Walking around Merthyr Park, Tasmania

Photograph of track meandering between eucalypts and cherry ballart trees.

Merthyr Park is a reserve near Lilydale, Tasmania, Australia. A gift from Lord Merthyr, of Saundersfoot in Wales, it was once a popular picnic area, was a rubbish tip from 1965 to 1995, and since then has been under ongoing rehabilitation by the Lilydale Landcare Association. Two walking tracks – the Large Circuit Track and the Small Circuit Track – allow visitors to see the park.

The Merthyr Park in Tasmania should not be confused with the multiple other Merthyr Parks in Australia and in Wales.

Getting there

The only road to Merthyr Park was the Second River Road, which passed through the middle of the park. From most of Tasmania, this was best accessed from Golconda Road, just north of Lilydale. The car park was at the east end of the Merthyr Park, opposite the Lilydale Waste Transfer Station.

Small Circuit Track

The Merthyr Park Small Circuit Track was about 1 kilometre long, including a diversion along the Second River. The photographs are from walking clockwise, meaning a steep descent down the steps and a slow climb up the vehicle track. Anticlockwise walkers would experience a gentle descent and steep climb instead.

Large Circuit Track

The Merthyr Park Large Circuit Track was about 2.6 kilometres long, including its own diversion down to the Second River. It passed close to most of the park boundaries, and saw most of the vegetation the park had to offer. The photographs show an anticlockwise walk, from the car park west through the northern half and then east through the southern half. The northern half had received most of the rehabilitation work and was consequently more scenic.

Second River

The Second River was visible in brief glimpses from places on both circuits. It was deep and slow-moving at both ends of the park, but flowed over several cascades in the middle.

Plants

The botany in Merthyr Park demonstrated its mixed history. There were weeds that had escaped from garden rubbish at the tip, the remains of a Shining Gum (Eucalyptus nitens) plantation, countless wattles and a rich variety of smaller plants, especially in the rehabilitated areas.

Animals

Most of the animals seen on this walk were insects or spiders – small, but still essential parts of the ecosystem.

Facilities

Latest visit 20th September 2014
Road Sealed
Parking Small
Shelter No
Toilets No (go to Lilydale Falls or, for wheelchair access, into Lilydale)

Opinions

Walking Stick

Took the Small Circuit anticlockwise down to the river and came back the same way to avoid difficult steps. Walked anticlockwise on large circuit to the second seat and then returned to avoid narrow, steep track. The western end had long grass and deep wheel ruts, so difficult walking there.

Ambler

Walked the Large Circuit Track (covering 2.6 kilometres in 2:10), then the Small Circuit Track (covering 1.0 kilometres in 0:40).

Thought the best part of the walk was the Second River seen from the Large Circuit Track – which was also the narrowest and most uneven track surface. Would not recommend this to walkers who cannot complete that segment.

Racewalker

The track was in good condition for brisk walking, but the diversions to the river were the most interesting. Since the track went around the outer edge of the park, a walk across the middle (off track) could be considered on the south side. Or, walk between Merthyr Park and Lilydale Falls and see the local farmland.

Should I visit?

If you only have time for one walk in the Lilydale area, go to Lilydale Falls. Both the vegetation and the river are more dramatic there.

If you have already been to Lilydale Falls, Merthyr Park provides a fascinating contrast. The sites are less than two kilometres apart, both on the Second River, yet have enormously different ecosystems.

References

Lilydale Landcare Association – History

Launceston City Council – Trails in and around Launceston – Page 28 (PDF)

Map of this walk

All photographs from this walk

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