On a cold, grey Winter’s day we decided to explore the nearby wetlands trail, having watched it grow from the start and hearing good things about it. One of the first large constructed wetlands in Australia, it provides flood protection by diverting storm water from Dry Creek.
We had to go to the Watershed Cafe for a fob to open the gates and it included a map. The notice said that it was a 30 minute return walk and, after smelling the fresh coffee in the warm cafe, I thought we could do it in 20.
The paths are in good condition and we only had one ‘offshoot’ trail that had an overgrown tree under which we had to crouch. The markers on the map, showing information boards, are an added feature to help with following it.
The information boards themselves have great information about flora and fauna that we didn’t know and found very interesting – did you know that a frog will push its eyes down to help stuff food into the belly? Haven’t we all seen at least one child look like that’s what they were doing?
Generally, the view was of reeds, shrubs and water.
There is a variety of birdlife and a magnificent birdwatch has been constructed to spy without changing the behaviour.
Most if the vegetation is native, including the grevillea ground cover.
On this day, we heard lots of wrens, saw a brief flash of blue and spied some bush-hopping, but the little critters were fast and shy, although that’s not always the case. There were plenty of pied cormorants, water hens and a variety of other water birds.
Frogs croaked endlessly but they became a background hum, slightly more consistent and louder than the highway traffic, which was significantly reduced by the reeds.
There is evidence of algae in some water catchments and elsewhere.
The reeds are actually bulrushes and their sausage flowers were on display. These plants create a significant filter for the storm water that’s collected in this region, creating the wetlands where once was swamp. Adelaide receives less than 600mm of rain a year, so the natural filtering system allows the water to be re-used, on local ovals and parks.
We took about 45 minutes and would have been longer if there was more wildlife, but happily headed for the cafe to reclaim my driver’s license and get morning tea.
If you live in Adelaide, or plan to visit, put this little walk on your list.