The Beeliar Wetlands are made up of two chains of lakes and swamps directly south of the Swan River and close to the coast. Beeliar is the name of the Aboriginal group who lived in this area and these lakes were important places to them due to the high food productivity of wetlands and their spiritual significance. The wetlands are in “chains” as they are between the large dunes that run parallel to the coast.
As restrictions eased during the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to walked the wetlands of the second chain (between the second and third dunes) from north to south. It was interesting to get a new perspective of these wetlands through their connectivity and provide some much needed exercise and fresh air!
The first section I did was from the Canning Bridge Train station to the middle of Murdoch University. This went along the Canning River to Booragoon Lake, Blue Gum Lake and Piney Lakes.
This first part of the walk along the river was quite busy with people enjoying walks, jogging and canoeing on the river.
It was wonderful to see quite a few art works that featured birds along this part of the river.
Between the river and the first lake their was a hill which would probably be the fourth dune from the coast. This area is all heavily developed and between the river and Blue Gum Lake Lake is housing.
During winter the lakes and swamps are still filling with water and usually reach their highest water level in October. Blue Gum Lake is a small wetland with an eastern deeper section and the western area is more like a swamp. The wetland has some good bush on the south side and the northern side has been steadily revegetated by the local council and Friends of Blue Gum Lake.
Between Blue Gum Lake and Booragoon Lake I enjoyed a lovely morning tea at Cafe Denada! The only way to walk from Blue Gum Lake to Booragoon Lake was by walking suburban streets, however, the school and recreation areas here provide some pleasing open space that is frequented by birds.
Booragoon Lake is a larger lake that is surrounded by paperbarks (Melaleuca) and Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus rudis). There are many paperbarks in the south west section of the lake which provide nesting habitat for ibis and cormorants.
Only Leach Highway separates Booragoon Lake and the Piney Lakes Reserve. It was necessary to walk to the traffic lights to cross the highway and this would be a major obstacle for any animals to try to cross. They could only walk across safely in the middle of the night.
Piney Lakes is a large reserve and includes some large areas of natural bush, grassed areas with barbeques and picnic tables, children’s playgrounds and an Environmental Centre. It is a quite a popular area for locals to exercise, have picnics and relax.
From Piney Lakes it is again necessary to walk thru suburban areas to Murdoch University. This includes crossing South Street which is as busy with cars as Leach Highway.
The entire walk was 12.4 km and took just me about 2.5 hours (including morning tea). I used the Strava phone app to track my path.
It would be wonderful to know how these places looked prior to European settlement. Obviously much more bush and birds. It would be interesting to know how much water would have been in the lakes then as well. Clearing the land to put in houses increases water flowing into the groundwater that fills these lakes but some of the water ends up in the sewerage system which is pumped to the ocean and garden bores pump water from the groundwater too.
Stayed tuned for Walking Beeliar Wetlands Part 2!