Small town in the upper Yarra Valley
Warburton is a quiet, attractive and rather charming old goldmining town of some 2000 people set in a fertile green valley by the Yarra River. It is located 76 km east of Melbourne via the Warburton Highway and 159 m above sea-level.

Prior to European settlement the area was occupied by the Woiworung Aborigines. When gold was discovered in 1863, a rush ensued and a new town was laid out 2 km from the initial settlement and named after police magistrate Charles Warburton Carr. It also functioned as a service centre to goldfields further east.

With the arrival of the railway in 1901 the town became a railway terminus and the salubrious mountain air and scenic attractions began to draw Melburnians, resulting in the provision of guesthouses.

Seventh Day Adventists moved here from Melbourne in 1904. They set up a printing works in 1906, a sanatorium and hospital in 1910 and a health food factory in 1923.

Floods struck the town in 1934 causing a degree of permanent relocation .

The Seventh Day Adventists and their industries are still a strong presence in the town. A timber-milling industry has also emerged on the back of the local forests.

Swimming, fishing, bushwalking, horseriding and birdwatching are popular local pastimes and tobogganing is enjoyed on Mt Donna Buang in winter.

The Warburton River Market is held on the third Sunday of each month on the banks of the Yarra River.

Things to see:

Tourist Information
Warburton Water-Wheel Information Centre, Main St. There is an interpretive display detailing the past of this goldmining and timber region. It is currently open on weekends only and is not contactable by telephone. However, it is possible to ring the Healesville Centre which has some related information on Warburton, tel: (03) 5966 9600.


Upper Yarra Arts and Entertainment Centre
The Upper Yarra Arts and Entertainment Centre in Main St hosts art exhibitions, live shows and cinematic screenings, tel: (03) 5966 5160.

Yarra Valley Showcase
The Yarra Valley Showcase in Main St features items by local woodworkers and craftspeople. It is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from Wednesday to Monday, tel: (03) 5966 5544.

Miner's Cottage Art Gallery
The Miner's Cottage Art Gallery has a range of artworks situated in a restored miner's cottage (c.1878). It is located on the highway 5 km west of Warburton and 1 km west of Millgrove.

The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail
The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail Warburton lies at one end of the Lilydale - Warburton Rail Trail which allows you to walk or ride your bicycle or horse for 38 km along a clearly marked course following the route of the old railway line which was built in 1901 to relay local fruit, vegetables and timber to the Melbourne line (it closed in 1964).

The track can be subdivided into several sections which can be walked singly or collectively. The first section heads west to Millgrove (3.3 km).

It can be started at Warburton station (or you can, if you wish, start at East Warburton and make your way along the cycling paths, across the river and along the highway to Warburton). Beyond Warburton it passes by the gateway to Yarra Ranges National Park, Tommy Finn's Trout Farm and Mt Little Jo.

The Millgrove to Wesburn segment (1.7 km) is followed by the Wesburn to Yarra Junction section (3.4 km) which is a particularly attractive trek that crosses the Little Yarra, offering fine views over the Central Highlands and Yarra Ranges National Park. It concludes at the Yarra Junction museum , open Sundays and public holidays from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (see entry on Yarra Junction).

The Yarra Junction to Launching Place section (2.2 km) cuts back and forth across the Warburton Highway and ends at The Launching Place Hotel (parking is available between the hotel and the general store).

The Launching Place to Woori Yallock section (6.4 km) finishes at the Woori Yallock station which is in Syme Rd (close to the Warburton Highway). There are parking and picnic facilities. The next portion, from Woori Yallock to Killara (4 km), terminates at Killara station in Sunnyside Road. There is a carpark and a picnic area with horse facilities. The Killara to Seville section (3.2 km) is followed by the Seville to Wandin section (3.4 km) which concludes at the Wandin station, near the Warburton Highway. There is a carpark and picnic area adjacent.

The Wandin to Mt Evelyn walk (5.4 km), passes through some damp fern gullies and remnant bushland. It ends at the former Mt Evelyn station (now restored and used as a library) where there is an adjacent picnic area.

