Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published April 5th 2015
Free Fun For All Ages
Off the beaten track
This has to be the absolute best time of year to go for a stroll or plan a family activity in the bush or natural bush land park.
It doesn't take long to get that serene relaxing feeling when you get amongst the gum trees and take some time out to appreciate the beauties that nature has to offer.
This is a free activity that's good for the heart and soul and suitable for all ages. Here are some of my favorite suburban bush settings that are perfect for a family walk, run or ride. Take a bat and ball and a bbq and you are set for the day.
Little dirt tracks meander through the bush along the riverbank for miles. There are many varieties of duck swimming happily, showing no signs of reservation near people. Skinks are sunning themselves on rocks and much bird life can be heard.
Children are paddling in the river and dogs a plenty, both on the track and in the water. Dogs of every breed are on and off the lead panting along the long dusty truck. In all the years I have been here I have never seen a problem with dogs. They are often a conversation starter for kids and dog owners.
Look carefully and you will see a small boy scrambling along the rocks
While you're there you might like to try the old Warrandyte bakery or a cold ale at the grand Hotel. There are literally dozens and dozens of cafés and restaurants along the main strip as well as galleries, a museum, an antique shop, clothing and jewellery stores, an old fashioned lollyshop and much more. For 10 very good reasons to visit Warrandyte click. here.
It really is a grand old hotel
Just off the very busy Plenty Rd is a beautiful expansive natural bush land park where large fallen trees lay where they have landed. They represent many decades of experiences in this park and are now used by kids to climb on.
Oh the stories it could tell
Many children's playgrounds are spotted around the park as well as barbecue areas with seating and undercover pergola areas. Some elderly visitors are stretching against some seating, a child is searching the round with a metal detector and kids are practicing their skateboard trips in the unusually quiet car park.
I remember coming here many years ago when the clown swing was a huge novel attraction. My kids are less impressed than I was. I suppose they now have such a range of playground equipment and bigger thrills so this must seem very tame (or lame).
I still think this is a fun ride
The Bundoora homestead is up the back for those of you who like to pet the animals or want to purchase a snack at the café. If you would prefer just across Plenty Road there are a number of new shops including cafés.
Westerfolds Park, Templestowe
This is also a very large environmental parkland on the Yarra that attracts canoeists, walkers and riders. It is worth venturing to the top of the hill, (the old home is still there) for a magnificent 360-degree view. The 'Manor' has since been used for various purposes such as the Mia Mia Cafe and an Aboriginal gallery.
The Manor on top of the hill
This oasis (120 acres of natural parkland) is in the middle of Templestowe right near Fitzsimmons Lane.
The park is well suited for a range of recreational activities such as picnicking, cycling, playing, walking, dog walking and water activities. The canoeing club offers Come and Try sessions for children and adults. Every second Saturday a fun run is held there.
Watch out for snakes
There are many spots with plenty of seating and shade. The children's playgrounds are terrific and it's a great place to spot the wildlife. There are many signs around the trail alerting the walker/rider to what they might find in that particular area.
Bundaleer Park, Doreen
This park is located right smack in the middle of a new estate near Bridge Inn Rd. They have the most awesome gums your ever likely to see. This is a real feature for me. Equally important to the children is the adventure park that has the most scary/exciting equipment fir for any little thrill seeker.
And that's only part of the equipment
The Bundaleer Park has the expected modern climbing equipment plus some thrills seeking swimming hammock, a flying fox and another odd shaped whiz ride that turns unevenly and lifts the rider high off the ground.
Bundaleer also features a long, fairly flat walking/riding track perfect for little riders to cut their teeth on or for older riders who don't manage the hills very well.
This park has bbqs, plenty of undercover seating, basketball rings and soccer nets. It's a perfect location for a great, free family day out.