How does Gumnut Trail's work?
It’s simple. Choose a trail from your adventure pack, check what to bring, and start exploring!
Each trail includes an illustrated comic adventure, a main mission, fun facts and extra activities to keep your kids engaged and having fun.
Choose Your Trail.
There are 5 trails to choose from in each Adventure Guide, all with different themes, activities and time lengths involved.
Use the provided information (eg 2.5hrs, 2kms, open 8am to 7pm) to plan ahead.
There's also a QR code that loads a handy map, extras, and wildlife ID picture galleries for each trail.
Check what to bring
Every trail has suggestions on what to bring along (e.g. magnifying glass)
However, you really don't need any special gear, hiking shoes or kit! Just turn up and explore!
Let the adventures begin! Follow the activities closely or use them as starters - your choice.
What age do my children need to be to enjoy Gumnut Trails?
We suggest ages 2 - 12. It’s never too early (or late) to start exploring the great outdoors. For younger children you can easily simplify the activities and for older kids - they can just lead the way!
Gumnut Trails is here to introduce you to the amazing natural spaces and wildlife we have in Melbourne, plus give you the confidence to look closer and take that hidden trail up ahead.
What type of activities are in the Guides?
The activities are all designed around the unique features, history, wildlife and stories of each individual beach, park or reserve.
Get ready to solve clues on a trail, go on creative scavenger hunts or citizen-science inspired missions, and have fun with nature play!
They are fun, creative and easy to understand - you don’t need to be a teacher or hands on parent to ‘get’ these activities (we’re not).
We also worked with a conservation expert to make sure our facts, stats and ideas are accurate and appropriate for each space.
What areas are covered in the Melbourne Guides?
Each Adventure Guide includes trails within 3 to 30kms of Melbourne CBD.
The West includes trails between Broadmeadows, Williamstown and the City.
The North includes trails between Broadmeadows, Greensborough and the City.
The East includes trails between Warrandyte, the Monash Freeway and the City.
The South includes trails between Springvale, Port Phillip Bay and the City.
What are the benefits of playing outdoors in nature?
Disclaimer: We have spent time researching the answer to this question as we’re far from experts - just parents who believe this is important.
Experts say that playing freely outdoors in nature builds happiness and all the good stuff we want for our children - creativity, imagination, resilience, active and healthy lifestyle, mindfulness, reduced stress and more.
Here’s a few examples to get you thinking:
- Walking on an uneven path or log without tripping? Your child is not only active, but improving their coordination and motor skills.
- Carefully inspecting the clouds, a flower or insect? Improving observation, concentration, and being 100% present in the moment.
- Working out how to create a structure with twigs and branches through trial and error? Creative problem solving at its best, plus learning never to give up.
- Smelling, listening, touching, looking? Using all their senses and being fully aware of their surroundings (not just a screen).
Studies have shown that even the sight of nature can help reduce stress and increase happiness. So if we can give our kids the secret formula to unplug and re-energise in the future, that’s a life changing skill.
The best part? Being there when your kids discover something for the first time.
Interested in learning more? Recent article on benefits for children
Is it safe to play outdoors In nature? What about snakes?
Like anywhere, nature can present unexpected risks if you’re not paying attention or are unprepared.
To stay safe and ready to tackle what may come your way - wear good walking shoes, cover up, take plenty of water, be aware of your surroundings and stay on the trails. Consider packing a basic first aid kit just in case.
In Summer, it’s best to keep your children close to you, as snakes are more active. Remember snakes are afraid of us, and will hide if they feel vibrations. So teach your kids to stamp their feet on the trails and let the snakes know you’re coming!
Read some safety tips from Parks Victoria to help you be prepared and plan ahead.
Remember, you are responsible for your children and your own safety around water and on the trails. We recommend you always follow the official Park’s advice and rules.
Can’t I just do this myself?
Absolutely! In fact we encourage everyone to get outdoors and into our natural spaces as much as possible.
However, if you need some motivation and some ideas of where to go and what to do - then we’re here to help! We’ve been happily exploring every green (and blue) space around Melbourne, to find the special places that make us smile, feel ‘lost’ in the city and that are perfect for families.
We’ve worked really hard to make this as fun, creative and easy to use as possible.
What impact are you trying to make and why?
We donate to local conservation projects
With every adventure guide we sell; we donate to local conservation projects. They help conserve and protect our local natural spaces for future generations.
Good for our children, good for our planet
Experts say, the more we connect and learn about nature when we’re young, the more we remember and care about our environment when we grow up. It’s also true, the more time children spend playing in nature, the more they build important life skills such as resilience, creativity, active lifestyle, mindfulness, happiness… the list goes on.
With about 70% of Australian families living in metropolitan areas, and theoretically less connected to the great outdoors - it can be challenging for families to spend time regularly in nature. That ‘camping trip’ might only happen once a year, if you’re lucky.
Therefore, our hope is that we can bring the great outdoors closer to families and create those magical childhood moments in nature, that stay with us forever.