This is an easy walk around the Lake and Wetland of beautiful St Leonards. There is abundant bird life to see in a natural setting not far from the Foreshore of Port Philip Bay.
The St.Leonards Lake Reserve Trail is located in the centre of the township and in close proximity to the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.
The trail is around the lake and along the seasonal wetland of the reserve. There is also an option of taking the steep grassy path over Mt. St.Leonards.
The trail is in a natural setting and provides safe off-road easy foot access on a sealed surface. The walk passes two clusters of recreational facilities, catering for cricket, soccer, tennis and bocce.
The area historically flooded when the creek ran parallel to Bluff Road. By the 1870s the area was used by the Chinese for market gardens and to dry their fish catch. The man-made lake and Mt. St. Leonards were created under an employment scheme in the 1970s, when the Progress Association was concerned about drainage problems in the surrounding streets. The snake infested and timbered land was cleared by community volunteers to create the sports ovals.
The well established lake has abundant bird life, with numerous species active along the banks and on the water. When water levels are high, the lake drains over the spillway and out to sea. Ducks frequently nest below the spillway.
The lake walk was opened in 2011. The project was the result of the community working with the City of Greater Geelong.
The lake trail can be accessed from various points. The distance is 1.5km around the lake, plus .7km return trip past the wetland (2.2km in total). While the walk can be taken in either direction, the brochure takes a clockwise direction.
The terrain is flat and gentle, and the sealed surface is suitable for prams, bikes and wheelchairs, even in wet weather. Access for wheel chairs would be best from Murradoc Road or Cole Street. There are a few seats and tables scattered along the banks of the lake. A sheltered picnic area, including BBQ, is available on McLeod Street near Bluff Road. While some shade is provided by trees along the trail, sun protection is needed in summer, as sections of the walk are in the open. Water and insect repellent are also advisable. Ample car parking is available along McLeod Street and there are convenient bus stops on Murradoc and Bluff Roads.
Notice the lake sign made from red gum. Timber cutting for firewood was the reason St. Leonards was originally settled by Captain George Ward Cole.
From the top there are expansive views over the town, bay and surrounds. The hill was formed when the man-made lake was excavated.
Frequently there is active bird life - swamp hens, coots, cormorants. Can you hear frogs? Distance markers are painted on the track.
Around the bend behind the native trees, the Sewerage Pump takes the town waste to the Portarlington Sewerage facility. Now you leave the wooded area and walk towards the Recreation Reserve.
Len secured a 99 year lease when he & others started the cricket club in the 1940's. A handmade wrought iron sign over an entrance can be seen from the road. Public toilets located here.
This is a cluster of community facilities for recreation and service activities. The long anticipated Men's Shed will be here when renovations are carried out.
Cross Cole Street with care. Here you will find tennis, bocce and a children's playground. This area is popular in summer.
This wetland seasonally floods & attracts wading birds such as the Royal Spoonbill, herons & egrets. Watch for bike riders.
This board depicts the protected flora species in the Charles McCarthy Oval area. This oval is used for sports training. There is a bus shelter here but no seating.
On the left, notice the Arboretum planted by St. Leonards Primary School in 1981, creating an area of native flora for the benefit of wildlife & the community. Pass the rear of the Bowling Club.
Join Murradoc Road, the main access road into St. Leonards. Geese might greet you here. The local rule is 'Give way to geese!' The bus stop here has seating.
This gives a viewing point to the oval across the lake. Common birds seen here are cormorants, water hens, coots and pelicans.
There are 2 free electric BBQs in the shelter, tables, a playground & toilet facilities. A convenient place to meet with family and friends.
There is a skate park, basketball/netball rings & a sandpit area. See the Murals on the Toilet Block, part of a community project in 2001.
To access the beach and foreshore, leaving the lake, cross Bluff Road with care. Enjoy water views across Port Philip Bay and activity at the Boat Ramp.