Information for walkers

INFORMATION FOR WALKERS

While many parts of the Grand Strzelecki Track are graded easy to medium, other parts are challenging and require a degree of fitness and experience. Overall, the Track is Class 4 under the Australian Standard which means that some parts are narrow foot track with minimal infrastructure provided, requiring self-sufficiency, navigation skills (although it is generally well marked) and responsibility for your own safety. Please read the protocols and study the map notes before commencing your walk and plan accordingly.  Billys Creek and Macks Creek are unsuitable for mountain bike use.

There are four possible entry points to start your walk; Morwell National Park (Junction Road car park), Balook (Tarra-Bulga Visitors Centre car park), Tarra Valley picnic area car park or Macks Creek Hall. The Park to Park walk is 26.5 km, with a further 9.5 km to reach accommodation facilities. This will take 2 days, with an overnight stop at Jumbuk Rest Area half way. The eastern section of the Track can be walked in 3 complete loops of 1-2 days each, starting and finishing in Balook; the Mt. Tassie Loop (18.3 km), the Macks Creek Loop (25.2 km or 23.7 km depending on choice of route) and the Tarra Valley Loop (22.9 km with an optional link to Tarra Valley township, 2.1 km each way). Alternatively you could walk these loops as a continuous circuit of 3-5 days, exploring a variety of short rainforest walks, waterfalls, picnic areas, the popular Corrigan’s Suspension Bridge and the Tarra-Bulga Visitors Centre along the way.

Anyone planning an extended walk should be well prepared with walking maps. The free downloadable map is suitable for route planning only, NOT FOR NAVIGATION.  You can purchase maps through our Shop page or from the Tarra-Bulga Visitor Centre at Balook(open weekends, school holidays and public holidays 10am-4pm), Tarra-Bulga Guest House, Tarra Valley Caravan Park or tourist information centres in Traralgon and Yarram

FACILITIES

The facilities at the Jumbuk Rest Area are now completed and the area is ready for use as an overnight stop. Remember to sterilise water for drinking.  We are still fund-raising to build facilities at Macks Creek.

Facilities at Pattison Rest Area are now complete. There is a toilet, water, shelter and picnic table. Please remember to sterilise the water.

Nina and Tobern at the Tarra Bulga Guest House at Balook, have very kindly offered their grounds to use as a camp site.  You can contact them on (03) 51 966 141.  If you are walking the track call in to the Guest House for great food and coffee.  There are toilets and water available at the Tarra-Bulga Visitor Centre in Balook (please sterilize water for drinking).  Parks Victoria do not encourage camping on Park grounds.

Camping is available at Fernholme Caravan Park in Tarra Valley. Tent sites, both powered and unpowered are available and also cabins by prior booking.  Please phone Vicki and David on (03) 51 861 283.

There are no facilities elsewhere so if you are planning to camp elsewhere please come prepared with water and something to bury toilet waste.

ACCESS AND TRANSPORT

The Park to Park section starts at Junction Road, Jeeralang Junction, about 5 km south of Churchill.  At the eastern end of the Track, the 3 loop walks radiate from the township of Balook where the Tarra-Bulga Visitor Centre is located.  This network can also be accessed from Tarra Valley township, Tarra Valley Picnic area within the National Park or the Macks Creek Hall.  Public parking is available at all of these places except Tarra Valley township (unless you are staying at one of the township’s accommodation facilities).

Churchill is approx. 2 hours drive east of Melbourne via the Princes Freeway (watch for the Churchill and Federation University exit).  If travelling to Balook, continue until the exit sign to Yarram then at the Loy Yang Power Station traffic lights turn right and follow the brown tourist signs to Tarra – Bulga National Park and Balook.  Balook is 2.5 hours east of Melbourne or 3 hours via the South Gippsland Highway to Yarram, then following the signs north through Tarra Valley.  The Traralgon-Balook Road from Loy Yang and the Tarra Valley Road from Yarram are bitumen, other roads are gravel.  Macks Creek Hall is 15 minutes north of Yarram with gravel for the last 2 km.

