A fun day out for families and popular with joggers and cyclists, Lysterfield Park is a free, public park open every day of the year.
Originally used as a storage reservoir, the 82ha Lysterfield Lake and the surrounding land is a recreation and conservation area in Melbourne's southeast. Open since 1986, the park offers a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing and boating, or use of the extensive bike trails, walking paths, horse riding tracks and barbecue facilities.
Sitting on the edge of the picturesque Dandenongs, the park is a great place to get outdoors. Bring the family and enjoy a picnic by the lake, walk the dam wall and view some stunning native flora like Yellow Box, Stringybark and River Red Gum. Take the chance to spot some of the animals, including around 140 species of birds, as well as kangaroos, wallabies and even koalas, possums and echidnas.
The best way get around is by foot or by bike. A variety of tracks are spread throughout the park, and there is something to suit all levels of ability. A popular choice is the Lake Circuit trail. At just over 6km this walk starts and ends at the park entrance and offers some great views of the water and bushland. Across the park and at the opposite end of the scale is the Competition trail. Used in mountain biking events during the 2006 Commonwealth Games, this course is for skilled riders.
If you are taking on any of these tracks it is worth visiting the Trailmix centre before you start. Found in the park's main picnic area by the lake, it includes a cafe, information centre, trail maps, canoe and bike hire and services.
For those keen on getting closer to the water, bring your bathers and enjoy a swim in the lake, or have a go at canoeing, sailing or rowing. Only non-powered boating is permitted in the park, and there are some restricted zones. For more information on boat use on Lysterfield Lake, take a look at the listing on the Parks Victoria website.
Lysterfield Park is an easy 40 minute drive from Melbourne's CBD, and is best entered from Horswood Rd, off Belgrave-Hallam Rd (Melway ref: 108 D2). Take the Monash Fwy to Heatherton Rd or continue along the Pakenham bypass and exit at Narre Warren North Rd.