Rediscover Cardinia this summer with these hidden gems

Published: 19 January 2021

There’s no place like home these summer holidays with cafés, recreation reserves and adventure playgrounds welcoming locals and visitors with open arms.

Take the road less travelled this summer and visit some of Cardinia’s hidden gems. 

Toomuc Creek trail, Pakenham 

This gentle and meandering 20-minute walk starts at the Princes Highway before heading north along Toomuc Creek. Remember to look up to spot birds of all shapes and sizes in this beautiful and tranquil semi-rural setting.  

Eastone Reserve, Pakenham 

Well loved by those locals in the know, this wetland reserve is a popular spot for dog walking, with friendly wetland birds to boot. Take a picnic or work up a sweat running the stairs and using the outdoor exercise stations located around the perimeter of the lake. 

Cochrane Park, Koo Wee Rup 

Grab a coffee and lunch from a local café or take a picnic before letting the kids run wild at the playground. With a swimming pool, bowling green, tennis court and skatepark, there’s plenty on offer for people of all ages and interests including a striking sculpture. 

Gembrook Leisure Park, Gembrook 

Upgraded in 2019, the Gembrook Leisure Park is a sure-fire winner this summer. With a flying fox, giant climbing pyramid, trampoline and wheelchair friendly merry-go-round – this playground is hard to beat. The active zone and skate park have also had a makeover making it a great stop off for older kids and teens. 

Nobelius Heritage Park and Emerald Museum, Emerald 

With beautiful gardens and walking trails, this state significant park connects to Emerald Lake Park and the Eastern Dandenong Ranges rail trail. Manned by a dedicated team of volunteers, Emerald Museum is open to the community each Wednesday from 10am to 3pm and Sunday from 1.30pm to 4pm except for public holidays.  

Garfield Outdoor Pool

If you love a nostalgically old-school outdoor pool complete with a sneaky chocolate Paddlepop from a kiosk, Garfield Outdoor Pool is just the ticket. Open every day throughout January, this facility has a 33-metre main pool, a smaller 10-metre pool plus a wading pool for the littlies. The pool is located in the Garfield Recreation Reserve where you will also find cricket nets for Pat Cummins inspired fast bowling, a skate park and a playground. Grab the kids big and small and make it a big day out!  

Officer Community Hub 

With three courts available for hire why not challenge a bunch of mates for a friendly game of basketball, volleyball or even futsal? Grab a coffee or cold drink afterwards at the Community Hub’s café. Or maybe you need a fully equipped multi-purpose room to hire? Get in contact with Cardinia Leisure to book your court today. 

Alma Treloar Reserve, Cockatoo 

Perfect for monkeying around, this playground will test your ninja skills with its spider web climbing frame as well as a rope challenge. Add an insect-themed, four-way seesaw, swings and a super-fast spinner and your day is made. Grab your lunch from the local shops and picnic beneath the soaring gums. The Cockatoo Country Market is held at the reserve on the first Saturday of every month and kicks off again this February subject to COVIDSafe restrictions. For details, visit

With so much on offer in Cardinia this summer, there’s every reason to stay local and enjoy some fun in the sun these holidays. Remember to stay safe by planning ahead first. Visit for more information. 

Explore for more holiday inspiration. 


Upgraded in 2019, the Gembrook Leisure Park is a sure-fire winner this summer.

Gembrook Leisure Park

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