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HOT: Maddingley Park & Lerderderg Gorge, Bacchus Marsh

Our family loves day trips. They don’t have to be a long way from home – in fact, about 40 minutes from our inner west apartment is ideal as this distance allows El Guapo, our one-year-old, to have a nap there and back.

lederderg gorge

On the weekend we head to Bacchus Marsh for two activities. The first is Maddingley Park’s adventure playground.

maddingley park

maddingley park

It is a community-built playground (similar to Victory Park, Phoenix Park and Albert Park playground) and it has a forest theme along with hidey holes, a little train and fire station, lots of swings and a good-sized sandpit outside the fenced area.


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maddingley park

Lightning, who turns five in October, loves this playground. We’ve been reading the Faraway Tree books and he immediately applies an Enchanted Wood theme to the whole experience. We grab a takeaway bakery lunch and both kids protest when it was time to leave – always a sign of a successful outing!

maddingley park

After lunch we driver to Lerderderg Gorge inside Lerderderg State Park. There are a couple of different access points – we park at the closer one that leads to the Mackenzie Flat picnic area. There are a couple of short bushwalks as well as many longer ones and we choose one listed for about an hour.

lederderg gorge

Lightning loves jumping across the river over stepping stones that were just far enough apart to make him feel adventurous. We spot two wombat burrows and talk about the different plants we can identify – fragrant wattles, bottlebrush, banksias and ghost gums. Spring seems so close – we can smell nectar and pollen in the air and Lightning talks with excitement about warmer weather on the way.

We will certainly be returning to the gorge, especially when we can have a paddle and some water play. If you haven’t been to Bacchus Marsh it’s an easy drive from Melbourne and is a hit with the kids without being an expensive day out.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text el_class=”thon-hot-tips-panel”]Tips for Maddingley Park Adventure Playground:

  • fenced;
  • natural shade;
  • water tap;
  • toilets;
  • suitable for toddlers;
  • suitable for older children;
  • picnic tables and barbecue outside playground area;
  • free parking.

HOT Tips Lerdererg Gorge

  • range of walks from short, easy strolls to strenuous overnight hikes; and
  • toilets, electric barbecues and picnic tables at MacKenzie Flat entrance.

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About Erika Jonsson

Erika Jonsson is a communications specialist, former journalist and mother of two boys aged 5 and 9 years old. She lives in inner-city Melbourne and loves running, travel, cooking and reading.

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