6 May 2009

DIAMOND CREEK & YARRA WALK: SUNDAY 26TH APRIL

OK! I thought it was about time I made a post about our walk 2 weekends ago! I’ve already made one short post about it.

Here are more pics from the day, including one of a goat.

NOTE: This Sunday we’ll be doing a very different and much shorter walk around Thornbury/Preston/Northcote, scouting out small green spaces. Here are the details if you should want to join us. We start at 8:30am, please email for a meeting place!

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So, SJ picked us up early, and drove us to Eltham, where M and L put on an amazingly delicious breakfast for us. Seriously – gently scrambled eggs with delicious fetta, perfectly roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, home-made soda bread and coffee from their espresso machine. WOW. I am so sad I didn’t take pictures, but I was too busy nomming!

the before picture: d, sj, l &m
D, SJ, L and M by Diamond Creek at the start of the walk.

We didn’t have a map, as L and M had walked down to the Yarra a few times before, and the trail looked quite clear along the Yarra (on Google Maps!) up to the point where we had walked previously (see the last entries on this page and this page). It was good to have people who knew where they were going, as it meant we got to see some of the nicer parts (there’s the option of walking on either side of the creek at some points). For the most part it was fine. There were a couple of moments when it became confusing, but we didn’t worry about it too much – keep the river on the same side and you’ll be OK! You may laugh, but we did actually use that piece of wisdom during the day.

sj and l present: the tiny sign!
SJ and L with a tiny road sign.

"almost like england"
“It’s almost like England!” This was a lovely little section.


We got to walk under the gorgeous wooden trestle railway bridge where the train crosses the creek in Eltham, and for those interested in trains and suchlike, we also walked past the miniature railway! There were lots of interesting things along Diamond Creek, and if you wanted to do a shorter walk, wandering down to the Yarra and back in a day checking out all the activities could be fun.

one point perspective, wooden bridge over diamond creek
The bridge over Diamond Creek. I like bridges! Who knew!?

miniature railway FTW!
The miniature railway at work!


At the junction of Diamond Creek and the Yarra, we stopped for a cup of tea and a snack. I should of course add that M and L are lovely, and were very good to walk with. I talked to L quite a bit about places to live, travelling, whisky and all manner of important things such as that as we walked, and I remembered that being engrossed in conversation can really make the distance fly by. L and M are both keen walkers, and I think this was the first time that HAWT has walked with someone who has more intimidating shoes than ours – M’s Scarpas were pretty hardcore! I think the walk was slightly puny to M, who has done the 100km in 48hrs Oxfam walk, but he was a good sport about it!

tree . . . !
I liked this tree! with its very own exclamation mark!

the yarra, looking east
The Yarra River, looking east from the footbridge.


We stopped for lunch at our favourite playground, nommed on quiche and soda bread and other delights, made lewd jokes, stamped on the musical bridge (seriously, guys, the playground is AWESOME), filled our water bottles, then donned our raincoats as it started raining just as we left. Here, have some pictures of the playground from last time we were there:

walk march 08: play time!

walk march 08: mirrormaze, longlegs

It was actually a good thing that it started raining, and then continued to rain off and on (and not just a light drizzle for a lot of it) for a lot of the rest of the walk – it is actually the first time that HAWT (or me and D) have encountered anything approaching serious rain on any one of our walks! We have generally been extraordinarily lucky with our weather. However, D and I don’t believe that we will be able to make it for 2 weeks along the southwest coast of England in September without any rain, so we damn well want to practice! The rain meant that the path was pretty much cleared of other walkers and cyclists, too, which was lovely. The only problem with rain is that it means I put my camera away and don’t take photos, so here are the final two of the walk.

bridge over the yarra: slippery when wet
Slippery when wet. When we re-crossed after lunch, it was raining!

waterproofed: l, m, sj, d
L, M, SJ and D in their waterproofs.


Our plan with this walk was to walk as far as we could, with the vague idea of making it to the Fairfield Boathouse. In the end, we decided against it, and although we didn’t know how far we’d walked, that was a sensible decision! From Burke Rd, instead of crossing the river and walking beside the Eastern Freeway and then through Yarra Bend Park to the boathouse, we stayed on the north side, walked through the gorgeous Chelsworth Park (according to Google, anyway!), then up to Ivanhoe Station. The last bit up the hill to the station along paved footpath was a killer! I was wearing my big pack for the first time to start training, and I had to get DB to carry it for a kilometre while I carried his, much lighter, pack. From the station, we caught the bus straight home, while SJ caught the train with L and M back out to Eltham to pick up her car.

I mapped our walk and discovered we’d walked almost 25kms! That is possibly the longest HAWT has done in a day. No wonder we were so ratty by the end! By the looks of things, Fairfeild would have been an extra few kms, plus the walk to the station afterwards. I’m glad we didn’t attempt that!



Review of Eltham – Diamond Creek – Yarra – Ivanhoe walk.

Unlike many of the creek and river walks we have done, this one did not feel like we were in suburban residential areas (apart from a section near the station at the start and walking up to Ivanhoe Station at the end). Rather, we went through native bush and developed parkland, past small farms and ‘undeveloped’ land, between ovals and playing fields, around golf-courses. This natural aspect is a very nice element of the walk, and if you happen to be walking on a rainy day you might not even see a soul over some sections of path, further enhancing the sense of distance from the city.

The path is generally flat, and the biggest ascent was to Ivanhoe Station – at which point you climb to approximately the same elevation as you started – what took 23kms to descend now takes 2km to climb! That said, there are enough points of interest and places to get views, so you don’t feel like you’ve been walking in a tunnel the whole way. The path surface ranges between sealed and unsealed, but even the gravel is very even and well-maintained. Just after our first crossing of the Yarra, we took the smaller trails closer to the river, rather than the main trail. This was more interesting, and the trails were good but not excellent – if you have mobility issues I recommend staying on the main path. The main challenge of this walk, for me, was the distance. Remember to drink enough water and replenish your sodium, folks, or you might end up with a cramp! Also, pay attention to your feet and if you feel that pinching bite, take your shoes off and put on a bandaid before you get a blister!

There are a lot of lovely sections in this walk – almost too many to pick a few highlights. I personally enjoyed the section between Yarra Valley Metropolitan Park and Warringal Park, where the path meanders away from the river past the wetlands, and you can go through some kissing gates. KISSING GATES! At any rate, this walk (or a shorter version, if you’re not too keen on walking 25km) is recommended, especially if you’d like to be surrounded by nature.

2 comments:

  1. thanks darlingk! i'm considering getting a new camera... this one is getting to be too slow for me, and i'd like something with better resolution. however, this works well for me in most other respects. although it'd be awesome to have some different lenses, weight and portability are a trade-off, especially when walking. i guess it depends how serious i am - if my priority is the walking or the taking of photos! (when clearly the priority is the eating!)

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