See wildlife, wildflowers and a wonderful view at Cranbourne
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne is one of Victoria's finest attractions, with the stunning Australian Garden winning numerous tourism, landscaping and design awards. However, another impressive feature of the gardens is the native bushland that covers two-thirds of the 363-hectare site – a great place for a family-friendly bushwalk.
A sandy track through the native bushland at Cranbourne Botanic Gardens
The woodlands, wetlands and heathlands support a huge diversity of native plants and animals, and in spring there are wildflowers galore. The birdlife is amazing, and there is every chance that visitors can spot animals such as wallabies, bandicoots and echidnas.
There are a number of tracks for bushwalking, from short walks of a few hundred metres to the Wylies Creek Loop, the longest walk at 5.4 km, which follows most of the main tracks through the bushland area.
The starting point for this main walk is from the footpath that leads from the car park to the visitor's centre, where there is a turnoff to the right. The first section of the walk climbs a short hill through heathland to the Trig Point Lookout. This hill is the highest in the district and the views are well worth the effort – on a clear day it's possible to see Port Phillip Bay in one direction, and Western Port Bay in the other, and all the way to the city. For visitors who are short on time, a return walk to the Trig Point Lookout is a great option.
For those who want to walk further, from Trig Point continue on to the intersection with Possum Gully Track and turn left here. This track traverses down past a small creek and through lovely heathy woodland with plenty of wildflowers. There's often lots of wildlife to see along here, including small native birds flitting around in the shrubs and wallabies hiding in the undergrowth.
The track passes a number of wetland areas, with plenty of well-placed seats to sit and watch the waterbirds – bring binoculars for this section. Frogs are often heard calling from the wetland areas, even in the daytime.
The Wylies Creek Track continues on for another couple of kilometres, eventually entering back into the bushland area. There's even a weather station to see along the way. Just before the carpark, the track passes the Woodlands Picnic area, which has a playground, lots of undercover tables and seats and free BBQs.
One of the last remaining manual weather recording stations
The tracks are very well signposted, and a brochure and map can be picked up at the visitor's centre. The tracks are also wide and well-made and are either sandy or gravel underfoot. There's a few small ups and downs but mostly the walk is relatively flat, although the information boards advise that 'good fitness' is required for the longer Wylies Creek Loop, and to allow an hour and a half for the walk.