Last updated on September 24th, 2020 at 12:09 pm
For all its inconveniences, the coronavirus pandemic has given me the chance to not only spend quality time with my family, but has also let me discover my hometown of Warrandyte. Places I have regularly driven past I have now discovered by foot as I move around within my 5km zone. I have not only discovered many walks but I have learnt the history of Warrandyte, a history born from the discovery of gold. So come on a walk around Warrandyte with me and discover its gold mining history.
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Where is Warrandyte?
Warrandyte is 24km north-east of Melbourne on the banks of the Yarra River. It is in one of the twelve green wedge areas of Melbourne. That’s right, in 2002 the then Victorian Government put in place an Urban Growth Boundary. The green wedge area is basically an area between the city and the country. It contains a mix of agriculture and low-density activities like cultural heritage sites, water catchments and state parks. And Warrandyte has the Warrandyte State Park which has some great walks. Warrandyte is also located, to what I call, the doorstep of the Yarra Valley to which I often go. But alas, not at the moment as it is out of my 5km Melbourne lockdown travel zone. So I have stayed within my 5km radius and discovered many walks steeped with gold mining history. And I’ve discovered more about the Wurrunjeri People, indigenous to my area in Warrandyte and the Yarra Valley.
READ MORE: 2 Day Driving Itinerary of the Yarra Valley
How To Get To Warrandyte
The best way, and really the only way to get to Warrandyte if you don’t have a car, is on the 906 bus. The 906 is a direct link from Melbourne City to Warrandyte. The bus starts in Londsale Street and travels along Spring Street, Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street, onto the Eastern Freeway and comes off at Blackburn Road. Coming along Blackburn Road you will reach the Pines Shopping Centre, a major shopping centre and you can change here for buses to other parts of the area. But still on the 906, when you leave the Pines you travel along Andersons Creek Road and onto Warrandyte Road. This road takes you through Warrandyte town and ends at the Warrandyte Bridge.
There are some other bus routes but they start in other areas. These include the 364 from Ringwood Train Station and the 574 from Eltham Train Station.
My Favourite Walks In Warrandyte
What I have discovered about my hometown of Warrandyte is that there are many walks. The best part is, many of them are within my 5km pandemic travel bubble. Here are my favourites.
The Gold Heritage Walk, Warrandyte
Victory Mine Entrance
Andersons Creek is a small creek of around 7km that runs through Warrandyte. It is in this creek that gold was first discovered in 1851. There is a Cairn marking the site of the first recognised discovery here. It can be found along the 4.2km Gold Heritage Walk within the Warrandyte State Park. Apparently gold can still be found in the creek and panning is permitted in a small section of the creek.
The Gold Heritage Walk passes through the area of Fourth Hill and Whipstick Gully which were the most intensively mined in the area. There are information boards and signage detailing the history of the goldfields in this area. I found these really interesting and quite amazed to be standing and walking in these spots of history. Also very interesting is the fact that a number of gold mines still exist, but they aren’t working or open to be worked. While walking along The Gold Heritage Walk you will see a number of mines, mostly just their entrances. The most notable is Geraghty’s Mine which was the first large-scale mining operation on Fourth Hill. Other notable structures you will discover during this walk is a head frame near Victory Mine, a miners hut which looks more like a pile of tin and other open mines. All these things make this walk a very interesting walk. So while I am out getting my daily exercise during the Melbourne lockdown I am also learning a lot about the history of my local area.
How to find the Gold Heritage Walk. Drive along Warrandyte Road and veer left at the roundabout at Goldfields Plaza. This road will take you into town. At the sixth road on the right turn up Whipstick Gully Road and park in the parking area. There is also another entrance to the walk. Instead of veering left at the roundabout turn right and the first road on the left, Gold Memorial Road. Take this road and park not too far in along this road. You will walk along the Wildcat Gully Track which meets the Gold Heritage Walk. This is where Andersons Creek is also located.
Pound Bend Tunnel, Warrandyte State Park
Pound Bend Tunnel / Evelyn Tunnel
The area around Pound Bend Tunnel is another of my favourite walks and is closer to my home than the Gold Heritage Walk. Pound Bend has a great picnic area which many Warrandytians utilise over summer. In fact, many will swim and sit in the Yarra River on those really hot days when you need cooling off here at Pound Bend. The chosen spot is near ‘The Cutting’ or the Pound Bend Tunnel. The tunnel is a diversion tunnel built to divert the Yarra River for easier mining. The tunnel is 145 metres long and six metres wide and many will sit in the waters as they flow out of the tunnel and cool off during summer.
