Bool Lagoon Game Reserve and Conservation Park

Bool Lagoon Game Reserve and Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park is situated approximately 25 kilometres south of Naracoorte, South Australia. The main entrance is via Lindsay Hood Road. Enter 50 Lindsay Hood Road into your GPS. Be sure to organise your park fee online at www.environment.sa.gov.au before venturing out there. Fees are $10 per vehicle with an $8 concession fee (current at January 2019). Overnight camping is available at $20 per vehicle. The park is open everyday with the exception of Total Fire Ban days. An annual permit can be obtained giving access to the Park as often as desired during the year.

Mosquito Creek flow near Struan House

Bool Lagoon is one of the largest wetlands in Southern Australia. It relies on good winter rainfall for its water supply which comes in through Mosquito Creek from the East. Mosquito Creek flows into Hacks Lagoon which then overflows into Bool Lagoon. This wetland area has been known to go dry if there are too many successive dry seasons. 2016 was the last time that I was out there when the wetlands were overflowing. In 2018 Bool Lagoon was near full but when I was out there early September none of the overflow gates had been opened.

Tea Tree Boardwalk
Tea Tree Boardwalk, 2011

There are several board walks, the main one being the Tea Tree Boardwalk of 500 metres which takes you through an area of Tea Tree and into the main bird hide. This is the best spot to be if you want to see the birds coming in to roost after a day out feeding. Just be aware that there have been bees present in this bird hide at different times.

Bool lagoon sunset
Bool Lagoon sunset from the snake island lookout.

The Gunawar Walk takes you across the waterways between Hacks Lagoon and Bool Lagoon and across to Snake Island. This boardwalk has recently been re-built and is now a ‘floating’ boardwalk. Snakes can be present on this island; however, in several visits that I have made I haven’t actually seen any. This island has a lookout, giving you a higher up view of both lagoons. This is also a good vantage point for photographing sunsets.

The park is home to some 150 species of wildlife, including some rare and endangered bird species. When the water levels are good plenty of frogs can be heard and sometimes seen.

Echidna on Tea Tree Boardwalk
Echidna on the Tea Tree Boardwalk.

But water birds and frogs aren’t the only creatures to be seen using the boardwalks. On the drive around to Big Hill kangaroos and wallaby’s can often be seen grazing in the surrounding paddocks. From Big Hill you can look north west across Little Bool Lagoon.

Bool Lagoon overflow channel, Sept 2016.

For a different route back to Naracoorte turn right onto the Bool Lagoon road as you leave and then take Moyhall Road back into town. The drive will take you over the overflow drain which is worth checking out when the water levels are high. Note that not all of this road is bituminised but it has been considerably upgraded in recent years.

Photos and text by

David

Darwent’s Waterhole Reserve

Clearing in the scrub

A clearing and camp site in the scrub

Darwent’s Waterhole Reserve is about three kilometres south of Willalooka on the western side of the Riddoch Highway. The early history of Willalooka is recorded in the book ‘Wedgeholes to Windmills’, but unfortunately I have mislaid my copy.

 

The Wedgehole

The Wedgehole

It is just a small area of scrub that contains a wedgehole that was dug in the early days of settlement for watering stock. A wedgehole is simply a wedge shaped hole dug down deep and long enough to collect water from the under ground water table.

 

Hitching rail site

Site of a hitching rail for horses

Nearby to the wedgehole are these two posts which have brackets on them for the hitching rail for tying up horses while the stock (probably sheep) were drinking. With dryer seasons in recent decades very little water is now visible in the wedghole, but I have seen enough moisture in the bottom for bees to get a drink.

 

Lady Finger Orchid

Lady Finger Orchid, rarely found this dark a colour.

This small area of scrub contains some very special plants, among them is the Lady Finger Orchid. The flower is usually white and occasionally pink, but rarely as dark a pink as this one that I found in this reserve in October 2017. This orchid can also be found at Mt Monster Conservation Park closer to Keith, South Australia, and probably in other natural areas in the region.

 

Written by

David

 

Fairview Conservation Park

Fairvew Conservation Park

Fairview Conservation Park entrance, showing typical scrub type in the park.

Our eldest son and I visited Fairview Conservation Park in July 2016; for me it was my second visit to this park. It is situated approximately 45km north west of Naracoorte off the Woolumbool Road. If travelling in the vicinity of this park one needs to keep a keen eye out for wild deer as there are a few in the area. I almost hit one in a work vehicle some years back when driving past.

