Keppel Lookout Trail, Marysville

I was going to call this post, ‘Keppel Lookout and Steavenson Falls’, but you’ve had enough of the waterfall name in the last entry. Instead, I’ve gone for the official name of the track, which has been rejigged since the 2009 bushfires.

Actually, when I did this walk, it was my first visit to Marysville since those fires. I’d been meaning to get over there at some point, but you already know the reason why. I’m out west of Melbourne and the drive to the east is a bit of a drainer. I made it eventually, but before I get into the saga, I guess I should bring you up to date? Why did I ask a question then, as you really have no choice. Do you?

As you know, I switched to WordPress and have being diligently updating the photos from old entries. It may have been a good idea at the time, but I forget how much crap is in this blog. You’ll be pleased to know I’ve re-done 5000 photos so far. 5000? Yes, I’m not joking. I know I’m not, as my hands are aware of the task. They’re starting to restrict themselves into a craw-like shape, due to a combination of RSI and osteoarthritis.

Anyway, I’m getting there and as you can see on the home page, I’ve got a half-baked page number thing happening at the bottom. Oh, I call them page numbers, but apparently their correct title is pagination. Huh? Putting aside semantics, I’ve reached page 38 and if there are only 61 pages, then surely I’m on the downhill stretch? Almost.

It’s been an interesting exercise, as I’ve tracked the changes in writing over the past five years. As a result, I’ve come up with the following observations.

1. I appear to be permanently pissed off. Is this correct? Well, you would be to if you were a policeman for 26 years. I’ve got the material for a book, but unfortunately due to privacy, it’ll never be published.

2. Over the years, I learned one thing about grammar. The word ‘that’ is usually redundant. Once it was brought to my attention by an editor, I suddenly saw what they meant. In over half the cases where I used ‘that’, removing it made no difference to the meaning of a sentence. Oh, it’s not just me. I see it everywhere now, online and in newspapers. Try it out. Ditch your ‘that’s’ and see what it does. In the blog updating process, I reckon I’ve got rid of about a 1000.

3. Heading back in blog-time, I’ve reached the posts from 2011 and one thing stands out. I think I was insane for those 12 months. I’ve been re-tweaking old entries as I go, but I’m rapidly closing in on the Hanging Rock post. I’ve no idea what was going on with that one, but it appears I was bonkers when I wrote it. My sneaking suspicion is it was due to regular abuse of prescription medication that year. Ben used to say I wrote better back in the days when I was off my rocker. It makes me wonder why no one reads the old stuff from those days, as it was a lot more entertaining than this crap.

4. I think I’ve been injured or crook for about four years straight. Is this even possible? I think the last time I was flying was in 2009. Maybe I’ll have to revisit the excess use of prescription chemicals, as I think they were a winner.

5. Just a WordPress observation. The business with image uploading is full of contradictions. For the life of me, I can’t understand why a portrait/vertical photo should be so different in display, compared to a horizontal image. Literally, a vertical image takes up a ton more space than it should. It’s almost deformed. I’ve got one in this post, which I put in as an example really. You know what? Googling the answer does nothing, as there are variations with different themes. If anything does my head in regarding WP, it’s the image display.

Is that it? There’s more, but I’ve forgotten. Maybe it’ll come back to me later. I suppose I should get onto the walk?

As I mentioned, I hadn’t been to Marysville since the fires and it was an interesting experience. The same inferno also hit Kinglake and it’s a different feel up there. Less people and a bit more of a spooky feeling when wandering around. Marysville though, was packed on the two times I’ve been back there. It really does draw a crowd on the weekends and I was struggling to find a park on the warmish day when I arrived.

Upon arriving, I had two imperative tasks. Firstly to buy a Cornish pasty at the bakery and secondly, to get a map, as I had no idea what I was supposed to be walking. I knew I wanted to go up to Keppel Lookout, but stuffed if I knew how to get there. How did I go?

Well, the bakery-crawl was a complete disaster. No pasties? In the whole of Marysville? I was stunned and left to rue missing out on something high in fat and the off-cuts of some sort of animal. Road kill possibly.

