Friday Five: great outdoor things to do this week! 14th December 2012

1. Visit Melbourne’s wonderful Shrine of Remembrance.  This special building is very important to Melburnians.  It sits at the south end of the Swanston St/St Kilda Rd boulevard, looking back at the city and the gardens.  You can climb the steps inside the Shrine to the balcony for spectacular views of Melbourne.  All for free!  All that is asked of you is your respect – and that’s comes naturally at this beautiful peaceful buildling.   A short walk from Flinders Street Railway Station, or a quick tram ride (any tram heading south along St Kilda Rd (except Number 1) will get you there.

2. Run the Tan!  The Tan is a brown soft gravel track that winds around the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne.  It is 3.8km, has a hill, is shady most of the way, has lots of water bubblers and seats for resting.  It is the most popular place to run in Melbourne.  If you’re not a sweater, you can run the tan then finish at the Shrine for a well-deserved rest.  Check out this website for details: http://www.coolrunning.com.au/runningguide/arg.php?pagename=Main.TheTanTrack

3. Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre  is a beautiful Western Plains property, privately owned by conservationists and very well-managed for wildlife.  It’s only 45 minutes drive from the West Gate Bridge.  The habitats are grassland and old growth Yellow Box and Grey Box woodland, with some lovely granite rises.  There is a predator-proof fence right around the boundary, so everything you see inside the fence is native and wild.  It’s a glimpse of what Australia used to be before rabbits and foxes.  You’ll see Bandicoots, Bettongs, Rock-wallabies, Potoroos – all the small members of the kangaroo family that would once have been numerous.  They run night walks on the last Saturday of each month, and for a group of 10 or more you can book any night you wish.

4. Plan a Croajingolong Journey!  March is a great time to do it – the weather is usually calm, warm but not hot, and many autumn migrant birds are coming through. This trip is so special!  We quite often see Platypus on this trip, in a special, very remote valley north-west of Mallacoota.  In some ways, this trip is like a safari in Africa – there can be so many wallabies,  kangaroos and wombats that you don’t know where to look.  Like Mt Rothwell, this is a glimpse of what Australia would have been like when it was managed by Aboriginal People.

5. Melbourne Museum has a special exhibit on the Birds of Paradise.  Birds of Paradise are found in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and northern Australia, so they are part of our Australo-Papuan bird heritage.  All reports are that the exhibition is excellent!  It’s on until Feb 3rd, 2013.  Entry to the exhibition is included with the general Museum entry fee of $10 adults.

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