Our sixteenth walk takes us to an area which is quite shady; namely the wonderful Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. The length of this walk lies between 6 and 10km, depending upon how much “exploration” you do within the sanctuary. We start this walk at Laburnum Railway Station and walk through the Blackburn Creeklands to the sanctuary. From Burwood Village, you can catch the SmartBus 903, or the local 766 bus to Box Hill, then take a train just one station to Laburnum (Melway 47H10). This walk is within the City of Whitehorse.
From Laburnum station platform, head easterly down the ramps and then to Laburnum Village, just to the south of the railway. Walk past the shops (if you can!), cross Pakenham Street, and turn left into the next street, Fuchsia Street. Walk just 50m or so, and you will see a corridor of parkland on both sides of this street. Curiously, the section to the north looks promising, but is a dead end. The path south is a lovely walk, and after about five minutes, you cross a street and come to a pebblestone building (a Girl Guides Hall). Turn right just before this building, heading west, and listen for kookaburras and gang gang cockatoos along this bushy winding track. After five minutes you will approach busy Middleborough Road, with the first of several interesting Artists Trail notices. You also see the first (of many) post-and-rail fences. Walk just 50m south along Middleborough Road, then turn left back into the bush along Blacks Walk, staying fairly close to the creek -roughly easterly.
Pass the first footbridge, and at the road bridge (Kalang Park sign and information board), cross to the northern side of the creek, walking for about 15 minutes (including a wetland) to the next road crossing. Cross now to the southern side of the creek again, along a meandering path which, after about five minutes, emerges onto a street (Heath Street). Walk up to, and cross busy Blackburn Road, then walk south for a few minutes to Naughton Grove. Turn left into this tree lined street, past a small playground; and an interesting mix of housing appropriately vegetated for its location so close to the sanctuary. (You will notice that there is a “Below the Lake” Friends Group caring for the creek you have been walking along – thanks!)
When you are 100m from the post-and-rail fence of the sanctuary (still in Naughton Grove), there is a choice. You can walk straight ahead into the north-west section of the Sanctuary and explore this area (finishing at the information centre/toilets); or take a path on your right, which continues along the creek line and emerges directly across Lake Road (from another entrance), to the south-east section of the sanctuary. This is the route I took, crossing Lake Road just opposite Halley Street.
Once inside the sanctuary, you will see that you are on “Lakeside Circuit”. I chose to walk along the south-east leg, then back along the north-west, taking in Pobblebonk Point”, a Boardwalk, and arriving at “The Landing” about 30 minutes later. Enjoy your wandering around! The lake itself gradually comes into view as you walk along the circuit. From “The Landing”, walk along the tracks going uphill (northerly) past the attractive small garden (called “Flowers of the Past”) with its very interesting historical information. The main information building near the toilets is also very good, and recently refurbished. Several brochures are available. Nearby is a huge(!) playground, which also includes a xylophone, and a small analemmatic sunclock.
Once you decide to leave, exit the park by walking northerly from the information centre (under the palms), turning left onto Central Road. (There is also a 736 bus on this road that runs to Blackburn Station).
Just as you start walking westerly, you will see a small native grassland reserve. Cross the road at the school crossing and walk back to Blackburn just inside Morton Park, and then past the well-kept War Memorial Gardens. The walk from the information board to the station takes about 15 minutes. From Blackburn station, catch any city-bound train back to Box Hill, and return to Burwood by the route 766 or 903 bus. It is also only a 10-minute walk along shady Laburnum Street to return you where you began.