 

Little Gums Road

On Little Gums Road.

The park consists of nearly 1,400 hectares of virgin scrub, typical of the sandier soils of the South East of South Australia. The track marked on some maps as Little Gums Road enters near the north west corner of the park and runs through the park to roughly half way up the eastern boundary. Nearly half-way along this track is an off-chute to a nice little picnic spot on some higher ground, a good spot to go for a wander from. At some stage I would like to re-visit the park and do the drive right the way through and along another side boundary.

 

Eucalypt in the park

Typical bigger gums (eucalypts) in the park.

Intriguing slab

Intriguing slab in Fairview Conservation Park

The park also contains some wetlands with the largest area of water  being Kangoora Lagoon. I am yet to see it with water in it but it would be quite a large area when it does fill up. As I write this blog we have just had a good wet September in the region. It would be interesting to get back out there and see if and how much water is there now. On the ridge just up from the eastern side of Kangoora Lagoon is a concrete slab that I found rather intriguing. My enquiries would suggest that it was once a shed with a wash down bay in front of it. It would be rather interesting to know its history and purpose.

 

Not being too sure just where we would end up we re-traced the track back to the original entry point to the park. I  have since checked out the park on Google Maps and it would appear that during a dry period might be best time to do a drive right through the area.

 

Written and produced by,

David


 

Geegeela Conservation Park

Geegeela Conservation Park.

Geegeela Conservation Park.

A conservation park that I have visited a number of times is Geegeela Conservation Park. The southern entrance to this park is at the North East corner of the property that we once owned at Frances, South Australia for eight and a half years. In those days though, it wasn’t sign posted as a Conservation Park. This area containing some 850 hectares was declared a Conservation Park in July 2005.

 

Typical light country of the South East of South Australia.

Typical light country of the South East of South Australia.

I have driven through the park a few times back when we were living out that way. I had helped the folk who leased Geegeela North station on the North side of the park with some crutching. It was at this shearing shed that I saw the tallest Lucerne plant that I’ve ever seen. A couple of stems of the plant had grown up between two loose sheets of iron and, well, they were taller than I am!

 

Typical Eucalypt species in Geegeela Conservation Park.

Typical Eucalypt species in Geegeela Conservation Park.

The park contains mainly a mix of various Gums (Eucalypt sp.), Stringy Bark and Banksia with some Bottle Brush in a few lower areas. Amongst it, other small native plants, including some orchids can be found. For the birdwatchers, the park is said to be inhabited by up to 90 bird species including the endangered Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.

 

'Quirks' of nature

‘Quirks’ of nature

The park is also home to various native animals and even some little creatures and one needs to be alert so as not to walk into this sort of thing along the way!

 

Written and produced by,

David

 


Canunda National Park, Millicent

Easter Sunday 2015 I did a drive down to Millicent where my grandson spent some time with some cousins. My eldest son John came with us and while my grandson spent the time with his cousins, John and I went ‘exploring’ one of the beaches along Canunda National Park looking for photo opportunities.

 

First view of windfarm

A first view of the windfarm

From Millicent we headed out Lossie Road and then onto Frontage Road, the road that runs along the top side of Lake Bonney SE. This road took us down past the windfarm south east of Millicent. After a while we turned back and turned south west onto Canunda Causeway Road which led us down to the parking area just before Geltwood Beach. I wasn’t equipped for beach or sand work so we didn’t venture too far off of the built up roads.

 

Geltwood Beach

Geltwood Beach

So we parked in a camping area and walked the three quarters of a kilometre or there-about over the sand dunes and onto Geltwood Beach. Here we set up to take some photos and watch the waves coming into shore.

 

Photographing on Geltwood Beach

Photographing on Geltwood Beach.

Photo 03

 

Beach seaweed

Beach seaweed

Photo 04

 

Beach scene

Beach scene

Photo 05

 

Making our way back over the sand dunes.

Making our way back over the sand dunes.

All too soon it was time to make our way back to pick up my grandson and return home, with a short stop at the Mt Burr / Millicent lookout for some photos of the sunset.

 

 

 

David

 

Mullinger Swamp

Mullinger Swamp

Mullinger Swamp

A friend of mine and I went for a drive to some of the local spots in November 2011. One of those places was Mullinger Swamp a few kilometres north of Kybybolite, South Australia. Although Kyby (as the locals often call it) is in South Australia, the swamp itself is mostly in Victoria and actually straddles the border.