After seeing the Pound Bend Tunnel you can take one of the walking tracks to explore the area. I have, on a number of occasions during the covid pandemic, and other times, walked the walking track along the river. As well as getting my daily exercise I can be treated to local wildlife, kangaroos, echidnas and the occasional snake.
Walk along the Yarra River at Pound Bend
How To Find Pound Bend in the Warrandyte State Park. Pound Bend is at the end of Pound Road. As you drive along Warrandyte Road you will pass Warrandyte High School, then 3 roads up on the left is Pound Road. Follow Pound Road to the end where you will find the Warrandyte State Park. To get to the tunnel, turn left at the end and enter the State Park and drive to the car park and picnic area at the bottom. Here you can see the tunnel, take a dip in the river or walk along the bank and breath in the fresh Warrandyte air.
A Walk Around Goldfields Plaza
Goldfields Plaza Shopping Centre
Goldfields Plaza is my closest small shopping centre. Here I find my local IGA, pharmacy, post office, vet, fish and chip shop and other small restaurants and services. There is also Andersons Creek Primary School where my kids went to school. And right in the middle of all these shops and services is a Gold Turret which dominates the skyline. It is a pleasant walk around the shops which are right near the Gold Memorial Walk and Andersons Creek. I can do some essential shopping and get some exercise. Across the road is the Warrandyte Oval which is home to Warrandyte Cricket Club and Warrandyte Bloods AFL Team. The Warrandyte Tennis Club overlooks the oval and if you walk past the oval you will meet the Yarra River and the walking track. If you turn left you will end back at Pound Bend and if you turn right, you will walk along the river into Warrandyte town.
How To Find Goldfields Plaza. Drive along Warrandyte Road and as you come around a sweeping bend you will see the plaza on your right.
Walk Along Yarra Street, The Main Street of Warrandyte
Warrandyte Town is on the edge of my 5km travel bubble – 4.6km away to be exact. So while out walking here during lockdown I may or may not have gone out of my 5km radius – oops! Warrandyte Town has small shops on either side of the main road, Yarra Street, that runs through town.
Some notable shops and buildings are the Warrandyte Historical Society, Warrandyte Pub, a number of restaurants, the Sassafras Lollie Shop and one of the hubs of Warrandyte – the Warrandyte Bakery. The bakery is on the Yarra River side of the shops and is right next to the Yarra River and a kids playground. So it is very popular with locals, and visitors to buy a pie, cake and / or a coffee and hit the playground or walk along the Yarra River. If you turn left at the river you will head back to Warrandyte Oval and Pound Bend. If you turn right and walk along the river you will walk under Warrandyte Bridge which links Warrandyte and North Warrandyte.
How To Find Warrandyte Town: Drive along Warrandyte Road, pass Pound Road and Goldfields Plaza. Veer left at the roundabout and follow the road into town. There are a number of parking areas along the river to park your car. You can also enter Warrandyte via Warrandyte-Ringwood Road, This brings you from Ringwood.
Walk Along The Yarra River
These walks I have mentioned are just a few of the walks in and around Warrandyte. There are plenty more you could do, but during this time of Melbourne lockdown I am unable to discover them. But I will! And I may be bias, but I am sure if you come to Warrandyte you will enjoy a walk around Warrandyte also.
Where To Stay In Warrandyte
Warrandyte is a small town with a population according to the Census of 2016, 5502 people. As Warrandyte is not known as a tourist spot the accommodation available is limited and is mostly housing for its residents. There are however, a number of properties available to stay at if you would like to come and visit Warrandyte. AirBnB had a few properties listed. Most of them will require you to have a car to get around Warrandyte as they are not near the 906 bus route. One property on the 906 bus route, is close to Warrandyte Town and has a number of walking and bike riding tracks near it is the Crystal Brook Tourist Park. It is actually in Doncaster East but I would suggest it is right on the border of Warrandyte. Find out rates and availability for Crystal Brook Tourist Park here.