Boardwalks

Livingstone Island Nature Walk

Located in Nelson in south-west Victoria, this serene walk leads to a boardwalk through saltmarshes and a bird hide. It offers nice views of Lake Oxbow and allows bushwalkers to spot kangaroos, a variety of birds, and wildflowers.

The south-western part of Victoria has a lot to offer bushwalkers and outdoor enthusiasts, including the South West Great Walk. The scenic tracks that surround the Glenelg River in both the Lower Glenelg National Park and Cobboboonee National Park make a trip to the area well worth it.

Livingstone Island Nature Walk before reaching the saltmarshes.  Image: Elodie Camprasse

Livingstone Island Nature Walk before reaching the saltmarshes. Image: Elodie Camprasse

Visitors who stay in the small and picturesque town of Nelson, a few kilometres from the border with South Australia, enjoy sheltered swimming along the shore of Oxbow Lake and at the mouth of the Glenelg River, sandy beaches and river cruises. Bushwalkers who like areas slightly off the beaten tracks or are pressed for time will also enjoy the Livingstone Island Nature Walk.

Parking is available at the end of Beach Road, next to Estuary Beach, about four kilometres from the visitor centre. A sign indicates the beginning of the walk, which starts with a wide grass track that’s easy to navigate. Here, shy kangaroos take off on approach and disappear into the bushes. Along the track, a vegetation typical of coastal areas grows, including Coast Wattle, Coast Beard-Heath, and Beaded Glasswort.

A boardwalk takes the walker through saltmarshes, which a variety of amphibians and waterbirds call home. North of the boardwalk, a lookout allows visitors to have a better view over the lake and the birds resting in the shallows and on the sandbars. About halfway through the walk, keen birders can stop for a sneak peek of Oxbow Lake’s birdlife, including swans, herons, ducks, and pelicans.

The view from the lookout.  Image: Elodie Camprasse

The view from the lookout. Image: Elodie Camprasse

The bird hide along the boardwalk.  Image: Elodie Camprasse

The bird hide along the boardwalk. Image: Elodie Camprasse

Altogether, the walk is about three kilometres in length and takes about an hour to complete, and is even more spectacular at sunset. Although there are steps to reach the boardwalk and a few inclines and declines on the way, overall this walk can be considered mostly easy. In spring and summer, visitors will marvel at the variety of butterflies wandering from wildflower to wildflower, and the beautiful lilies and orchids lining the path.

A hyacinth orchid.  Image: Elodie Camprasse

A hyacinth orchid. Image: Elodie Camprasse

SUMMARY

  • Located in Nelson, at the mouth of the Glenelg River
  • Lake Oxbow views
  • Boardwalk through saltmarshes
  • Bring your binoculars and go down to the bird hide to spot a variety of waterbirds
  • Bring your camera to snap butterflies and wildflowers in spring and summer

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

download 2.jpeg

EASE OF ACCESSIBILITY

download+(1)+(1).jpeg

WILDLIFE

download+(2).jpeg

SCENERY

download+(2).jpeg

OVERALL

download+(2).jpeg

P1220178_cropped+2.jpg

Elodie Camprasse

Elodie came to Australia where she recently completed a PhD in seabird ecology at Deakin University, after studying marine biology in Europe. She is passionate about the natural world and its protection. She is also a dive instructor and Emergency Response Operator at Wildlife Victoria.

You can find her on Twitter at @ECamprasse.


Banner image courtesy of Elodie Camprasse.

Triplet Falls Rainforest Walk

Hidden amongst the 103, 185 hectares that make up the Great Otway National Park lies an ancient forest walk that offers scenery reminiscent of enchanted places only described in fairy tales. The Triplet Falls Rainforest Walk is perfect for those seeking a much needed dose of fresh forest air, accompanied by views of the spectacular waterfalls and surrounding lush temperate rainforest.

Triplet Falls is just under a three-hour drive from the northern suburbs of Melbourne, and can be located by following signposts that lead you from Beech Forest to your destination. Upon arrival you will encounter a small clearing where you can leave your vehicle and commence the one-hour looped trail.

