About the Werribee Gorge State Park
Werribee Gorge is only about 65 km west of Melbourne, making it perfect for a day trip.
Werribee Gorge is 8kms west of Bacchus Marsh, a lovely town with a country feel on the edge of suburbia.
Werribee Gorge is suitable for hiking, trail running and rock climbing. No dogs, no firearms, no horses and no bikes allowed!
From Melbourne, take the Western Freeway past Bacchus Marsh and take the Pentland Hills Road exit. Look out for and follow the brown ‘Werribee Gorge State Park’ signs from the Highway.
You can also get there via the Iron-bark Road (Ballan-Ingliston Road) from Bacchus Marsh.
For the Circuit Walk and Short Circuit Walk, to get to Meikles Point Picnic Area, follow the unsealed road into the park. The first picnic ground you come to is Quarry Picnic Area. Don’t park your car here, you need to follow the hairpin bend down into the Gorge to get to Meikles Point Picnic Area. It’s quite steep and narrow, so take it easy when driving down in case you meet someone on their way out and have to get out of their way in a hurry.
Call the Bacchus Marsh Department of Primary Industry and Parks Victoria office on (03) 5366 0000 for park updates. The Circuit Walk might be impassable after heavy rain, so if it has been raining, check with the Parks Vic office before heading out there to make sure the track is open and not flooded.
Picnic areas, toilets, fireplaces and picnic tables at Meikles Point and the Quarry Picnic areas but bring your own water.
I wouldn’t do the full Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk with young children because the section with the wire ropes would be too hard for the little ones to manage. It will depend on the child’s ability, but from ages eight and up would be OK. The Short Circuit walk would be fine with young kids, so long as they can manage the initial uphill walk.
Werribee Gorge Circuit Walk
The Circuit Walk is graded Medium-Hard. Parks Victoria suggests 10kms, 4.5 hours, while Glenn Tempest’s track notes in his book ‘Daywalks Around Melbourne’ suggests 8km, 3 hours. We followed Glenn Tempest’s notes and it took us 2:15 moving at a moderate pace and without a rest break.
The first 45 minutes were quite steep, but not in an excruciatingly lung-busting kind of way.
Here’s the map generated from the GPS data gathered by my Garmin Forerunner 405:
And here’s the elevation profile of the walk:
Highlights: There were some excellent views along the gorge edge, a great mix of surfaces from sand to loose stone, some rock scrambling and using wire ropes fixed to the gorge to help you get around some of the sheer rock faces above the Werribee River. Fun!
Tips: Follow the orange triangles on the markers. The walk is somewhat unclear and you could make a wrong turn until you pass the Short Circuit Walk turnoff then it’s damn near impossible to get lost, even for me! Do the walk in an anti-clockwise direction. Start from Miekles Point Picnic Ground, not Quarry Picnic Ground, so the hardest uphill part is out of the way early.
Watch out for snakes! Red-bellied black snakes love the waterholes and we’ve seen tiger snakes slithering into bushes.
Other walks in the Werribee Gorge State Park
Medium, 3km return, 1.5 hours
Highlights: Aqueduct, cliff base climb, river.
Medium, 3km return, 2 hours
Highlights: Panoramic views of the Gorge and surrounding district. It is also the only rockclimbing site in the Park.
Medium-Hard, 4kms return, 2.5 hours
Highlights: Open woodlands, creek crossings, steep climb to James Whyte Island Reserve, expansive views.
Follow the directions for the Circuit Walk until you get to the Centenary Walk junction as per the image above.
Short Circuit Walk
Follow the directions for the Circuit walk for approximately two kilometres and take the Short Circuit Walk option to the left when you come to the track junction and head back to Meikles Picnic Ground. This walk is marked with blue triangles on posts.
- Parks Victoria – Werribee Gorge State Park – free, downloadable PDF of the Werribee Gorge State Park. It outlines several walks including Falcon’s lookout, Werribee Gorge Circuit, Werribee Gorge Short Circuit, Centenary Walk and the River Walk.
- Lerderderg and Werribee Gorges Map Guide – Buy the topographical VicMap for $9.95.
Other information about the Werribee Gorge State Park
- Chockstone – Werribee Gorge Rock Climbing information
- Bush Walking: Werribee Gorge – description and photos from her hike in the Werribee Gorge State Park.
The Circuit Walk features in the guide book ‘Daywalks Around Melbourne’ by Glenn Tempest, which is now out of print. You might be able to get a second-hand copy from eBay. This book also features track notes for Falcons Lookout and the Western Bluff and Ironbark Gorge walks.
Flora and fauna
Keep an eye out for echidnas, koalas, swamp wallabies and eastern grey kangaroo. If you’re lucky you may even see a Platypus swimming in one of the deep river holes. There’s plenty of bird life and notable species include the wedge-tailed eagle and the peregrine falcon. We’ve seen a few snakes out there so watch your step.
First published: October 2010.
Last updated: August 2017.
Last modified: October 6, 2017