Starlings Gap to New Federal Mill Return Trail

Yesterday marked the first MeetUp hike for The Hiking Society where I was fortunate enough to take eight others on a 19.5km hike through a section of The Walk Into History trail in Warburton.

This particular section involved walking through dense forest from Starlings Gap campground to New Federal Pass and back again.

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.

With a bit of rain starting to come down, we were all crossing our fingers that a light drizzle wasn’t going to turn into a complete downpour.


Given the weather we’ve had over the last couple of days, the trail itself was somewhat muddy in places. This meant concentration and balancing ourselves whilst walking on small logs was a priority in some sections, particularly when it involved avoiding sinking mud. We also had to duck under/climb over fallen down logs and branches.

But they were the least of our concerns. For those not familiar with the area, when it’s quite wet the leeches come out in force and that was certainly the case during our hike.

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. It’s an area that contains quite a bit of dense forest and quite pretty.

Another section is where you have to navigate across a 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.


The spot we stopped at for lunch – New Federal Pass – is nice and open and gave us a great opportunity to relax for a bit and stretch our legs. Whether you are doing the Walk Into History trail or visiting the nearby Ada Tree, it’s a great place to stop and take in your surroundings.

In short, this hike is a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is comfortable with hiking the distance we did. 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 out it out here.

The Stats

Length (km): 19.5kms (according to WikiLoc)
Time: 6 hours 6ms
Difficulty: Moderate
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)


Leave a Reply