Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published October 31st 2015
A Scenic Stroll or Brisk Walk, it's Your Choice
Jells Park covers a whopping 127 hectares and has around 9kms of shared tracks for walkers, joggers and riders. The Heart Foundation has included an easy 4km circuit in the park in its Green Walks in the Park Program. I chose the Heart Foundation walk but did it in reverse, saving the best for last. A full map of Jells Park can be downloaded with the 'Park Note' here.
My walk starts at Madeline's at Jells restaurant which doubles as the Visitor Centre. I head east on a wide bitumen path that skirts the Pines Picnic Area. It is October and the silky oak trees (grevillea robusta) are showing their brilliant orange and yellow flowers.
I follow the path around. There are seats at comfortable intervals; no need to hurry. I cross the exit road and to my right the Conservation Area has commenced. Vegetation is thick, haphazard and very natural. Birdsong is all around, I hear lorikeets and noisy minors.
I walk by the Yabbie Hill adventure playground and on to the Ponds Area. On my left, a little off the path, in a pond area with a dense patch of water lilies, ducks gather and on a low branch a lone kookaburra sits. I return to the path, cross a small wooden bridge, then continue to skirt the Conservation Area. I notice a nesting box in a tree before reaching a lawn area so large it is a view in itself. I veer right towards the lake.
At Jells Lake I take the path to the right and when I reach Jetty 2, opposite a picnic shelter, I stop to enjoy views across the water. Purple swamp hens search for food amongst the reeds. Back on track the bitumen path gives way to gravel but is still an easy walk.
I pass through a gate into the Conservation Area. At Jetty 3, I stop to watch ducks and am delighted to see great cormorants. Further on, through eucalypt forest and I see the island in the lake and everywhere there are birds. What a sight.
Around the curve I follow the sign to the bird hide where I stop to take photos. Through the camera zoom I can hardly believe the variety and quantity of birds I see on the island – ibis, cormorants, darters, herons and coots. It is nesting season, a bird watchers paradise.
I continue to skirt the lake. A pair of eastern rosellas fly across the path. Purple swamp hens wander at path's edge and ducks and coots rest at water's edge. I leave the Conservation Area through a gate near the creek. A bicyclist crosses on their way along the Dandenong Creek Trail.
Around to the left and back on the bitumen path I pass the Elms Picnic Area and a group of dog walkers. I walk on to Jetty 1 at lakes edge where a white-faced heron struts the boardwalk. Eurasian coot are here in numbers. Past the jetty is a small sand beach. I return to the path that first brought me to the lake and make my way back to the Visitor Centre.
Jells Park is on Waverley Road, Wheelers Hill, just east of the intersection with Jells Road. The park is open daily with 24 hour pedestrian access. Waverley Road gates open at 8am. There is onsite parking. For more information ring the Visitor Centre (Madeline's at Jells) on (03) 9561 4522 or go to the Parks Victoria website where you can download the Park Notes and a Map. Entry is free.