We were at the Mouth of the Powlett, sole occupants except for a lone fisherman far in the distance along the river. The sky was a deep cloudless blue, sun shining warmly, completely windless and the surf pounded resoundingly. From the bridge the water surged either side of the road, reeds and rushes awash. Access to the ocean was via the bush track, the river having expanded from the big dune to the carpark.
What made the day especially magical were the reflections – a perfect mirror image of the tall dune and riverside vegetation. Birds revelled in the calmness and sunshine, twenty-nine species in all. A pair of wedgetail eagles was perched at the base of the big dune, swamp harriers hawked over the reeds, hoary-headed grebes bobbed about fussily and there were ducks in their hundreds.
As we departed, we noted the kangaroos stretched lazily on the bed of the ephemeral swamp near the rail trail, soporifically soaking up the sun.
What a purler of a day.
Wonthaggi is blessed to have so much public land, a boon to walkers/runners/cyclists, but there are a few missing links. The following is one such.
Set off from the Fincher Street Reserve or Guide Park (parking, water, toilets) and proceed along the Rail Trail towards South Dudley. Leave the track and proceed through Five Brace, past Tent Town and cross West Area Road into the Campbell Street Bush. (Or at Five Brace take the Haulage Line to its end, cross West Area Road through Baxters Wetland and the Campbell Street Bush.) Off Campbell Street take a short leg along Old Rifle Range Road to come to – a dead end – the Rifle Range Wetlands and Wonthaggi Heathland beckon but … Just a short length a road reserve would link these two sections.
From the Rifle Range Wetlands gate you are spoilt for choice:
- Out through the Rifle Range Wetlands and Wonthaggi Heathland to Harmers Haven and Cape Paterson
- Out through the Rifle Range Wetlands and Wonthaggi Heathland to Cutlers Beach and along the beach to either Harmers Haven or, in the other direction, to Baxters Beach and bush via the track to the wind towers or on to Williamsons Beach and back via the wind towers.
Oh, if only we could fill in this missing link – Old Rifle Range Road Missing Link (ORRRML)
Books available on local walks (information centres):
Allen, Ellis & Watts, Coast and Bush Walks
Allen, Walking Wonthaggi’s Wetlands