bushwalk at arthurs seat state park

A Loop Around Kings Falls

I write again about the delights to be found in Arthurs Seat State Park.  This time my boots take me on a 1km loop around Kings Falls.  The start point can be accessed from Waterfall Gully Road, Arthurs Seat, or alternatively, you can do the longer walk from Seawinds Gardens.  The highlights of the loop walk include a boardwalk through a lush fern gully, views into a heavily forested valley, and the falls themselves.

Kings Falls is a great bushwalk at Arthurs Seat

This loop is part of my regular walk, which I commence at Seawinds Gardens, and I will do a post next week on the track that links the two ends together.  But for now, l focus on the Kings Falls loop, starting at Waterfall Gully Road, Arthurs Seat.

I follow the sign-posted track in an anti-clockwise direction.  My footsteps fall silently on the thick layer of needle-like foliage, shed from the dense stand of Black Sheoak that line the pathway.  The wind whispers eerily through their branches, the silence dense and absorbing, like a pine forest.   A few Grass Trees are scattered in the understory, but the vegetation is otherwise quite sparse.

I am glad to emerge out into the sunshine.  Leaving the shade behind, I stand at a lookout opposite Kings Falls, and get my first glimpse of them.  I am surprised by the length of their drop, and despite having little water coursing down at this time of year, they are still quite impressive.  This is the only viewpoint of the falls from a distance, so if you’re lucky enough to have a zoom lens, now’s your chance for a photo.

kings falls, a bushwalk on the mornington peninsula

I follow the track along the ridge-line from the lookout.  The vegetation changes considerably, as this side of the valley faces north.  It is quite dry here, and the presence of Cherry Ballart indicates the soil is quite impoverished.  In order to establish itself, it forms a symbiotic relationship with the plants around it, gaining nutrients from their tree-roots.  Apparently the wood was used by Aboriginal tribes to make spear throwers.  So if you’re in the market for one, you’ll now know what material to make it with.

The track heads into a grassy woodland.  It is dominated by Messmate Stringybark, Blackwood, Silver Banksia, and a lush covering of forest grasses.  I catch a glimpse of the valley below through the tree-line.  The white trunks of Manna Gum are almost luminous against the background of lush green foliage, glistening in the sun.  Ghost-like forms of dead trees are scattered along the ridge-line, creating screeching posts for the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo.

I arrive at the platform that overlooks Kings Falls.  Below me I can hear the sound of water tinkling, as it cascades down over a series of rock shelves.  There is little flow at this time of year, but in winter the falls are much more impressive.  The view out across the thickly treed valley is beautiful in the morning sun, and it’s hard to believe that the towns of Dromana and Rosebud lie directly behind this pocket of wildness.  My hiking partner and I have occasionally bought the Trangia stove up here with us when doing hiking training, and we sit here and boil up a cuppa and enjoy the view, and think about the ‘poor’ people at work back in the office. 🙂

kings falls in arthurs seat state park is a great bushwalk on the mornington peninsula

I drag myself away from the captivating vista, and head on.  My favourite part of the walk is ahead; my ‘sit spot’.  This is where I sit still for 20 minutes or so, and tune in to the forest frequency.  I round the bend in the track and step on to the boardwalk.  It snakes it way through a lush, fern gully heavily shaded with a forest of trees.  I find my spot on the little bridge, remove my pack, and sit down on the timber boards.

I sit still and let the silence catch up to me.  It glides smoothly in behind me, its fluidity almost tangible, and within seconds I am enclosed inside a precious bubble of stillness.  My thoughts evaporate in an effervescent burst and I feel time slipping down between the timber slats of the boardwalk beneath me.  As my awareness expands I feel as light as a sponge and my senses awaken to absorb my surroundings.

The long linear lines of Blackwood trunks rise upwards to the sky.  They fill the overhead canopy with a burst of lacy green foliage that contrasts sharply with the blue of the sky.  A huge old Messmate Stringybark dominates the space to the left of me, its gnarly weathered branches contorting outwards from the trunk as though trying to reach out and steal the forest.  Soft layers of Austral Bracken Fern tumble down the gentle slope towards me, filling in the gaps around stands of Prickly-Currant Bush and Sweet Busaria.  A tiny nest sits poised in a cascade of branchlets above me, its scale and symmetry as delicate as a miniature china tea-cup.

kings falls is a bushwalk on the mornington peninsula

A small creek cuts a hidden path through the layers of forest greenery.  its crystal clear water sneaking out into the open as it trickles over moss-covered rocks.  An ancient Tree Fern punctuates the curvaceous edge of the creek, the rigid stems of its long green fronds sticking out of its trunk like pins in a pincushion.   Lush ferns tumble over decaying logs thickly carpeted in a layer of moss and decomposing vegetation, creating a collection of forest ephemera seemingly from a pre-historic era.  The cool air emanating from this underbelly of the forest is infused with the intricate scent of a thousand tiny mysteries that have percolated down through the ages.

