From East Malvern station (which has toilets), walk beside the bike parking “cage”, and to your left, passing the disabled parking, cross the car park to an entrance point into Waverley Park in the black perimeter fence. This is our first park, and it has a great selection of trees (at least 50 around the sports oval), some of which, like the Moreton Bay Figs, are huge! Walk past the playground towards the scoreboard along the grassy verge. Do not exit the park to Waverley/Malvern Road, but take the exit near the scoreboard. Cross Waverley Road, then walk east past a group of shops including one cleverly named coffee shop. About five minutes later you will reach Bruce Street and the entry to the “Urban Forest Reserve” (Melway 69 B2). You can even collect an historical brochure about this area. This reserve has fine trees with a native plant understorey complementing them. You will soon find a pond, hear lots of bird calls, and informative signage describing some of the plants, and even how you could grow them at home. I mostly walked along the gravel trail south through this reserve.
After about 10 minutes, the track exits left onto Hyslop Parade, but we instead exit right (west) into Thomas Street. This short street leads to Bruce Street, where we turn left and cross Dandenong Road at the nearby pedestrian lights. After crossing, turn left and walk 200m east to the entrance into Boyd Park, continuing south to enter the next section of this linear park, now on a paved path. When I previewed this walk, there were large construction works taking place which blocked the path beyond the playground. (I had intended to walk through Springthorpe Gardens and Riley Reserve to the railway line (69 B5). This will be the case until 2020, so I diverted via Wahroongaa Road (west) then Hobart Road (south) (also 69 B5). At the end of Hobart Road, cross to the Skyrail reserve with the trains above, and at ground level, a cycling/walking trail (the Djerring Trail) with lots of young plants. We start walking NW near pier 61. We will continue along this trail until pier 26.
This trail passes on the southern side of Murrumbeena station, with toilets, lots of seating and nearby shops. Cross Murrumbeena Road and continue along the trail for 20 minutes to the next station (Carnegie). As you walk, look out for some unusual seating, picnic areas and exercise stations. Once at Carnegie station (68 J4), we leave the trail. Cross Koornang Road at the entrance to the station, then turn immediately left into Koornang Road (south), then very shortly, right into Rosstown Road now walking roughly west. As you walk along this road, try to identify the different street trees present. There is quite a variety. After 10 minutes, the street bends and changes name to McPherson Avenue. Continue west to Grange Road, then Tattenham Street (68 G3) also west, and after a few minutes, we reach a railway line, clearly not Skyrail. It is the Frankston line.
Turn right (north) and at the next corner (Moodie Street), use the underpass to cross this line. We are now close to our destination! Turn right at the end of Moodie Street (68 F2), and follow the uninviting green fence which surrounds Caulfield Racecourse. (Some sections are quite nicely landscaped however.) Use the footpath rather than the grass – it is safer. After about five minutes, do not go into the road underpass, but turn left (at the traffic lights) along Normanby Road. Walk just past Caulfield Railway Station, looking for the blue and green sign on the fence beside a gate marked “Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Public Open Space”. Go straight ahead into the racecourse grounds, with another blue sign pointing the way. This sounds complicated, but the distances are not great – we are on the way to the Guineas Tunnel, which is quite an experience (long, clean and well lit). Signage is very good. This walk takes about 10 minutes from the entry point of the racecourse to the public reserve (68 E2).
Once emerging, we are on one of the most unusual reserves anywhere. What a sight! The path around the lake (I walked clockwise) takes only about 10 minutes and provides panoramic views all the way, lots of birds (mostly Australian) and you will finish at the picnic area, which has a barbecue, water, seating, shelter, toilets, an exercise station and views.
Return via the signposted “Racecourse Entry Ramp Access”. Once you leave the racecourse grounds, there are two (at least) options for your return trip home. If you wish to go to Burwood, you could catch a train from Caulfield to Oakleigh (four stations) then SmartBus 903 north to Burwood Village. If you wish to return to East Malvern station, also use the underpass at Caulfield station, and then left of the exit is a tram stop for the Route 3 tram to East Malvern. At the tram terminus (68 J1), continue walking east along Waverley Road gently downhill to return to East Malvern station in about 15 minutes.