Prepare for a hot park summer

A search and rescue carried out last summer by the SES. (supplied)

Ahead of a predicted hot, dry summer, Parks Victoria and the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) are reminding travellers to be cautious in Moorabool’s parks.

Werribee Gorge is one of the most popular short walks in Victoria, and though it is only a short drive from the Victorian capital, it is a wild and rugged place, exposed to weather, with steep pathways where it is easy to trip or fall.

Since 2017, VICSES and Parks Victoria have had to perform 30 separate search and rescue (SAR) operations at Werribee Gorge, Lerderderg State Park and the Brisbane Ranges National Park.

These operations are complex and expensive to stage. SARs require, on average, eight VICSES volunteers in three separate vehicles, working for around four hours, equating to 32 hours of volunteer time for each rescue.

VICSES assistant chief officer, Grampians region, Anthony McLean said hikers can lean on volunteers for assistance and support.

“It always pays to be prepared for a hike, and to know your physical limitations, even at a location close to the city like Werribee Gorge or Lerderderg,” he said.

“Our VICSES volunteers are always ready to help, but they would rather you took a map, plenty of water, and had a good understanding of the route you are taking and its challenges.”

Parks Victoria chief ranger Belinda Seivers urged travellers to be prepared and not underestimate the dangerous conditions that may lie ahead, and said to follow advice from the Parks Victoria website.

With a hot summer ahead, Parks Victoria is forecasting lots of risks, and encourage people to plan their day-trips early or late to avoid peak heat.

Visitor guides on park specific pages have maps and information about walking difficulty and estimated duration, based on the Australian walking track grading system.