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 August 27th 2016
Bushwalks, Gardens, Parks, Festivals and much more
After what has felt like a relentlessly long, cold and windy winter I am very much looking forward to the pleasant relief that spring offers. For me, there is nothing better than feeling sunshine on my skin whilst running along bush trails and smelling that distinctive change in the air with spring flowers in bloom.
1) Ballarat Springfest is a collection of events delivered by the members of the Rotary club of Ballarat to raise money for local community groups. The biggest attraction in the Springfest is the market held at Lake Wendouree which attracts thousands of visitors to look at the 450 stalls and vintage car display. For more info on the springfest click here. Another interesting event is the 'Ballart Gardens In Spring', which is a collection of private gardens open to the public on the weekend of the 12th and 13th of November.
2) The Rhododendron Gardens in the Dandenong's are spectacular in spring with masses of pink, purple, mauve, red and white rhododendron, azaleas and native flowers in full bloom. Take a picnic and a camera and spend a sunny afternoon strolling these huge grounds with family and friends. On site is a gift shop, cafe and plenty of Parks Victoria staff to answer any questions you may have. Entry to the gardens is free. As well as the Rhododendron Gardens, here you will find my list of top 10 Spring gardens. Whilst in the Dandenongs why not have a look at the these top things to do.
3) Hancock's Daffodil Flower Display is a sign that spring has truly sprung. Have a look at the many stunning varieties of daffodils on display here and perhaps take a bunch home with you. Entry is free. To read my full review click here.
Hancock's daffodil display
4) Warburton is a pretty little town that runs along the banks of the Yarra River and is only a short drive from Melbourne yet feels like miles away. Take a stroll along the river path, cross the old cable swing bridges, feed the ducks, enjoy one of the many fantastic cafes, hire a bike from Cog cafe and discover some of the Lilydale to Warburton rail trail, visit La La Falls, have a look at the shops for antiques and treasures or the Warby artisans and produce market held on the first Sunday of every month. For more on Warburton click here.
5) Caldermeade Farm is located between Melbourne and Phillip Island and is a great place to stop off with the kids. Here you can pat some baby animals, look at the calves, watch the cows being milked (milking is daily at 3:30pm ) and perhaps enjoy a milkshake or something to eat in the popular and cosy cafe. Entry to the farm is free but a small donation is appreciated and can be left in the barrel in the milk observation room. For my full review click here. If you're continuing on to Phillip Island then a stop at Churchill Island (entrance fee applies) and The Nobbies (free) are recommended.
Bollygum Park, King Lake
6) Find a great playground far from home. My top 3 playgrounds to visit out of town are the Bollygum playground at Kinglake, McKenzie reserve at Yarra Glen and Woodend community playground. All have a distinct community feel and are fabulous playgrounds and lovely picnic spots.
7) Get outdoors and find a great bushwalk. Not only is it great for your physical and mental health but take friends along and make it a social occasion as well. Here is my list of top bushwalks.
8) Mornington Peninsula Hinterland Scarecrow festival is now in its 10th year and runs from the 16th of September till the 3rd October. Download a free map and take in some beautiful country sights whilst trying to find all of the wonderful homemade scarecrows. To download a map, to see how to vote for your favourite scarecrow or for more information click here. Whilst on the peninsula you may like to visit Musk Creek Cottage on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of September as part of the Open Garden Scheme (entry fees apply). For more free things have a look at 10 free things to do on the Mornington Peninsula here.
9) Parkrun is a fabulous way to get fit and to explore other towns all around Australia and is perfect for a day trip. Parkrun is a timed 5km run/walk that is free to participate in and happens all over the state every Saturday at 8am. So far I've completed parkruns at Hastings, Inverloch, Phillip Island and have many more on my list. It's an early start so you have the rest of the day to explore the location that you've chosen. To find out more click here.
10) Markets, I love a good market with lots of fresh produce and homemade goods. Travel far and wide to various markets and find some cute country towns along the way. My favourite website to find markets is mymarkets.vic.com, which lists every market on over the weekend all over Victoria.