Truganina Park is both easy to overlook and hard to ignore. Built on the reclaimed former Altona tip site the park covers approximately 25 hectares of open grassland. Dominating this large expanse of coastal park is a 17-metre high hill which offers commanding views of both the city and Port Phillip Bay from the observation platform on the hill's peak. The park is far enough from the main road and the hill's rise is so gradual that it seems to melt into the horizon.
The observation platform at the top of the hill offers fantastic 360 degree views of the surrounding area and the bay.
The Altona Tip was closed in 1998 by the Hobsons Bay City Council. The area was then rejuvenated to it's current state in time for the Centenary of Federation. The park was officially opened on November 23rd 2001 by none other than Julia Gillard, back when she was just a member of parliament.
Julia Gillard was the Federal MP for Lalor before becoming Prime Minister.
The park is extremely accessible and friendly to people of all fitness levels and ages. There are two options to reach the viewing platform: a path which goes around the edges of the hill or a stairway that gradually winds its way to the top. Both ways are on shallow gradients and offer scenic views when ascending and descending. There are 100 of these stairs, each representing a year of Australia's Centenary of Federation. Funnily enough they are called the "100 Steps to Federation."
The top of the hill is table-top flat and wide. Much like the base of the park this allows ample room for children and families to enjoy a sunny afternoon. The park also has barbeque and eating facilities adding to it's family-friendly credentials. The whole area is very environmentally-conscious as well.
Truganina Park is a part of the combined Truganina Swamp and Cheetham Wetlands and as such a large variety of wildlife can be seen from the park and the surrounding area particularly many different species of migratory birds. Additionally if visiting the park at dawn or dusk it isn't unlikely that you won't see a fox or a rabbit or two. Be warned though snakes do occur naturally in the area so be mindful of long grass, rocks and logs especially if visiting the park with children.
The view from the top, looking down the slope of the hill.
The view from the top is completely worth the journey. Based on the quality of the air it is possible to see as far as Geelong in the west and across the bay to the eastern shore. From this point you feel very small compared to the vast expanse of Port Phillip Bay.
Also located on the viewing platform is a towering artwork by artist Cameron Robbins called the Time Beacon. The distinct shape of the piece is iconic of the park and can instantly be recalled by all who see it. Beneath the observation platform a time capsule is buried, to be unearthed on Australia Day 2025.
The Time Beacon artwork at the top of the hill. Behind the Beacon is the expansive Cheetham Wetlands.
Truganina Park is a unique feature, not only to the western suburbs, but to the rest of Melbourne. The park is highly accessible by vehicle (car or bus) with main road access via Queen St. or bicycle by the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail which cuts through the park. A handy tip though: if driving take care when entering the car park as there are some sizable and in some cases unavoidable pot holes in the dirt. These obstacles are best navigated at the slowest speeds possible to avoid vehicle damage.
The view from the observation platform is spectacular.
Despite a couple of minor issues Truganina Park makes for a highly enjoyable and memorable day or afternoon out. Whether by yourself, with your partner, or bringing the whole family there is something here to keep everyone occupied.
Local Tip: the observation platform offers the BEST views of the New Year's Eve fireworks displays that take place around the bay. Something to consider for next year.
Truganina Park is open every day of the year with gates opening at 8AM and closing at 7PM (9PM during Daylight Savings).
i visit here often, it is such a beautifully peaceful spot.
the bike track travels through local bush, along the beach and over the river via a bridge and can lead to the altona beach, quite easily.
there are no public toilets, so a toilet stop at altona would be recommended - especially for little ones.
for new years eve, dont forget the bug spray, and please take all rubbish home with you.
enjoy watching the boats come in and out, and look for the lovely native birds. but most of all, allow yourself time to just relax and absorb the peace and spectacular views.