With 39 hectares (96 acres) to be explored, the park has over 1000 different plants species, both natives and exotics, 80 species of birds, turtles, frogs, lizards and snakes, picnic areas, BBQ facilities, a playground, ball games area as well as the walking tracks.
Our regular route starts on the path going up to the left, behind the little duck pond that's just beyond the entrance to the park itself. Near the toilets, you have a choice of two parallel outer tracks that offer wonderful views to the city and the hills, but keep in mind that the outer track can be very windy.
Stop for a rest at the top to get your bearings with the directional marker, then continue on the path until you come to some steps on the right which lead down to the path which loops around the base of the old quarry wall surrounding Basalt Lake. Keep an eye out for the small Wollemia Pine tree planted along here and visit the bird hide which overlooks the lake and contains information posters about many of the birds and animals in the park. Then continue along the boardwalk and out to Anniversary Lake. From here there are a number of ways back to the Visitor centre:
Walk to the left of the lake for the quickest way back.
Walk to the right and around the lake which leads to the sensory garden, toilets & viewing platform.
Take the high track on the right, through the pines to a lookout seat on the left and Hoo Hoo Lookout Tower at the top. The steps going down from the left corner of the tower will take you back to the playground and the toilets you passed at the start of the walk.
The numerous tracks are mostly nice and wide rough gravel or concrete. While the ones around the lakes are mostly flat, the majority of the tracks beyond can be quite steep in places, but there are wonderful trees, plants & views to look at along the way.
History: Wilson Botanic Park has shown itself to be a significant fossil plant site, the most famous is the only known fossil containing leaves of both Nothofagus (Southern Beech Tree) and Eucalyptus.
William and James Wilson bought 632 acres of Crown Land in 1854. This became the 'Olde' Berwick district. Wheat was sown on the western side of the land after it was cleared of its forest growth of redgum, box and native hop. The land was then used for sheep and dairying. The brothers built Quarry Hills house which is still a private house today.
The park was a former Basalt Quarry founded by William Wilson in 1859. Basalt is referred to as bluestone and was used to construct the railway line to Gippsland, from Oakleigh to Bunyip. The quarry ceased in 1976, 117 years after its beginning when it was no longer economical to remove the rock with large machinery. The former quarry has left a rock face along the east side of Basalt Lake, which shows the rock as it was formed as a result of volcanic activity.
In 1973 George and Fay Wilson donated 17 hectares of land (the northern part of the park) to be retained in perpetuity as a public park to be known as Wilson Park in recognition of the early pioneers and in memory of James Wilson and his son George. The southern section of the park (13.34 hectares) was purchased by the City of Casey in 1985 and the park was opened in 1992.
Find out more about our Social Walking Group here.
Starting Point: In front of the Visitor Centre near the rose garden.
Toilets: There is a toilet in the Visitor Centre (if it's open), otherwise there is one opposite the playground & one near the functions area behind the big lake.
Dogs: Allowed (On Leash Only)
Download: Walking trails information & map
For your GPS: 670 Princes Hwy, Berwick