Warburton - AKA 'Warby' - Warburton Highway - Victoria
Dawn comes early but sunrise is late in Warburton. At the eastern end of the Upper Yarra Valley the intricate pattern of mountains, valleys and forests of the Great Dividing Range, sometimes mingled with cloud, diffuses the start of each new day.
A new day to seek the hidden treasures of Warburton - treasures of history - dating back to the mid 1800s when gold was found. There are still a few abandoned mine shafts about but they're hard to find. Easier to discover are two diversion tunnels on the Yarra River to the east: Little and Big Peninsulas, which left large dried sweeps of the river to search for alluvial gold.
Still loosely following the Yarra the road snakes past smaller hamlets and larger acreages, ever deeper into state forest. The family owned sawmills are now gone but timber harvesting still takes place in the warmer months as many logging access roads will testify.
McMahons Creek is home to the historic Reefton Hotel, which has witnessed so much local history, including the tragedy of the 1939 bushfires and the boom surrounding the construction of the Upper Yarra Dam.
A little further on is Reefton and the dam itself. One of Melbourne's largest water storages, its well maintained surrounds are popular with picnickers and campers alike. Cumberland Junction offers a choice between heading back via Marysville (perhaps along the magical Acheron Way) or delving deeper into wild forest toward Big River; Matlock and Woods Point.
For more information - including business and tourism guides - see the local website www.warburtoninfo.com
Located at 3476 Warburton Highway, VIC 3799. Through Warburton main street, on the right past the IGA and along from the Pharmacy.