GPS coordinates: Start and finish 35 51’ 13” S 145 44’ 45” E

Map:

Environmental status: 1km Main and Armstrong Streets, Strathbogie – built environment, golf course and pasture.

2.5km bushwalk in Sevens Creeks Wildlife and Bridge to Bridge Reserves – high quality habitat comprising healthy riparian zones.

Elevation: 485m

Degree of difficulty: gradient some short steep rises, rocky outcrops, otherwise easy walking, but requires sure-footedness

Distance: 3.5km circuit

Duration: 1.5hrs

Facilities: General store open 7 days. Public toilets at local Recreation Ground 0.5km up Spring Creek Rd from Spring Creek Bridge

Take: hat, sunblock, sturdy walking shoes, water, camera, phone

Features:

1. Topography: modestly undulating, short steep slopes, rocky and earthen embankments

2. Surface: engineered gravel footpath to bitumen roadway to unmarked and absent dirt trails and rocky outcrops to grassy pathway with uneven ground

3. Waterways: Seven Creeks, turbid permanent water, meandering across flood plains or cascading through rocky terrain with sandy beaches and lazy pools

Spring Creek, clear, sandy or rock bottomed permanent water with cascades running under Spring Creek Bridge

4. Flora: open woodland including significant stands of established swamp, narrow leafed peppermint, manna gums with poa meadows. Extensive decade old Strathbogie Landcare plantings of indigenous trees and shrubs. Occasional, dispersed woody weed clumps (principally blackberry) along the Sevens, but severe around the Goulburn Valley Water Treatment Plant (which they have agreed to correct). Bridge to Bridge is largely woody weed free.

5. Fauna: indigenous wildlife is common, including native fish, birds, koalas, echidnas, wombats, eastern greys, swamp wallabies, rakali, bobucks, snakes, lizards and platypus

6. Natural environment: healthy riparian zone

7. Built environment: Township zone and riparian bush zone with few nearby farmhouses

8. Safety: animal burrows, slippery surfaces, uneven ground, snake habitat, discarded wire

Comments: with the comfort of access to the Strathbogie Store, this short, beautiful walk can be undertaken with little in the way of carried provisions and much to see. Opportunities for candid wildlife image captures are likely.

Directions: Commence at the Spring Creek Bridge, walking up Main St until you reach the Strathbogie Memorial Hall at Armstrong St. Turn left and walk along Armstrong St, you will pass the town water tower on the right and golf course entrance on the left. Keep walking until you arrive at the the disused bridge (completely unsafe to cross). 10 metres before the bridge on the right is a gap in the fence between 2 large posts. Enter the Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve here. The trail can disappear. You will best pick it up by keeping close to the fence line on the higher side of the slope, deviating to and returning from features that attract you. There is no need to cross the creek. Follow the trail until you get to the Goulburn Valley Water Treatment Plant. Walk under Smith’s Bridge to enter the Bridge to Bridge Picnic Ground and Track. This end of the Bridge to Bridge is a short nature circuit. Either arm of the track will take you to a boardwalk from where you can continue your return to the Spring Creek Bridge via the confluence of Seven and Spring Creeks.

Images:

img_1965.jpg

Nearby Tracks & Trails: Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve to Brookleigh Rd. Proposed Magiltan Project upstream of Spring Creek to Magiltan Creek.

Links to The Great Strathbogie Trail: along the length of the Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve

Ideas for improvement: woody weed control, trail markers, directional and safety entry signs, some basic trail work to flatten angled slopes