Kinglake - Places to See

This information on Kinglake was written before the tragic and devastating fires of 7 February, 2009. It has been left on the site as a reminder of the town before it was largely destroyed by fire and will be rewritten as the fire damage is slowly repaired.

Kinglake Gallery
Kinglake Gallery features changing exhibitions of paintings, pottery, woodwork, jewellery, sculptures and glassware by Australian artists. It is open Thursday to Monday from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and is located at 96 Main Road, Kinglake, not far from the Kinglake National Park Hotel/Motel, tel: (03) 5786 1982.

House of Bottles
At 8 Parkland Rd in Kinglake is the House of Bottles which is constructed entirely of bottles (13 569 of them) carefully arranged with an eye to colour contrasts. Adjacent is a Dutch windmill built of 5000 bottles. Both were built by Joseph Eykenbaum who collected the bottles and built the structures in 1969 and 1972. Inside is, you guessed it, a bottle collection with a vast range of bottle types dating back to the early 19th century and deriving from all over the world. There are also fossils, minerals, rocks, memorabilia and an unusual collection of 5500 ornamental shoes made of everything from leather to glass, metal to pottery. There is also a tea room offering refreshments and light meals, a kiosk, souvenirs and toilets. The museum is open Saturday to Thursday and all school and public holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, tel: (03) 5786 1328. There is an admission fee.

Kinglake National Park
Surrounding the area is Kinglake National Park (11 430 ha) which is the largest National Park near Melbourne. Established in 1928 to protect native fauna and flora, it is divided into three sections: one to the south and east of Kinglake, one to the west and one to the north. It is situated on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range and features such popular attractions as Masons Falls, Jehosaphat Gully and Wombelano Falls.

To access Masons Falls, situate yourself on Main Road which connects Kinglake and Kinglake West. 3 km east of Kinglake West there is a turnoff into National Park Road which heads south-west into the western section of the park. At the end of this road is the park office where there are toilets and information boards. At the park office there is a left turn into Mt Sugarloaf Road which leads south to Mount Sugarloaf or a right turn which leads down to the Masons Falls Picnic Area where there are disabled facilities, toilets, gas barbecues, water and sheltered tables. This picnic area lies at the intersection of a number of walking tracks.

The Lyrebird Circuit Track (500 m) is surfaced with asphalt for those with limited mobility. This shady path takes in some of the park's tallest trees and has information boards detailing historic and natural features.

The Boundary Track (2.4 km one way) follows the park boundary from the Masons Falls Picnic Area to the park office, separating the forest from the agriculture and housing subdivision without. The Goodenia Track (750 m one-way) cuts from the picnic area across to reach a T-intersection with the Boundary Track. It climbs gradually through an area that is dotted, in spring, with redolent hakeas. Both are open to cyclists as well as walkers.

The Masons Falls Walk is only 500 m (one way). This gravel track follows Running Creek from the Masons Falls Picnic Area carpark to a viewing platform offering scenic views over the falls and the gorge below which are situated amidst native bush and fern gullies. The falls are best seen after heavy rains. Both the Lyrebird and Masons Falls tracks are for walkers only.

For the energetic, the Running Creek Track extends southwards from the viewing platform to a point on Mt Sugarloaf Road about 1 km from the summit. It passes through a range of habitats and hence of vegetation types, including the cool, moist fern gully of Running Creek (inhabited by platypuses, water-rats and lyrebirds) and the drier ridges with their understoreys of heath-like vegetation. There are steep sections.

If you follow Running Creek Track away from the falls you will very soon come across another track on your left. This is the Wallaby Trail (1.5 km one-way) which cuts across to the park office, passing through messmate and peppermint forest which is populated by koalas. The understorey of grass tree and bracken is inhabited by many swamp wallabies. Both the Running Creek and Wallaby tracks are suitable for cyclists as well as walkers.

The Sugarloaf Ridge Track (3 km one-way) commences from a point just near the park office. It pursues a gently undulating path to the summit from whence there are limited views of the Melbourne skyline. Watch out for wombat tracks along the way. This route has been recently rerouted so take care as older maps may mislead.

A pamphlet and map outlining the various walks related above is available from the park office which lies at the start (or finish) of the Boundary Track, the Wallaby Trail and the Sugarloaf Ridge Track (as related above).

Jehosaphat Gully is a beautiful fern gully with walking tracks, a picnic area and parking facilities. To get there head east of Kinglake for 1.5 km along the main road towards the Melba Highway and Toolangi and take the signposted turnoff. Lyrebirds are sometimes seen in the gully.

Wambelano Falls, in the park's northern section, are more remote and somewhat larger than Masons Falls. To get there follow Extons Road north from Kinglake Central then turn right into Captains Creek Road (it is signposted as such) and you will soon pass the falls (there are no facilities).

The park has other fine walking tracks, picnic areas and scenic lookouts. An admission fee is charged to some areas. To book campsites or obtain further information ring 131 963 or the park office on (03) 5786 5351.

Frank Thomson Reserve
Frank Thomson Reserve is situated at the highest point in the district and it offers a fine vantage point over the Melbourne skyline and, on a clear day, Port Phillip Bay. It is adjacent Main Road about 1.5 km south-east of Kinglake Central, on the southern side of the road.

