Melbourne: Eltham station to Heidelberg station 15km

A nice suburbian parkland’s walk today, between the two Melbourne northeastern train stations of Eltham and Heidelberg.

My original thought was to start walking from Diamond Creek instead of Eltham, but lack of immediate trains for that destination altered my intention. Still, this walk follows Diamond Creek trail, across Yarra River and then westwards on Main Yarra Trail. The map…

The map…

Exiting Eltham train station, the Diamond Creek Trail initially takes you through suburbia, around an oval and under a train bridge, but soon it looks like below:

You’re on Diamond Creek Trail

I can’t help liking the below view. That lone shed reminds me of images from American Midwest, with a single structure and countryside all around it.

The lone shed

At Lower Eltham Park, you find Diamond Valley Railway Inc. A miniature train landscape. Mind you, I have never seen any trains on those tracks, probably because I’m here midweek mornings. Still, even without trains, it looks fantastic so the next three pictures are from there.

Diamond Valley Railway Inc – vehicle crossing (1 of 3)
Diamond Valley Railway Inc – signals (2 of 3)
Diamond Valley Railway Inc – station (3 of 3)

So cute, isn’t it…?

Moving right along and before long following Diamond Creek Trail, I’m crossing Yarra River. Looking east from the bridge… Through the morning sunrise.

Here is the eastern view from the bridge… Through the filtered morning sun.

Crossing Yarra River – looking east

I’m uncertain whether the bridge has a name. I assume it has but Google Maps didn’t offer anything. The river crossing is west and south of Lenister Fram in Lower Eltham.

Crossing Yarra River – looking west

Once on the southern side of Yarra River, I turned west. No more Diamond Creek Trail, I am now on Main Yarra Trail.

Soon, road 47, aka Fitzsimmons Lane crosses the Yarra River high above me.

At water level, there is signage about a brand new canoe slalom course in the water underneath (3 months old). Wires (or ropes) are spanning across the river and obstacles are introduced. There is a slight water dip on the right below which means that leisure kayakers and canoeists may not go here. Why not? The canoe slalomists need to practice somewhere so why not here?

Well, the canoe slalomists need to practice somewhere so why not here?

An “official canoe slalom training site”. The sign says so.

Some people beg to differ… On the bridge’s columns, an angry dialog is taking place as some people are concerned about the animal impact from the “wires”. Mmmm… not sure what impact to what animals… birds? Birds have great capabilities to fly and avoid obstacles in their way. What else?

On the bridge’s columns, an angry dialog is taking place as some people are concerned about the animal impact from the “wires”. Mmmm… not sure what impact and to what wildlife… birds? Birds have great capabilities to fly and avoid obstacles in their way. What else over the water?

I spoke to an older gentleman there, a local, who said that the wires or ropes sometimes get cut overnight. By people unknown. He clearly favoured the canoeists but wasn’t one himself.

“Respect wildlife, no wires over rivers” – sure, but Melbourne Water approved it…

Hanging around the wires for a while, taking in the ongoing dispute, I didn’t know what to make out of it. So I left…

Crossing the lovely Westerfolds Park, with several alternative paths and some lazy kangaroos lying around, I arrived at another Yarra River bridge crossing.

Crossing Yarra River again and back to its northern side

Soon, yet another bridge to back south. Google Maps call it “Ruffy Trail”, no specific bridge name. Beautiful construction and good swingability, I crossed the bridge and then returned back.

Bridge over Yarra River – today’s third crossing
Looking east from “Ruffy Trail” bridge

A passerby told me that there was platypus in the water underneath the bridge. He had seen them several times, in the mornings. During my best eagle-eye gaze from the bridge, I saw nothing. Pretty cool anyway if that is so, here in suburban Melbourne.

Leaving Ruffy Trail bridge

A short distance west of Odyssey House, the trail bends and loops and several man-made shortcuts developed over time. The local bush volunteers counteracted that nuisance by filling in those trails with plants. There are two former shortcut trails in the picture below.

Addressing non-desired trail shortcuts

Crossing the lovely Yarra Valley Parklands, you also cross Bonds Road, a narrow local surfaced road, which nowadays terminates before reaching Yarra River. Unfortunately, it appears that its end terminus has now become a dumping ground for surplus tires… Not pretty!

Road closed

The Main Yarra Trail continues west and soon merges with the Plenty River Trail. I wrote about the latter here, through walking between Greensborough and Alphington. The path here is wide and laid with gravel.

Main Yarra Trail close to where meeting Plenty River Trail

Next to Banyule Drain which empties out into Yarra River is Banyule Cattleyard. Unfamiliar with its history, Banyule Cattleyard is a small piece of country in suburbia. Note the distant houses to the right. It must be popular and filled with young kids during weekends.

Banyule Cattleyard

Crossing Warringal Parkland and into Heidelberg Park, I leave Main Yarra Trail for Heidelberg’s train station. In Heidelberg Park, I found this fascinating tree portal, which you walk through underneath. Suspect some human intervention here…

Crossed trees in Heidelberg Park

In summary, Melbourne’s northeastern suburbs are probably my favorite “nearby” destination. There is plenty of parklands, reserves, and trails along Yarra River and Plenty River. I return there on a regular basis and will likely again soon.

All these trails are equally, sometimes more, suitable for cycling too. Today was actually the first time I walked Diamond Creek Trail. Every other time, I took my bike up to Diamond Creek train station and cycled back to town from there. A beautiful part of Melbourne it is…

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