 

Mullinger Swamp 02

Mullinger Swamp 02

In 2011 when we visited Mullinger the water level had been pretty high but some drop in levels was evident. Just to the left of this second photo is an area banked off to keep water out of a runaway hole and retain it for irrigation and summer swimming. This levee bank is said to have been built in the 1940’s.

 

Mullinger Swamp 03

Mullinger Swamp 03

Over the years quite a number of the trees in the swamp itself have died, probably due to being drowned since the levee bank mentioned was built. The extent of these dead trees is evident in this third photo. Also evident on these trees is the high water mark.

 

Largest known River Red Gum

Largest known River Red Gum

Over in the paddock to the north west of the swamp is a River Red Gum, thought to be the largest of its type in the region. It is said to be about 40 metres high, with a circumference of 11.6 metres measured 1.3 metres above the ground. It is estimated to be over 800 years old. The base is hollowed out, presumably by fire. This is thought to have occurred before European settlement. In the past this has been known to have been used as a change room by swimmers.

 

David


Bailey’s Rocks, Dergholm State Park, Victoria

Sign at the top end of Sharams Road

Sign at the top end of Sharams Road

I visited the area with my grandson on the Monday holiday June 2014. We went for a wander through Bailey’s Rocks with our camera’s. I took 62 photos for the afternoon. Here are just a few of them. Being a public holiday there were several other car loads of visitors as well. One group asked me to take a group photo for them.

 

Photo 01 of Bailey's Rocks

Photo 01 of Bailey’s Rocks

Bailey’s Rocks is situated within the Dergholm State Park, some 40 kilometres north west of Casterton, off the Naracoorte-Casterton road, and 60 kilometres from Naracoorte. The locals call this road the Langkoop Road, Langkoop being the other main district along the road with it’s own little hall.

 

Photo 02 at Bailey's Rocks

Photo 02 at Bailey’s Rocks

Dergholm State Park covers some 10,400 hectares and is mainly made up of red gums and brown stringy bark. Car parking is within the area with BBQs and tables and other facilities and a large area suitable for camping. Dogs are permitted in this area on leads but not in the rest of the park.

 

There is a 300 or so metre walking track amongst the granite boulders themselves and a 5 kilometre walk along Rocky Creek that runs through the park.

 

Photo 03 at Bailey's Rocks

Photo 03 at Bailey’s Rocks

We came across this pretty fungi amongst the tree litter.

 

Ants nest

Ants nest

Later, as we walked away from the main granite outcrop area, we came across a number of well defined ants nests like this one.

 

Wild flowers in Dergholm State Park

Wild flowers in Dergholm State Park

When it was time to leave we traveled up Sharam’s Road, a well made track up through the park. Here’s a photo of some of the wildflowers along the way.

 
 
 
 

David


Mt Monster Conservation Park

IMGP1589resize

Mt Monster Conservation Park car park and picnic area

Map of Mt Monster Conservation Park

Map of Mt Monster Conservation Park

Coming home from Nairne the other day I decided to take a detour via the Mt Monster Conservation Park.  Mt Monster is just a couple of kilometres off the Riddoch Highway about 12 kilometres south of Keith, totalling some 93 hectares of land donated by a couple of pioneering families who lived in the area.  I grew up on a property another 5 or so kilometres south of here on our family farm.  Consequently, we had travelled close to the park many, many times but had only climbed it a couple of times that I can remember.

 

 

IMGP1616resize

The colour of the granite in Mt Monster Conservation Park

The park area contains a number of granite outcrops, the main one being the main point of interest.  The summit is just 93 metres above sea level and is referred to as ‘The Trig Point’ as it contains a trig stand and is the highest point for quite some distance around.  From the summit it is possible to get a 360 degree view of the farming land around the park.

 

 

One of the distant views, this one overlooks the property I grew up on

One of the distant views, this one overlooks the property I grew up on

Directly to the south, if you know just where to look, the property that I grew up on and later worked on for 14 years can be seen off in the distance.

 

 

The climb to the Trig Point

The climb to the Trig Point

The drive in to the picnic area is a one-way track with the entrance part way across the northern boundary.  The Trig Point is a short 10 to 15 minute walk from the picnic area, up through the scrub.  A little way up this track is the starting point for the ‘Gwen Ellis Walking Trail‘.

