The historic house and gardens at Coolart Wetlands and Homestead are an easy day trip from Melbourne, with lots of activities for the whole family. Wander through the historic Homestead, built by Frederick Sheppard Grimwade in 1895, observing the Grimwade photograph collection and imagine what life would have been like when Coolart was a farm estate.
Coolart was once a family home, but now it’s a home for nature that everyone can enjoy. The late Tom Luxton purchased Coolart in 1937 and immediately had the property declared a sanctuary for native wildlife. In 1938 the then curator of the Footscray Gardens, David Matthews, redesigned the garden for Coolart, this is the design enjoyed by visitors at Coolart today. Stroll around the formal gardens with its trellises and flowers, wooden benches, decorative water features and wide, green lawns perfect for picnicking. The gardens have many native and exotic plants, including the Gingko from China and the majestic Blue Atlas Cedar from Algeria and Morocco. Coolart was bought by the Victorian government in 1977, in recognition of its historic buildings and significant wetlands.
The farmyard outbuildings are even older than the Homestead, originating from the early days of settlement when Coolart was farming and grazing land. One of Coolart’s oldest buildings is the 'Barracks', built in the 1860’s. This building, along with the Buttery, Meat House and part of the Stables, were built of hand-made bricks. The century-old machinery shed in the farmyard also houses some heritage farming equipment.
Things To Do
Discover the Homestead's heritage
Explore the grounds and gardens
Picnic on the lawn
How to get there
Coolart Wetlands and Homestead is 80km south-east of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula, located on Lord Somers Road near Somers. To reach Coolart via the Peninsula Link, follow EastLink (M3) to Peninsula Link (M11), take the Balnarring exit (C784). Follow signs from Balnarring to Somers. To reach Coolart via Westernport Highway, follow the Monash Freeway (M1) to the South Gippsland exit, then continue along the Westernport Highway (A780) to Hastings. Follow signs from Hastings to Flinders/Somers. To reach Coolart by public transport, take the Frankston line to Frankston Railway Station, then Bus Route 782 or 783.
The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Need to know
Change of Conditions
Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.
Coolart Homestead (Coolart Historic Area)
Coolart Homestead closed for renovationsCoolart Homestead will remain closed for renovations until further notice. The remainder of the park is still open to visitors. We apologise for any inconvenience
Coolart BBQs Closed
- Parks Victoria has carried out inspections on all of the barbecues in our parks. Following these inspections, the Coolart BBQs were permanently closed.
- Visitor safety is our top priority and we advise people to please not use any barbecue facilities that have been closed.
- The Coolart BBQs are in the process of being replaced and we expect them to re-open mid January 2024. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Notices Affecting Multiple Sites
Coolart Fox Control ProgramParks Victoria are undertaking fox control in Coolart to relieve predation of vulnerable and threatened native fauna. Programs involve the use of soft jaw leg hold traps in strategic locations.Fox trapping will occur until June 2024.In accordance with Crown Land Regulations, dogs and cats are prohibited from Coolart Historic Reserve.
Coolart Fox ControlParks Victoria are undertaking fox control in Coolart to relieve predation of vulnerable and threatened native fauna. Programs involve the use of soft jaw leg hold traps in strategic locations through to June 2024.In accordance with Crown Land Regulations, dogs and cats are prohibited from Coolart Historic Reserve.