We live in a fast-paced world, and everybody is asked to do more and cram more into the same amount of time. One of the ways I’ve always sought to respond to this challenge and maintain a balance in my life is through exercise. We are really fortunate, where I live and work, in Waverley to have not only a number of naturally beautiful nature reserves and walking trails but also a wide variety of them. There are a couple that I use whenever I can; Valley Reserve and Damper Creek in Mt Waverley and Shepherd’s Bush and Norton Park in Glen Waverley.
The natural beauty and tranquillity of Valley Reserve is both protected and promoted through these worthy additions to the natural beauty of the parkland.
For me to go to Damper Creek or Valley Reserve means that I can not only get some clear air and thinking time, but also do some exercise. Valley Reserve is a great place. It’s nestled away, almost hidden in plain view, and although you’re in the heart of metropolitan Melbourne, you don’t feel like you are. These creeks and reserves are hidden gems with great walking trails, a playground of regional significance, a well used scout hall and learning stations to accompany the trails with information on the fauna and plant species. The natural beauty and tranquillity of Valley Reserve is both protected and promoted through these worthy additions to the natural beauty of the parkland.
Damper Creek is a beauty in itself. You can walk through the trails of Damper Creek, which is not too far from Mt Waverley Secondary College, and sense the environmental significance of it. As a trail walk Damper Creek has a slightly higher level of difficulty, especially on the West side with the steep stairs to climb! Both of those creeks have a friends group made up of local residents that have an interest in maintaining and preserving the creek, tree planting, weeding, looking after water quality. Another favourite is Shepherd’s Bush, down near the ‘back nine’ of the Waverley Public Golf Course. There are two unsealed trails there that take you out to Norton’s park. It’s not as refined as Damper Creek or Valley Reserve and in fact it’s a bit wild in parts!
When I’m out on the walking trail or I’m jogging it’s my time, but when I get to the playgrounds with my young children I interact more with the local community. My favourite is the Mt Waverley Reserve on Charles St which is home to the Waverley Blues Football & Netball Club, Mt Waverley Tennis Club, Mt Waverley Cricket Club and has a children’s playground. On a family day there you can keep one eye on the seniors football team, the Waverley Blues, and another on the kids in the jumping castle. With around 50,000 people in my electorate someone will ask about geopolitics and the role of the US President whereas others will ask me about new lights for the tennis club, especially for winter comp! Whatever the case it’s in community spaces that they can meet me and each other.
We are really lucky as a community, especially when you look at other places around the world and the challenges they have with pollution and air quality, challenges of not having the natural spaces that we have.
Now, most people are aware of some of the flagship landmarks like Valley Reserve, but another area that is not as well known, which a hidden gem, is Madeline’s in Jells Park which is a terrific place for a wedding reception or brunch with the family. It jumps out at you as a venue and has different beauty depending on the time of the day. With the natural beauty of Jells Park in the background and the light of a summer’s evening, this one of Waverley’s best experiences.
We are really lucky as a community, especially when you look at other places around the world and the challenges they have with pollution and air quality, challenges of not having the natural spaces that we have. When you have something at your doorstep each day, it’s human nature to occasionally take it for granted. It is important for both the physical and mental benefits to get outdoors and utilise our gems as much as possible. I certainly try to!