Dappled light plays across a winding dirt track as birdsong provides a twittering accompaniment to the splash and play of the river. A sense of well-being settles on you, and all is good in the world. 

This is the kind of experience you can expect when you come for a bushwalk through the Lerderderg State Park. A park that is 142 km2 in expanse and includes a 300-metre-deep gorge formed by the Lerderderg river.   

Take it from Charles Dickie, a Lerderderg State Park Ranger who’s been on the job for thirty-seven years.  He’s a big advocate for folk getting out into the parks and enjoying the health benefits that come with it.  

“Healthy parks make healthy people”, said Charles. We asked Charles for the inside word on the best places to explore in the Lerderderg State Park.  

‘One of the most popular picnic areas is at Mackenzies Flat which you’ll discover at the end of Lerderderg Gorge Road. It’s a beauty.   

The walking track that winds its way beside the river is the one you want to take if you want a cool spot to take a dip - look out for Graham’s Dam along the way.   

Byres BackTrack links O’Briens Crossing with the popular mining town of Blackwood.  I love this walk as most of the track follows the old water race which supplied water to the early gold miners.”     

Charles advises, “When you visit, be sure to pack a map, water and a good GPS. Don’t rely on your mobile phone alone and make sure you tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back.” 

Get that picnic packed, jump in the car and head to the Lerderderg State Park for a date with nature.  

www.parks.vic.gov.au