If you would like an invigorating five kilometre walk through Ferntree Gully, here is one that takes you through the best of bush and town with surprising views that lift the heart. I walked in the golden light of a late winter afternoon.
The route starts at the cemetery, on the corner of Forest and Underwood Roads and follows a level footpath north along Forest Rd, turning right into Olivebank , ascending past Ambleside, home of Knox Historical Society, to the gate into the national park. This first stretch is a nice 20 minute warm-up.
Enter Arbor Track heading south. This quickly becomes Himalaya Track. As you stroll this track, the bush envelops you and offers filtered views across to the cityscape, beautiful in the approaching sunset.
(Please note: there is no parking at the top of Olivebank Rd, where the Himalaya Track begins).
Fifteen minutes later the track takes you through another gate to the made road of Hatherly Grove. From here on you also gain southerly views across to the green hills of the Lysterfield Valley.
Turn left into Kia Ora Parade and left again along the park-fringing Walbundry Avenue. A sharp turn to the right leads into a short section of Lady’s Walk that once fringed Kerr’s Quarry, now Peregrine Estate. Lady’s Walk immediately descends into Butlers Road. Halfway down, turn left into Stringybark Drive and along to the recently laid out park. For another spectacular view follow the paths down to overlook the lake and cliff. Return to park entrance on Railway Road. A right turn leads down to Forest Road and will take you back through the village to the cemetery gates.
As befits this foothills town, the walk includes some challenging gradients that provide good exercise. The walk took me one hour and 20 minutes. If you are new to the Gully, check the route on Melway 74.
You can download a detailed, timed route here.