In 1841 a punt was installed on the Yarra River at the site of the bridge at Banksia Park. It opened the best route between Melbourne and the Bulleen-Templestowe area enabling the earliest Europeans to settle along the rich river flats. Banksia Park was the first part of the Yarra Valley Parklands to be opened to the public in 1978.
The open space, playgrounds and picnic areas of Banksia Park is perfect for cyclists, joggers, walkers and those who enjoy a breath of fresh air and is a popular location with visitors of all ages.
Things to Do:
Follow the Heritage Trail and learn about our history and special significance of the Aboriginal sites.
View the plentiful water fowl in the wetlands.
Fly a kite.
Make use of over 3 kilometres of bitumen track by walking, jogging or cycling.
Walk the Heidelberg Artists Trail.
Visit the Japanese Cherry Tree Grove.
Try fishing in the Yarra.
Have a picnic or barbecue.
Wood fired barbecues with wood supplied. You may bring your own gas barbecue.
Picnic tables and shelters.
Toilets with wheelchair access.
Over 80 different species of birds have been recorded in the park. A keen eye may spot a superb fairy-wren or a rainbow lorikeet along the river. Pacific black ducks and dusky moorhens are easily seen around the Banksia Park pond. Other inhabitants include possums, gliders, wombats, reptiles, frogs and a variety of fish.
Banksia Park has a unique blend of remnant native vegetation and exotic plants. Ancient river red gums are scattered along the Yarra River's banks, along with manna gums, wattles, grasses and shrubs. On the higher terraces are mature pines, oaks, willows and poplars.
The park is open every day from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Hours are extended to 8:00 PM during daylight saving. Pedestrians have 24 hour access.
Enter from Templestowe Road, Bulleen.
Access for Dogs:
Dogs must be on leash throughout the park. There is an area set aside for owners to let their dogs run off-leash in the Cherry Blossom Loop. Water and seating is provided within a fully fenced area.
The park provides an opportunity for a walk around, including with your dog. There is a basic playground which has a shelter with four tables, four unshaded tables, wood fuel BBQs, water tap and grassy area. There are toilets located about 100m from the playground. This end of the park is quite noisy from distant road traffic and high voltage power lines are a bit of an eye-sore.
The road in the south west corner of the park ends in a circle and some walking tracks lead off from this point. One track leads along the Yarra River back to a bridge. In 1841 a punt was installed at the point where the bridge is now located. This opened the best route between Melbourne and the sparsely settled Bulleen and Templestowe areas. The punt was replaced by the first stone and wood bridge in 1860.
Following the shared pathways through the park passes through grass dotted with trees. The asphalt paths are well formed and in good condition. There are a number of information boards scattered throughout the park with topics such as river crossings, flooding, the original inhabitants and the Mill.
The Yarra River was the territory of the Wurundjeri, or Yarra Tribe. This area contains evidence of Aboriginal occupation - scarred trees and camp sites represented by stone tools less than 5,000 years old. Wallabies and possums may have been the chief game animals, but the Yarra River also provided an important source of fish and shellfish. Herbaceous plant foods including fruit and seeds were also collected. The Wurundjeri were driven out as white settlement spread eastward from Melbourne along the Yarra Valley. In 1840 an Aboriginal reserve was established at Warrandyte, but abandoned by 1852.
A water-powered flor mill was established on the opposite bank from the park, probably in the 1850's. By 1863 it was operated by William and Joseph Hampton and later purchased by William Rank in 1869. Wheat growing in the area declined following large floods in the 1860's. The flour mill ceased to operate in the 1870's and become a grain and produce store.
Be aware that snakes might be present in summer.
The park is located next to the Heide Museum of Modern Art which has a very nice set of outdoor sculptures. Combine a visit to both places.