Next up. The map. I hit the Marysville Lake Mountain Visitor Information Centre (what a mouthful. I’m only writing that once) and found what I was after. A little fold-out number called ‘Marysville Trails’. It was marked as costing $1.00 and this little sticker produced an interesting conversation with the bloke at the front counter. I stood in front of him with map in one hand and a dollar coin in the other.

The usual method would be he’d take the money and I’d walk away with my product. Not in this joint though. He looked at me and said, “What are you doing?

It was a strange question and it threw me a little, so all I could come back with is, “I want to buy the map.”

His next response didn’t reduce my perplexion. “What for though?”

I was struggling for an answer now. Why? What does he mean ‘what for’? Surely it’s to use for a walk? Is that what he’s on about? I thought I’d fast-track this half-baked conversation by pointing to the sticker and saying, “It says a dollar and I want to buy it.”

His eyes locked onto my pointing finger and then said, “Oh. I thought those were free. I’ve just been giving them to people.”

Now it was starting to make sense, so I came back with, “Okay then. I guess you’ll just let me have it?”

It was never going to be the case though, was it? He replied, “No, seeing how you’re here and have the right money, I’ll take it.”

So there you go. I may be the only person who’s spent a dollar on the new walking map for Marysville.

Anyway, I had the map and found the walk in question. Keppel Lookout Trail, Marysville is roughly 15 km in length and after an uphill jaunt, it wanders back down via Steavenson Falls. The official start is on Falls Road, but I was going for a longer option by starting from the Information Centre.

Have you enjoyed this extended run without photos? I’m aiming to write more in future, so it’s a work in progress.

Walking-wise, I kitted up in the carpark and headed off onto Tree Fern Gully Trail. It’s an extremely casual opening, as I passed a manicured lake.


Then again, the entire walk is pretty casual track-wise. I’d soon zipped up to Falls Road and now began the climb to Keppel Lookout.


Mind you, I was generally dying though. This isn’t unusual, as I tend to be out of breath whenever I move. You should see me after going to the letterbox. I’m knackered and if there’s no mail, then I’m cursing as it’s been a wasted trip.

On the track, I guess there was another reason I was slipping into locomotive mode. It was quite warm and there was no shade anywhere. I guess it’s the standard vegetation of place which had been burnt. Plenty of trees, reaching up the sky, but providing no shade. All the thick regrowth is still at a low level, so heat relief was few and far between. Look, I’ll show you what I mean.


I was surprised to see some tall ferns. I guess they survived the blaze or is five years enough for them to regenerate a bit of height? I’ve no idea.


There’s a bit of sameness to the pictures along here. Generally, I was lured by the brilliant blue sky, so all I had up my sleeve was the traditional lean back, until the back of the neck touches my heels and then take the trees heading upwards photo. It’s an old classic.


I began passing a few people coming the other way and it struck me how refreshed they looked. One couple weren’t even carrying water and they appeared to have just stepped out of a car. No sweat or anything. I was surprised by this, as I was the complete opposite. My face was as red as an over-ripened tomato (in colour, not in characteristics) and my breathing would have been heard in a five kilometre radius. In fact, I’m surprised the vegetation around me wasn’t swaying, due to my excessive inhalation technique, as I sucked in air like a vacuum cleaner.

I was getting there though, but an ugly looking hill appeared in my vision and I remember thinking, ‘Ha! That hill sucks! It’s so steep! I’d hate to climb that one!’ Except I was, as it was Keppel Lookout.


I then began a bit of a zig-zagging climb, where the more I climbed, the more I sweated. At one point I thought I’d wash away in my own juices, as the bushfire regrowth closed in on all sides and it felt like I was wearing a wetsuit in a heated, cotton wool ball factory.

The higher I got though, I began to hear voices and assumed it was walkers coming from the other direction. Alas, no one appeared though, leaving me a little confused. I hadn’t gone nuts though, as the mystery people were soon revealed when I exited the bush track and arrived at a full blown, hurricane proof Keppel Lookout.

Who were these people I heard? Oh, they were there alright, but most were wearing thongs and shorts, as little did I know, there was a carpark right next to the lookout. Another lesson learned. I thought it was a lookout which could only be reached by walking? No, of course not. I wondered why I’d risked a heart attack when I could have driven.

