Adventure trails in the west

Christina and her three-year-old daughter love exploring the outdoors together.

By Melissa Grant

Are you looking for an outdoor adventure close to home?

Gumnut Trails is a new guide to the great outdoors in Melbourne’s West, with five mystery trails and more than 15 adventures for families.

Gumnut Trails is the creation of Flemington mum Christina Carter, who wants to connect people with the amazing places right on their doorstep.

Gumnut Trails actually began as a family project during lockdown as Christina sought new adventures for her three-year-old daughter.

‘We spent our mornings exploring local parks and creating adventures,” she said.

“Afternoons were dedicated to creative writing and illustration. It was the perfect way to fight off the lockdown blues and make sure we connected to something real as a family.”

Aimed at kids aged 2-12, Gumnut Trails ‘Gone Exploring in Melbourne’s West’ is an adventure card set, featuring five mystery trails and journal cards. The trails are presented as an illustrated comic adventure with two hero characters Ellie and Felix, who tell a story to get your child excited about each park. The trail cards also feature information about the location, including how long you might want to spend there, its length, some fun facts, plus three activities and a main mission to complete. Each card includes an individual QR code that links to a map, extra activities and a picture gallery to help you identify local wildlife.

Brimbank Park is featured, but we can’t say much more as part of the fun is that the trails are a mystery.

The idea, Christina says, is that you simply pick up the adventure guide, choose a trail and go!

Each trail is different – there are trails in the forest, trails at the beach, short trails and long trails.

When creating Gumnut Trails, Christina drew on her memories of growing up in country Victoria where she enjoyed treasure hunts in local nature reserves, holidays in national parks and epic sandpit excavations.

It was only when Christina was married and raising a young child in inner city Melbourne, without a beach forest or park in sight, that she realised how incredible her childhood was.

Then lockdowns hit and Christina became determined to get her daughter to connect with nature.

“I really wanted to create that connection for her. It’s a bit of a personal mission but maybe an opportunity to connect people a lot more with what’s on our doorstep,” she said.

“There are amazing spaces where you can go and discover things and when your child is there they can see things that you can’t see.”

Gumnut Trails ‘Gone Exploring in Melbourne’s West’ launched in September. The guide is proving popular with 50 copies sold in the first two weeks alone.

Christina said proceeds from each copy would go towards local conservation projects.

She is already working on a guide for Melbourne’s North and has further guides planned for East and South East Melbourne.

To buy a guide, or for more information, visit