Our twenty-first walk concentrates on the suburbs of Burwood and Ashwood, with a short diversion into Mount Waverley to take in the view from Essex Heights. We also see one of the less well-known local bushland areas. This walk is gently undulating, and approximately 6km. We start and finish at the Burwood Cemetery, which is one of the older cemeteries in Melbourne. One point to note is that while we walk through several reserves, on the weekday morning I did this walk, all public toilets were locked, but there are some in Burwood Village itself.
START at the corner of Burwood Highway and Gilmour Street (Melway 60 J6; route 75 tram stop 59). From here, walk south along the western boundary, quietly admiring the memorials of our forebears, along with views of the Dandenongs to the east. (You can also see Essex Heights sports ground’s light towers from here.) In the cemetery, take a path downhill on the main diagonal road to the SE entrance gate where we leave. Walk easterly along Highbury Road with its mix of light industry and cafes. In 10 minutes you will cross Gardiners Creek. (Yes, this is Gardiners Creek.) There are pedestrian lights here, which we will use. Admire the enormous fig tree, then walk south along the Gardiners Creek Trail, on the creek’s western side. Keep to the left along this trail, which is also used by cyclists. You will see a nice wetland on your left, and after about five minutes we leave the trail (at marker GCT027) to Ashwood Drive (signposted). In a few minutes you’ll reach Ashwood Drive, turn left and head east gently uphill. The walk between here and Essex Heights is a classic example of how our suburbs are changing. How many different styles of housing can you identify?
Ashwood Drive finishes at Montpellier Road. Cross this street and turn right (south). The first street on your left leads into “Montpellier Gardens” estate. You will also see that it is called Brockhoff Drive. The name tells you the history of this newish estate, built on the site of the former Brockhoff biscuit factory. Walk along Brockhoff Drive heading easterly towards Huntingdale Road. I walked straight ahead into Bentham Court and rested near the hedges of our first park! This is a lovely small reserve, with oak, elm and eucalypt trees, a picnic table and BBQ. Exit this park through the wooden bollards on the SE corner, turn right for about 50m, then left into Bauer Court. Almost immediately there is a pathway heading east and many of the trees here are the ancient “Ginkgo” trees, which have very distinctive and unusually veined triangular leaves. At Mueller Close, turn right, then after 50m left along another tree-lined laneway (Cox Lane) to Huntingdale Road.
Cross Huntingdale Road and turn right (south) then left (east) into Lynden Grove in a few minutes. The second street on the right is appropriately named Vista Street and it takes us directly to Essex Heights Reserve. This is a good point to take a break and admire the location. “Eagle eyes” will see the city, the bay and various other high-rise buildings from the elevated embankment. You might also spot the nearby cafe!
Walk around the oval clockwise exiting at the SW corner onto Huntingdale Road. Cross Huntingdale Road and head gently west downhill on Rocklands Road. Take the first street on the right (Moore Street) where you can spot the Surrey Hills tower, another local landmark. In about 100m, turn left into Parkhill Drive, and enter another delightful small park/playground. Along Parkhill Drive the third street on the left is Cassinia Avenue and you will see that, to both south and west, we are beside a huge block which hosts two schools, sporting facilities for several sports, and our next destination.
After strolling down for several minutes Cassinia Avenue turns left, but we continue south along a path in the park heading for High Street Road. Identify the cricket practice nets and walk SW to a fenced area of bushland. Walk westerly between the fenced area and High Street Road along an informal path. You will see from the City of Monash signpost near one of two entry points from High Street Road that this area is called Ashwood Wetlands. We exit the wetlands area at the second entrance (at a bus stop about 200m west). We must exit via the bus stop entry to avoid being “trapped” in the school grounds to the north.
From the bus stop continue west along High Street Road, turning right into Vannam Drive at the first intersection. The first street on the left (Malmsbury Drive) has a lovely shady walking path on its northern side and it even includes a boardwalk beside a tiny creek bed. In just five minutes we reach the Gardiners Creek Trail. Turn north (right) along this trail. (There are some interesting side tracks to explore, but return each time to continue north along the trail.)
After 10 minutes or so we reach a playground on the right and a bridge on the left, signposted to Gardiners Reserve (0.2km). Cross the bridge, turn right into Octavia Court and after five minutes enter this reserve, beside yet another playground. Inside the park turn left towards another gate about 100m away, but soon turn north to walk between the sports pavilion and the shady trees (with lots of birds when I was there). You will come to a corner (near a parking area) which is unsigned (but is Sixth Avenue). This street, heading north, will take you back to the Burwood Cemetery in about 10 minutes. Go through or around the cemetery back to Burwood Highway.