Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published June 8th 2013
Stride (or cycle) out and breathe
Sick of being surrounded by traffic and buildings but don't have time to head out of the city? Want to blow the cobwebs away? Then grab your bike, your dog, or your walking shoes (or all three), and head north to Lalor in Melbourne's north. Stride out along the Moonee Valley Creek Trail and Yuroke Creek Cycle Path, which follow along the massive green corridor of the Broadmeadows Valley Park.
Broadmeadows Valley Park cycle trail (c) JP Mundy 2013
A good starting point is the Jacana Valley Wetlands, just off the Western Ring Road at the Pascoe Vale exit. There's plenty of free parking (off Sunset Boulevard). From there, you head north through a series of sporting and recreational reserves. Make sure you cross the footbridge just before Johnstone Street near the Jacana Reserve oval and stay on the right as the creek branches into two. If you stay on the left, you will continue along the Moonee Creek Trail which will eventually bring you out at Woodlands Historic Park. However, staying on the right will take you along Yuroke Creek and into the rolling hills of Broadmeadows Valley Park. The trail takes you through more open grassy reserves, along the base of the valley with a gentle climb (think of the free-wheel back down!) as you head north past Westmeadows and Meadow Heights.
Room for dogs, bikes and people to roam (c) JP Mundy 2013
At the Shankland wetlands, the left branch of the path will eventually take you to Greenvale Reservoir Park (with a tiny bit of small road riding at the end), while the right hand fork will deliver you to Roxburgh Park. The path surface is smooth concrete which makes for easy riding, and as the path follows the valley floor, you are often protected from winds affecting the hills and houses above. If you are walking, there is little shade or water as you go along, so come prepared.
Room to roam at Broadmeadows Valley Park (c) JP Mundy
A great deal of the way is off-lead for dogs, making for a joyous walk for those with dogs, though they must be on lead near wetlands, sporting ovals and within five metres of the path - critical as some cyclists move along here quite quickly, though on the weekends it's mostly recreational cyclists. That still leaves a LOT of room to roam.
Now is a great time to get out - it's green and lush and fairly quiet, so you really get the full benefit of space and air to breathe. Enjoy.