Fifteen years ago I traded a corporate career for life on the river. Close enough to Melbourne to get a quick City fix, plus a great community with excellent coffee and four healthy active boys to keep me entertained, I've never regretted the change.
Published January 17th 2014
An active and relaxing day in the country
A variety of activities are possible at this well laid out reserve
A popular stopping point on the Maroondah Highway, Buxton Reserve offers free amenities for holiday makers, including beautifully maintained toilets, BBQ's, shade gazebos and a double tennis/basketball court.
Accessed just off Maroondah Highway Buxton, look for the public toilets
The tiny township of Buxton is an easy 1 ˝ hour (90km) drive from Melbourne, through the beautiful Yarra Valley and spectacular Black Spur.
The reserve is on the banks of the crystal clear Steavenson River and there is no better place to meet up with families who might just join in an adventurous river ramble or bike-ride up into the foothills.
The climbing wall provides a bit more challenge for older kids
Gaudy red shadecloth covers the playground, which caters specifically to the under 5s. There is also a climbing wall for 5-10yr olds to get a little practice on before tackling the nearby Cathedral Range, a popular local rock climbing haunt that dominates the Acheron Valley.
The park has plenty of gravel paths and grassed areas to ride freely so make sure you bring along the kids' bikes. There's enough easy parking for trailers if you don't have a bike rack. For the more competent riders, a small but challenging adventure circuit is provided.
Buxton's network of easy trails takes in river crossings and points of interest
If you have plenty of time and sturdy bikes, check out the network of trails that head up into the Black Range. The parking here is handy for the Buxton Mountain Bike Complex, especially on weekends when the trail becomes quite busy.
If you don't have tennis or basketball gear with you, the fully fenced courts, when not in use, double as a handy enclosed space for small wheels – scooters, bikes on trainers, rollerblades. Many local children have learned to ride here.
The well signed nature walk follows the Steavenson River
For older kids, the babbling Steavenson river skirts one edge of the reserve, its rocky banks filled with interesting creatures to discover and the cool waters great for a summer splash. A well signed, informative nature walk loops the bank, with seating at strategic locations.
Robinson Crusoe types can bring along a tyre tube or boogie board and see how far the gentle current takes them from the pebbly beach before running aground on the frequent rapids.
The picnic shelter and BBQs are big enough for a large family reunion or bus group
An enormous gazebo has been recently added to the reserve, along with a couple of new free BBQs, so there is plenty of shade to enjoy a picnic lunch, or maybe a fish dinner?
If you prefer not to bring fishing gear, or trust your luck to the wild, why not pop across the road to the Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm? Here they will clean and prepare your guaranteed catch to throw on the barbie, and it doesn't come fresher than that.