Hepburn Heights with a hidden playground
We heard that Hepburn Heights was a hotspot for many varieties of orchids so we set off to see if we could find them. On a weekend or during holidays there is ample parking in the bays next to Padbury Catholic Primary School on O'Leary Street. All other access points are off suburban roads so have limited parking.
On entering from O'Leary Road we cleaned our shoes on the brushes provided to protect against dieback. There is a good map of the reserve at the entrance point and also a water fountain. Dogs are permitted on lead. The reserve covers 22 ha of bush.
As we climbed slightly on the paved pathway we came across a dead tree surrounded by banksias. The noise of the birds made us look up and discover what seemed to be a bird paradise so we stopped for a while to watch the Carnaby Black Cockatoos making a right racket as they feasted on the seeds. There were also Pink Cockatoos and Australian Ringneck Parrots joining the party.
Where the paths intersected at the top of the rise there was signage to the surrounding streets as well as the first of several interpretive signs detailing the flora and fauna found in the reserve. We took the path to the right, scanning for orchids but unfortunately didn't find any on our walk. This is when you need the expert knowledge and inside information of a wildflower expert to guide you to the hidden locations! We followed a few of the dirt side tracks discovering lots of other pretty wildflowers, including one we hadn't come across before.
We had a lovely meander around the trails for about 30 minutes, stopping to take photos of the flowers which brightened an otherwise very grey day!
After skirting the back of some houses we found ourselves on a dirt track running alongside the Water Authority land. We eventually came to a gate and managed to squeeze through the gap: although looking at the photo we probably could have just opened the latch! We emerged at Brazier Park Playground, which was an unexpected surprise as it is hidden away from the main roads. It is only a small playground but had the added benefit of a mulberry tree absolutely laden with fruit. This explained the purple handed kids we passed on our arrival!