This hidden treasure of native bushland and wetland is home to kangaroos, echidnas, egrets, herons and swans, to name a few. The walk will take you back in time, leaving your worries behind.
The landscape of this wonderful walk allows the walker to imagine what life was like for the Wurundjeri people. The gorge and surrounding areas provided food, medicines, shelter and fresh water. Evidence of their use of the area still exists due to the survival of scarred trees and stone artefact scatters.
The walk starts and ends at the Red Gum Picnic area. From the car park take the paved road east through the barriers. You will pass two small ponds on your left before reaching a junction. Turn left here. A wide pathway now passes through open grassland. At the next junction turn left, off this wide path, into more diverse bushland.
Turn left at the next junction, heading north into the heart of the parklands. At the next junction there is a signpost, follow the orange arrow to the right (Morang Wetlands Walk). The bushland along the route is a feast for the senses. There is a real sense of leaving the city behind.
At the next junction there is a 'Ridge Track' sign pointing to the right - follow this track now. The landscape opens up to a wide variety of grasses and sedges. The path now circles around the lake which supports a thriving population of local bird life. At the next junction continue on straight. However, if you would rather avoid the small footbridge on this next section of the walk (see Points of Interest), you can turn left here. You will soon meet the path you were on earlier. Retrace your steps back to the car park.
If you are continuing straight on, the path now winds around some more beautiful wetlands. Take care when crossing the small foot bridge. It's only two steps long, but it is narrow. The path now returns to the 'Morang Wetlands Walk' sign. From here, turn right and return to the car park the way you came.
Facilities: At the start of the walk there is a car park, toilet block and picnic tables with a large open area for fun and games.
Access by train/bus: Take the train to South Morang Station. From the station take bus route 562 towards Humevale and get off at the Gordons Road/Plenty Road stop (10 mins from station). It is 100m from here to the start of the walk.
By Car: The Red Gum Picnic Area is only 20km north of Melbourne CBD. From the Western Ring Road, take the Plenty Road north to Gordons Road. Turn right here. The park entrance is 100m on the left.
Notes: Dogs are not allowed.
With lots of wetland along the walk you have a good chance of seeing a Heron or two. They spend lots of time standing very still, keeping a sharp eye out for frogs, insects and fish.
If you're lucky you might spot an Echidna out looking for ants, termites and other small invertebrates which it captures with its long sticky tongue.
There are a number of markers along the way. This walk follows sections of two walks - the Morang Wetlands Walk and the Ridge Track.
The mat of fallen branchlets under sheoaks prevents the development of undergrowth. For aboriginal people it was considered a safe place to leave children as snakes are said to avoid these areas.
There are lots of Kangaroo Apple trees along the way, a hint of things to come further along the walk.
The wetlands support beautiful succulents thriving in the shallow waters along the walk.
The walk meanders through a diverse range of bushland and wetlands. Along the way you get a real sense of being out in the bush.
Eastern grey kangaroos are gregarious and form open-membership groups. The groups are made up of 2-3 females and their offspring with the same number of males of which one is dominant.
The wetland areas support a wide variety of native grasses and sedges. See how many different varieties you can spot along the way.
One of several small lakes along the walk. Each one supports a wide variety of birdlife including Black Swans, ducks, Purple Swamphens, Egrets, Grebes and Eurasian Coots.
Like other swans, the Black Swan is largely monogamous, pairing for life - there is apparently only a 6% divorce rate! They also share parenting responsibilities of the cygnets.
Dragonflies usually patrol a particular area looking for insects to eat. Mosquitoes, flies and midges are a large part of their diet. This fact alone should endear these delightful creatures to us!
The pathway is a mix of gravel path and some more overgrown pathways like the one in this picture. Overall the route is quite level.
The Great Egret breeds in colonies, and often in association with cormorants, ibises and other egrets. Their nest is a large platform of sticks, placed in a tree over the water.
Though the pathway is mostly quite wide at one point along the route there is a very small footbridge. If you would rather avoid it, there is an alternative route back to the carpark.