Visitors who view the huge expanse of Cardinia's water by the morning light will understand why this is one of Melbourne's most popular outdoor destinations. The open parklands, picnic and barbecue areas, and native bushland areas abounding with wildlife and natural flora are sure to enthral all visitors.
Things to Do
Have a picnic among the trees.
Watch the Eastern Grey Kangaroos feeding at dawn or dusk, or basking in the sun along the kangaroo viewing trail.
Enjoy panoramic views of the park from the many lookouts and vantage points.
Walk across the dam wall.
Play on the playground at Crystal Brook Picnic Area.
Crystal Brook picnic area has parking, barbecues, shelter and toilets.
Duffy's picnic area has barbecues, shelter and toilets.
Kangaroo Flat picnic area has barbecues, shelter and toilets.
All picnic areas (except Kangaroo Flat) have access and toilets for Visitors with limited mobility.
Baby changing facilities
The site chosen for Cardinia Reservoir was Cardinia Creek, a few kilometres south of Emerald. Here, among small but well defined hills, the building of one large embankment and smaller saddle dams filled gaps in the hills to create a vast basin. The huge water storage area was completed in 1973, and took four years to fill, receiving water from Silvan Reservoir. An allocation of $1 million was provided to landscape the surrounds and create a major recreation area.
The picnic areas are a haven for kangaroos, wallabies, possums, echidnas, wombats and reptiles. Parrots and honeyeaters and less common wedge-tailed eagles can be seen from the picnic areas. Towards dusk, kangaroos and wallabies move out to the grassy flats to graze.
The bushland changes with the seasons. The stringybarks (some with Drooping Mistletoes), Swamp Gums, Blackwoods and the understorey of shrubby Hakea, Tea-tree and other flowering plants delight the senses at any time of the year.There is a wetland conservation area near Crystal Brook Picnic Area.
How to Get There
The Park is only 45 km from Melbourne, situated on Duffy's Road, off Wellington Road at Narre Warren East (Melway ref: 126 C11).
Cardinia Reservoir Park is open every day of the year. Opening and closing times vary according to daylight savings. For up to date information on park closing times call the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963.
There is a nice wooden adventure playground in a big grassy bowl at the Crystal Brook Picnic area. There is a steep climb up to the spill way from this picnic area. Alternatively the 2.3 km Messmate Circuit is a fairly nice walk which passes through the other main picnic area (Duffy's Lookout Picnic Area). There are some tables along the route.