The final section (5 km) is from Mt Evelyn to Lilydale. It passes through an area rich in fauna (such as kangaroos and birds) and springtime wildflowers and terminates at the corner of the Maroondah Highway and Queens Road.

For a map ring the Yarra Ranges Shire (tel: 1300 368 333). If you require more details ring (03) 5964 4842. Bicycle Victoria can be contacted on (03) 9328 3000.

Walking Tracks
There are a very large number of outstanding forest walks which radiate outwards from the town into the forests of mountain ash (the second-largest tree species in the world). Many are scenic and take in sites associated with the goldmining and timbergetting which have been the economic backbone of the district. Some are outlined in the pamphlets 'Golden Views 1' and 'Golden Views 2', available from the town's information centre. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment also puts out a number of brochures outlining other walks, notably 'Yarra State Forest Walks and Drives', tel: (03) 5966 7203. Only some of the walks are dealt with below.

Many of the trails follow the old timber tramways which were built to convey timber from the forests to bush sawmills. They often followed rivers as the gradient tended to be more even there. Intricate trestle bridges associated with the tramways remain at river crossings, as do some tunnels which were blasted through hills when the gradient was too steep.

Horsepower was the mode of haulage until steam-powered locomotives arrived in 1913 and motor locomotives in the 1930s. A major forest fire in 1939 destroyed a good deal of the track system and many sawmills but by that time road transport was in the ascendency and the tramway were not used beyond the 1940s.

The sleepers and rails were made of local timber although steel rails were used on the busier sections and eventually on all lines where locomotives were introduced. The trees were cut with axes and cross-cut saws. The logs were prepared then relayed to the landings beside the tramway by big steam winches beside the track. Placed on carriages they were taken to bush sawmills then along the tramway to the main rail lines at Powelltown or Warburton.

The Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 devastated the area, particularly at High Lead and The Bump.

La-La Falls
To access the picturesque La-La Falls, follow the signs from Park Rd (opposite the Sanitarium Factory) along Old Warburton Rd to the start of the track on Irruka Rd (about 1 km from Warburton). It is a 3.2-km return walk through ferny glades and tall mountain ash forest.

Big Pats
Two lengthy trails lie a short distance from the East Warburton bridge. On the eastern side of the bridge turn right into Riverside Drive. After 500 metres there is a left turn into Big Pats Creek Rd. After about 2 km you will come to a tiny settlement and, to the left, a picnic area beside Big Pats Creek, named after a local goldminer of old.

This treed area has barbecue facilities and is the starting point of the Walk Into History, the Upper Yarra Track and Richards Tramline.

Richards Tramline
Richards Tramline (7-km one way) heads east from Big Pats to Braham Rd passing through the Mississippi Creek Valley.

The Walk Into History and Optional Extras
This 33-km, two-day walk passes through some well-preserved sections of the historic timber tramline, past old mills and other relics of the early timber industry, to Powelltown. A map of the area is essential and there are some creek crossings.

The first section (9 km) follows the ascent of the Federal tramway, built in 1933, from Big Pats Recreation Area to Starlings Gap. The bush workers used to walk this section on Sunday evenings so as to be ready for work at Starlings Gap on Monday morning. Some ran back to Big Pats Creek on a Saturday for the football match. The two sawdust heaps along the route mark the sites of two sawmills. Starlings Gap is a good place to rest or camp overnight (there are fireplaces, toilets and tables).

The next section (8.8 km) passes through the Ada River Valley. 7.5 km along this route is a tramway junction which presents three choices: (a) head north to the New Ada Mill (2.8 km return) (b) head east to the Federal Mill (4.3 km return) or (c) continue south along the Walk Into History to the Ada No.2 mill, cross the Ada River and ascend to Doweys Spur Rd.

The third section (4.6 km) ascends to Doweys Spur where a winch once hauled the log bogies to the summit. The track then drops 415 m in altitude over a distance of 1600 m on what is known as High Lead. At the bottom of the decline it follows Big Creek (note the myrtle beeches) south-east for 1.4 km. An option at this point is to watch for the sign which indicates the start of the Latrobe River Walk (8 km return) which follows the tramway eastwards along the Latrobe River to the Latrobe River Camping Area where an overnight stay is a possibility.

