Westerfolds Park

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Westerfolds Park
The Manor House in Westerfolds Park
The Manor House in Westerfolds Park
Type Public Park
Location Melbourne, Australia
Coordinates 37°44′49″S 145°07′44″E / 37.747°S 145.129°E / -37.747; 145.129Coordinates: 37°44′49″S 145°07′44″E / 37.747°S 145.129°E / -37.747; 145.129
Size 123 hectares
Opened 1977
Operated by Parks Victoria
Status Open (8:30am-9pm)
Terrain Bushland and Hills
Vegetation Australian Native, Grasslands
Water Yarra River, Kestrel Creek
Paths 5km of Sealed Paths, Unsealed bush paths
Facilities Toilets, Barbecues, Playground, Cafe, Canoe Ramp
Landmarks Yarra River, Manor House
Connecting Transport Car, Bus

Westerfolds Park is a metropolitan park situated in Templestowe, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. (Melway ref: 33 F2).

Westerfolds is classified as a metropolitan park and conserves riparian habitat within the Melbourne urban environment. The park nestles into a hilly bend in the Yarra River and has a network of bitumen and gravel paths, shelters, playgrounds, picnic tables and electric barbecues. It is a popular spot for picnics, and family gatherings on the weekend and public holidays. Other recreational pursuits include walking, cycling, rollerblading, walking the family dog, canoeing, horse riding and bird watching.

Near the centre of the park atop a large hill lies the Manor House which housed the Mia Mia Gallery and Cafe, Australians|Indigenous Australian]] cultural education programs and galley exhibiting Indigenous Australian Art. Mia Mia closed in 2013 and is no longer situated at the Park. New business tenents are currently being sought with a view to further develop, refurbish and restore the manor.

History[edit]

In 1846 the land was purchased from the Crown. In the early 1930s, the Turner family bought the property and built the Manor in 1936. After World War II many of the dairy farms and orchards in the surrounding area were subdivided for urban development. Because of flooding in the Yarra River, Westerfolds was not subdivided and was eventually added to the Yarra Valley Parklands in 1977. Parks Victoria (then known as Melbourne Parks and Waterways) took over the management and conservation of Westerfolds Park in 1978.

Revegetation and conservation programs are underway with the re-establishment of native grasslands and wetlands. Over 400 plant species native to the area can now be found including Eucalypts, Acacias, River Red Gums, and native grasses and shrubs. Visit in late winter and early spring to experience the wattle trees blooming throughout the park. Parrots, cockatoos, kookaburras, water and small bush birds can be seen, along with bats, platypus, wombats, koalas, possums, echidnas and, Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Recreation[edit]

Main facade of the Manor House

Westerfolds Park forms part of the main Yarra River Trail for cyclists and walkers to explore the Yarra river valley to the Melbourne CBD. Cyclists can access Westerfolds Park via the 4 km Diamond Creek Trail from Eltham station.

Cycling[edit]

The Yarra River Trail runs through the park. There is over 5 km of sealed pathways in very good condition, much of it is of generous width with a centre dividing line, gutters and drains. Many cyclists take the paths at high speed, particularly the through-route paths as cyclists travel through the park on longer journeys. Most pedestrians are considerate of cyclists and walk on the left hand side of pathways. One danger is pedestrians walking dogs who have little control over them.

Off road, there are many obscure dirt or gravel pathways winding through the bush, most of it is very flat and mainly used by casual cyclists as alternative routes to the sealed pathways. Occasionally, small mountain bike events are held on the trail in the middle of the park that crosses Kestrel Creek several times over a series of narrow boardwalks. Pedestrians occasionally use these boardwalks and it can be dangerous taking them at high speed unless the area is taped off for an event.

Walking & Running[edit]

Revegetation in 2009, planted in 2004

The 5 km of sealed pathways provides excellent conditions for runners and walkers, there are 4 or 5 drinking fountains evenly distributed throughout the park, roughly every kilometre, and seats and benches at similar intervals. Schools from the surrounding area hold annual fun run events in the park, this usually involves using 2 tracks, a short loop and a longer loop. Some small change rooms are available in the toilet facilities but these are infrequently kept. Snakes are rarely encountered unless pedestrians wander onto dirt and gravel paths. Pedestrians should always remain on the left hand side of pathways to enable safe shared use by cyclists and pedestrians. It is also the location for Westerfolds parkrun. A free, weekly, timed 5km running event open to everybody.

Sightseeing[edit]

There are many things to see in the park, mostly native vegetation and wildlife, Eastern Grey Kangaroos are easily seen at any time in open grasslands. Viewing platforms along the Yarra River afford good views of the river and rapids. Guided walking tours are held, contact Parks Victoria for more information. In most weather conditions, the city can be seen from the Manor House hill when looking south-west.

Facilities[edit]

Map of Westerfolds Park
  • Manor House - toilets
  • Toilets (3) - in the south and north-eastern areas
  • Barbecues (2) - in the south and north-eastern areas
  • Canoe Launching Ramp - in the north-eastern area, just downstream from Fitzsimons Lane Bridge
  • Designated Picnic Areas (4) - in the south, south-east and north-eastern areas
  • Information Boards (4) - located along the sealed pathways
  • Viewing Platforms (2) - in the north-east and north-western areas, on the river banks overlooking rapids
  • Car Parking - over 100 spaces available

Access[edit]

Manor House from the eastern side

The park is open every day, including weekends and public holidays, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, and during daylight saving time from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm, extending to 9:00 pm in peak summer periods. Visitors can access the park via road through gates on Porter Street and Fitzsimons Lane, while pedestrian & cycling pathways remain open at all hours.

  • Car
Through gate off Fitzsimons Lane
Through gate off Porter Street
  • Bus
Numbers 153, 201 and 301 stop near Porter Street Entrance
Number 293 stops on Fitzsimons Lane Entrance
Numbers 152 and 281 stop near both Porter Street & Fitzsimons Lane Entrances
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle
Over footbridge from Montpelier Reserve
Pathway from Porter Street
Pathway from Candlebark Park
Pathway from Fitzsimons Lane
  • Canoe & Kayak
Canoe landing just downstream from Fitzsimons Lane Bridge

External links[edit]