Flying Fox at Yarra Bend Park


The curious sound of high-pitched chattering and squealing fills the air – Cockatoos? Magpies? No…

Along the Yarra, the towering River Red Gum trees are strangely bare, stripped of their leaves and bushy branches. In their place hang rows on rows of swaying black shapes, wrapped in their own cocoons.

We had just stumbled upon one of Melbourne’s largest Grey-Headed Flying Fox colonies, tucked ‘quietly’ away in the Bellbird Picnic Area at Yarra Bend Park.

Three Minute Read


Flying Foxes at Yarra Bend Park

Mother and her Pup

What’s all the flap about?

In this protected oasis, the high-pitched chatter of over 30,000 fruit bats can be heard and seen EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. (In Winter it drops to 5,000).

And no, that’s not a duck dive-bombing into the water, that’s Australia’s largest Flying Fox swooping in for a refreshing drink of our Yarra water. These curious critters have slept, foraged, and played at this picnic ground since 2003, after being relocated from the Royal Botanic Gardens.

It’s an awe-inspiring gathering of one of Australia’s unique and sadly vulnerable species – it will impress little ones, older kids and even you.


Cluster of flying foxes

What time is the show?

For the full spectacular – wait until sunset when our furry friends head out to forage. Be prepared for endless chatter, flapping and flying en-masse. AMAZING.

There are multiple viewing areas – you can either turn right from the carpark and walk 450ms to the viewing platform. Or you can head straight down the hill and walk directly below the Flying Foxes roosting in the gum trees.

Be respectful, quiet and keep your distance. Don’t startle the Flying Foxes, in case the Mother drops her pup to the ground.

Looking through Flying Fox cut out sculpture

Fast Facts on Flying Foxes

  • Grey-Headed Flying Foxes are Australia’s largest bats and live for up to 15 years.
  • They are 25cm long, weigh 1kg and their wingspan is 1m wide!
  • They eat fruit, nectar & pollen. They can travel up to 50kms for food.
  • They are considered threatened, as their habitats are being destroyed. This conservation site is of national importance.

Need To Know - Useful Info

Allow up to an hour to enjoy the Flying Fox area – but easily longer. It’s less than 1km walking if you just stay around the picnic area.

  • Address: Bellbird Road, Kew (off Yarra Bend Boulevard)
  • Hours & Access: Open all year. Easy pram access to the viewing platform. It’s a steep slope down to the river.
  • Facilities: Carpark, BBQ, picnic ground & tables, toilets.
  • Bring Along: Binoculars, camera, snacks / picnic


Bats can carry viruses, so don’t handle them – if you see an injured bat contact your nearest wildlife rescue group.


Bellbird Picnic Area and track


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