I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
Published February 8th 2013
Play, skate or picnic
The Dandenong Ranges is a great destination for families, but as any parent knows, a car trip lasting more than 15 minutes frequently unleashes the back-seat monster known as 'Are we there yet?'. In such trying times, a well-timed park or playground pit-stop can help to ease the tension.
Gembrook Leisure Park is an ideal place to let loose for a few minutes, or a few hours. The park is conveniently located within walking distance of the charming town centre, known as Gembrook Village and Gembrook Station, where local treasure Puffing Billy concludes its mountain journey.
Plan your visit for the fourth Sunday of the month (except in December), and you can also take a stroll through the Gembrook Market - a traditional Makers market which focuses exclusively on sustainability and features a unique array of quality local goods including fresh produce (some organic) arts and cottage crafts.
Partially enclosed by a waist-high fence, the spacious adventure playground draws inspiration from its historic surrounds, featuring a large locomotive engine with carriages, a tractor, mining tunnels and a huge timber boardwalk, in addition to more typical playground fare like monkey bars, spinners, swings, a see-saw and two slides.
Zig-zagging across the park is a paved bike path, leading to the high walled skate park, popular with BMX, scooter and skateboard riders, who come to test their skill on a variety of jumps, half pipes and ramps.
Whilst the play areas are not very shady throughout the day, the completely covered picnic and barbeque area provides a handy place to escape the weather and kick back. Limited, unsealed parking spaces are available street side, whilst a more substantial paved car park can be found behind the playground.