Autumn is such a beautiful time in the Otways, and the day chosen for the Friends’ walk on Saturday March 19 was just one of those perfect autumn days.
We started the walk at the Distillery Creek Picnic Ground and the first part was along a narrow forest track within the National Park with private farmland down below.
Track through National Park
The blackened trunks of the Ironbarks were a reminder of the 1983 bushfires and more recent controlled burns.
We were saddened to see that a beautiful Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo had come to grief, but rather than a fox or cat attack we believe it might have been a Peregrine Falcon attack with all the feathers having been plucked and strewn on the side of the track. Nature at work? And Peregrines do need their food!
The interesting plumage of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
Janet salvaged a feather to adorn her walking hat
After about 1km we joined the unsealed Barwon Water 4WD access road that leads to the Painkalac Dam that was formerly the water supply for the Aireys Inlet township but is now a beautiful reserve that can be used by the community.
Who gives way to who at the junction of the Access Road
The road passes through a variety of wattles and eucalypts and there are some fine views of the tree clad hills of the Otways. There are gradual uphill climbs but if taken slowly they are no problem.
The embankment on the side of the road made an ideal spot to rest for a while and have our morning tea.
We then continued along the road until we reached the dam and the spillway. Although there had been recent rain there was no water coming over the spillway. There were some good views of the Painkalac Dam and surrounding tree covered slopes.
We stopped at the end of the dam wall where there were good views of the dam before climbing the steep gravel track that was going to lead us to our lunch destination
Barwon Water has erected some interpretive signs giving information about the dam and some of the wildlife that may be seen in the area.
Mandy and Merryn read about the Long-necked turtles
The pleasant walk along the shaded track on the south side of the dam gave some lovely views of the water but unfortunately no bird life was to be seen apart one from one lonely duck.
Had the duck flown in to get away from duck shooting season?
We continued along this track until we reached its end. Unfortunately it does not link up with the track on the other side of the dam – would be great if a bridge could be built to enable a circuit walk.
There was a nice spot on the edge of the dam that made a great backdrop for a group photo
And enough seating for us to sit in this pleasant environment and enjoy our lunch
And some great viewing spots and photo opportunities
Admiring the view