Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Published April 11th 2014
Walking trails, fishing, boating, picnicking and sightseeing
Sugarloaf Reservoir is located in the Christmas Hills between Yarra Glen and Kangaroo Ground. This 456 hectare park including the reservoir is a popular spot for walking, fishing, picnicking, sailing and for some, a destination for a Sunday drive.
Within the park are two designated picnic grounds with the first one being Ridge park which seemed the busier of the two with plenty of large family groups set up under trees. From this park there is walking track to the reservoir wall which is signposted as being 40 minutes return but you can walk the full circumference of the reservoir which is 15 kilometres.
Further into the park you come to the western car park, an asphalt car park with a view of the reservoir and a small amount of information. We left the car here and walked across the dam wall to the Southern carpark where there is a visitor information building is, but is really just an elevated lookout as there was no information. The walk to this point would be approximately one kilometre one way, a perfect length to stretch the kids legs.
From here you can continue on the second picnic ground (Saddle Dam park) which is also accessible by car but any further is by foot only. This picnic ground has a shelter, BBQ's, toilets including disabled facilities and a large open area with trees for shade and a view over the reservoir.
There were many families with young children in this park. Children were riding their bicycles around without having to worry about traffic, others were fishing down on the banks and most had picnic rugs or small day shelters set up. The smell of sausages filled the air and lively ball games were taking place.
Overall I think the park could do with a bit of a rejuvenation as it feels like it was once a popular day tripper destination in perhaps the 80's but hasn't come forward since then. I know some may disagree with me saying it adds to the appeal but even something as simple as a good playground, some work on the gardens and an upgrade of walking paths and perhaps adding a cycling trail would really add to the appeal of the Sugarloaf reservoir.
Would I come back to specifically visit the Sugarloaf reservoir in the near future? probably not. If I was in the area and had some spare time then I would go back and walk the loop around the reservoir to see it from all angles.
I love visiting Sugarloaf for the wildlife. I've had the experience of having a pair of wedge-tailed eagles soaring around about 20m above me, and also have walked out a number of times to one of the spits of land that jut into the dam, where you can often see a mob of kangaroos. It's a great spot to take an overseas visitor. I like your idea of a bike path too :)