2013-03-24 -37 144
Just across the Werribee River from the Werribee Open Range Zoo.
 Getting there
After deciding half an hour beforehand to attempt this geohash (my first for 4 & 1/2 years), I set off from Footscray on my bike at ten minutes to four towards Werribee. My destination lay a measly 30km away, which was the reason that, combined with the fact that there was nothing else I was going to do, I could coax myself out of the house. Fighting through the backstreets of Footscray/Seddon/Yarraville/Brooklyn, despite the fact that Geelong Rd would have been rather faster, if uglier and dangerouser, I arrived at the beginning of the Federation bike trail which would take me within metres of the geohash point.
The Federation trail was a reasonably pleasant ride, if slightly smelly at times, running as it does along the route of an underground sewer. I was considerably perturbed to discover that the section of the trail between Fitzgerald Rd and Leakes Rd was closed for some type of maintenance, forcing me to take the two bikepathless sides of the right angled triangle to which the bike trail would have the hypotenuse. This only cost me 500m, but was also slow due to the fact that I was riding on footpath/gravel on the side of the road to avoid being run over. Luckily I didn’t die, and rediscovered the trail with little trouble.
In Laverton I passed very close to the BOM radar, which I recognized immediately, despite not having seen it before, for it was just that obvious. It looked like a giant golf ball on a tee. I unfortunately didn't think to take a photo, even though I screenshotted my phone while it was displaying my location right in the centre of the bom's radar field (see gallery).
I soon reached the ominously named “Skeleton Waterholes Creek” and promptly got lost, making the foolish mistake of continuing straight ahead along a gravel path, when I was supposed to take a completely unsignposted left turn and continue along the creek. Thanks to fortune taking a liking to me, the path I ended up on cost me no distance, and spat me out in Hoppers Crossing. It did however, when I reached Hoppers Crossing, cost me 10-15mins in poring over my phone’s google maps figuring out how to rejoin the trail I was supposed to be on. I worked it out in the end, and moved on.
I passed the Werribee Campus of Victoria University and was a little bit curious about a forklift perched on the top of a 10m tall stack of concrete, but I didn’t investigate any further.
 The Geohash
Two hours after I left home, I arrived in the vicinity of the geohash. The situation was this: Coming as I was from the North East, the Princess Highway runs along and crosses the Werribee River at a large bridge and continues onwards. On the right side of the highway runs the bike trail which, when it hits the river, turns right and continues along the riverbank towards the centre of Werribee. There is also a small pedestrian bridge crossing the river here. On the left of the highway is Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Zoo's land appears to end at the River. However, running parallel to the highway, there is a gravel road which leaves Zoo land by crossing the river via a small bridge. The road then turns left and continues alongside the river. The geohash was about 30m off this track, which was obviously still a Zoo road, since as well as emerging from the Zoo, it later re-enters Zoo land without a junction anyway along its length. (If any of this makes no sense see the map in the gallery)
So from where the bike path went right, I went left, I crossed under the highway, to where a public path made its closest approach to the Zoo road, a matter of about 5 metres, but I was met with a barbed wire fence. This approach looking unpromising, I crossed back to the bikepath side.
I saw that I could cross the river on this side via the pedestrian bridge then cross under the highway again on the far side. If I then left the path, and bushbashed along the riverbank reserve for 100m or so, then I would again be at the road I wanted to be on, joining it soon after the small bridge where it crossed the river. So I set off.
Leaving my bike hidden under a tree when I left the path with a lock through its wheels, I did the requisite bushbashing, and found that there was another fence just before I met the road. However the fence stopped when it was right down towards the edge of the river itself, leaving a gap immediately after the bridge ended.
So I joined the road, and continued along it on foot for 400m or so until I reached the point I had to leave it and cover the 30 odd metres away from the road. I walked into the scrub, (which was a lot more grown than the obviously out-dated google satellite images suggested) and after a bit of what of what I’ve seen described as the GPS dance, I got the blue location dot on my phone’s google maps to be under the location pin that I’d put in at the right coordinates.
I then returned to the road and walked almost back to bridge, when I realised I didn’t take any photos at the location besides screenshotting my phone of my GPS location dot. So then I hurried back and found the spot again and took some photos then went back along the road again.
I left the road again at the same point I joined it, walked back along the side of the river, found my bike, found the bike path, and rode into central Werribee whence I caught a train back to Footscray and home. And that is my story.
I know Lachie likes to keep a list of interesting fauna he encounters on geohashes, so I thought I would include a fauna section, especially since, I was going to Werribee Open Range Zoo, and it would have been the perfect opportunity to be chased by a rhino or something mindblowingly exciting, but alas it wasn't to be.
What I did see however were, right as I was getting quite close to the hash, a couple of birds of prey of some sort hovering above. I also saw a phenomenal amount of rabbits, especially along the final section of the bike train when it ran alongside the highway.
|Johnwrw earned the Bicycle geohash achievement|
| Johnwrw earned the Land geohash achievement