Spring has sprung across Melbourne, making it the perfect time to enjoy more outdoor adventures.
Aspect is surrounded by a range of parklands and nature reserves where families can play, explore and even listen and look for native wildlife.
Here are some of our favourite destinations where you and your family can have fun while you connect with nature.
1. Kinglake National Park
Kinglake National Park is a true jewel in the crown of Victoria's national parks. This pristine park offers families an opportunity to immerse themselves in lush forests, discover scenic waterfalls, and savour breathtaking panoramic views. A popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, the park boasts a network of well-maintained walking trails suitable for varying levels of fitness. One of the park's highlights is the iconic Masons Falls.
With its diverse flora and fauna, including native wildlife like wallabies and lyrebirds, Kinglake National Park is an ideal spot for families to connect with nature while enjoying a day of exploration and adventure. Don't forget to pack a camera to capture the stunning vistas and wildlife encounters that await you in this natural wonderland. Keep an eye out for the following bird species you’re likely to encounter on your visit: Eastern Whipbird, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Superb Lyrebird, Pink Robin, Silvereye, Brush Cuckoo, Red-browed Treecreeper and Rufous Fantail.
2. Plenty Gorge Parklands
Plenty Gorge Parklands is a sprawling natural playground that offers families an array of outdoor activities and scenic beauty. The parklands are intersected by the meandering Plenty River, providing opportunities for picnicking by the water's edge and even a bit of canoeing or kayaking. Families can explore numerous walking and cycling trails that wind through woodlands, wetlands, and grassy open spaces, making it an excellent place for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike.
Birdwatchers will be delighted to spot an array of bird species, including parrots, kookaburras, and waterfowl. Additionally, the parklands host several playgrounds and barbecue areas, making it a perfect destination for a day of family fun and relaxation amid nature's wonders. The Blue Lake, which turns a bright turquoise at certain times of the year, can be seen from the viewing platform along the walking track.
3. Yan Yean Reservoir Park
Yan Yean Reservoir Park is a serene and tranquil destination for families seeking peace and quiet in nature. The park surrounds the Yan Yean Reservoir, Melbourne's oldest water supply, and offers picnic areas, walking tracks, and birdwatching opportunities. Kids will love the chance to see ducks and swans swimming in the reservoir while parents can enjoy the scenic views.
4. Quarry Hills Regional Park
Quarry Hills Regional Park is a unique gem encompassing more than 220 hectares of natural beauty and fascinating geological features. The park is named after the historic quarry that once operated here, which has since been transformed into a picturesque lake surrounded by walking trails and picnic spots. One of the park's highlights is the Quarry Hills Bushland Park Trail, which takes you on a journey through diverse ecosystems and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Along the way, keep an eye out for local wildlife, including kangaroos, echidnas, and a variety of bird species.
Be sure to take in the Granite Hills Walking Trail (via Topaz Grove) to view the amazing large granite boulders that are ideal for little climbers.
5. Woodlands Historic Park
Woodlands Historic Park is a vast natural oasis that offers a rich tapestry of historical and natural wonders. Families can explore the park's walking and cycling trails, where you might spot kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species, including the Red-capped Robin, Black-eared Cuckoo and Purple-crowned Lorikeet. Don't forget to visit the iconic Woodlands Homestead and the Somerton Man-made Waterhole, which is a great spot for a family picnic.
The fenced Eastern Barred Bandicoot Sanctuary is the perfect place to watch for birds and other native animals as you explore this section of the park – just remember to close the gates, as this is a site for a recovery program for the threatened Eastern Barred Bandicoot.
For more ideas, information and destinations for spending time in nature, check out the City of Whittlesea’s Nature Play resources and guidelines.