Anyway, the large, timber platform was busy with people, so I flaked out on a nearby seat and considered whether to drink all the water I had, or save some for the walks continuation.

As it was, instead of drinking my three litres in a hydration bag, it appeared I’d just poured it over myself. Just for kicks. The reason why, is when the lookout cleared, I stood up and looked at the seat I’d collapsed onto. A large, wet patch was left on the timber. Yes, it was a combination of booty, balls and brain sweat (BBB). You thought I’d include bladder, didn’t you? No, rest assured I hadn’t pissed myself.


The Three B’s.

Anyway, it’s not a bad lookout. Quite solid…


…with a nice view out to the Cathedral Ranges.


Actually, I reckon the casual walkers I’d seen earlier had been dropped off at the lookout and had only spent their time walking downhill. Either that, or they were a billion (Yes, one billion) times fitter than me.

Once the lookout was done, all I had to do was head downhill with my next port of call being Steavenson Falls. Heading off, it was easy wandering. This lizard caught my eye…


…and unfortunately a series of lyrebird feathers. I’ve a hunch the owner of this lyrebird hadn’t decided to ditch all their feathers at once, but instead had been mauled at some point.


Moving on, there were some good views from the track, although a little sobering, with evidence of the fires visible for miles.


It wasn’t long though before I was rapidly closing in on Steavenson Falls. Yes, the waterfall which still trips me up when I go to write it, with the random ‘a’ in the middle.

Upon reaching it, there’s not much to say. It looked great, but the photos I took were average, which explains why I went back there for another shoot. Hence the previous post. The photos in the last entry were meant to be in this one and I was going to make out I took them all on the one trip, but it did my head in trying put it all together.

Anyway, besides the waterfall, another highlight was almost having a head on with a bloke on the downhill track. Best of all, he had no shirt on and he was considerably chunky. In fact his freestyle bouncing man-cans were show stoppers. I don’t think I’ve seen so much heaving flesh on a chest since the last Russ Meyer movie I watched.

Reaching the bottom, I took a few photos, which you won’t see. What I will do is include one from the second trip and make out I took it on the first visit. Here’s Steavenson Falls after I’d descended from Keppel Lookout.


There was one more part to this waterfall trip. Pre-fires, years ago I’d been to this spot and remembered seeing a memorial plaque to a group of people who were killed by a falling tree in the 1960’s. I thought it was interesting and when I was working, one of the blokes there said he was going to Marysville for a few days. No worries, so I told him about the plaque and he said he’d have a look.

Guess what? He came back and told me there was no such thing. I told him where it was in those days, out near the waterfall and he said, “Nope. There’s nothing there and I’ve looked online. It didn’t happen, so you must be thinking of somewhere else”.

What? With that, I wondered if I did see it in another spot. Time and time again, I fall for the same old saga. He sounded so confident, then surely he can’t be wrong? Yeah, right. I hope he reads this post.


By now it was getting late. The long drive, failed Cornish pasty mission, the map discussion, it all added up to sucking out the time from the day. It was time to head back to the car.


Light was fading fast as I rejoined the Tree Fern Gully Trail, but the dimming conditions were handy for photography.


Including the red glow of the sun, as it set behind the trees.


When I passed the small lake again, it was duck-arama. A large horde sat huddled up on the bank. I’d have had a better picture, but it was almost night when I took this.


Then, before I knew it, I was back at the car with the walk finally done. It was a good one as well and perusing the GPS, it was a tick over 15 km in length. That’s more than enough for me on a day walk.

I noticed on my one dollar map, there are a number of other jaunts around Marysville, but most are short. Maybe it would make sense to stay there for a couple of days and do them that way, otherwise the drive will send me insane.

What’s next? No idea. I’m still updating old posts and like I said earlier, I have to tackle the Hanging Rock one. It will either be a complete re-write or something. What the something is, I’ve no idea right now.

This post is 2550 words. Damn. How am I going to get to the magic 5000 word entry? I’m going to have to pull my finger out…