 

 

Parting of the ways to the trails

Parting of the ways to the trails

This trail circles around the summit, through the surrounding scrub land and taking in several other key points within the park.  The walk takes 30 to 40 minutes, unless you are like me and take the time for plenty of photographs!

 

 

The monument on Joyce's Plateau

The monument on Joyce’s Plateau

Taking this trail in an anti-clockwise direction, the first feature you come to is Joyce’s Plateau, around sign post 2.  This little area is so named in honour of Joyce Buddle, a daughter of the pioneering family who donated 80 ha for the park.  Continuing on around the trail one comes across the various plant species that are growing in the area.

 

 

Some of the smaller plant species, including the Rock Fern bottom right

Some of the smaller plant species, including the Rock Fern bottom right

The next few sign posts indicate some of the numerous plant species found in the area, including pink and blue gums, various mallees, broombush, and smaller species such as Rock Fern, lichens and some native orchids.

 

 

Part of the Maroona South property in the distance

Part of the Maroona South property in the distance

At sign post 8 one can look out to the south west and see the “Maroona South” property, the property from which I believe the original 80 ha of the park came from.

 

 

Part of the southern rock face of Mt Monster

Part of the southern rock face of Mt Monster

IMGP1640resize

More of the southern rock face of Mt Monster

The southern rock face of Mt Monster.

 

 

 

 

Gwen's Lookout

Gwen’s Lookout

Further around at sign post 11 is Gwen’s Lookout.  This spot is named as a tribute to Gwen Ellis, a daughter of Malcolm and Mercy Crooks, pioneers of the area who started clearing land south of  here in 1909.

 

 

A view from Mina's Lookout.  To the left is the 'Landsdowne' property

A view from Mina’s Lookout. Further to the left is the ‘Landsdowne’ property

At sign post 12 is Mina’s Lookout and from here you can look out over the former “Landsdowne” property.  Here too, you come to the other 13 ha of the park donated by Ray and the late Mina Davis.  Continuing the trail full circle one comes through an area prolific with wattle (Acacia paradoxa) which has regenerated well after a fire that swept through Mt Monster in January of 1961.

 

 

Quarry site that was once Little Mt Monster

Quarry site that was once Little Mt Monster

Wall of granite after blasting

Wall of granite after blasting

The park also contains what used to be the Little Mount Monster.  This is situated closer to the northern boundary of the park but is almost non-existent these days because much of it has been blasted and crushed for road material.  This area can be seen by a short diversion off the main track as you exit the park near the north-west corner.

 

OK, so this blog post has taken quite some time to put together, but I trust that you find it interesting.

 

David


Grass Tree Conservation Park

Fallen Tree Regrowth in Grass Tree Conservation Park
Fallen Tree Regrowth in Grass Tree Conservation Park

One of my pass-times is to go bush walking or to visit Conservation Parks and the like.

Grass Tree Conservation Park
Grass Tree Conservation Park

Back on the 5th of May 2013 I visited the Grass Tree Conservation Park.  It sits alongside Boddington’s Road West, between the Riddoch Highway and the Cadgee Road, about a 20 minute or so drive north of Naracoorte.

Grass Tree close-up
Grass Tree close-up

For a long time I had thought of a Grass Tree as just another variety of Yacca, but as I got out of my vehicle and hopped the fence into the park I could see straight away that they were quite different.  They were ‘softer’ in appearance and although the leaves were still long and thin, they weren’t as wide, nor were they as sharp along the edges.  But the flower stem is still similar in appearance.

Grass Tree trail
Grass Tree trail

The marked trail was only a short walk, a loop around into the scrub not too far from the road side fence, just enough to see what the Grass Tree really looked like, so I ventured off up the hill off the track.  As I neared the top of the rise I noticed that the soil type changed and the Grass Trees had petered out.  The rise was in fact a limestone outcrop.  Down the other side of the rise I could see the park southern boundary and the farming land beyond so I didn’t go too far over the hill.  (Was that a pun?)

Old Grass Tree plant with flower stalk
Old Grass Tree plant with flower stalk

Now that I had got a reasonable idea of what was in the park and how far back from the road the park was, I took my time coming back to my vehicle and selected some spots to take my photos.  Here are a few more that I took on the day.

A patch of Grass Trees
A patch of Grass Trees
Another group of Grass Trees
Another group of Grass Trees
Grass Tree Conservation Park entrance
Grass Tree Conservation Park entrance

I hope you have enjoyed this little visit to Grass Tree Conservation Park.  I’d love to hear what you think of it.

 David