North and Bibra Lakes of Beeliar Regional Park, Perth, Australia
5th of July 2014
The beginning of a journey to walk the Beeliar Regional Parks. Plenty of ducks, the odd flower, some water views and always "Hakuna Matata".
- Location: Murdoch and Bibra Lake, Perth, Australia
- Start or End: Loop walk starting and ending at Murdoch Train Station.
- Length: 17.7km (11.0mi)
- Grade: Medium. Flat, paved and dirt/sandy paths. Long.
It's time to try something a little different today. So far in my metrotrekking crusade around Perth I have focused on the Perth CBD, Swan River and the Rockingham Indian Ocean coastline. How about that mass of land between Rockingham and the Swan River? After scrutinizing Google maps the target is clear. The Beeliar Regional Park is next on the hit list. The problem is Beeliar Regional Park isn't just one park, it's actually a series of areas (most of which include lakes) which stretch from the suburb of Murdoch all the way down to Kwinana.
Completion of the Beeliar Regional Park is going to take a number of attempts. So which section should I try today? Think I will start at the top with the North and Bibra Lake sections near Murdoch. Seems logical and access via public transport is easy, just depart from Murdoch Train Station and catch the bus to the closest stop, or do what I do and just walk to it from the train station (go west on South Street, south at Windelya Road and then across Farrington Road).
At the entrance of Beeliar Regional Park I am greeted by a wide gravel path surrounded by bushland.
Scenes like this are very common around North Lake. Like many of the lake walks I have completed in Perth much of the walk is within bush with only the occasional glimpse of water. North Lake is no different, but shortly into the walk I do enjoy my first glimpse of the lake.
As you can see, at this time of year there isn't that much water to look at in North Lake, but there is plenty of grass. With a bit more rain I expect North Lake would look dramatically different. The low water levels don't appear to worry the local birdlife though, with plenty of different species hiding amongst the partially submerged grasses. With the magnification power of my DLSR camera I did capture some Black Swans feeding.
Unfortunately, the Black Swans wouldn't look up at the camera. I did say "cheese", but nothing. They are obviously too busy feeding for a nice family photo.
Saying goodbye to the water views and the Black Swans the path leads again into bushland. Despite being surrounded by suburbs North Lake is surprisingly quiet. The only other people I came across during my walk around the west and south banks of North Lake was a middle aged couple out walking their dog. Less people suits me fine, means I get to enjoy it all to myself.
Without a care in the world I slowly walk the sandy paths and take the occasional photo of vegetation which tickles my fancy. A striking feature of the area are the scenes of life and death amongst the flora. Some dying.
While others are living off the dead.
The lyrics, "It's the circle of life" from the Disney classic The Lion King enter my head. For the rest of the walk around North Lake I quietly sing the other Lion King songs such as "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", "Be Prepared", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and my personal favourite "Hakuna Matata" (it means no worries for the rest of your days ... it's our problem free philosophy ... Hakuna Matata).
Soon enough I am at Hope Road which I cross to reach Bibra Lake, the much larger neighbour of North Lake. Straight away I am greeted with a clear water view of Bibra Lake.
Sure there is still plenty of grass like North Lake, but with Bibra Lake the water is much more expansive. I head anti-clockwise around Bibra Lake through a small section of bushland before reaching the unobstructed views on the north-western shore of the lake.
The path continues with water views like this for much of north-western bank. To the west of the path is grassed parkland with the odd family or two enjoying their Saturday afternoon picnicking or running amok in the playground. Compared to North Lake, Bibra Lake is much more popular. However, for such a lovely winter afternoon I am surprised more people are not out enjoying the area.
There is a certain type of family enjoying the north-western banks of Bibra Lake though ... the waterfowl family .. and plenty of them. I don't think I have ever seen so many ducks and other waterbirds in one spot. Why so many? It must be something in the water.
And with lots of waterfowl there is also lots of waterfowl poo, especially on the paths. I really had to keep my wits about me and focus on each step so I didn't get my shoes covered in duck faeces.
The amount of bird life around Bibra Lake probably explains why I can see two jetties with birdwatching huts on the other side of the lake (you can make one out in the photo above). I will definitely have to visit the huts, but I am not sure how many birds I will see from them. To me it looks like all the birds are over this side of Bibra Lake.
Upon re-entry into the bushland on the south-western corner of Lake Bibra I notice "Adventure World" on the other side of Progress Drive. According to a Google search Adventure World is Perth's premier theme park, which makes sense as I think it is Perth's ONLY theme park (there are a few water parks but nothing else with rollercoasters and other rides). Personally, I have never been to Adventure World but I have heard that it is really good, especially with the new Abyss rollercoaster which is claimed by the Adventure World website to be "Australia's Best Roller Coaster". That is a big claim and I really should test it, but unfortunately the rollercoasters and pirate ship are quiet today as the park is in shutdown over the winter period. On the plus side, the winter closure of the park means I can enjoy my walk in peace and quiet, not with the rattling of rollercoasters and screams of children.
Lake views are few and far between on the walk along the south and east sides of Bibra Lake. The majority of the path lies between the vegetation of Bibra Lake on one side and grassed parklands on the other.
The north-eastern waters of Bibra Lake are accessed via two paths off the main drag which lead to jetties with birdwatching huts. The more southerly birdwatching hut is the older of the two and provides great views over the water.
I even got up close and personal with some of the native birdlife.
The more northerly birdwatching hut is much newer and has a bench seat which is perfect for a rest.
Despite the name, I didn't get much birdwatching from here. Don't the birds know that they are supposed to hang around the birdwatching huts, not on the west bank where there are no birdwatching huts? Didn't matter anyway, I have seen plenty of birds today so I just enjoy the peaceful water views instead.
Ok, I have had enough for today. Time to work out how to get home effectively on the limited weekend public transport timetables. If I want to get home with a minor layover between train and bus I better get going. From the birdwatching hut I put the camera away and focus hard on walking the eastern side of North Lake (more bush) and then to Murdoch train station. With much panting and sweating I make it to the train station just in time.
One section of Beeliar Regional Park complete. Many more to go.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Have you taken this walk? Any suggestions or errors? Please comment below.