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LEVEN CANYON - Gunns Plains to Loongana, 14 km, 12 hours.
This is a slow and somewhat arduous section of trail, especially when rain makes the steep sides of the gorge slippery. This section should be spread over two days to take full advantage of the wild river views and excellent campsites in this compact wilderness.

START OF THE TRACK
Follow the Lowana Road through a large area of hop plantation to the southern end of Gunns Plains, then 1 km of bush into a final area of hops. A red brick farmhouse is passed on the right and a large tin storage shed becomes visible at the end of the road. Turn right at the ‘Penguin Cradle Trail’ sign onto an old disused road.

GUNNS PLAINS TO TULIP TREE CREEK (3 HOURS)
From Gunns Plains, follow the old road south for about 400m to a small creek where the road stops and walking track starts. This is a possible campsite with room for 4 tents on the south side of this creek. The trail then diverges left to follow the riverbank, and then swings right and steeply up to avoid the steep sides of the northern exit from the gorge, known locally as the Northern Gates. The remainder of the trail follows the river as closely as practical, rising occasionally to avoid cliff banks. The next basic campsite is on the northern bank of the first creek south of the Northern Gates. Camping is available on the southern side of Tulip Tree Creek if need be.

TULIP TREE CREEK TO THE ROPE (3 HOURS)
At first the trail simply follows the river. There is a climb of about 60m soon after Tulip Tree Creek. About 45 minutes after Tulip Tree Creek the gorge opens out for about 1 km. This area is soggy at first but then provides some excellent camps - the last before Loongana.
The first camp is about 45 minutes from Tulip Tree Creek. It is a cleared area in regrowth forest between the trail and the river with room for six tents. The second camp is the largest and another 35 minutes further on, off another rise. Wide, extensive flats with trees such as Blackwoods, provide a beautiful spot close to the river. The best area is on the right side of the trail on gently rising ground. This is Blackwood Camp. A third camp is another 45 minutes walk with the best tent sites to be found among trees near the island. Half an hour after the island campsite the trail comes out onto the river itself. Proceed over the rocks to the bend in the river heading back into the bush where there is a large rope on a steep embankment that marks the start of the Loongana Range climb. Water should be collected here or at one of the two side creeks about 10 minutes further on.

THE ROPE TO THE TOP OF THE LOONGANA RANGE (2 HOURS)
The trail leaves the river climbing gradually at first, then turns sharply back upon itself climbing steeply as it ascends the ridge. At the point where it turns sharply, a rough blazed track heads south to the base of the lower set of Leven River Falls. Allow an hour for the return trip. Near to the top you walk along the base of a cliff then pass up through a gap onto the knife-edge that is Griffiths Ridge of the Loongana Range. Here it heads back southeast along the knife-edge, the trail at this point is 300m above the river. There is no water on the Loongana Range.

LOONGANA RANGE TO LOONGANA FOOTBRIDGE (2 HOURS)
After following the knife-edge southeast for about 20 minutes the trail turns and drops steeply to the south picking its way down to the river again. If you continue along Griffiths Ridge past the turnoff for a short way you will come out onto a vantage point that has fantastic views of the Canyon with the Leven Falls immediately below and the Tourist lookout directly opposite The trail drops until the bed of the Canyon itself comes into view. You are now upstream of the falls and on a section of tourist track. Continue following the river upstream for about 20 minutes and you will come to a junction
with a substantial footbridge over the Leven Splits. The trail continues past the footbridge, across the bridge there is a track that leads up to the Loongana Road, 500m south.

FOOTBRIDGE TO LOONGANA ROAD AT GRIFFITHS FLATS (2 HOUR)
The trail follows the northern bank of the Leven River coming out onto flats where a couple of creeks are crossed before heading uphill. In the area of these creeks there are some pleasant campsites. After the uphill climb the trail leads to a reserved road that crosses private property to a stile near a power pole
. PLEASE DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THIS SECTION OF TRAIL UNTIL IT REACHES THE LOONGANA ROAD.

Map:

Penguin to cradle map 2

 

 

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