THE DANDENONGS’ NEWEST FLAGSHIP PLAYGROUND
35 Park Drive, Belgrave
In mid-December 2021, a 1.2 million dollar upgrade of Belgrave Lake Park was completed. It included upgrades to the carpark and the construction of an off-leash dog agility area constructed of natural materials including logs and boulders.
Most importantly, for those of us with young children, the tired old playground has been modernised and expanded. It now has a centrally located undercover pavilion with picnic tables which is the perfect spot for parents to position themselves if they have multiple children to watch over. There are traditional swings and slides along with the contemporary favourite, a basket swing. But in a unique addition, and one I haven’t seen before, there is along a triple rope swing which moves side to side rather than front to back. It is perfect for older toddlers to lay along and big kids can try their balance standing astride it.
There are logs and boulders for children to practice their gross motor skills on and a fitness station nearby for parents who want some activity while the kids play. A favourite amongst little ones is the water play which runs through the centre of the new playground. Children can use the blue pump to create a small stream of water which then runs down the dry creek bed. In a nod to inclusivity is the wheelchair accessible Smooth Glider.
Unlike the old playground this reincarnation is not fully fenced so a greater degree of parental supervision is likely needed, especially given the number of dogs in the vicinity.
Beyond the playground there is a basketball halfcourt with benches which is useful for both older kids, or little ones who wish to ride bikes or scooters. This concreted area connects to a circular, asphalted walking track around the perimeter of the lower grassed area of the park and which makes the perfect track for learning to ride bicycles.
One of my favourite things about Belgrave Lake Park, is the lake itself. Walk along Judkins Avenue and you will come to the spillway from the lake. This is the perfect spot to look across the water and take in the ferns and gumtrees. Local children are often found climbing the rocks here and paddling in the shallow water. It is also the perfect spot to feed the ducks, though be sure to give them oats or frozen peas. These foods are better for their health and don’t negatively affect the water quality like the old favourite bread can.
From either end of the lake runs Monbulk Creek, where platypus live, and it can be an engaging space to explore with young children. In wet weather be sure to pack gumboots.
From a practical point of view the park offers toilets, a water fountain and plenty of shade. There are no shops or coffee options nearby so be sure to pack snacks or pick up takeaway on your way. Our personal favourite is the cinnamon donuts from the Belgrave South Bakery on Colby Drive.