Situated between Bundoora and Mernda, the little known 15 hectare Hawkstowe Park is an area brimming with beautiful native flora and fauna as well as all the facilities you need for a fun-filled day out.
The Le Page Homestead
Hawkstowe is a smaller park which is a part of the larger Plenty Gorge Park and consists of the Le Page Homestead Picnic Area and the Red Gum Picnic Area. To get into the park, turn off Plenty Road onto Gordons Road; the park entrance is 100 metres to your left (Melways map 183 H8).
The main picnic area lies at the feet of the historic Le Page Homestead where the grass is dotted with picnic shelters and electric BBQs. There are public toilets at the homestead, including baby change table facilities.
The Red Gum Picnic Area is the newest part of Hawkstowe and as such is only currently equipped with toilets and picnic tables. There is, however, a playground area for the kids but, unfortunately, not much shade.
After a picnic lunch on the grass or in one of the shelters, take a stroll around the grounds of Hawkstowe where you will come across the historic garden orchard (just watch out for the spiders that like to span their webs between the trees), the lakes and jetty (make sure to bring some bread with you, the kids will love feeding the ducks and water hens), and the Le Page family's old barn and stables.
If you're lucky, you may even spot some of the local wildlife - the kangaroos, especially, are known to come quite close, but watch out for snakes in warmer weather.
While the gravel paths and toilets are equipped for people with special needs, the steep climb to the homestead (where the toilets can be found) can make access a little difficult for those with disabilities.
The homestead itself is home to the Plenty Valley Art's Inc. Art Gallery, which is unfortunately only open by appointment. The gorgeous cottage gardens surrounding the homestead are cared for by volunteers from the Mill Park Garden Club.
The brick and bluestone Le Page Homestead, as well as the nearby barn and stables, were built during the 1850's by the Le Page family. It was purchased by Parks Victoria in 1986 and they opened the area to the public in 1994 with efforts to preserve the heritage of the buildings.
Because the park is also a reserve and home to many native flora and fauna, there are strict no fires and no dogs rules, as well as the "carry in, carry out" policy that Parks Victoria has in place against rubbish and litter.
The park opens at 8am daily and closes at 5pm, except for during daylight savings when you can enjoy all the park has to offer until 8pm.