If, instead, you wish to follow the main track, cross the Latrobe River and follow it southwards for 1 km to the High Lead carpark on the Powelltown-Noojee Rd. The sawdust heap is the only remnant of the community of Nayook West which consisted of 150 people in the 1920s.

From the High Lead carpark it is 4.2 km along the Latrobe River to The Bump, a ridge which separates the Latrobe River Valley from the Little Yarra River Valley. As the gradient was so steep a winch was originally placed atop the ridge to haul the log bogies up and down the highest point. In 1925 a 313-metre tunnel was blasted through The Bump. It was sealed for safety in World War II though the entrances are still visible.

The last section is a leisurely 6.3-km walk west along the Little Yarra River to Powelltown.

Ada Tree Circuit
The highlight of this stroll through myrtle beech rainforest is the Ada Tree (an ancient mountain ash) which is one of the largest known flowering trees in the world. Thought to be over 300 years old it is 76 m tall with a circumference of 15 m. There are two ways to approach this track. If you have taken the detour off the Walk Into History (see previous entry) to the Federal Mill, you need only continue eastwards along Federal Rd where the Ada Tree walk heads off to the left.

Alternatively, you can start from the carpark and picnic area on Ada River Rd (12 km north of the Powelltown-Noojee Rd). From the carpark follow Island Creek to the tree and loop back via Federal Rd (3.6 km return).

The Upper Yarra Walking Track
If you have followed the Walk into History from Big Pats past the Federal Mill to the Ada River Rd carpark, you have embarked on the first stage of the 81-km Upper Yarra Walking Track, which follows the Ada River Rd northwards a short distance from the picnic area before heading east again to Baw Baw National Park (there joining up with the Alpine Walking Track, allowing you to walk right through to Canberra).

Acheron Way
The highly scenic Acheron Way (36 km) starts 1 km east of Warburton and heads north to St Fillans on the Maroondah Highway near Marysville. The densely forested, mountainous route offers views of Mt Victoria, Ben Cairn and Mt Donna Buang.

Cement Creek
8 km north along Acheron Way, at the intersection with Donna Buang Rd, is a spot known as Cement Creek where there is a rainforest walk.

In February 1999 the Aerial Sky Walk will open at Cement Creek. This raised platform will allow visitors to walk, at an elevation of some 30 metres, through the canopy of a forest which consists of two-to-three-hundred-year-old trees.

Mount Donna Buang Scenic Reserve
If you turn left at Cement Creek onto Donna Buang Rd it will lead you to Mt Donna Buang (1250 m). The closest snowfield to the state capital, it is a popular day-trip destination with Melburnians. The main activities are tobogganing and sightseeing (there is a lookout tower with excellent views of the Yarra Valley, the Dandenongs, the Cathedral Ranges, Mt Buller, Mt Baw Baw and Melbourne). Accommodation and toboggans are available at Warburton though they can also be hired from the mountain. In summer there are lookouts, walks and wildflowers aplenty. There is no public transport to the site. The cost, in winter, is $5 per car per day. Ring the Department of Natural Resources and Environment at Woori Yallock for further information and reports on snow conditions, tel: (03) 5964 7088.

Barbecue facilities, toilets and parking are available at the summit and Ten Mile Turntable. A 1.2-km walk joins these two points. There is also a 3-km walk to Cement Creek which partially follows an old timber tramway parallel to Cement Creek. Another 7-km walk follows the ridgeline through some lovely myrtle beech groves and mountain ash forest to Acheron Gap.

Ben Cairn
At Mt Donna Buang the Healesville Rd (or Ben Cairn Rd) branches westwards. After about 7 km it passes a small carpark which is the start of an 800-m walk to Ben Cairn (1041 m) from whence there are outstanding views.

Mt Victoria Walk
A very steep and rather slippery 7-km walking trail leads from a point just east of the Warburton Golf Club to Mt Victoria (1106 m above sea-level).

