Our eighteenth walk takes us to the very east of the Burwood Bulletin “catchment”. The length of this walk is approximately 7km, depending upon how much you choose to wander about! We start this walk in Glen Waverley, exploring Shepherds Bush, Dandenong Valley Parklands and Jells Park, walking in a southerly direction nearly all the time.
From Burwood Village, take the Smartbus 903 south to Holmesglen Station, then the train to Glen Waverley. At the bus interchange, take route 737 (going to Croydon) and alight at Capital Ave (opposite the Salvation Army church – Melway 71, H1) and cross High Street Road to the south side. (Bus 736, going to Mitcham, also takes you to this point.) Three notes about this walk –
1. There are a number of emergency markers along this route. They are also useful for navigation, so I have included several of them.
2. The whole of this walk is well described on Melway maps 71 and 72, so a copy would be helpful. Melway also shows the emergency marker locations.
3. The gallery and cafe at the end of the walk are currently open Tuesday to Sunday.
The walk itself takes about the usual three hours, and you should leave about 15 minutes from the gallery to reach the 753/693 or 754 bus stops. Times for the buses from Ferntree Gully/Jells Road are on the PTV website. Walk east along High Street Road until you cross Dandenong Creek on a substantial bridge, and look for the entry point into Shepherds Bush, with an information panel (SHE500). Our first boardwalk appears very soon, and the farther you walk south along the track, the less you will hear the sound of busy High Street Road! After fewer than ten minutes, veer right on the main track near the creek. A couple of minutes later you will see an elevated view of Dandenong Creek in both directions, a seat, and a left track to Nortons Park, but continue south close to the creek (SHE506). There is soon a section of “concrete block” track, suggesting that this track can be wet. Shortly, join a much wider track (also going north to Nortons Park) (SHE505), then continue south, with farmland on your left side. There are also doggie drinking bowls provided.
The track will join the Dandenong Creek Trail, but keep heading south, past another information shelter (LIN502), where you’ll see wider vistas towards the hills near Lysterfield. There are also many birds to be seen, including blue wrens, magpie larks, purple swamp hens, dusky moorhens, ibises, white-faced herons, along with frogs calling. Continuing in a SW direction, about an hour after having started, you will cross Dandenong Creek on a large bridge, and reach a T intersection (JEL508).
Turning left, enter (through a gate) Jells Park Conservation Area, with Dandenong Creek now on your left. The wide trail narrows to approximately one metre wide and continues more or less south through flat, swampy wetlands (paperbarks, reeds, etc.). Turn right at JEL509 to stay beside the lake. Ten minutes into the conservation area you will see a bird hide – well worth visiting (about 100 ibises were nesting when I came). Another 10 minutes along at JEL512, take the left fork, or continue beside the lake. Either way, you reach JEL513 and the exit gate from the conservation area. About 30 minutes from entering the conservation area, an asphalt track leads to a shelter shed, with drinking water. This is a good spot for a break, visiting the landing, with 180 degree views.
From the landing area, head south again towards power lines, to JEL 504 and JEL503. Keep on the asphalt path south, past a carpark on your right, barbecues, playground, toilets and water. You will begin to hear road noise again, this time being Ferntree Gully Rd. We are nearing the end of our beautiful, scenic and level walk.
Crossing Ferntree Gully Rd is no mean task! I left Jells Park via the three pairs of yellow bollards, and then crossed where I had good vision and a median strip (near Waverley Hill Supported Residence). After you cross, you will see a sign to Eaton Place. Use this footpath uphill past Eaton Place, and, at Palmerston Crescent, you will see a bus stop – the 753 bus goes back to Glen Waverley (693 goes to Oakleigh, where the Smartbus 903 can return you to Burwood Village).
If you have the energy, continue up the service road (five to ten minutes) to a real highlight! The Monash Gallery of Art is set in beautiful parklands, has a very tasty cafe/coffee shop, and an adjoining library in a striking Harry Seidler-designed building. It specialises in photography, and has free entry. On its western side, there is a pathway through shrubbery to the corner of Ferntree Gully Road and Jells Road. On Ferntree Gully Road, the route 753/693 bus stop is about 100m west of the corner. Route 754 also goes to Glen Waverley, via Jells Road, and there is a stop 200m north of this corner.