Darebin Parklands loop walk

Corner Smith and Separation Streets, Alphington

Darebin Parklands loop walk

Corner Smith and Separation Streets, Alphington

Staff Pick
44 m
2.91 km

Take a break from fast-paced city life in one of inner Melbourne's best bushland reserves. Kilometres of walking track, creek rambles native plantings.

Darebin Parklands loop walk

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Take a break from fast-paced city life in one of inner Melbourne's best bushland reserves. Kilometres of walking track, creek rambles native plantings.


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This loop walk presumes you are entering from the west side (Separation Street). If you are coming from the east side, please see the map called Sparks Reserve to Darebin Parklands, which is also better if you want to arrive by train (Darebin Station).

Once a tip site and neglected horse paddock, the beautiful and tranquil 33-hectare reserve you're about to discover is a testament to the local residents who started the Darebin Parklands Association in the 1970s.

As the DPA's website notes, the reserve is today home to echidnas, flying foxes, native fish, 70 species of birds, and even the occasional kangaroo. There are hopes that with future revegetation and creek management works, the platypus may return to live and breed in Darebin Creek.

The DPA runs many community events including park care days and a Junior Ranger Club for children under 16. For more information, click on the 'More Info' link above.

A plea to dog owners: Please respect the DPA and Darebin Creek Management Committee's vision for the park and their request that dogs only be allowed off-lead in the designated area.

A sign when we visited in March 2018 noted dogs had been responsible for the deaths of several birds, and there are also fears dogs could upset turtles breeding in the creek. Restrictions also serve to protect dogs from snakes which can be found elsewhere in the park, particularly in warmer months. The off-leash area is at the northern end of the park. Dogs must be on lead until they reach this are.

Here are the full rules for dog owners from the City of Darebin website:
- Dogs may access the creek in the off-lead area only
- Please minimise any disturbance to creek banks and creatures who live here
- Please ensure dogs are on-lead within 5 metres of shared paths
- Dogs must be on-lead when approaching the off-lead area, including in the dog walkers car park
- Please consider other park users and ensure that dogs are kept under effective control
- Please restrain your dog if asked and do not allow it to become a nuisance to others

Darebin Parklands map

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Points of Interest

1. Main entry (Separation St) to park and toilets

There's a few entries to the Parklands but this is a good place to start as it has access to Public Transport (bus along Separation St), and toilets plus some good, large maps on display.

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2. The Nest

The Nest, by David Bell and Gary Tippett, made from recycled timber. The symbolic egg form at the heart of the design echoes the hope for recovery and new life, and for the rebirth of the land.

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3. Mount Puffalo, constructed from dirt left from Domain Tunnel!

This is a great spot to get your bearings and to appreciate the scope of the parklands. You may spot some bush kinder activities. This is also part of the Spiritual Healing Trail (begins point #15).

4. Water birds and wildlife

Darebin Parklands is home to about 70 species of birds. You'll spot some of them here! Find out more about flora and fauna along Darebin Creek with the link.

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5. Lake view

A great spot for bird-watching and for picnicking.

6. Path to stepping stones

The stepping stones are not easy to find with the official Darebin Parklands maps. So here's a handy photo to reassure you. As you head south along main shared path, take a left here.

7. Stepping stones

Crossing stones been here since the 1980s and possibly for thousands of years. The current stones were upgraded in 2022.

8. Nice path along creek past Ivanhoe Wetland

There are some great native plantings along the creek here as you head between the stepping stones and the Sidney Clifton Bridge. Dogs MUST be on-leash in this area.

9. Cobb & Co. historic wagon track

Before crossing back over the creek, check out this wagon track, established in the mid 1800s. Pine trees were planted along the route to guide wagon drivers to the then creek crossing.

10. Bridge over creek

The Sidney Clifton Bridge (1978) was built in large by volunteers. Beware as it can be submerged after heavy rainfall. Dogs must be on-leash in this area.

11. Gum Tree walk along creek

Established by landscape architect Ellis Stones in the early 1970s, this is a lovely, rambling avenue. You may spot a Tawny Frogmouth and other bird species here.

12. Nice walking track along creek

This is a nice area of the parklands to walk. The areas up from the creek here were once the site of market gardens.

13. The start of the Spiritual Healing Trail

It is suggested you give yourself time to really explore the five stops along this trail. It was conceived by the Darebin Aboriginal Reconciliation Working Party and is indeed a beautiful gift.

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14. Grassy Woodland

A lovely spot to stop, close eyes and to listen.

15. What next?

This area, not far from what was once a grove of Mulberry trees, is to be revegetated as a native grassland area. A good reason to revisit Darebin Parklands later in 2018 and beyond!

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16. Beware snakes summer and autumn

Dog walkers should take note that snakes are often spotted at Darebin parklands. Keep your dogs on lead and when in off-leash areas try to keep your dogs out of the long grass (see link).

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17. Dog off-leash area

This is now the only off-leash area for dog owners as park managers attempt to protect native wildlife. For more dog-friendly parks in Darebin see 'More Info' and hit 'Park List' for off-leash parks.

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18. Leash-free area (another map)

This is the designated off-leash area as specific by Darebin council and park managers as at June 2018.


Public Transport Public Transport
Picnic spot Picnic spot
Drinking water available Drinking water available
Seating available Seating available
Dog off-leash area Dog off-leash area
Public toilets Public toilets
Historical interest Historical interest
Local treasures Local treasures
Art and culture Art and culture
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river
Park / Garden Park / Garden