GREATEST DRIVING TOURS AND HERITAGE TOWNS
MARYSVILLE - the way it was - before total devastation by bushfire on "Black Saturday" 7th February 2009. More than 170 people lost their lives in Australia's biggest natural disaster.
Here at australianplaces we hope for the rapid recovery of the region and our best wishes go to the people who survived. Marysville will never be the same.
This town review should be regarded as a legacy. Please visit the region soon - it will offer support and encouragement to the people dedicated to the rebuilding.
Marysville was established in 1863 as a stopover for diggers on the way to the goldfields at nearby Woods Point. For a long time after the gold rush died, the tall hardwood forests supported numerous sawmills around Marysville.
A few sawmills continue operating in the district, but much of the region is now protected by National and State Park reservations. The town, meanwhile, became a favourite weekend picnic spot once the Black Spur - the only route through the Great Diving Range - was sealed and private transport became more common. Some of the old guesthouses of the fifties and sixties like Marylands and Marylyn were the scene of wonderful family summer holidays.
Marysville has moved quietly with the times and is a relaxing place for a picnic in one of the town’s parks or beside mountain streams. You don’t even have to pack the hamper because the two bakeries here have a terrific array of country baked breads, pastries and pies.
The town streets are a riot of colour in Spring, when cottage gardens come alive with blossoms of dogwood, azaleas and rhododendrons. The wonderful avenue of century old oak trees in the main street form a cooling canopy in summer, and a golden display in Autumn.
There are art and craft shops worth browsing through, and it’s hard to go past a Devonshire tea with fresh-baked scones. The Old Yarra Track shop has some of the nicest country baked bread around. And if you stay later than intended, there are some good restaurants like Marylands Country House or the Cumberland.
But… choose your lunch and head down one of the forest drives for a tranquil repast with the local wildlife beneath a canopy of towering mountain ash and tall tree ferns. You can find old logging tramway trails through dense re-growth forest and fern tree glades, many the peaceful domain of walkers and horse riders. Marked trails lead to ramshackle bush timber huts, old trestle bridges, rusting log winching gear, and cool mountain streams with thundering waterfalls.
Lady Talbot Drive is a personal favourite. Get a Parks Victoria map from the information centre in town first. This unsealed track, suitable for conventional vehicles in most weather, follows the Taggerty River and winds through Marysville State Forest before entering the Yarra Ranges National Park. There are numerous places by the river for a picnic, perhaps try some trout fishing (in season, with license!).
At the Keppel Falls reserve, the waterfalls are well worth visiting, so its a good place to burn some energy on the graded walking track and enjoy the crisp mountain air. The reserve has picnic grounds with fireplaces - beware bushfire season!
Your picnic spot will almost certainly have native residents: king parrots, eastern rosellas, kookaburras, perhaps a shy lyrebird, wombats, wallabies, echidnas, bower birds, a variety of wildflowers including rare native orchids.
Steavenson Falls, the highest in Victoria, are floodlit at night courtesy of the reserve’s hydro-electric power system. An added attraction at night are the mountain brush-tail possums which may be seen on paths waiting for handouts of fruit.
Marysville is 96km east of Melbourne, an easy two-hour drive taking the Maroondah Hwy through the picturesque foothills and boutique wineries towards Healesville, over the twisting climb of the Black Spur to the Marysville turnoff north of Narbethong.
STAY THE WEEKEND AT:
Willowbank at Taggerty - a luxury B&B 20 mins north of Marysville. ph 03 5774 7503