Around the endless and relentless march of suburbia, the encroaching rise of bricks and mortar, the incessant noise and pollution lays a hidden valley of virgin beauty. This is an oasis, a nature reserve set aside and untouched by development since pre-historic times.
Brimbank Park is situated about 17 kilometres to the North-West of Melbourne and is well worth the drive. The valley is a rare place to go just to get away from all the commotion of everyday living. When I go there, I spend time sitting on the rise high above the valley before venturing down into its heart. I enjoy some 'alone time' casting a contented eye out over the expanse of tussock and other native grasslands, river red gums, and shrubs of various sizes.
The Maribyrnong River caresses the park and forms a kind of boundary keeping the greenery in and the march of suburbia out. It is a spiritually invigorating place where I can still observe on twilight lots of rabbits bouncing along and during the day galahs, large wetland birds, brush-tail and ring-tail Possums living and playing amongst the Red Gums.
Visitors to the park like myself can have a go at the '3.2' kilometre walking track which snakes around the valley or those out to enjoy nature for its simplicity and calming effects can sip a warmish coffee at the locally built aptly named 'Leaping Lizard Café' but watch out for the lizards!
Sometimes, out on the track, past the visitor's centre in the direction of Kealba I hasten a quick look at the remnants of a piece of rope shredded by time affixed onto one of the branches of an old tree. Most people would not even see it now, but I remember that rope or what is left of it, because on warmish days long ago before the first quarter acre blocks began to form high above along the ridge and that rope extended all the way down to the river's surface, we teenagers would ride down with our drag-stars. We would swing Tarzan style out onto the middle of the river as if we did not have a care in the world. Oh happy days, now long gone.
Today, if you sit quietly on one of the benches conveniently located nearby and along the track you may still here the voices of those happy children splashing in the water echoing down to you from the past or otherwise, the animated conversations of the Blue Wren or Willie Wagtails or the Eastern Banjo Frog.