- Distance – 8km
- Duration – 3 hours
- Grade 3
- Dogs on-lead advised
- Toilets – yes
- Get the More to Explore app to download a map of this walk. Here on iOS and here on Android.
- The walk is not well signposted. Take care and learn from our mistakes (described in detail below).
- Keeping your dog on a lead is highly recommended. A tiger snake was sunbaking on the trail when we visited in March.
How to get there
In March, we welcomed a new member of the family: Gwynnie the whippet cross. Gwynnie was rescued from regional New South Wales, and that is all we know about her. This was her first long walk with us.
Toolangi State Forest is a beautiful place appreciated by the many people who visit and important enough to have been the subject of a court case brought by the local community against VicForests, who still log here, would you believe it? We did the Myrtle Gully Circuit walk in late March at the end of a dry summer. It would probably be best in late winter when the rainforest is damp and the birds are out.
Starting at the Wirrawilla Rainforest carpark, follow the signs for the Myrtle Gully Circuit. After crossing a boardwalk, the trail climbs gently through mature rainforest with giant tree ferns and mountain ash towering above.
After about 3km, you’ll see a path into the undergrowth which leads to a little waterfall (this might be bigger in the winter months).
Eventually you’ll come to a junction with a sturdy picnic bench (pictured below, with dogs and walker). Take a right and continue through the old growth forest.
It was around here that we came across a small tiger snake sunbaking in a sunny spot on the trail. It was our first one and, not really knowing what to do, we waited for it to move… and waited. I went closer and it moved even further onto the footpath so that there was no chance of getting around it, particularly with a young and lively dog. We also shouted, which didn’t do any good at all. Just as we were about to turn around and go back the way we came, I stamped hard on the ground. That did the trick and the snake slithered off into the undergrowth.
After waiting a lot longer than we needed to in case the tiger snake was tricking us, we continued along the Myrtle Gully Circuit. The undergrowth gets denser as you descend, and the lack of light made it more difficult for us to spot what we now believed were literally thousands of snakes waiting to strike at us from the undergrowth. There were a number of side trails as well – and no waymarkers – but we always followed the most obvious path in front of us.
The bit where you might get lost
The forest gets darker and the vegetation thicker. Eventually you will come to a boardwalk and after that a junction. Ignore the confusing signs and take the right hand path downhill. Ten minutes later you’ll emerge onto a boardwalk and return to the carpark.
We sadly went left at the junction (after briefly going right and backtracking), because there are confusing signs at this junction and the Myrtle Gully Circuit and Tanglefoot Loop follow the same trail for a short way. The mistake took us off onto the Tanglefoot Loop and extended our walk by maybe an hour. This, added to the brush with the tiger snake, left us with the feeling that we had ‘enjoyed’ our first real ‘lost in the Australian bush’ experience.
The worst case scenario is that you will end up doing the full Tanglefoot Loop – a 21km walk. Your dog might thank you for it, but you might have had other plans.
3 thoughts on “Toolangi rainforest dog walk: Myrtle Gully Circuit”
I’ve had a very similar waiting game with a tiger snake across a track – certainly takes away a relaxed vibe on a bushwalk!
Yes – I’m told that it is always safer to be at the front of a line of hikers. The first person steps on the snake; the second person has to deal with the consequences!