Located in the dense forest sections of Warburton, the Starlings Gap to New Federal Mill trail is a 19.5km return hike that comes with everything.
Starting from Starlings Gap – a fantastic little campground – the trail to New Federal Mill is typical of what you would find in this part of Warburton – dense forest, mud, leeches, and more dense forest.
Starlings Gap campground is a nice little place for thru-hikers or those who are car camping.
It has plenty of space for tents, a few small picnic table, and a drop toilet – literally everything you could ever need!
As mentioned before, you’re going to come across leeches during this hike.
Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable given the terrain.
My advice to anyone doing this hike, or any section of the Walking Into History trail, is to cover up as much as you possibly can.
You will get leeches on your pants and shoes but there’s nothing worse than when they latch on to your skin.
While the trail itself is relatively flat in sections, there are some uphill and downhill sections that add a little variation to the hike.
There is one section where you walk across a boardwalk to get to the other side of the trail and is located in the densest section of the forest.
Another section is where you have to navigate across a narrow section of the Ada River by walking across some stepping stones.
It certainly makes a nice change from what you usually find on the trail, and finding the best way across the stream is a bit of fun.
A short while later you will finally arrive at New Federal Mill which is an excellent place to stop and have lunch.
It’s also the halfway mark of your hike.
From here, and if you have the time, you can also follow the signs and wander over to the Ada Tree which is considered one of Victoria’s largest living trees and is estimated to be over 300-years old.
In short, this hike is a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is comfortable with hiking almost 20 kilometres in one day.
Please ensure you take all the necessary precautions to prevent the leeches latching onto you as you will find yourself spending quite a bit of time swatting them away from your legs.
As always, if you would like to do this trail sometime, check it out via WikiLoc here
The Stats – Starlings Gap to New Federal Mill Return Trail
Length (km): 19.5kms (according to WikiLoc)
Time: 6 hours 6ms
Pace and Average Speed: 18:44 min/km and 3.20 km/h
Return/Circuit/One Way: Circuit
Location: Yarra State Forest, Warburton
Maximum elevation: 768m (according to WikiLoc)
Accumulative elevation uphill: 568m (according to WikiLoc)