The 2020 Melbourne trail kicks off in the beautiful Endeavour Hills, winding its way through the densely forested Dandenong Ranges and along the picturesque Mullum Mullum and Yarra Trails as you approach the Heidelberg Finish Line.
The 100km Melbourne trail starts at the serene Dandenong Police Paddock Reserve (DPP Reserve), with walkers traversing through Churchill National Park’s native forest, home to many Kangaroos and Echidnas. Walkers will then pass through Lysterfield Park and through the lush rainforests of Upper Ferntree Gully, where Lyrebirds might come out to watch! After leaving the Olinda Checkpoint, walkers can enjoy the well-earned descent into Mt Evelyn, where there’s plentiful space at Oasis Camp to get some longer rest.
The sun will rise on the home stretch! Walkers will depart Mt Evelyn and head to Lilydale, following a section of the Warburton Rail Trail, before making their way to Croydon. As the trail steers towards the city, walkers pass through Mullum Mullum Park and Valley — some of the most intact streamside Indigenous vegetation in the Melbourne area. It’s home to many species of native wildlife, including Brushtail Possums, Sugar Gliders and Echidnas. As walkers near the finish they’ll join the Main Yarra Trail, hopefully spotting some Eastern Grey Kangaroos along the way. Crossing over the Banyule Flats, walkers will finally pass through the Warringal Parklands — and then it will be time to celebrate! Commemorate your incredible journey with your friends and family and — most importantly — your team as you cross the Finish Line at Heidelberg Park, proud to be part of an amazing community that’s tackling poverty, together.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience when you take on the challenging and beautiful Melbourne 2020 trail. Remember to always consult Parks Victoria and the Bureau of Meteorology before training on the trail.
Dandenong Police Paddock Reserve (DPP Reserve) is a stunning natural setting to gather in the early morning mist and prepare for the epic journey ahead. You will set off on a trail that weaves its way through Churchill National Park’s native forest, an example of the region’s original landscape. There is a high chance of spotting a wide range of native wildlife, such as the Eastern Grey Kangaroo or an Echidna along your walk. While training, take a moment to visit Trig Point Lookout for spectacular 360-degree views of Melbourne. Enjoy the beauty of Lysterfield Lake while you transverse the dam wall and long bridge. This area is very popular with mountain bike riders, so stay aware and safe.
Continue through Lysterfield Park, passing under the towering eucalyptus and acacia trees. The beautiful Dandenong Ranges will act as a backdrop as you pass through the Upwey township. Remember to look up and marvel at what you will conquer next. It will help you appreciate when you reach the top.
The final stretch of this section will see you join the Ringwood-Belgrave Rail Trail, the historic route of Puffing Billy. Breathe in the fresh air of the lush, scenic rainforests as you near the 1,000 Steps at Upper Ferntree Gully. You may even come face-to-face with a Lyrebird by the time you reach Checkpoint 2.
Leaving Upper Ferntree Gully, you will head north-east for the third leg of your adventure. This is the steepest section of the trail and the first big challenge for your team. Pass by the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (1000 steps) to One Tree Hill Picnic Ground before venturing deep into the Dandenongs along trails thickly lined with tree ferns. Admire the high trees and gully ridges, while a cheer squad of Kookaburras will provide encouragement until you meet your support crew in the charming village of Olinda for a well-deserved rest.
Well done – you conquered the hill! Take a moment to celebrate with your team. As you make your downhill descent, don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the iconic bushland of the Dandenong Ranges National Park and the partial views of the breathtaking Yarra Valley. Keep an eye out for the Platypuses that call Olinda Creek home. As the night creeps closer, you will reach Oasis Camp in Mount Evelyn and the first overnight checkpoint. Here you have the opportunity to pitch a tent and get some rest before continuing on the second half of the trail.
Rising with the sun, you will be feeling invigorated after a night’s rest. Time to head to Lilydale for a scrumptious breakfast by following the Warburton Rail Trail. Make sure you look up high when you pass through Owl Land Reserve to see Australia’s largest owl, the Powerful Owl. At the historic First Aid Reserve take a moment to celebrate with your team – you’ve made it over half way! (and the second half is easier than the first) As you near Checkpoint 5, the rail trail will take you past the original turn table and Lilydale Railway Station. If you zipped through Mount Evelyn before bed (go you!), you also have the option to camp at Checkpoint 5.
Set off with a casual stroll around Lilydale Lake, before walking through the Hull Road Wetlands that features a wide array of wildlife, especially water birds and other native birds. It’s adored by the locals as a serene place to bird-watch. If you’re lucky, you may play witness to a rare Platypus sighting! Follow the picturesque Tarralla Creek Trail towards Croydon, a peaceful, leafy pathway enjoyed by walkers and cyclists alike.
Begin this section by passing through Croydon South to Ringwood Lake. During daylight hours you should be able to spot a Nankeen Night Heron eating alongside the local ducks. Continue on to Mullum Mullum Park, where you will be surrounded by some of the most intact streamside Indigenous vegetation in Melbourne. This region is also home to numerous species of native wildlife, including Brushtail Possums, Sugar Gliders and Echidnas. Head north on the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail, enjoying the urban bushland, until you reach the last checkpoint location before embarking on the final stretch. You’re nearly there!
This is your final challenge – only 15.7km to go until the finish line. Progress along the shared path trail until you exit the Mullum Mullum Valley and join the Main Yarra Trail. If you missed seeing an Eastern Grey Kangaroo in Churchill National Park, then you should be able to spot one in this section. After crossing the picturesque boardwalks along the side of the scenic Yarra River, you will arrive at Westerfolds Park. There will be a rest stop set up for those needing one final break before the last remaining kilometres. Continue through Banyule Flats Reserve and the open spaces of Warringal Parklands to arrive at your final location, Heidelberg Park.
Congratulations – you’ve done it! You have walked 100 kilometres to support people living in poverty around the world. Thank you for your incredible commitment.