Our twelfth walk goes south from shady Witchwood Gully Park, with its small playground just west of Burwood One Shopping Centre (coffee and toilets), (Melway 61:J7). Depending on how much “exploring” you do, this walk will be 7–9km long.
From Burwood Village, take the 75 tram to stop 69 and walk 100m east to Witchwood Crescent. Walk south along Witchwood Crescent for 10 minutes, winding gently uphill. At the second roundabout turn right into Lindisfarne Drive, continue walking south and, where this road bends to the right, go straight ahead into our second reserve – Highbury Park. This park is really attractive, with an informal sports ground, surrounded by bush with the largest section in the western half of the park. (Toilets here are only open on weekends.) Walk westerly through the bush section looking for labelled trees, and listen for birds scuffling amidst the undergrowth. Explore this park and exit by the north-west corner near the playground. Turn right and very soon left into Saxon Street, and left again at the end of this street.
At Highbury Road, look right and you will see Sienna Mount Waverley. About 50m west of its entrance there is a good lookout on a large crescent-shaped stone seat. The best vantage point is about 5m further along the fence line, overlooking a very attractive small lake. This estate is now nearly complete, and was once a quarry. Return to the entrance and, just inside, on the right are steps that take you to the lake where you are guaranteed to see at least six herons! There are also other birds, such as plovers and ducks. A sign at the southern end of the lake describes a water-saving initiative – excess water is used to water our next park.
Opposite the sign there is a small tree-lined path leading south up to the next street. At the top, turn left (east) and walk to the end of the street and then climb the Secret Steps into Tally Ho Reserve. This is a more traditional sports reserve, with a great seat under trees (near the tennis courts) to “survey the whole scene” of the very popular circuit walk/jogging track. When you are ready, leave this park by the western path, along the southern edge of the tennis courts. At the road turn left (south), along Lawrence Road.
Soon you will pass Sesame Street, and there are two old local anecdotes about this street you may enjoy. Firstly, locals were suspected of giving a false address when they claimed to live in Sesame Street. Secondly, look at the street sign (on Lawrence Road) – you will see that it is higher above the ground than others in the area. This placement was done by the council as a result of too much ‘souveniring’ of the earlier signs!
At Larch Crescent turn left beside the 138 number. (If you need a drink or ice cream, there is a milk bar 50m further on in Lawrence Road.) Larch Crescent has a large variety of trees – Oak, Lilly Pilly, Spotted Gum, etc. This street winds directly to High Street Road, but I prefer a minor diversion to include one more small park, by turning right into Maple Street, then left into Elm Grove. This reserve appears to be nameless, and I could not find any elms, other than one in the nursery.
Cross High St Road, then walk left to the car park just past the used car dealer. Walk south through the car park to access our next small park. In the park you will soon reach a small playground, turn left and cross Blackburn Road in Syndal at the lights just beside the public toilet. Continue straight ahead along Matthew Street for 100m and, at Pimm Court, you will see a ‘Pipe Reserve’ heading roughly northerly. This is a linear park, sometimes only a few metres wide! It is a direct route to our last parks. Walk along this route for at least 30 minutes, recrossing High St Road, then three more streets, followed by Highbury Road. At the next street crossing, exit turning right into the end of Worthing Avenue. At the end of the road turn left, and in about 100m are the stone entrance pillars into East Burwood Reserve.
This park has rings of eucalyptus and pines, so expect aromas as you walk. It even has a mountain bike track and a velodrome. Walk to the east past the toilets (also only open on weekends), passing just to the north of the athletics field. You will see a two storey grey building (actually CFA HQ) with an entry point and a well-defined footpath. We are now in Tally Ho Business Park. If you have only been here to visit VicRoads, you may have missed the delightful ‘river’ walk (which we will explore properly in a future BB walk). It is hard to believe that you can sit here between two small waterfalls under palms eating your lunch in Burwood East, but you can! There is even a cafe nearby.
The nearby tram stop on Burwood Highway will return you to where you started.