Situated between Exeter and Holloway Roads in North Croydon, Hochkins Ridge is an eighteen-hectare dry forest and flora reserve. It is home to 14 varieties of wattle, 27 species of orchids, which are included in the 250 indigenous plant species found in the reserve.
The bright yellow blooms of the Spreading Wattle stand out, especially on sunny day with the sulight shining through the blooms. Flowers August-October.
I have visited and walked the park four times. Visits during the different seasons are rewarded as many of the species are seasonal in their blooming. Spring is the best season to find the largest variety of flowers.
The Bird Orchid is a very small variety, only a few cms tall and easily missed unless you are looking for it.
My first visit was a little disappointing as I was expecting to be greeted with a carpet of flora. What I found was a natural bush area with more than a sprinkling of colour from the many varieties of wildflowers. Small marsupials and the occasional koala are said to visit the reserve, but I have never seen any.
The Common Heath. Widespread throughout Victoria. Flowers May-August
The gravel track which meanders through the park is a popular area for the casual walker, the serious walker, occasional jogger and an on lead dog walking area. It is a little steep and rough in some sections and it is not recommended for the mobility challenged.
The reserve is strictly an on lead dog walking area. Seen here is a local resident walking her canine friend.
At one high point on the eastern edge of the reserve, a good view of the distant Dandenong Ranges is seen, looking over the intervening suburbs. It is a quiet area set amongst suburbia. If it is solitude you like in your walks this is the place to be.
The Common Hovea is a member of the pea family of plants. Flowers August-October.
There are no designated car parking areas but pedestrian access to the reserve can be made from many of the streets and roads abutting the perimeter. At the Exeter Road entrance there is space for several vehicles to park off road, but when exiting, exercise extreme caution as the area is just over the crest of a hill and a power pole blocks the view of cars coming over that nearby crest.
The reserve was purchased in 1984 jointly by the Victorian Government and the then City of Croydon. The former owner, Mr Clem Hochkins sold it for half its estimated value, on the condition that it be conserved as a floral reserve.
The City of Maroondah has available from their offices a very detailed brochure on Hochkins Ridge Flora Reserve with colourful photos of many of the specimens to be seen.
There are no facilities in the reserve, just an interesting and peaceful walk. If seeing wildflowers is your aim, go in spring. If exercise is your aim, anytime is good.