V/line runs frequent train services daily between Melbourne (Southern Cross Station) and Traralgon.  There are Budget and Hertz car rental offices a short walk from Traralgon railway station with Avis a little further.  To get to Churchill, leave the train in Morwell and catch one of the regular bus services from Commercial Road with Latrobe Valley Bus Lines.  There is no train to Yarram but V/line run regular coach services from Melbourne to Yarram.  There is also a bus service from Traralgon Station to Yarram.

ACCOMMODATION

We suggest the following facilities which are located on, or in close proximity to, the Grand Strzelecki Track.  There are many other options available in nearby centres including Yarram and Traralgon, with other limited options available in Tarra Valley.

Churchill : Churchill Hotel, phone 03 51221800 www.churchillhotel.com.au

Balook: Tarra-Bulga Guest House & Lyrebird Cafe, phone 03 51966141 www.tarra-bulga.com

Tarra Valley : Tarra Valley Caravan Park, phone 03 51861283 www.tarra-valley.com

Macks Creek : Glenwood Farm Holiday Cottage(B&B) phone 03 51861310 www.glenwoodfarm.com.au

Macks Creek Hall is available for group hire at a cost of $100 per night. Includes toilets and cooking facilities.  Email address mackscreekhall@gmail.com  Phone contacts are Vicki (03)51 861 225 or Jenny (03)51 861 340

OTHER SERVICES

Mini bus tours and transport : Mountain-Top Experience, phone 03 51346876 www.mountaintopexperience.com

MAP INFORMATION

Free maps of the overall track network are intended for route planning only.  They are not suitable for navigation and do not show all the necessary information or features of interest, so we strongly suggest you purchase our topographic maps before embarking on walks to make your experience as safe and rewarding as possible.  All proceeds from sales go towards maintaining the track and providing better facilities.

The second (2016) edition of our printed walking maps is now available for sale from this website (see our ‘Shop/Products’ page) or from local outlets (Balook Guest House, Tarra Valley Caravan Park, Tarra-Bulga National Park Visitors Centre and Latrobe Visitor Information Centre in Traralgon).  There are 6 maps in the set, including an overall map and 5 detailed maps covering each section of the network.

These topographic maps feature improved accuracy, current information on facilities and features of interest, protocols for track users, track notes, elevation graphs and a selection of beautiful photographs that will be a nice souvenir of your walk.

PDF maps for use on mobile devices with GPS capability are now also available. Download the free Avenza PDF Maps app (from their web page or the app store), then search for Grand Strzelecki Track in the Avenza map store.  Since the maps are stored within the app on your phone or other device, you do not need a mobile phone signal to use them.  Just download before you start your walk and you’re ready to navigate.

The app works on Apple or Android systems.  Since the scale and size of PDF maps is a lot more flexible than a printed map we have condensed the 5 section maps into 2 large maps; Grand Strzelecki Track West (Park to Park) and Grand Strzelecki Track East (Loop Walks).  The West map covers Morwell National Park to Balook and the East map covers all three loop walks (Mount Tassie, Macks Creek and Tarra Valley) with Balook at the centre.  Pricing is comparable to the printed map set but if you’re only walking the east or west part of the network you can purchase the relevant map by itself at half the cost of the full map set.

The PDF maps have all the information and features of the printed versions, except the photographs.

When you open the app and select the map you want, a blue dot will appear showing your location based on your GPS position.  The dot follows your progress as you go, so you always know where you are.  Your coordinates are also shown at the bottom of the screen so in an emergency you can identify your exact position and even send a screen shot of the map with your location on it.  You can zoom right in to view any section of the map in great detail, or out to any scale for viewing the overall route and information.  There are many other functions available, including creating waypoints with notes and even attaching photos to these points so you can identify where your happy snaps were taken.

We have tested the system and it works anywhere, with accuracy ranging from a few metres where the GPS signal is strong to within 20m in deep gullies under tree canopy.  You should always be able to find the track again if you lose it, which will greatly improve safety in remote areas where the track may get overgrown or where markers may be missing or hidden by vegetation.

Using the app continuously on an i-phone will drain the battery in about 4 hours, but the only time you really need to use it is when you’re uncertain about your location, want to identify which route to follow or wish to use features such as waypoints.  If walking and camping for several days it might be worthwhile taking a spare battery or external charger pack.

 

THERE IS A NO CAMPFIRE POLICY ON THE GRAND STRZELECKI TRACK AT ALL TIMES