Out of the half dozen or so trails available to walk in this vast preserved bushland, the coolest and most scenic are on the southern side in the vicinity of some remnant ethereal lagoons that once featured throughout these southeast areas. Both commence at the lush green Illaweena Picnic area.
1. Melaleuca Circuit – This easy trail starts at one end of the bridge at the picnic area and quickly propels the walker through melaleuca and scribbly gum groves and includes a brief jaunt along a boardwalk raised above a lagoon, only to be back at the start about 20 mins later. Consequently this is a great one for the younger ‘are we there yet’ set for both the variety and the opportunity to bird watch and turtle spot from the bridge.
2. Wild May Trail and attached Lagoon Trail – At a little over an hour, this is the longest of the two water walks, and is suitable for children who don’t mind walking, novices and the aerobically challenged, albeit with decent closed walking shoes as the paths can be narrow and semi-overgrown especially alongside the lagoons.
Essentially the track meanders in and out of bush dominated by the fine wispy yellow tea tree with its five-petalled white flowers (after which the trail is named) but the absolute jewels are the lagoons themselves – ancient-looking pools of deathly still water fringed by reeds so fine they give off a will’o’the’wisp-like haze.
The keen-eyed may be able to spot the many small birds that have made the ti trees their home and the lagoon dwellers themselves - frogs, turtles and the odd platypus - yet to spot any of the above takes large helpings of time and patience.