Walk Category: Short
Getting There: Car, Train & Bus
Walk Area: Melbourne - East
Distance from Melbourne GPO: 28 km
Mobile Phone Coverage: Yes
Walk Details Collated: 2009
Walk Details Provided By: Bushwalking Victoria
A large park in the Dandenong Creek Valley, this circuit walk goes around the peaceful lake which is edged on one side by large grassy slopes that welcome play and picnics, while on the far side is a quiet conservation area that is natural bush and you can visit a bird hide. There is plenty of shade as well as open grassed areas.
You may visit a bird hide to watch the many waterbirds including purple swamphens, pelicans and an abundance of coots, moorhens and ducks. Away from the lake are other bush areas where woodland birds can be seen and heard and there are several delightful children's playgrounds. Bring binoculars if you have them and spend some time nature watching.
1. From the bus stop it is a short walk uphill to the entrance to Jells Park, where you will notice a Welcome sign. Turn left into the park and immediately start enjoying the tall trees of the dry woodland as you follow the road, crossing a small crossroad.
2. Take the gravel track leading off to the right between a toilet building and the Yabby Hill Playscape – a wonderful children's playground. The track then forks and you take the path to the left of the picnic shelter. This track goes through undisturbed bush where there is a good chance of sighting and hearing woodland birds, maybe even spotting a hare. Near the ponds you can listen for frogs calling after rain.
3. Emerging from the woodland and looking right you can see the lake across a large grassy slope. Turn right onto the sealed track and follow this path gently down hill towards the lake. At the lake's edge is a sandy paddling beach where many waterbirds can be seen.
4. Turn left for good bird viewing from the wooden jetty, gaining assistance in identification from the wildlife information boards, or perhaps just relaxing on the shady seats behind you. Keeping the lake on your right, stay on the sealed path, and proceed up a gentle slope past more information in the small shelter on your right.
5. At the T-junction turn right and, soon after, turn right again going past the Dandenong Creek Trail sign and proceeding straight ahead onto a firm gravel track through the gate to the Jells Lake Conservation Area. This is a lovely area of natural bush.
6. The path forks several times in the Conservation Area but a simple rule is to always choose the path closest to the lake which continues to be on your right. There are several shady seats close to the water for enjoying the lakeside environment and there is a bird hide where you can watch the water birds from your hiding spot. Again there are information boards to help you.
7. Turn right from the bird hide and pass on the left a large reedy pond, maybe seeing a white-faced heron in this different watery habitat. Staying on the path closest to the lake will bring you to the gate that exits the Conservation Area. At the T-junction ahead take the path to the right of the sheltered picnic tables, noting a water fountain by the left track.
8. Continue around the lake to meet the sealed track again at a Y-junction where you bear right. This track takes you back to the sandy beach by the lake so now you turn left up the hill towards the Visitor Centre, restaurant and kiosk which you can see ahead. There are sheltered tables here where you can enjoy a picnic if the weather is inclement.
9. To return to the bus, take the left fork just before the café, keeping the café on your right, and follow the straight road back to the entrance at Jells Road. Note: There is a barbecue area to the right of this road. Turn right and cross the road to the bus stop to take the route 754 bus (direction Glen Waverley Station), and then the train.
The walk can be extended by turning left instead of right at Step 8 and doing a circuit around the southern part of Jells Park through more bushland and back past more children's playgrounds, toilets and barbecues. This would add about 2km to your walk.
Another Dandenong Creek Park is Shepherds Bush, which is a northern continuation of Jells Park. At Step 5, you could follow the Dandenong Creek Trail through Shepherds Bush to High Street Road. Take a route 736 or 737 bus back to Glen Waverley Station. You can continue on past High Street Road to Nortons Park, Bushy Park wetlands and eventually to Koomba Park but need to either return to High Street or do a car shuffle.
If you wish to explore to the south you can follow the Eastlink and Dandenong Creek trail and travel through Chesterfield farm and Corhanwarrabul wetlands. Or going East you can connect with the Eastlink trail or the Knox Bike Track.
To view more on the map, zoom in or out, click the symbols and the walk route. To open a full screen version of the map, right-click and open in another tab or window. The map and walk details can also be downloaded6.45 MB.
Melways: 71 J7
Car: Drive along the Monash Freeway, take the Ferntree Gully Rd off ramp. Follow Ferntree Gully Rd until you reach Jells Rd. Turn left and follow Jells Rd until you reach the park access road on corner of Waverely Rd and Jells Rd. Turn right and follow signs to parking area in Jells Park. Alternatively you can follow Waverley Rd until you reach the corner with Jells Road then keep left to enter the access road.
Car parking: Free parking; enter from Waverley/Jells Road corner, next entrance after the Women's Softball Centre. These gates open at 8am daily. Check closing times with Visitor Centre.
Public Transport: Take the Glen Waverley line train to Glen Waverley Station (terminus). Then the bus, route 754, direction Rowville, bus stop is in Bay 5 on left side of the station. Request the driver to stop at Heysham Drive. 7-day service.
Visitor Centre, café/restaurant and kiosk: For information phone 03 9561 4522 or visit Madeline's at Jells.
Facilities: There are seats at intervals along track; toilets near Yabby Hill Playscape and Visitor Centre; picnic shelters; barbecues; café and kiosk.
Dogs: Permitted on leads, but are not permitted in the fenced Conservation Area.
Parks Victoria: Jells Park
Refer to Melways and Parks Victoria website for more information. Maps available at Jells Park Visitor Centre.