A very scenic bush-track links Seawinds Gardens to Kings Falls. If you’re looking to do a slightly longer ‘short’ walk in Arthurs Seat, that takes in a diverse range of scenery and wildlife, then this walk is a great option. Starting at Seawinds Gardens, the track winds its way through the forest, across a ridgeline with views across Port Phillip Bay, and over to Kings Falls. At 3.4 km each way, it’s a nice walk to fit in on a sunny morning, or afternoon, or, on your next weekend off.
I f you read my previous posts on Seawinds Gardens and the Kings Falls Loop, you’ll know I mentioned I’d do a post on the track that links the two together, and here it is. This is my regular walk (no concrete footpaths for me), and if I do the Kings Falls Loop as well, it adds up to a 7.8 km round trip.
The track is well sign-posted from the start, at Seawinds Gardens. I head down the gravel pathway and pass a dam that sits nestled in a ring of bull rushes, in a revegetated paddock. It is in this area that I often see the Lowlands Copperhead snake, when the days are warmer, and they come out on the track to sunbake. Unlike many people, I have a weird fascination for them, as well as a healthy respect, and always hope to catch a glimpse of one. They are one of Victoria’s deadly snakes and have the ability to inflict a bite that could be potentially fatal, however, they are not particularly aggressive, and bites are uncommon.
Just past the dam, the Two Bays Walking Track swings in from the right. So that’s now the official name of this section of the walk, right up to the Kings Falls turn-off. The Two Bays Walking Track connects Dromana foreshore to Cape Schanck, over a distance of 26 km. From the junction, the track begins to gently descend into the forest. Crushed leaves from the Narrow-Leaved Peppermint Gum exude an instantly clarifying scent, as I tramp over them with my feet.
The overcast sky stretches out like a thick blanket above the forest. It seemingly lowers the roofline to just above the tree canopy. I get the distinct impression that if I could elevate myself to the height of the tallest branch, I could extend an outstretched hand and touch the sky with my fingertips. A soft breath of wind tussles the leaves high above me, but around me all is still.
In late Summer along this section of the track, waves of butterflies rise up before me, peeling themselves off the grassy verge to flutter around me like soft petals dancing in the breeze.
The track gradually weaves its way downhill. Beside me, the land rolls in soft contours from from east to west, and merges in the centre creating a lowlands, filled with a confluence of plant life. It’s a convergence of two vegetation communities that have blended together to form a species-rich gully woodland, with a mystical charm. It is primitive, wild and untamed, and is saturated with a feast of forest greenery. I feel as though I am gazing inside a church when I look into the depths of this pocket of forest.
Prickly currant-bush fall over themself in their quest to guard this sanctuary. Their long skinny branches are covered in needle-like spikes. Tiny succulent red berries clutch tightly to their twig-thin branchlets, glistening like miniature baubles adorning a Christmas tree. These berries are edible; sweet tasting and very high in vitamin C. (I could say that I have tasted them, but you’re not supposed to, are you? Not in a flora reserve. So I won’t say that I have tasted them).
I go off the track and head down into the gully. I know. You’re not supposed to go off the track. But I had to answer a call of nature, so I had no choice, other than to go off the track. I’m sort of glad I did such a naughty thing though, because the gully is beautiful. Old and ancient, and seemingly untouched, it is overgrown to the extreme. Dripping in mosses, and with fungi clinging to the trees like fairies’ tables, it looks like a scene from Avatar.
It reminds me of a passage from a book on the history of Dromana, that describes the area as follows;
“….and the sides of the mountain are, here and there, hollowed out into deep and abrupt chasms or gullies, as if dragons had been through them.”
So I get back on the track that follows alongside that beautiful gully. Then the path takes me away from it, and out into more open scrubland. I see glimpses of Port Phillip Bay as the track breaks out onto a ridge-line, and huge container ships are entering and leaving through The Heads. If I stand in the right spot and obscure the houses in the foreground, I can imagine how this scene would have looked back in 1802, when this area was first traversed by Mathew Flinders.
Grasses and rushes cover the forest floor along the track verge. Kangaroo Grass, Wallaby Grass and Spiny-headed Mat Rush fill in pockets of space beneath the Manna and Peppermint Gums. Their heads wave gently in breeze. In Spring and early Summer, lots of beautiful flowers can be found popping their heads out from the thicket of grass cover.
I spot an Echidna foraging in the undergrowth. When he sees me, he curls up tightly in a ball so that I can’t see his cute little face. We stay there in checkmate for 10 minutes, before I give up and move on.
I walk uphill, along a section of the track that seems intent on going up indefinitely. As I reach the ‘summit’, I come face to face with a group of Kangaroos, grazing and lazing in the morning sun.
This is the crossroads; the Two Bays Walking Track continues to the right, Seamist Drive to the left, but I go sort of straight ahead, to Kings Falls (800m). Looking across the plateau, there are more views of Port Phillip Bay, then I’m back into the forest. A Swamp Wallaby takes off from statue-still to break-neck speed, giving me a heart attack.
I spy my two feathered friends; ‘Ninox’ and ‘Novae’ I have named them, after their scientific name of Ninox novaeseelandiae. They are the Southern Boobook Owl; described in my birdie-book as Australia’s most common owl. I dislike the word common, as it seems to suggest to me that the thing in question has some sort of lesser importance than something that is not described as common. Common or not, these owls are way cute!
The track begins to descend as it heads closer to the falls, and soon after, I reach the far end of the Kings Falls Circuit. So now there are two choices; do the 1km circuit, then head back the way you came, or walk 50 metres to the viewing platform for a view and a break, then turn back the way you came.
Distance: 3.4 km each way. Add another 1km if you do the Kings Falls Loop as well.
Time: Allow 40 mins each way (minimum), and another 20 mins for Kings Falls Loop, if you decide to do that too.