River Bank Reserve
We thought we'd check out Homestead Park and Spirit Parks as we were driving through South Guildford but our quick get out of the car let's have a look turned into a long and lovely walk along the banks of the Helena River.
We parked at Spirit Park and walked across the road for a quick look at Homestead Park which has a gazebo and some exercise stations. Homestead Park opens up into River Bank Reserve and we couldn't resist exploring further so set off along a wide trail before moving closer to the lake's edge on a narrower trail. We soon came to an intersection and decided to turn right following the wider trail. There were plenty of locals and their furry friends around, on and off lead. The dog owners were very considerate though and soon put their dogs on lead at the approach of both human or dog.
We came to a bridge crossing the river and stopped to ask a local how far the path went and what was on the other side of the bridge. They told us about a lovely oak tree further down river and that if we kept going another kilometre we would come out at the road bridge where the Great Eastern Highway crosses the Helena River. If we chose to cross the wooden bridge, they said, we could walk to the Woodbridge Hotel.
First we continued along the river walking underneath the beautiful oak tree which stood alongside a palm tree - totally random! Eventually we came to the road bridge and explored underneath before turning back. We recognised Kings Meadow on the other side, an area we explored recently on our Markets and Meadows blog.
When we got back to the wooden bridge we crossed over and, after checking Google Maps, found our way along the leafy streets to the federation Style Woodbridge Hotel.
We then did a loop around the block to explore Fauntleroy Park located at the site of the Old Woodbridge Show Grounds. The first Royal Agricultural Show was held here in1890 and then every year until 1905 when it moved to Claremont. The heritage plough commemorates the important role of Agricultural Shows. The park also has the Nobby Barker Running Track, used by the Fire Brigade for drills. There is a small traditional playground and some exercise equipment - we had a laugh at the bench positioned right alongside the exercise equipment....just in case you've overdone it! Fauntleroy Park is on the edge of the Guildford Heritage Trail. This extra loop added about 25 minutes on to our walk.
We skirted around St Mary's Church before heading back across the wooden bridge, retracing our steps past the little lakes to the playground and then doubling back to return to the car.
What was going to be a 5 minute walk turned into a 90 minute walk as we followed the river to the road bridge. It was about 2 km from Homestead Park to the road bridge (30 minutes) and the same back again. We then added on about 2km when we explored Woodbridge after crossing the wooden bridge. The only parking we found were the bays next to Spirit Park and there were no toilet facilities along the way. There is a shopping centre a short distance from Spirit Park. The only playground was the small one at the end of our walk but Noah's Playground, a fantastic nature playground, is a short drive from here. The trails were mostly flat but were a little rough in places.
In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.