Just under an hour’s drive southwest from Melbourne, Werribee Gorge is around a 10 kilometre circuit trail of steep and rocky spurs. The circuit hike will take around four hours to complete if you are of reasonable fitness, but be aware the trail is graded medium to hard and it can be very difficult underfoot in spots.
The circuit commences from the Falcons Lookout Carpark and descends gradually from the ridge down to the Western Bluff. From here it is a steep decline into the gorge before climbing up to the summit of Pyramid Rock. You will be rewarded with the stunning vista below you of the Werribee Gorge and River, as well as the plains of Bacchus Marsh and Centenary Hill at the end of the gorge.
From Pyramid Rock you descend back into the gorge and follow the river across to Needles Beach. This is possibly the most challenging part of the trail, navigating over the rocks beside the river. With its sandy beach surrounded by rugged rock faces, which I find as entertaining to find images in as cloud gazing can be, Needles is a real oasis. If you are hiking during the warmer months it wouldn’t be a bad idea to throw your bathers into your day pack and enjoy a refreshing dip in the water.
Leaving Needles Beach you will ascend back up over a spur while walking along the trail with craggy rock walls rising to the left of you with many small caves dotted in amongst the rocks. If you have a fanciful imagination you may get the feeling that unseen eyes are following your progress along the track.
After traversing a narrow ridge and saddle you can then follow the Ironbark Gorge Track to return you to the start at the Falcons Lookout carpark.