The forest is rife with the passing of gossip among a family of White-Browed Scrub Wrens.  Their chatter fills the forest as they flitter noisily through hidden pockets of space among the Bracken understorey.   I watch a White-Throated Treecreeper track an upward spiral around the circumference of a Narrow-Leaf Peppermint Gum, its beak tapping into the fissures in the bark with the repetition of a Woodpecker.  A Grey Fantail darts past me, a string of fluty notes left trailing in its wake.  A flock of Crimson Rosellas make an unexpected stop in the canopy above, their raucous chatter cutting through the forest as loudly as a gaggle of school girls in the back of a bus.

visit kings falls at arthurs seat state park for a bushwalk
A Grey Fantail

Beneath the layers of social chit-chat a tranquil stillness seeps out from the gaps between the foliage, as potent as the essence of life itself.  Sanctuary is offered here, in the protective arms of the forest, its embrace as soft and tender as the tightly-coiled fiddles emerging from the heart of a Tree Fern.   The golden morning light filtering through the trees throws a lacy shawl around my shoulders, and I feel myself effortlessly slipping into the timeless void of the forest.

My phone timer rudely awakens me before I am lost to the forest forever.   I throw my pack on and walk up, out of the gully and through the grassy woodland.  The track drops down to a short boardwalk that leads through a stand of Tea-Tree and Scrambling Coral Fern.

I walk through the stand of Black Sheoak near the start of the walk, and it’s done.  Another foray into the wilds is over, and I return once more to civilisation.  And to a nice hot latte made at home, with freshly ground coffee beans……mmmmm.  I can already smell it.

 

Where:  Kings Falls, Waterfall Gully Road, Arthurs Seat, in Arthurs Seat State Park.

Distance:  1 km

Time:  20 minutes, or longer if you linger!

 

 

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14 thoughts on “A Loop Around Kings Falls

    1. Thankyou Danya! Yes, you are right about the ‘Native Cherry’ and the edible red fruit. I initially had written that on the photo caption, but it didn’t display well as I think it was just too much info, so I deleted it. Probably should’ve popped it back into the post somewhere else in case people like you are interested 🙂 The seed forms on the outside of the fruit, which is the meaning behind the ‘exo’ of the genus name: ‘exocarpos’. Cheers, Leah 🙂

  1. Your descriptive writing is pure tonic. I enjoyed the ramble, especially the ‘feel’ of the soft underbelly of the forest with its’ myriad ephemera. How lovely to wear a lacy shawl of sunlight through the filtered ferns. Wonderful stuff.

    1. Thankyou for your praise! I call that my ‘inspired writing’, which is what comes to me as I sit in silence surrounded my the magic of the natural world. It is hard to duplicate when sitting at my desk in front of the computer, so I try to take notes in the midst of my wanderings or ‘sit spots’ to inspire me later on when I write up my post. It’s amazing how much is unlocked within when you immerse yourself in nature, as I’m sure you would understand. Many thanks again though, for your lovely words 🙂 Leah

  2. So I googled “kings falls circuit walk”, and this popped up on the first page about halfway down, so here I am! This walk looks lovely.

    I’m looking to walk here from Arthurs Seat along the Two Bays track next month, but the Parks Victoria maps are a bit vague, as is Google Maps. Is it well signposted? I wouldn’t want to get lost trying to find this place. If you have any tips let me know. Thanks!

    1. Hi there, glad you found my post in time to do the walk! If you are starting from Arthurs Seat, do you mean from the Lookout area? You can start from there, or from Seawinds (accessed from Purves Rd), either way it is well signposted, as it is a popular walk to do. You can also start down opposite the beach, at Anthony’s Nose (Dromana), where the Two Bays Track officially starts. There are signposts there also, on the grassy verge, and a bit of a steep walk up the hill to Latrobe Parade, where you have to walk along the road for a bit, until you reach the Bunurong Car park, cross the dirt road, and past the gate, then you’re on your way up (also well signposted al the way to the Falls).

      I hope I haven’t given you too much info, so as to confuse you? Send me any questions to clarify anything you are not sure about, but it is pretty straight forward when you actually see it. Hope you have a great time, and thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, Leah 🙂

      1. No, that’s not too much info, that’s perfect, thanks! I got as far as Latrobe Parade and the Bunurong carpark, but if it’s well signposted to Arthurs Seat and Kings Falls, I’ll be happy.

        It looks there’s isn’t a direct track to Arthurs Seat, it kinda snakes around a corner then back up, then I’d have to double back to head down to Kings Falls. Although if it’s going to be dry during summer then there might not be anything to see. I might have to make a decision when I get there.

        I’ll be staying at Sorrento beach right before Christmas, so I’m hoping it’ll be warm for a swim, but not too warm as I think I might need to pack a lot of water to reach the top.

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