Morley’s Walking Track – Fernshaw

morley's walking track

If there is one thing that I love when I’m out hiking, it’s a challenge; and that’s exactly what you get with the Morley’s Walking Track in Fernshaw.

Located amongst the green ferns below the Black Spur, the Morley’s Walking Track can be started from either Fernshaw or Dom Dom Saddle Picnic Ground.

For the purpose of this track report, I’ve written about it based on starting this hike from the Fernshaw Picnic Ground.

This 20km hike not only weaves its way through some incredibly nice scenery with some spectacular views, but it is also home to three fairly steep sections.

morley's walking track

To make a comparison, I would liken the steep sections of the Morley’s Walking Track to:

In short, they’re bloody steep! Especially the one that confronts you at about the 8km.

Trust me! You’ll know what I mean when you come to it. Aside from the hills, the rest of the walk really is fantastic.

There are ferns and Mountain Ash absolutely everywhere, the track is clear and well-formed and is easy to navigate.

If you have done any of the other hikes in Warburton such as Big Pats Creek to Starlings Gap Return, you’ll be aware of how dense the forest is in parts.

morley's walking track

It’s very much like that on Morley’s Walking Track where you get that sense of being surrounded by low hanging trees and branches.

And much like Warburton where the tracks are muddy and the weather is cold and wet, you might get the odd leech as well.

Once you get out of the main section of the forest at around the 8km mark, the track turns into a management vehicle track and becomes significantly wider.

To get back to Fernshaw Picnic Ground simply go back the way you came.

Apart from the challenges that the hills present on this hike, it is, in my opinion, a really good hike for a number of reasons.

morley's walking track

First of all, there are two really spacious car parks at either end of the track which can be easily accessed from Maroondah Highway.

Both picnic grounds would make for a great place to bring the kids for a run around the place and, obviously, a picnic.

Second, despite the fact that there is very little online information about the hike itself, the track is incredibly well-signed.

It’s worth noting that at about the 2-3km mark you’ll come to an open junction. Make sure you stick to the left of the wooden post and follow that path.

morley's walking track

I would probably rate Morley’s Walking Track as a Grade 4 hike due to the multiple hills you’ll have to ascend/descend across the 20kms.

By no means is it incredibly difficult, but if you struggle with hills then you may want to avoid this one.

Getting There – Morley’s Walking Track

Follow Maroondah Highway through Healesville and keep an eye out for the Fernshaw Picnic Ground on your right.

It’s located roughly 11kms outside of Healesville, with the trailhead located at the back of the picnic ground.

There’s also a toilet block and plenty of space to park.

As always, if you have the WikiLoc nav app and want to download this trek, you can do so here.

morley's walking track

The Stats – Morley’s Walking Track

Length (km): 20.04kms (according to WikiLoc)
Time: 5hrs 48mins
Moving Time: 3hr 58mins
Difficulty: Difficult (Grade 4)
Maximum Elevation: 671m
Accum. elev. uphill: 784m
Accum. elev. downhill: 784m
Return/Circuit/One Way: Return

7 Responses
  1. leonie rizzi

    Thanks John. Looks good. When i open the map i will probably see this but…where was your turn around point for half way…i am going to try and look at a circuit option.

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Leonie! Great to hear from you. Hope you’re well. I’m not sure if this can be done as a loop/circuit hike. My plan was always to walk from Fernshaw picnic ground to Dom Dom Saddle picnic ground and back. You can’t walk along the Black Spur as there is a) no path and b) it’s far too dangerous.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.


  2. leonie rizzi

    Totally agree Black Spur=danger.
    I have made a gpx map with a circuit BUT i feel it is 20+ km and without doing the circuit I have no idea what the 1km of off track actually looks like….Watts River crossing…steep cliff?? I will let you know how it turns out.

  3. Ann

    the track doesn’t seem to be maintained at all. We had to turn back 3-4km from Fernshaw because it was completely overgrown by ferns and blackberry bushes. if you want to attempt it, take long pants and a lawnmower.

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Ann,

      This is a good example of Parks Vic not being able to do everything necessary. The day we were up there must have been right after they had gone through and cut it back. Given it’s not as popular as some other hikes in the area, it would seem they don’t get out there as much.

      The 5km mark, from memory, is the start of inclines. Were you starting to head uphill when you had to turn back?

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.


    2. Gary Winter

      Gee that’s sad, we use to walk all those local tracks every 2 years with a crew with fern hooks axe and small chainsaw to keep them tracks well marked back in the day.1970s and 80s

      1. John Feeney

        Very sad, Gary. It’s a challenging hike no doubt but definitely a good one. In saying that, not many people know about it and therefore it’s probably not on Parks Victoria’s list of priorities when it comes to maintenance.

        Thanks for reading my blog though!


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