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Lake Monger and Herdsman Lake Loop, Perth, Australia

9th of August 2014

A walk around two urban lake systems, or is that six lakes? Beautiful morning water views, an abundance of birdlife, eerie paperbark cathedrals, the fuzz and emptying my wallet on photographic equipment.

  • Location: Lake Monger and Herdsman Lake, Perth, Australia
  • Start or End: Loop walk starting and ending at Leederville Train Station.
  • Length: 18.3km (11.4mi)
  • Grade: Medium. Flat, paved and dirt paths. Long.

It is a beautiful winters day in Perth today. Time to get out and have a good walk. Inspired by my last walk around North and Bibra Lake I decide to try a two lake loop again, this time around Lake Monger and Herdsman Lake which are located a short distance north-west of the Perth CBD. Apart from never exploring this area I also have an ulterior motive for today's walk. There is supposedly a good camera shop in Leederville and think I might treat myself to some photographic equipment. Two birds, one stone. But before empting my wallet it's time for a metrotrek.

Lake Monger is conveniently located near Leederville train station, which is perfect for a public transport user like myself. Soon after arriving at Leederville train station (at around 7:30am, I am an early riser after all) I am on the southern bank of Lake Monger. The lake is still, quiet (apart from the road noise of the adjoining Mitchell Freeway that is) and absolutely beautiful. The morning glow and the deciduous trees around the lakes perimeter make for some great photo opportunities.

There are a few other humans out on this beautiful morning but the lake is much more popular with the local birdlife.

As I walk in a clockwise direction around the southern bank of Lake Monger I get this eerie feeling that I am being followed. The police are staking me out. Yep, that's right, I got the fuzz on my tail. And the cops aren't on foot, they are slowly driving their paddy wagon along the footpath. I am certain driving a car down a footpath is illegal. Anyway, this stalking continues for a few hundred meters until I finally stop off the path to take a picture and they slowly drive by. What are they looking for? Or are they just enjoying the sunrise over the lake like me?

After shaking off the cops I can start to enjoy the walk once more. I reach the western and northern shores of Lake Monger where there are great views over the lake to the Perth CBD. The city is amazingly close.

I leave Lake Monger at its northern bank and head west along Powis Street and Jon Sanders Drive towards Herdsman Lake. Definitely not the most scenic walk, but fortunately the link between the lakes is very short.

Herdsman Lake is Perth's largest inner metropolitan wetland and is actually made up of a number of lakes. The inner lake is a seasonally dry wetland dominated by Bulrush thicket and is surrounded by a moat of four deep man-made permanent water bodies called Industrial Lake (also known as Pop-eye Lake), Floreat Lakes, Floreat Waters and Powis Lake. So this isn't the two lake walk I thought it was, it is actually a six lake walk.

I head in a counter-clockwise direction around Herdsman Lake following the main path (which is next to the road) until I find a dirt path into the bush surrounding the east bank. The vegetation is thick and views of the actual lake are scarce. The thick twisting branches of the dense paperbark trees on either side of the path create a creepy white and grey cathedral.

Glimpses of the lake and its birdlife can be viewed from a couple of birdwatching huts off the main dirt path.

Actually, the water in the above picture is Powis Lake, while Herdsman Lake is the thick grass beyond Powis Lake. Or are all five water bodies counted as Herdsmand Lake? I never knew a lake could be so complex.

The dirt path within the bush ends near the north-east corner of Herdsman Lake so I follow the asphalt path between the bush and Jon Sanders Drive. Soon enough the path departs the busy road and returns to the lake were the vegetation really opens up, providing good views of the Pop-eye Lake, the Herdsman Lake wetlands and the Perth CBD skyline in the distance.

Unobstructed views of the lake continue for much of the northern and western banks. There is even a section on the western side where the path meanders between Floreat Lakes and the Herdsman Lake wetlands, providing water views on both sides and a perfect spot for birdwatching.

Open water views are less prevalent on the southern side of Herdsman Lake but there is a brilliant detour you can take, called the Olive Seymour Walk, which goes deep into the vegetation of the lake. The boardwalk takes you above the water and into the dense twisting paper bark trees where at some points the vegetation is so thick there is little natural light above you. This is perfect, as I forgot to bring sunscreen today.

So who is this Olive Seymour and why does she get such an awesome walk named after her? I did a bit of a Google search and couldn't find much. Anyone else know about her?

Happy with the detour onto the Olive Seymour Walk (probably the best part of the walk so far) I continue walking along the southern bank of Herdsman Lake. Much of the main path along the south-east section is away from the lake and instead between parkland and Moondine Drive, a quiet suburban street.

From Herdsman Lake I make my way back to Lake Monger along Jon Sanders Drive and Powis Street. The calm waters of Lake Monger I experienced early this morning have disappeared as the wind has kicked up. I complete the clockwise lap I started this morning by following the path along the north-east section of Lake Monger. The highlight of this area are the two jetties which provide a great place to rest and enjoy the views.

The lowlight of the north-east bank of Lake Monger is the proximity to the Mitchell Freeway. So don't expect a quiet walk along here. The freeway noise is however only a minor blemish on a brilliant morning walk. Everything about this walk was perfect, it is public transport accessible, it is extremely close to the city, there is plenty to see and the path is well marked. I definitely recommend this walk.

Now that the walk is complete it is time for my second motivation, shopping for photographic equipment at Leederville Cameras located at the corner of Melrose and Oxford Streets, Leederville (only a short walk away). There are a few items I would like to look at, such as a spare camera battery, a tripod and a new way to carry the camera. I find carrying a DLSR on a strap around my neck while walking extremely uncomfortable. There must be something better.

The salesman must have licked his lips when he saw me enter. I ended up spending $500! I got a ProMaster tripod, a ProMaster battery, a ProMaster UV filter (more to protect the lens) and a Peak Design camera clip. The camera clip looks awesome as it allows the camera to be held on either my backpack strap or on my belt. Can't wait to give it a go on my next walk! I would love to try it out now but unfortunately it is sprinkling outside so the camera will have to stay protected in my backpack.

With the weight of my wallet lightened significantly I quickly walk to the train station just before the rain starts to fall heavily. I timed this morning walk perfectly.

P.S. I ended up being happy with the majority of the items I bought today, especially the Peak Design camera clip which made a really big difference. The tripod is also great but the ProMaster battery was a bit of a dud. It definitely doesn't work as long as the Nikon brand battery, but it is less expensive. In future I will buy the more expensive Nikon battery. The UV filter I bought was the wrong size, so I ended up having to go back and get a replacement, which was a bit of a pain but the staff were extremely helpful.

Gallery

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