The Doll and Carnival Glass Museum
The Doll and Carnival Glass Museum is located at 1205 Main Rd, Kinglake West. It displays 1500 dolls and teddy bears and 1000 pieces of carnival glass and is open daily. There is an admission fee with group concessions, tel: (03) 5786 5295.

Mountain Garden Gallery
The Mountain Garden Gallery features a large range of locally-produced pottery, handicrafts and red-gum woodwork. It is located north of Kinglake West on the Whittlesea-Yea Rd and it is open weekends and public holidays from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (03) 5786 5545.

King Parrot Creek
Also north of Kinglake West, on the Whittlesea-Yea Rd, is King Parrot Creek. There are some attractive areas adjacent the creek. Just keep your eyes peeled.

St Andrews
12 km south-west of Kinglake along the Kinglake-Heidelberg Rd is the locality of St Andrews where an alternative market is held in a bush setting adjacent the Kinglake-Heidelberg Rd every Saturday from 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. with food, organic fruit and vegetables and food stalls.

Lovegrove of Cottles Bridge
About 15 km south-west along the Kinglake-Heidelberg Rd (at no.1420) is Lovegrove of Cottles Bridge. This winery was established in 1983. It produces sparkling wines, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and cabernet merlot and is open from 11.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. weekends and public holidays or by appointment. Other attractions are the large picnic grounds, petanque, a trampoline, barbecue facilities, the gardens and the food platters, tel: (03) 9718 1569.

Panton Hill Winery
The Panton Hill Winery is open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Saturdays, most holidays and at other times by appointment. Tastings are held in attractive sandstone buildings and a large hall is available for functions and performances, tel: (03) 9719 7342. To get there head south-west along the Kinglake-Heidelberg Rd for 20 km to Hurstbridge. Turn left into Cherry Tree Rd and, after about 3 km, turn left into Manuka Rd and the winery is at no.145.

Fergussons Paddock
Located further south along the Kinglake-Heidelberg Rd (on the eastern side of the road) is Fergussons Paddock where there are picnic facilities, walking trails, a playground and a pond.

The Singing Gardens of C.J. Dennis
15 km east of Kinglake along the Kinglake-Healesville Rd are the Singing Gardens of Australian poet C.J. Dennis who lived at Toolangi from 1908 until his death in 1938. While at Toolangi Dennis published his first collection of poetry (1913), The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (partially written at Kallista and published in 1915, The Moods of Ginger Mick (1916) and The Glugs of Gosh (1917). On the proceeds from The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke he built a house (which he called Arden after the forest in Shakespeare's As You Like It) and got married in 1917. In 1922 Dennis joined the staff of the Herald and thence divided his time between Melbourne and Toolangi.

Dennis's last book, The Singing Garden (1935), was inspired by his garden at Toolangi. The house burned down in the 1960s although the garden he created with his wife remains. They now cover 1.5 ha and feature rhododendrons and exotic trees including a copper beech planted by English Poet Laureate John Masefield who visited Dennis during the state's centenary celebrations. This event prompted the composition of 'The Tree', from The Singing Garden anthology.

Devonshire teas and light lunches are served. They are open every day but Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. but close in August and on Christmas Day, tel: (03) 5962 9282.

The Toolangi Forest Discovery Centre
On the other side of the Kinglake-Healesville Rd, at Toolangi, is the Toolangi Forest Discovery Centre. Set amidst messmate and mountain ash forests it is essentially an educational facility providing information on aspects of the forest and its habitats. School groups and specialist activities are conducted and there is a sculpture exhibition, a holiday program and a shop selling locally-crafted wooden artefacts, souvenirs and books on local history and scenic spots in the area. There are also several walking tracks which are detailed in information available at the centre. The Wirrawilla Walk (20 minutes) is a short and easy-going boardwalk loop track through local rainforest with wheelchair access. The Forest Sculpture Trail (one hour) takes in nine works by sculptors of international repute and views both of Melbourne and the district. The Yea River Walk is an easy 45 minutes.

The centre is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and there is a small entry fee, tel: (03) 5962 9314.

Toolangi Pottery
Just to the west of the Discovery Centre, on the same side of the road, is Cherrys Lane. Along here is the workshop of David Williams who creates unique crystalline glazed ceramics which have been exhibited in the National Gallery of Victoria. Toolangi Pottery is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (03) 5962 9287.

Bill Marsh's Strawberry Patch
At Bill Marsh's Strawberry Patch you can pick your own from November to April or purchase fresh strawberries, ice-cream and home-made strawberry jam. It is open from 7.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. every day but Sunday when it closes at 4.00 p.m., tel: (03) 5786 5361. The business is located at 200 National Park Rd which heads south-west off the Main Road 3 km east of Kinglake West.

Kinglake Raspberries
Pheasant Creek is located between halfway between Kinglake West and Kinglake Central on Main Road. At Pheasant Creek, Tooheys Rd heads off to the north-east. Along here is Victoria's largest U-pick raspberry farm which, in season, is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Off-season it is open weekdays with weekends by appointment. Fresh produce is available from December to January and from March to May while frozen berries and products can be had all year round, tel: (03) 5786 5360.

Lamon Farm
The Healesville-Kinglake Rd heads east from Kinglake. 2 or 3 km from town, to the right, is Lamon Farm, a small producer of U-pick strawberries, nashis and chestnuts with a bed-and-breakfast. It is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m., December to May, and is located at 3555 Mt Slide Rd, tel: (03) 5786 1684.