Only 50 minutes southeast of Melbourne is a little known 185 acre (75 hectare) avian paradise called Birdsland.
I grew up in Mount Dandenong, and even then I hadn’t heard of this place till I went on an internet hunt for a new walking spot recently. There wasn’t a whole heap online about it, but it was only a 20 minute drive from where the horses live, so if it turned out to be a dud spot, no harm done. And worse case scenario, I knew a great little cafe close by that I could pop in to so the drive wasn’t a complete waste of petrol if it was average.
I’m a sucker for knowing exactly where I’m going so I don’t waste time being lost (although, I admit, I’ve had some fabulous adventures being lost), but I struggled to find accurate directions online for the best parking spot for the Birdsland Reserve – The best I came up with was “off Mt Morton Rd”, which wasn’t all that helpful, as the Mt Morton Rd I went to was nearly 5km long and joins up (without signage to announce you’re on a new road) to Ryans Rd, which then loops back to Wellington Rd. And I have to avoid that part of Wellington Rd on weekends, as there’s a little hot jam doughnut caravan I just can’t seem to drive past without stopping at…
After a few U-turns (and successfully avoiding the doughnut caravan), I realised that there were two Mt Morton Roads; one in Belgrave South (where I was), and another just next door in Belgrave Heights. It was only 5 minutes to the proper road, and once there I found the driveway that leads to the car park quite easily. I’ve pinned the address for the Birdsland Reserve car park here so you can hopefully just click and go using Google Maps. Alternatively, the location is 37°55’23.9″S 145°20’12.8″E.
On the drive up there I had stopped by Holy Bowly on Hampton St in Hampton to pick up one of their amazing Chia Seeds Bowls, which tends to give me enough energy to get through the majority of my day without upsetting my guts, which when going on a remote walk away from toilet facilities is a fantastic combination!
It was about 11 degrees C when I got there, so rugged up with by new puffer jacket & scarf, and before heading off I had a bit of a wander around the car park area to scope it out, and was surprised by how good the facilities were:
- Undercover (and clean!) toilets
- 6 picnic tables scattered around a lovely flat area
- A large undercover area with additional seating and 2 BBQ’s
- Right next to a sweet bubbling creek, overlooking the adjoining farmland
This would be an amazing spot to have a BBQ lunch one day with some mate when the weather get a bit toastier, so I’ve put this on on the list of new ‘Summer Spots’ to head to in the coming months!
The weather held out really well, and although it was quite overcast, I only copped a tiny light shower. As I started walking away from the car park, I was surprised by the variety of people there. There were kids on bikes, Mums with dogs, and a nice mix of groups and solo adventurers, but overall there weren’t all that many human sightings!
I ended up having to can my plans to go on the longer walk as something popped up that I had to head to in the afternoon in the city, so I decided to just loop around the lake, eat my tasty, tasty snack, and head back. Overall, that’s about a 3km flat and level walk. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t head out for longer, but at least I have another adventure to go on shortly!
The walk towards the make lake takes you past a decent sized creek, which seems to follow you like a playful entity playing tag, winding in an out of the trees.
A little further up you pass the first large body of water which has the rather odd name of ‘Monbulk Creek Retarding Basin’. I know what it means, but it’s just that pretty that they should really think about making the name just a tad more internet search friendly 😛
As you reach the main lake area, it opens out to a huge body of water with birds scattered around, going about their daily business. There’s something so simply entertain about watching birds. I can see why some people make a lifelong hobby out of it!
As you pass the main lake and walk towards the back of this section of the property, you can see where the reserve backs on to the surrounding farmland, and the juxtaposition is actually quite pretty.
While I was sitting at a recycled plastic bench, eating my delish chia pudding & listening intently to the silence cut only by the call of a lonely (or more likely horny, I’m guessing) bird, I heard the raucous yelling of a hoard of kids in the distance. Out of the bushes they came, a group of at least 30. I tried to ignore their yelling that was ruining the serenity, and just waiting out their passing. Just as the last 2 kids were walking by with one of their careers, and I audibly created a sigh of relief, the younger girl started to walk towards me. I thought she was going to be a smart ass about me sitting here solo, and her carer called out to her to leave me alone. She looked me dead in the eyes and smiled, so I smiled back. She broke into a huge grin, and ran back to her carer saying “I was just checking if she was ok. She smiled at me so she is”. That gave me the warm fuzzier something chronic! Serves me right for thinking all kids are terrors.