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    Scarlett Luciani, Alyssa Steenson and Wolfie enjoying the Yanga Track at Horsham Weir.
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    Emily Eagle, Claire Rethus and Penny Eagle enjoy a paddle on the Wimmera River near Horsham Weir.

Put on your comfy shoes | LifeSTYLE Wimmera

The entire Lifestyle Wimmera Edition 6 is available online. READ IT HERE!

Magpies warbling at sun-rise, robins chatting away in the trees. 

This is the beautiful soundtrack we live to in regional Victoria.  

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But it’s one that can go unappreciated when put up against the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

While 2020 has certainly been a year of ‘unprecedented’ times, it has also given us the opportunity to be reintroduced to the many wonders of the city of Horsham. 

With exercise being one of only four essential reasons to leave home under stage-three lockdown restrictions earlier in the year, the community relied on outdoor recreational spaces more than ever. 

It has inspired locals to start looking for new ways to spend their time exercising, to take a break from the influx of news updates and to instead just enjoy the fresh air. 

Horsham Rural City Council has ensured this is possible by highlighting many kilometres of the city’s natural beauty through well-maintained walking trails and nature reserves. 

Each of the council’s recreational spaces has something unique to offer. 

So if you’re ready to start exploring but not sure where to start, following are just three of many local gems. 

Horsham’s heart 

The Wimmera River is an iconic part of Horsham and its central riverside paths are a favourite among locals.  

The paths take people on a journey past some of Horsham’s favourite landmarks, including Horsham Showground, Sawyer Park, Horsham War Memorial and Adventure Island, to name a few. 

Even if you’re only travelling through, car parking near the riverside tracks is plentiful and free of charge.  

Pull over and go for a walk along the river to stretch your legs. 

There’s several playgrounds along the way so children can burn off any excess energy, and there’s public toilet facilities. 

To make sure the riverside can be properly enjoyed at any time of day or night, the council has installed new overhead LED lighting between Menadue Street and Anzac Centenary Bridge as part of a ‘Safe River Linkages’ project. 

This has lit up more than three kilometres of the riverside trail for evening walks, runs or rides. 

Regardless of whether you’re visiting or plan to stay, this walk is a must so you can experience the Wimmera River in its full glory. 

Emily Eagle, Claire Rethus and Penny Eagle enjoy a paddle on the Wimmera River near Horsham Weir.

Repurposed patch of history  

In Horsham’s north on Rasmussen Road is the Police Paddock Nature Reserve. 

Previously used as a holding paddock for police horses in the 1900s, it is now  a natural wetlands reserve. 

Sprawling across 48.5 hectares, it is the perfect spot for bush enthusiasts, walkers and cyclists.  

Check the information board to see what species of birds are known frequenters to the reserve, before heading over to one of the two bird hides at the lake’s edge for the best vantage point. 

Enjoy a break at the picnic table or use the accessible fishing platform to cast a line.  

You can bring your dog along as well, just make sure to keep them leashed because there’s plenty of native wildlife that call the wetlands home. 

The reserve also has an environmental toilet that is accessible for all, including people with limited mobility. 

Police Paddock Nature Reserve is a hidden oasis and will have you easily forgetting you’re only a few minutes out of the city centre. 

Weathered the storm 

Yanga Track Nature Walk stretches for two kilometres below Horsham weir. 

It replicates an important gathering place for indigenous communities, housing many native plants with deep roots in history.  

Yanga Track has been impacted by some of Horsham’s biggest weather phenomena, losing countless plants and fencing in the Black Saturday bushfires, and then only six months later being washed away in a one-in-200-year flood. 

But dedicated volunteers and community members keep the story of the Yanga Track alive by always returning to rebuild. 

Its now thriving wetlands boast a serene atmosphere and make for one of Horsham’s most popular walking tracks. 

Starting at the weir boardwalk, it takes visitors on a circular route through incredible bushland. 

Only a few metres away from the beginning of the trail is Weir Park, featuring a barbecue area, public bathrooms, a secure playground and an enclosed leash-free area for dogs.  

Whether it’s a trip for the whole family, or you’re just looking for a moment of solitude, your visit will leave you feeling completely satisfied.