Cherry Lake and the surrounding reserve with its walking tracks and play area are popular recreational space for the locals. Located in the suburb of Altona, 18km South West of Melbourne CBD, the lake historically used to be a low-lying wetland of nearly 101 hectares. Flood flows from nearby Kororoit Creek and overland runoff from Cherry’s Creek flooded the area seasonally. The early European settlers of this area used the water for their stock. The lake got its name from pioneer settler William Cherry. Along with his pastoralist pursuits, William Cherry was also a horse breeder who supplied horses to the British Army in India.
Cherry Lake was modified in the 1960’s as a storm water management Lake to prevent flooding at the surrounding suburbs of Altona and Brooklyn. Along with Truganina Swamp and lower reaches of Kororoit Creek, a drainage scheme was developed with Board of Work which now known as Melbourne Water.
Board of Work built concrete walls to retain the existing fill. Levees were constructed at the south and east sides and the flow channel constructed did the work of carrying excess water to the Port Phillip Bay. This ensured that the lake maintains a constant water level most of the time. Measures were taken to prevent flood water from Kororoit Creek reaching the lake.
Near here was the Altona Motor Circuit, which was established in 1954 at its banks. During dry seasons , its banks became perfect setting for car racing. The first race meeting was held on 21st February 1954. The circuit was built in a very crude manner with less emphasis given to safety. Seasonal flooding along with safety concerns saw the land sold off .
The lake is home to several endangered species of vegetation and wild life, including Altona Skipper butterfly, which in caterpillar form relies on the native chaffy saw sedge to survive. More than hundred species of birds make this a habitat depending on the season, including water birds, sea birds, grassland birds and migratory birds. The lake and the saltmarsh vegetation create an ideal habitat for Water birds such as Black swans, Australian Pelican, Grebes, ducks and cormorants.
The walking and cycling trail around the lake is around 3.4km which is connected to Hobson Bay Coastal trail, takes slightly less than an hour to make a circle for an average walker.
The park has a well-designed children’s play area, but full-time adult supervision is required for children, as it is very close to the lake and without any safety barriers.
At the Park next to Cherry Lake on the Miller Street frontage, Lions Club Sunday Market is organised from 8am to 2pm on the first Sunday of every month except January (instead on third Sunday in December). The market sells mainly hand knitted goods and clothing, handmade wooden toys, Souvenirs and second-hand goods.
The Lake is managed by Melbourne Water
Address: Millers Road, Altona, Victoria – 3018
Facilities: Toilets / Picnic Shelter / Playground / BBQ – electric / Drinking water / Car Park / Seating
Dogs on lead allowed.
Fishing is not allowed at conservation areas but permitted at other areas.
What you can do here
Fishing, Cycling, Walking, Picnicing, Bring Children to play at the playground, Bird watching