Cycle Melbourne, Sightseeing Ride, Braeside Park
Braeside Park is the perfect place for a family ride on a five kilometre, unsealed track with virtually no traffic to contend with. The trail crosses car park access and service roads at a few points but these are clearly marked. Car traffic is limited to a small area of the park. It is one-way only, and the speed limit for cars in the park is only 20kph. This makes it a very safe ride for beginners of any age.
Once part of the extensive Carrum Carrum Swamp, this area became grazing land in the 1860s before being developed for racehorse training in the early 1900s. The remnants of these stables were destroyed by fire in 1982. In the meantime, part of the land operated as a sewerage treatment plant from 1940 to 1980. The 295ha park was established in 1980 and now supports a wide range of bird life and native vegetation. The ride loops through the park, but there are other trails to explore. A shared path in the northwest corner leads you past a detailed map and information board. This trail joins the ride after a short distance.
There are also opportunities to explore some interesting detours to several bird hides along the way and also along the Heathland Self Guided Trail. Get a leaflet from the information centre and check out the features at several numbered points. All the trails in the park are shared but this one might best be done on foot as it is narrow in spots and you may encounter walkers at busy times. It can be accessed from the ride at 4.5km or 4.9km. This trail and the playground are attractions which would especially appeal to kids.
At times it’s hard to believe you’re in the suburbs of Melbourne, and the sight of cattle grazing in the middle of the park completes the illusion. The mix of open grasslands, wetlands and red gum stands make this park more interesting than you might first envisage. Also of interest are the mosaic panels which provide an interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage of the park and surrounding area. Over 400 people from the Friends of Braeside Park and the local community contributed to them. It’s well worth planning to spend the day here with the family or friends because once you’ve ridden through the park, you’ll appreciate that it’s worth doing another leisurely loop and stopping along the way at the wetlands viewing platform and bird hides. There are several picnic areas where you could enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Cars can enter the park from either Lower Dandenong Road, Dingley at the north end of the park, or from Governor Road on the southern boundary. This ride starts at the Swallow car park near the Lower Dandenong Road entrance.
Food and Drink
There is nowhere to purchase eats or drinks in the park but there are ample drinking fountains along the trail. Consider packing a picnic lunch and enjoy the facilities located close to each parking area. Note: all rubbish must be taken with you when you leave.
5.522 km / 3.431 mi
37 m / 121 ft
20 m / 65 ft