Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Winter ramble - Exploring Galada Tamboore grasslands in Campbellfield

Merri Creek Gorge - Galada Tamboore Grasslands, Campbellfield

Sunny winter good to spend inside. Stop reading the latest scientific reports on accelerating climate change, or arguments over the carbon tax. Quickly hang up the washing and it was time to head out exploring the bike paths of Melbourne's northern suburbs and the magic of Merri Creek. I wanted to visit the Galada Tamboore grasslands up in Campbellfield.

I chose to ride up the Merri Creek through Fawkner. Some beautiful vistas of sunlight dancing on the creek (photo) or reflections of trees (photo) and reeds in still pools (photo).

So at the top end of Fawkner I turned right onto the Western Ring Road Path and then a sharp left after coming over the pedestrian bridge (photo) over the western ring road. Now I was on the Galada Tamboore pathway which follows the Hume Freeway up to Caigieburn.

The grasslands next to the bike path in Lalor often have kangaroos grazing. Occasionally they get lost amoung the residential streets and houses I have been told. But today I didn't see any. Most of the path uses the more traditional trowel-line across the path which produces an annoying thump, thump as you ride over the concrete seams. Towards Craigieburn the contractor changed to using the sawcut seam, after feedback from Bicycle Victoria which provides a much smotther ride. Pity it wasn't done to standard much sooner!

I was only going as far as the Whittlesea Gardens Footbridge - a rustic red coloured footbridge that spans the Hume Freeway in one 65 metre curved arch. Standing in the middle of the footbridge gives you sweeping views through slits south over the freeway to the city skyline (photo) and looking north you can see Mount Ridley at Craigieburn and the foothills of the Great Dividing Range (photo).

Galada Tamboore Grasslands

Descending the western side of the footbridge the path turns into a muddy unsealed track. It appears to meander through the grasslands going nowhere.

Past a burnt out sedan (photo) sitting amid the dry grass, and then you see a concrete path descending on the other side of the creek. A little bit further and I realise the muddy track meets a concrete path which descends into the creek valley and across a new bridge over the Merri Creek. The path winds up to Merri Concourse in Campbellfield, and also continues south along the western bank of the Merri Creek.

I didn't see any critically endangered Golden Sun Moth, but I saw some bees busy at work in the winter sunshine at the side of the path (photo).

The path here gets few visitors - some factory workers from the industrial warehouses and factories on Merri Concourse and Barry Road out for a lunchtime walk (photo). A jogger probably from a home in the area.

Riding south I have sweeping views (photo) over the Merri Creek and the Galada Tamboore grasslands up to the Hume Freeway on the Horizon to the east. I look down into the Merri Creek Gorge (photo), which is of some importance due to its geological and geomorphological features. To the south I see the Melbourne skyline. The path stops at Somerset Road.

A pity. It just needs just over a kilomtre of path from Somerset Road along Merri Creek past the Council tip and Broadmeadows Motor Cycle Park to connect up through Pipeworks Market then the path under Mahoneys road to meet the Western Ring Road Path at Fawkner. A missing link which Hume Council needs to attend to, which will enhance and extend the Merri Creek Path well up into Campbellfield.

Instead I explored some of the residential streets of Campbellfield and then down the footpath of the Hume Highway from Bolinda Road to K-Mart (no backstreets available for this block, and I sure as hell wasn't up to demanding my space on this section of the Hume Highway). After K-Mart I rode along the strip shopping side street on Mahoney's Road to the Pedestrian crossing lights and crossed, then down Kathryn street to the pedestrian overpass over the Western Ring Road to meet the Western Ring Road Path.

Then through the backstreets of Fawkner to the Bonwick street shops where I enjoyed a coffee and a roll at the Italian Deli, before proceeding home.

Arrived home just in time to take a call from Greg Combet's office in response to an email from me raising questions on compensation and the carbon tax. But that's another story best told elsewhere....

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