Woodlands Historic Park gives visitors a fascinating glimpse of the landscape seen by settlers in the 1840s. Many physical links remain, including the history-packed Woodlands Homestead. First established as a public park in 1980, it now totals over 700 ha. It contains significant cultural and natural values which have endured many of the changes resulting from Melbourne's urban spread.
Things to Do
Visit Woodlands Homestead, an 1840s 'kit-home'. Hosts will provide interesting accounts of its many owners over the years.
Enjoy a picnic among the magnificent River Red Gum trees at the Somerton Road picnic area.
Explore the 1.5 km Moonee Ponds Creek Nature Walk.
Wander through the fenced 'Back Paddock' and see kangaroos, birds and other wildlife.
Walk up Gellibrand Hill (204 m). Explore the granite boulders and enjoy panoramic views.
Find out more about guided walks, spotlight strolls and more.
Sign up with the Friends of Woodlands Historic Park Inc. and assist our rangers on a variety of projects.
Jog or ride a bike or horse along the tracks.
View kangaroos in their natural surroundings.
Woodlands Homestead is open 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, Saturday, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Picnic tables, water, toilets and electric barbeques are available at Somerton Road picnic grounds.
Walking, horse and bicycle riding tracks.
Baby changing facilities.
Emigrating from Ireland with his family to seek a healthier climate, William Pomeroy Greene, a former Royal Navy officer, moved into the newly erected Woodlands Homestead on 9 June 1843. The historic Woodlands Homestead is a rare example of an early prefabricated building. It was designed in Britain, probably for export to India. Its association with early pioneering families make it significant to the early settlement of the Port Phillip District. It is surrounded by gardens that have now been restored. Magnolias at the Homestead are the oldest recorded garden plants in Victoria. Woodlands Homestead and its outbuildings and gardens were extensively restored in 1983 and 1984.
The Woodlands Historic Park also contains scarred trees and surface scatters, evidence of the Woiworung Aboriginal people, who lived in the area before Europeans arrived. The descendants of the Woiworung still retain a close identity with the land around Melbourne.
The park also contains the ruins of two other 19th century homesteads, Cumberland and Dun Donald.
The Friends Group at this park presents excellent dramatised versions of the Homestead’s history once a month on Saturday evenings.
A 400 ha section of the park, the 'Back Paddock', was fenced in 1987 as a Nature Reserve to protect native wildlife from dogs, cats and foxes. The endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot was re-established here in 1988 and this colony is playing a major role in securing the species' future. Sightings of Eastern Grey Kangaroos are a certainty; you may also see echidnas, skinks and Eastern Blue-tongue lizards basking in the sun.
The park contains valuable remnants of the most southerly Victorian extent of grassy woodland open forest. The basalt plains flora consists mainly of grasslands, herbs and tussocks with mainly River Red Gum cover. In contrast, the higher areas have an unusual mixture of gums as well as Drooping Sheoke. The remnant Grey Box, River Red Gum and Yellow Box woodland character has, for the most part, been retained.
Looking After the Park
Dogs must be on leads at all times and are not permitted in the nature reserve.
Open fires are not permitted. You may bring your own gas barbecue.
All native plants and animals are protected.
Firewood collection is not permitted.
How to Get There
The park is a 20 km drive from the centre of Melbourne and is immediately north of Melbourne Airport. Park entrances are off Somerton Road (Melway ref: 178 C6) and Oaklands Road for Woodlands Homestead (Melway ref: 177 J9) and Providence Road (Melway ref: 178 F10).
Open to vehicles from 8:30am until 4:30pm, extending to 6:00pm during daylight savings. Pedestrian access is available at all times.
There is a Homestead with memorabilia relating to the horse racing industry and some old out buildings to explore. There is a café but the range was very limited and there weren't any cakes. The Homestead area does have picnic areas with shaded tables. In the paddocks around the Homestead we saw about 100 kangaroos.
The Woodlands Flora Trail and Wetlands area on Somerton Road has some easy walking tracks which include some rocky outcrops and boulders to scramble over. It is also possible to see lots of planes flying to/from Tullamarine airport.