Burwood Walks #14: Bushy Park Wetlands

Our fourteenth walk is a continuation of the twelfth walk, starting at Tally Ho Business Park, in Burwood East, then walking to Glen Waverley and Vermont South. Catch the 75 tram (the longest tram route in Melbourne) and get off at Lakeside Drive (Stop 72, Melway map 62 C7). This walk is about 6km, plus 2km for the return bird- hide walk.

From the tram stop, cross Burwood Highway to the south side, then enter Lakeside Drive, past the lovely little park and its picnic table near the “palms” and a small lake. At the bridge, continue downstream along a path that starts on the left-hand side then wends its way through this watery park. (If you come on a Sunday, it is hard to imagine that you are actually in a business park.) You will hear busy Springvale Road getting closer. At the end of the lake, just past a landing near a green shed, walk up the grassy slope to Springvale Road, carefully crossing to the grassy sections in the median strip and opposite road verge, to Baranbali Drive (well signposted). Walk easterly along this street, which runs gently downhill, with fine views of the Dandenongs. This is very pleasant strolling, approaching an obvious park.
Enter this park (Billabong Park, but I didn’t see any billabongs). Walk past the baseball ground towards the clubrooms, where you will see a flood retarding embankment that has a path heading east on top. There are some lovely old Australian trees here, and this short path finishes at Weeden Drive. Walk easterly along this gently undulating street for about 20 minutes, again a pleasant stroll. Look for views to the south of the Police Academy, and for several other hills to try and identify. On the corner of Narracan Street, look at the attractive bark on a large, old paperbark.

When you reach the corner of Lascelle Drive (on the right), you will see a gravel path entering the smallish – but very attractive – Tyrol Park. The rustic wooden seat just over the rise is a good spot to take a break. How many sports can you practise here, do you think? This park also features many fine Australian trees. Walk diagonally across the park and exit by another gravel path that will come into view. On exiting, follow Akrana Court, then turn left into another street, cross Salsburg Court and find a short, concrete laneway (with new fences) on your left, which takes you to what becomes Bushy Creek Wetlands. Turn right (south) for 200 metres where there is a post-and-rail fence, Parks Victoria signage and a choice of two tracks (one to the south, one to the east). We can use both of them.

Bird hide at Bushy Park wetlands
Bird hide at Bushy Park wetlands

The track to the south goes to the bird hide, well worth the half-hour return walk. Look out for (believe it or not) cattle, and their attendant egrets. Cattle have two roles in this park – they keep the fire risk down, and they provide part of the heritage story of the reserve. You probably won’t need binoculars at the bird hide – the ducks will come to you!

Once back at the junction, take the track to the east. (There are a lot of tracks in this area, but you will reach the finish of the walk if you keep heading northerly.) This track passes a drinking-water tap, then crosses a small bridge. After the bridge it turns right, then at about 50 metres farther on take the left track, which climbs the hill. Where another track (on your left) joins this one a few minutes later, you will see a set of wooden steps ahead. Take these to the top of the hill, turn left, and walk around where until recently the lookout tower used to be. (Locals fervently hope that it will return soon.) You may also be interested to learn that this lovely, bushy “hill” is actually made up of garbage – it used to be a rubbish tip, which was very nicely rehabilitated.

After less than 50 metres you will come to another gravel path. Turn left heading downhill, and after 100 metres you will come to another track (close to the current waste centre), but instead go down the set of wooden steps to your left. At the bottom of the steps, turn right and head for the small bridge (green poles and orange caps) leading into a small, attractively set playground. (From here, there are informal tracks to an entrance into Bunnings carpark, but they can be slippery.) The safe route to follow is to exit at the northwest corner of the playground into Mont Court, first westerly, then northerly to Burwood Highway. Turn right here and walk for about 50 metres to a bus stop between Officeworks and Bunnings. There is a cafe, and public toilets, in Bunnings.

One day the 75 tram route will extend even farther to Knox Shopping Centre, but for now there is a frequent route 732 bus that goes right to the tram terminus outside Vermont South Shopping Centre, for our return to Burwood Village.

Burwood Walks #17: East to Malvern

Walk along Toorak Road towards the city and turn into the first street on your left – Myrniong Street. Admire the variety of street trees. Manchurian Pears; soft, flaky paperbarks, lilly pillys and even olives (among others) make this a lovely stroll to a large park which we enter beside a big oak tree. In fact, this whole walk features many attractive street trees.

When we last visited this park (Burwood Reserve), it was largely a construction site. Now that all that work is finished, we can stroll straight across past the sheltered seats to the right hand side of the clubrooms to a path which gently climbs the embankment. At the first bend, look for a narrow right-of-way near the cricket practice nets to exit the park. After five minutes, we reach Bath Road, where we turn right (westerly) to another park.

In just 5 to 10 minutes, you will reach Hartwell Sports Ground, where the path diverts around a really large tree. At the south-west corner of the park, you will see Clitus Avenue (near a postbox). Walk south along this street, noting the interesting mix of housing that characterises Burwood. Five minutes later, turn right into Dion Street and cross the Alamein railway, turning left (south), into Prosper Parade.

About 300m along this, at the pedestrian crossing, follow the sign west onto the Ferndale Trail, which starts here in Summerhill Park (Melway 60 D8). This must be one of our finest suburban walks, which we take for 15 to 20 minutes (to the third road crossing). The skate park we pass must get very busy – it has directional arrows!

You have a choice at this third road crossing (Ferndale Road) (Melway 60 B7). If you wish, you can continue down to the picnic/playground (with toilets), then return to this spot (return distance is about 750m).

