01 January 2014

Genoa River Gorge

4 days 3 nights, medium grade

Location:  500 kms east of Melbourne, East Gippsland.
Closest town:  Cann River (about 38 kms) with a nice campground & caravan park
Best time to explore:  Dry days and low water level
River Condition:  0.6m as Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast. 
Yambulla Peak Walking Track:  Well-defined track
Walk registration is not applied
Compass:  Not really needed, mainly following the river down & upstream
GPS:  Optional
Maps:  Vicmap and Online Memory-Map Topo
Guidebook:  Take a Walk in Victoria’s National Parks
Parks Victoria Park Notes: www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Day 1: Yambulla Peak Track to Genoa River, 14.5 kms, 6 to 7 hours

The day started with the packing of food for 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners and 4 lunches.  Careful preparation was needed due to a forecast of showers and rain for the last two days, which would be a day trip to northern gorge and the day of walking out from the river to the starting point.  We had a visit to Beehive Falls on the drive to the start of the walk, which was about 9.5kms away and situated on the “WB Line” road with access to this road from the Monaro Hwy

Beehive Falls

After leaving the carpark, passing a gate (at height of 429m) and the park’s box containing survey forms, the track started to climb.  We went through two hills at 497m & 541m height, then dropped down to a forested gully.  A steep climb up took us near the highest point (683m) on the track, where we stopped for lunch with good views of the range on the left.

Yambulla Peak Track

From here, the track was mostly down with a few ups.  After lunch, we met 2 DSE staff, who were in an all-terrain vehicle and on their way back after a check on the track and the Genoa River conditions.  We were relieved to hear that the water level was low enough for crossing and exploring the banks of the river.  After driving off, they had fun tackling the steep slope we had just come down.  We continued over ups and downs, past some granite boulders and had a clear view of Mt Coopracambra and the range through the trees on the left.  

Photo stop

The last section of the Yambulla Peak Track was a steep downhill to a small creek.  We crossed the creek then followed an over-grown pad to reach the banks of the Genoa River.  It was about 6.30pm, when we arrived at the junction and found that the water was a bit high and so decided to search for a small piece of lawn to pitch up tent on this side.  It took us about 6 hours plus stops to get here, not the 5 hours mentioned in the guidebook.  At this stage, we were unsure whether to move camp the next day.  We had couscous and salmon for tea.  Custard and dried fruit was the desert for my companion, while I had cappuccino.  It got dark about 8.40pm.

 A little "garden" found near the junction of YPT & Genoa River 

Day 2:  Exploring part of Southern Gorge with a day pack

It was a sunny morning and at the crossing spot, the river bottom could be seen.  As forecast by BOM, the level of water was 0.6m; about knee-high.  With our Crocs, we crossed the river without difficulty and our boots were hung in front of us.  After crossing to the opposite bank, we put on our boots and built a small rock cairn to mark the position of the Crocs for the return.  A GPS waypoint of this location was also recorded.  We then scouted for a possible campsite and quickly identified one on the sandy bank.  My companion was not keen on camping on sand; therefore, the thought of moving was abandoned.

 The crossing, where the YPT meets the Genoa River

The walk mainly followed the river down stream involving rock hopping and rock scrambling.  If the river bank was too scrubby to bash through and the water level was not high, an easy way to make progress was to wade.  I enjoy wading.

Exploring down stream

 If low water level, go for it!


The going was slow.  It took us 1 hour to complete 1km.  About 1.4 km from the crossing, we spotted an overhanging cave on the opposite bank; so we stopped for a photo.  At this point, the water was high and the scrub was thick and so we had a bit of hard time to get through the scrub. Then, around the bend, we waded on a sandy river bed with knee-high water to go across and walked on a large sandbank to reach the southern gorge.  From here, we bush bashed a bit then went across a small cascade to reach the other bank, where we looked for a sheltered spot on a big flat boulder for lunch.  We got out the billy to boil water for soup.

