Many people in Melbourne live within walking distance or a short drive of one of our hidden creeks. They are fascinating places with unexpected treasures and it is well worth the effort to discover them – walk or ride along these paths and you might find an old drive-in cinema, a tranquil scene under a freeway, kids camping out, or even a mob of kangaroos.
The Dandenong, Gardiners, Merri, Moonee Ponds and Kororoit creeks are only a handful of Melbourne’s creeks, but they neatly divide up the city. All up, the total length of trails along these creeks is about 150 kilometres – enough to keep a keen walker or cyclist busy all year.
Facilities: These trails cross through suburban areas so you will find facilities such as seats, water, picnic spots and shops at regular intervals.
Difficulty: Most walks follow paved bike tracks (so if you’re walking, keep to the left), and generally have a flat, even surface with very few steep sections, but some of the more remote outer sections of the Dandenong, Merri and Moonee Ponds creek trails are unsurfaced.
When to go: The tracks are all-weather prospects, but in summer, the Dandenong and Gardiners creeks usually have more tree cover and a little more shade.
At 50 kilometres, the Dandenong Creek is by far the longest walkable creek. It rises in the rainforests of Olinda and reaches Port Phillip Bay as the Patterson River. In between it runs through the stringybark and wattle bushland of Bayswater and Boronia, along the Dandenong Valley Parklands and through Jells Park, and then from Dandenong through to Port Phillip Bay at Carrum. Walk the 20 kilometres from Wantirna to Dandenong and for much of this distance, urban Melbourne is just a distant memory.
Where is it: Suburbs include Boronia, Wantirna, Glen Waverley, Dandenong and Carrum.
Highlights: Jells Park is one of Melbourne’s premier metropolitan parks, while Shepherds Bush just to the north is a tangle of tracks in a natural bush setting.
Best walks: Glen Waverley – the Shepherds Bush circuit between High Street Road and Waverley Road is four to five kilometres return. Wantirna – try the seven-kilometre circuit east of Wantirna Road to the footbridge at Hoskin Street.