Erica is a writer and yoga teacher based in Melbourne.
Published August 2nd 2011
Lillydale Lake, a man-made lake and wetland area, opened to the public in July 1990. Since then, its become a favourite place for locals to meet for a walk, a chat or a picnic. Sprawling over 245 acres, the park, which includes the lake, playground and recreational space, is huge. Visit on any weekday and you'll find mothers strolling around the lake's perimeter with their little ones, joggers and runners keeping fit, and fisher-men and women kicking back by the water's edge.
Walking & Cycling The park features over 10km of shared walking and cycling trail, and if you want to take it easy, you'll find the track gentle without any steep hills. In addition to the trail around the lake itself, you'll also find a boardwalk in the wetlands and a dirt track (a little more challenging) that takes you high above the lake itself.
At one end of the park you'll find a huge all-abilities playground. Surrounded by a secure fence, there's equipment to keep kids of all ages happy – monkey bars, climbing spaces, flying fox, swings – you name it, they seem to have it. There's even a Liberty Swing, designed for those in wheelchairs (note, you have to purchase a key for access to the Liberty Swing).
Picnics & Barbecues There are several covered electric barbecues for public use within the park, as well as a few picnic tables. But with huge expanses of grass, think about bringing your own picnic rug. Then just lay back with some good company, good food, and enjoy the day. Don't forget the footy, cricket gear or frisbee for a friendly afternoon competition.
In addition to the activities above, you'll find lots of other activities at Lillydale Lake. Incorporate some situps, pushups and other exercises into your walk at the outdoor fitness station, or get your dog out for some exercise. Dogs secured on a lead are welcome in most areas of the park, and you'll also find some designated off-lead areas to let your best friend burn off some energy.
Fishing is a popular past-time at Lillydale Lake. Every day you'll see a number of people settled on their folding chairs on one of the jetties or rocky shores, waiting for the fish to bite. Meanwhile, on the water, non-motorised boating including kayaking and canoeing is encouraged.
There's a sandy-shored 'beach' area on one side of the lake, where the brave take a dip in the water.