An overhanging cave on the opposite bank
Approaching Genoa Southern Gorge
Lunch with gorge view

After lunch, we continued on the right bank, which involved some rock hopping for about 100m until we reached the mouth of the Yambulla Creek.  Then, a little later we approached the end of the first section of the Southern Gorge.  At this point, we decided to turn around and retraced our steps back to the cairn.  Collecting the crocks, we crossed the river and headed back up to the campsite.  There was a pretty sunset over Southern Genoa River that evening.

The mouth of Yambulla Creek
Turnback point
A section of the river filled with boulders

We were hold up by this guy near the mouth of Yambulla Creek

then, it freezed and/or posed.

Rock-hopping & scrub-bashing on the way back

Not far now, so it was time for a rest.  These gaiters, a New Year gift to me.

Sunset on the Southern Genoa River Gorge.

Day 3:  Exploring Northern Gorge 

We were rather confident with the river crossing today after the two river crossings and lots of wading yesterday.  Unlike yesterday’s downstream walk, today we followed the river upstream.  It was a bit cloudy and it seemed that the river level was lower and so the going was less demanding.  We did more wading along the edge of the river to avoid scrub bashing

Heading upstream from the track & river crossing point

 Low water noticed on a boulder-filled section of the river

Crossing from side to side 

At a large bend, on the bank of the river, my presence woke up a black snake and while trying to move away from it, I lost balance and had a fall onto slippery rocks.  As a result, I had bruising and swelling of my hand and fingers.  Not far from that, on a dry overflow, I spotted another creature (it was likely another snake) fleeing quickly, when it heard us coming

Cherry tree? in scrub near the river bank

We had lunch on a large rocky slab.  While the stove was turned on, I had a quick dip in the river to fresh up before continuing the exploration.  Based on the GPS UTM grid reference and the rock band of a few huge boulders across the river, I was pretty sure that we were at the state border.  And also, based on the walk guide book, there should be a cairn located somewhere on the west bank

View back to the lunch spot

The Victoria and NSW border

After lunch, it started to shower lightly.  We continued on about 100 m until we reached a few pools and decided to turn around.  On the way back, we caught sight of a possible cairn on the other side of the river.  When close to the lunch spot, we noticed 2 snakes coiling up about 1m away from each other near the river bank.  Back at the lunch spot, I crossed the river with the hope that what I had recently seen was what we had been searching for.  Finally, we found a pile of rocks, that were likely to be the cairn!  From here on, we had to wear light rain gear until reaching the campsite, where my tarp was put into good use for dinner preparation.  After meal, we called it the day.

 We turned back at this point in light rain jackets

 Snake territory near the border

The two snakes spotted near the boulder in the middle of this photo

 "The border cairn"

"Our cairn"

Wild flowers

A boulder-filled section of the Genoa River on the way back

There was a small gap between the tent and the tarp.  
Wonder if any lite & reasonably-priced tarp, fitted to the Moondance 2 tent.

Day 4:  Back to the start, 14.5 kms, 6 to 7 hours.

We started an hour earlier than the day we walked in.  Having walked the well-defined Yambulla Peak Track, I did not bother to put on the gaiters.  The day was a bit warm, coupled with the length and the many uphills and downhills of the track, it was a rather tiring day for us.  Hence, we felt great relief when the survey box near the gate was in sight.  It took almost the same time as the walk-in.

Genoa River Gorge Walk view with GE

I then had a quick dip in the Genoa River East Branch near the Highway before continuing the drive to Cann River in order to catch up with cold beer, pub meal and a campsite.  Luckily, the campground, which used to be a caravan park, was not very crowded and the booking could be arranged through the pub.  The fee for two people was very reasonable and I would recommend it to those, who want to camp with basic facilities.

 The drive out via the WB Line

En route back from the Genoa Gorges Walk, POIs, we had a short visit to, will be here soon.