However, at the Ferndale Road crossing, we will take the right-of-way, beside a house on your left, heading uphill to the south. This route becomes Brownell Road, and at the second roundabout, turn right, then left one block later into Lurnea Road. Just after the top of the rise, you will see a very narrow right-of-way (between 13 and 15 Lurnea Sreet). Take this all the way to Glen Iris Road. I crossed over Glen Iris Road to admire the Primary School and the Wesleyan Chapel, both built in 1856. Continue downhill to the shops, cross High Street Road, turning right towards Eric Raven Reserve, with its prominent entrance arch.

Just inside this reserve, there is an indigenous grass reserve. I walked downhill beside it, past a large basalt rock, an unusual basketball ring and then anticlockwise around the playing field, and through a swamp paperbark woodland beside Gardiners Creek. You will notice that we are walking upstream.

At the end of the carpark, there is a bridge across Gardiners Creek. After crossing this bridge, continue more or less straight ahead (westerly) past Nursery Lake (so named because it used to be a nursery) with two great animal “voices” installations. Keeping west of the lake, soon find our very own pedestrian subway under the freeway(!) (Melway 59 K9). This leads into a very small park (called Allenby Walk). A sign here points to Hedgeley Dene Gardens and Central Park. Turn left along Allenby Street, and look for two unusual stucco houses. At the end of this street, turn right onto a well-defined footpath, heading south-westerly. Carefully cross Malvern Road into Hedgeley Dene Gardens. Wandering is encouraged, as you explore this linear park. The western end of these gardens is hard to describe – just beautiful; picnic spots galore, toilets, bridges to explore, and lots more. At the end of the park, you will exit on Kardella Street, walking westerly to Burke Road. Turn right (north) to Wattletree Road shops. (You will see Central Park, but you do not need to explore it today, because we will look at it in a future walk.)

We are now a fair way from Burwood, but it is quite easy to get back by using three trams. Hop on Route 5 (which starts here), getting off at Glenferrie Road (stop 45 – about 10 minutes), then head north on route 16 to Riversdale Road (stop 70 – about 15 minutes), and finally east on route 75 (not route 70) to Vermont South, which is the tram through Burwood Village (stop 58 – about 15 minutes).

Burwood Walks #16: Blackburn Lake

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!)

Blackburn Creeklands
Blackburn Creeklands

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.

Shady picnic area near the playground in Blackburn Lake Sanctuary
Shady picnic area near the playground in Blackburn Lake Sanctuary

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.

Burwood Walks #15: Village to Village

OUR fifteenth walk takes us northerly “from village to village” (about 6km), from Burwood to Mont Albert.

Starting in Burwood Village (Melway 60G6), walk westerly from Warrigal Road to the second street heading north from Toorak Road – Fairview Avenue. It may not have a street sign, but it has large street trees and is almost opposite Queens Parade.

This is an attractive street with many traditional gardens around older homes, and runs gently downhill. At the end of Fairview Avenue, turn left into Oxford Street, then right into Joffre Street. As you pass Thomas Street, you may like to explore the lovely small park, Through Road Reserve, with its playground and great seats. After you do this, continue north along Joffre Street. The next street on the right is Morey Street – turn into it, and after about 100m there is an entrance into a much larger park (Cooper Reserve). Walk through Cooper Reserve on the western side, where there is a popular playground, seats and a toilet. Sitting near the playground gives a good view over the reserve.

The path leading to the viewing platform in Harding Street Reserve
The path leading to the viewing platform in Harding Street Reserve

Leave Cooper Reserve, turning left along Green Street, and you will reach Through Road in a few minutes, where you turn right, continuing north to the tempting Through Road Shops. Cross Riversdale Road, and continue north between the shops and a small car park for just 30m to a walking track on the left (also more-or-less northerly). A little farther on, keep left of both the kindergarten and the playground, taking in the information signs and still continuing roughly north. This path leads to a wetland area. There are two junctions in the wetland area – take the right fork at both of them. When you reach a road, cross directly into a blocked street (Rose Avenue).

At the end of Rose Avenue, cross busy Warrigal Road and walk along Mathilde Road, then right (south) into Russell Street, left into Scottsdale Street and left again into Royal Lane. At the end of Royal Lane, go right into Belmont Street. (This all sounds complicated, but it looks OK “on the ground”). At the end of Belmont Street, you will see Edyvean Street slightly to your left. At the end of it you will see a very small park entrance (to your north) beside a tennis club. This path winds uphill through Harding Street Reserve, and, yes, you guessed it, we will be going past the Surrey Hills Communication Tower, reviled by many, but recognised as a very important historical structure by others; and certainly seen by possibly millions of motorists. However, there is something else to see prior to reaching the tower. As you ascend this park path, you reach a real highlight, a lookout platform, with a seat and panoramic views of the eastern suburbs and city, as would be expected from this most prominent hill.

The unmistakable Surrey Hills Communication Tower
The unmistakable Surrey Hills Communication Tower

Continue north past the tower, cross busy Canterbury Road, walk west (to your left) past the reservoir, admiring more great city views. Turn first right into Benwerrin Road, which is also a 10-minute gentle downhill stroll past many interesting houses. At another very small park there is an interesting heritage sign. Walk westerly from it into Windsor Crescent, then take the first street on your right (Louise Avenue). Five minutes away, cross Mont Albert Road (We have traffic lights here) and wander through Mont Albert towards the railway station. It certainly has a “village” feel, a variety of interesting shops, including coffee shops, seating and a public toilet.

There are two choices for returning to Burwood: just near the corner of Louise Avenue and Mont Albert Road there is a bus stop (on the southern side) for route 766, which is easily the quicker way back – but check its timetable, because it can be “patchy”. Alternatively take any train heading east (Blackburn, Belgrave, Lilydale, etc.) just one stop to Box Hill, then catch SmartBus 903, heading towards Mordialloc.