Eltham Lower Park to Heidelberg Gardens via Main Yarra Trail, Melbourne

Notes by DWP

This is a continuation of an earlier walk along Diamond Creek Trail in May 2009. Again, easy walking or riding along mainly bitumen & gravel surfaced tracks with numerous attractive rest or picnic spots.

Take the cycle path just to the right of the main gated entrance to Eltham Lower Park past the children’s play area. The path skirts the edge of the park and eventually joins Homestead Rd. Follow the road and turn right at the entrance drive to the now demolished Leinster Farm. A short steep downhill stretch brings you to the new bridge spanning the Yarra River.

Alternatively if walking rather than riding follow the path left after entering the park and walk along the roadway past the main station of the miniature railway. This roadway ends at a parking area and a path follows the creek and past the Eltham Pony club eventually leading to the viewing platform over the Yarra River. Continue on the path to the new bridge. Cross the bridge (note that dogs must be on a leash) and then turn right when you join the Main Yarra Trail in Candlebark Park.

The path meanders through Candlebark Park passing under the electrical transmission lines before arriving at the Kiwains Lane parking area adjacent to the river and Fitzimmons Lane overpass.

Follow the path under the overpass, entering Westerfolds Park and then continue past the Kayak launching area. Rather than following the main bitumen trail drop down to the unmade path that meanders alongside the river, keeping an eye open for snakes if walking this route during warmer months. This path is a welcome change from the sometimes-feverish activity on the main trail and eventually emerges from the bush just before the rapids observation platform.

After a visit to the viewing platform one can once again join an unmade path following the bank of the river otherwise follow the main bitumen Trail. At the top of the ensuing incline on the main trail carry on downhill towards the river, not along the left fork towards Templestowe.

The path along the edge of the river emerges half way down this hill to allow you to join the main trail again before it crosses a bridge over the river. After a short time there is another steep descent followed by the inevitable pull uphill towards Odyssey House.

Do not cross the next bridge over the river that leads towards Finns Reserve but continue along the main trail towards its junction with Bonds Road. Cross the road and follow the trail as it makes its way past the Rosanna Golf course emerging eventually from the tree-lined path at the sports ovals at Banyule Flats Reserve. You will pass, on this section, the junction where the Plenty River Trail joins the Main Yarra Trail from the right.

Either follow the wetlands walking path or the more circuitous main trail if cycling. Both routes give scenic views across the very attractive billabong in the wetlands.

The trail then enters Warringal Park from where you can cross Beverley Road into Heidelberg Park. Follow the signposts, to either Burgundy St shops or Heidelberg Station, passing through the pleasant surroundings of Heidelberg Gardens that offers an ideal spot for a quiet picnic despite the frenetic traffic on the nearby streets.

A pleasant generally undemanding walk with a few short hills mainly following the banks of the Yarra River with numerous rest spots and access points for shortening the walk or ride if required.

Start – Eltham Lower Park
Finish – Heidelberg Gardens
Off Street parking either end
Distance Approx 11 Km

A short walk off the main trail in Westerfolds Park

Looking down from the Manor House at Westerfolds Park

(Walk notes by DWP)

Westerfolds park is one of an impressive series of Melbourne metropolitan parks all based around the Yarra River that extend from the city out to Eltham This short but enjoyable walk commences from the front of the manor house, now the MIA MIA Gallery and Café.

Walk up from any of the car parks to the native garden in front of the manor house. From here there is an extensive view of the park towards the river and beyond. Head down the grassy hill keeping the BBQ on the left towards a grassy path that cuts through the scrub avoiding a similar path that cuts right. Depending on weather and time of day a group of trees over to the left sometimes have eastern grey kangaroos resting in their shade. Follow the path towards a wooden bench at the first track junction and then continue straight ahead along the path as it meanders through trees crossing other trails along the way. Eventually the path veers towards the right through a treed area, again depending on time of day kangaroos or wallabies can often be observed in the open on the grassy paddocks well over on the left, then join the main trail again just before the observation deck for the river rapids at Kestrel Creek.

Follow the main trail for a short distance then after viewing the river from the observation deck take the path that cuts down to the right from the main path and meanders alongside the river through the bush area, rather than staying on the main trail. Eventually one emerges at a junction with the main trail descending rather steeply from the left. Do not follow the main path either left or right but cut across the trail and pick up a grassy track which heads slightly uphill for a short distance with the river down the steep slope to the right. Follow this path until it merges with a wide gravel track coming in from the left. Turn left and follow this gravel path until after a about a hundred metres or so it crosses the main trail once again. From the junction one can see the manor house up on the hill. Take the path across the paddock immediately opposite and head in a slightly uphill direction keeping the trees mentioned at the start of the walk on your right. Back at the wooden bench turn right and walk uphill to the starting point of the walk in front of the manor house.

A visit to the gallery and/or café is well worthwhile.

Distance about 3.6km
Time, with a dog, about 50 mins no breaks
Dogs to be retained on leash
Keep a sharp look out for snakes, which may pose a danger under certain conditions
Excellent chance of observing kangaroos.
Further information: Parks Victoria park notes

Access: Enter the park via the entrance in Fitzsimons Lane (Melway ref: 33 G2) just after entering there is a sharp turn to the left, which leads uphill to a number of car parking areas and trails.

Westerfolds Park is open every day, including weekends and public holidays, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. During daylight saving the park is open from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM every day, extending to 9:00 PM in the peak summer period.

Along the Eastlink Trail

Along the Eastlink TrailI’ve recently tried out part of the Eastlink Trail, a pedestrian/bike path that runs generally alongside the new Eastlink Motorway in Melbourne from Ringwood to Dandenong. It’s well worth a visit; I rode my bike, but it’s a wide and reasonably well-graded path and would be well suited to walking or running.

There are many access points to the trail, I started at Boronia Grove Reserve (Melway 48 K4) just next to the Eastern Freeway. The trail here is actually the Koonung Trail, it becomes the Eastlink Trail after it passes under Springvale Road. From here I rode down to Jells Park and back. The path is bitumen or concrete the whole way (with a couple of minor exceptions); most of the trail is newly built although following existing path alignments, but it also incorporates parts of the Dandenong Creek Trail which is in good condition as well.

Overall, a good experience. The trail has some pleasant bushland sections, particularly through the Mullum Mullum Creek area, where the road goes underground, and also the Dandenong Creek area leading into Jells Park. The sections alongside the road are not bad either and there’s some impressive engineering work to appreciate as well as some urban artwork pieces on which opinions will no doubt vary. One minor downside – there’s a few road crossings still required. The crossings of Whitehorse Road and Burwood Highway are a particular pain as both roads are very busy, and the setup of the crossings means you can’t get across in one traffic light cycle. Thankfully, these two crossings will be eventually eliminated by pedestrian bridges which are currently under construction, but a few other crossings will remain.

There are multiple attractive spots to stop and rest along the way, and refreshments are available by either moving off the trail briefly, or stopping at the cafe at Jells Park.

More information is available in the official brochure, which also includes a map.