Cardinia Aqueduct Recreation Trail, set among eucalypt forests in the Dandenong Ranges foothills, is available for walkers and joggers, and horse and bike riders. Beginning in Thewlis Road, Pakenham, the trail follows a disused section of Bunyip main race aqueduct and maintenance track, and ends near Dickie Road, Officer.
The area has a unique diversity of grassy woodlands, wet gully forests and tall eucalypt forests, containing 28 national and regionally significant plant species, and supporting a wide diversity of native animals. Studies have found 148 native birds, 21 native mammals, 13 reptile and 10 frog species in the reserve, including the rare powerful owl.
Since 2007, Council has been removing sweet pittosporum trees from the trail in an effort to restore this botanically important area to its former natural state. When allowed, this species invades bushland areas and creates a threat to natural ecosystems.
Constructed in 1919, the main race was part of a major water storage and supply project undertaken by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in Gippsland. It played a major role in providing for the expansion of rural and urban development in the Mornington Peninsula and has historical significance in the creation of Flinders Naval Base. As a major feat of engineering, with many kilometres of aqueducts, the main race provided many jobs for unemployed people during the 1930s depression.
Visitors are reminded to bring water and food as there are no shops in the vicinity. Until a connection is built from the western end of the trail to Dickie Road, visitors will need to return to their starting point or make arrangements for pick up.