Little Peninsula Tunnel Picnic Ground, Big Peninsula and Upper Yarra Goldfield Walk
About 14 km east of Warburton on the Upper Yarra Reservoir Rd there is a signposted turnoff to the Little Peninsula Tunnel Picnic Ground. There are barbecue facilities and a short walk to the Little Peninsula Tunnel which was created to alter the course of the river in the goldmining era so that the prospectors could scour the river bed. The Big Peninsula is about 3 km further along the road.

The Upper Yarra Goldfield Walk to McMahons Creek (12 km) is a loop track which passes some remnants of 19th-century goldmining activities, including the tunnel, some water races, open-cut mines, mine shafts and small dams. The track starts a short distance west of Big Bills Creek on Peninsula Rd where parking is available.

Upper Yarra Reservoir Park
The Upper Yarra Reservoir is located 25 km north-east of Warburton in Yarra Ranges National Park. It is located in the Yarra Ranges National Park. 1 km inside the park boundary is a Parks Victoria office which can furnish you with information relating to the area's walking tracks, such as the short Fern Gully Trail. There is also an excellent lookout and a five-star camping ground, tel: (03) 5968 8566. There is no boating on the lake.

Just before the turnoff into the park is the old gold town of Reefton, which has a small country pub established in 1886.

Brahams Creek Winery
The Brahams Creek Winery, established in 1991, is open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily. It produces cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc and is located in Woods Point Rd at East Warburton, tel: (03) 9560 0016.

Warburton Forest Drive
The Warburton Forest Drive (47 km), outlined in the pamphlet 'Yarra State Forest Walks and Drives' starts at the Information Centre and covers some sites already mentioned in the walks above. Follow the highway east, turn right into Kellys Rd just before the bridge over the Yarra River, following Riverside Drive. Turn right into Big Pats Creek Rd then continue south on Smyth Creek Rd to Starlings Gap. From here you can head east along Big Creek Rd then turn right into Ada River Rd, past the start of the Ada Tree Circuit Walk. Alternatively, from Starlings Gap, continue on a short distance then turn right into Blacksands Rd, turn right up Mt Bride Rd then right into Brittania Creek Rd which follows an old tramway past Brittania Creek Falls (the 'Brittania' was a small shack wherein a former midshipman sold liquor in the gold days). Brittania Creek Falls Rd continues on to the Warburton Highway. Turn right back to town.

Yarra Valley Winery Tours offer personalised tours for travellers, social, business and conference groups which include lunch, wine tastings at Yarra Valley wineries, a pick-up and return service and an on-board tour host, tel: (03) 5962 3870. The area's natural attractions are explored by Eco Adventure Tours, tel: (03) 5962 5115. Ballooning over the valley is conducted by Go Wild Ballooning (tel: 03 9890 0339) and Balloon Aloft, tel: 1800 028 568.

Warburton Water Wheel and Visitor Centre
3400 Warburton Highway
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 9600
Facsimile: (03) 5962 2040

Warburton Lodge
18 Park Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 2037
Rating: ***

Warburton Motel
Donna Buang Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 2059
Rating: ***1/2

Alpine Retreat Hotel
Main St
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 2411

Magnolia Country Retreat Bed & Breakfast
33 Blackwood Ave
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 9469
Rating: ****

Warburton Health Resort
Donna Buang Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5954 7000 1800 644 466
Rating: ****

St Lawrence Bed & Breakfast
11 Richards Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 5649
Facsimile: (03) 5966 5649

Forget Me Not Cottage
18 Brett Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 5805
Rating: ****

Hazelwood Cottage
Hazelwood Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 9882 1760 or (03) 5966 9517
Rating: ***

Yumbara Mountain Retreat Cottage
245 Hazelwood Rd P.O. Box 167
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 5315
Rating: ****

Arrabri Lodge
Woods Point Rd P.O. Box 21
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 2202
Rating: ****

Warburton Caravan & Camping Park
30 Woods Point Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 2277
Rating: **

Talhof Restaurant
Herbert Ave
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 9699

The Beach Bar & Grill
Main Rd
Warburton VIC 3799
Telephone: (03) 5966 2071