When we went: Monday March 2
How we got there: Bairnsdale Vline train from Flinders street station, leaving the train at Sale (about a three hour trip)
Activity summary: longish but easy walk in wetlands, and along river/canal (4 hour loop, approximately)
What we did (the details):
We arrived by train at around 10:30, and headed South East through town to the Hunting Ground, a coffee place / food store for our morning caffeine and some delicious toast. Well worth a visit if you’re in town!
Finishing up brekky, we then walked south and across the road to Lake Guthrie. There’s a public toilet here, so after a pit stop we started out again at about 11:15am, skirting the western edge and following the clear path down towards the wetlands common area. We walked down Maxfields road until we saw the signs for the wetlands.
We walked clockwise around the perimeter walk on the edge of the wetlands. The northern part of the track and all of the boardwalking was open and clear. The southern half was following a four wheel drive ish track between the wetlands edge and the river. So while it was dry and open, the surface was a bit variable in spots, and we began to wish we’d not worn our walking sandals, but rather full shoes. If the weather had been wet, it would have been a bit dicey. Oh well, next time.
At the southern point of the walk, there’s a picnic spot by the river, and the historic swing bridge. It was about 1pm by now, so we stopped there and had lunch. While we were sitting there, a flock of about 20 Pelicans flew over us and began circling up on thermals. It was glorious sunny day, so it was a perfect moment 🙂
The walk then continues northwards up the western side of the wetlands, initially along a sealed road, but then back into the commons along tracks and boardwalks again. At the northern point, rather than heading back East and completing our circus, we headed west, and then North, following the canal back up towards the old port. We stopped for a breather around 3pm, on a seat near the rowing sheds, then trod the last little bit to the port.
Walk officially ‘complete’, we then visited the information shop on the highway, wandered into town and enjoyed a delicious juice from a cafe just by the clock tower. We had a stroll around town, had dinner, and headed back to the station for the 7 o’clock train home.
Birds we saw: lots of pelicans, including some family groups. Quite a few birds of prey. Many superb blue wrens. Our first Australasian darters; they were just enchanting, sailing along the river with only their heads and necks out of the water. Cormorants kept the darters company along the river. The usual swamphens, coots and ducks. Two Cape barren geese curled up asleep at Lake Guthrie.
We also walked over many many holes in the southern part of the walk. Circular holes drilled vertically into the path, all around 2cm across. Often there were 10 or more holes per meter of path. I’m telling myself they weren’t spider holes. But I’m pretty sure they were …
Books: we basically walked this as described by Melanie Ball in her book ‘Top Walks in Victoria’. It’s a great book, available here: www.melanieball.com.au.
Online: is parks note has some useful info and a map: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/315795/Park-note-Sale-Common-Nature-Conservation-Reserve.pdf