The head of the trail leads you on a compacted dirt track lined with towering myrtle beech and mountain ash trees (some known to be over 200 years old!). The track begins to descend on a slight incline as it takes you into the luscious depths of the rainforest. Well known as an IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area), Triplet Falls Rainforest Walk is best done by tuning your senses into the sights, smells and sounds of your surroundings by taking your time to meander down the dirt pathway.

Above images courtesy of Sara Ellerton & Rhiannon Chapman respectively.

Approximately 60 metres into the walk, you will come to a viewing platform that was initially built to view the upper cascades of the falls. It has since been overgrown with vegetation due to the sheer resilience of the forest. Instead, this is an ideal spot to pause and listen out for not only the falls in the near distance, but also the diverse bird life that frequent this area. Those with limited mobility are able to come up to this point but not any further due to the presence of steps and reasonably steep inclines.

Soon, the pathway turns into one of approximately 150 metres of elevated metal grate, serving as protection for the dense vegetation underneath. Here, the path is completely shaded by a canopy of thick forest growth allowing vibrant mosses and a diverse range of vital fungi to thrive on the native flora. This is an ideal spot to slow down your pace and keep a look out for the impressive fungal diversity that lies amongst the native vegetation. The rainforest quite literally cannot survive without the presence of fungi. Rainforest fungi plays an important role in decomposing and recycling dead organic material so that plants can utilise nutrient bi-products and thrive. Often overlooked, fungal species are fascinating so make sure you pay close attention!

Above images courtesy of Tanya Rajapakse & Sara Ellerton respectively.

The slightly sloped pathway leads you deeper into the valley where the vegetation is incredibly dense and the sounds of the forest are more apparent. You will find yourself approaching the falls just over two thirds into the walk. Here, the three cascades of Triplet Falls are best observed from the impressively laid out and elevated viewing deck. Youngs Creek flows to the falls, which cascades down again into a rocky, clear creek surrounded by a gorgeous array of forest vegetation. It really is a magical scene to take in - one of the many that the Otways have to offer. Although this walk is stunning at all times of the year, the falls are most impressive after heavy rainfall. Once you've taken your fill of the views, the path leads you out of the depths of the valley and back up to the car park via many steep steps.

SUMMARY

  1. JUST UNDER A THREE-HOUR DRIVE FROM NORTHERN SUBURBS

  2. ANCIENT TEMPERATE FOREST

  3. FALLS ARE BEST VIEWED AFTER RAINFALL

  4. STUNNING FOREST SCENERY


LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

EASE OF ACCESSIBILITY

WILDLIFE

SCENERY

OVERALL RATING

Banner image courtesy of Wikipedia.


Tanya Rajapakse

Tanya holds a strong passion for the conservation and preservation of local ecosystems. She recently completed her Masters of Science, focusing on the biodiversity of fauna in Port Phillip Bay and its relationship with seagrass meadows.

Coolart Wetlands

Not far from Balnarring, this relaxing boarded walk winds its way through the coolart wetlands, where several bird hides give excellent viewing of our native waterbirds. 

Pied Cormorant (  Phalacrocorax varius ) sunning itself at the wetlands.

Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) sunning itself at the wetlands.

Review

More a garden stroll than a real bush beat, this easy-level walk is great for those looking for a relaxing, yet exciting activity for a morning or afternoon.

Starting at the historical, Coolart House, one can find enjoyment in viewing the well maintained gardens and old homestead before descending the a hill to the wetlands. Here, a number of tidy bird-hides offer superb and rare viewing of native waterbirds.  

Following the path will eventually lead you to some open woodland where you may chance upon some swamp wallabies or echidna.

From here you have the option to take a short walk across a tranquil estuary to the beach where you can dip your toes in Western Port Bay.

In reality, this walk should take no more than one hour to complete. However, the potential for encountering wildlife is so high, in so small an area, that the keen naturalist is soon and frequently distracted.

Anyone looking for a relaxing, yet intriguing weekend activity, should consider the drive to Balnarring and the Coolart Wetlands.

Level of Difficulty 

bushbeatsrating4.jpg

Ease of Accessibility 

Wildlife

Scenery

Overall Rating

Summary

  1.  Easy walk

  2. Several bird hides

  3. Close to beach   

  4.  Lots of wildlife

Location of Coolart Wetland

Location of Coolart Wetland