Skeleton Creek from grasslands to wetlands

Bruce Combden Reserve, Lan Avenue, Altona Meadows

Skeleton Creek from grasslands to wetlands

Bruce Combden Reserve, Lan Avenue, Altona Meadows

Staff Pick
1 h 46 m
7.05 km
Easy

This fantastic 7 km loop walk leads from Emu-Foot Grassland to Cheetham Wetlands along Skeleton Creek, taking in significant native flora and fauna habitats along the way.

Skeleton Creek from grasslands to wetlands

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Summary

This fantastic 7 km loop walk leads from Emu-Foot Grassland to Cheetham Wetlands along Skeleton Creek, taking in significant native flora and fauna habitats along the way.

Description

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This 7 km loop starts and finishes at Emu-Foot Grassland, located next to the footbridge in Bruce Comben Reserve. Emu-Foot is an important conservation area for local threatened species of flora and is a fantastic showcase of the types of flora that used to grow in this area.

Set amongst volcanic basalt rocks, wildflower species include pink bindweed, everlastings, billy buttons and blue devils. Native grasses include themeda, silky blue, stypha and pannekin, a type of crop used to make flour by local Aboriginal people. Emu-foot Grassland provides habitat and food for insects, birds and reptiles.

This walk follows Skeleton Creek south as it flows through Cheetham Wetlands and out to Port Phillip Bay. Cheetham Wetlands is a significant site for migratory shorebirds and is protected through the international Ramsar Agreement. Skeleton Creek feeds into the wetland ponds and lagoons, both man-made and naturally occurring.

The small footbridge linking Altona Meadows and Sanctuary Lakes gives walkers a great vantage point to birdwatch. We saw cormorants, herons, spoonbills, and egrets from the bridge.

The first half of this walk is on a sealed concrete path. The return section of the loop follows the creek in Sanctuary Lakes along a compacted gravel path. The trail here gives a closer look at the creek bed vegetation, primarily phragmites, a common reed grass.

Friends of Skeleton Creek have been revegetating and restoring the creek for over 30 years and have made an enormous difference to the creek and the natural environment. Partners in the restoration include NatureWest, Hobsons Bay City Council, Wyndham City Council and Melbourne Water.

Please note: There are no public toilets on this walk. Drinking water is available north of the Lan Ave pedestrian bridge.

LogoThis map was supported by Melbourne Water Liveable Communities, Liveable Waterways incentives program.
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Points of Interest

1. Bruce Comben Reserve

Start near the footbridge at Lan Avenue.

2. Emu-Foot Grassland

Emu-Foot Grassland Reserve is a sanctuary for local threatened species. The grassland is cared for by Friends of Skeleton Creek and Hobsons Bay City Council.

3. Wildflowers among the basalt

Endemic wildflowers that used to carpet the plains of western Melbourne.

4. Emu-foot pea, Cullen tenax

The reserve is named after an endangered native pea with five radiating leaves that resemble the footprint of an emu.

5. Blue bells

Wildflowers provide habitat for butterflies, native bees, dragonflies, skinks as well as birdlife.

6. Pink bindweed

One of many species in Emu-foot Grassland that used to commonly grow in the local area.

7. Path and playground

A small and basic playground on a sealed section of the path.

8. Looking across Skeleton Creek

Signs warning people not to eat fish or eels caught in the Skeleton Creek catchment due to contamination.

9. The Denice Perryman seat

Volunteers from Friends of Skeleton Creek have been rehabilitating the creek for over 30 years. You might spot a couple taking a break to enjoy the view.

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10. Eucalyptus gum saplings

Trees have been planted to provide the community with shade along the path in the coming years.

11. Skeleton Creek Trail meets Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail

To the east, the path leads to Altona. Follow the path west (to the right) to cross over the creek.

12. Skeleton Creek

The creek widens as it approaches the bay.

13. Cheetham Wetlands

Cheetham Wetlands site is an internationally significant habitat for migratory shorebirds.

14. From the footbridge

An excellent spot for birdwatching. We saw cormorants, herons, spoonbills, egrets and bin chickens.

15. Lagoon surrounded by saltmarsh

Pools and lagoons that were once part of the former Cheetham Salt Works provide habitat for water birds and shorebirds.

16. Compacted gravel path

On the Sanctuary Lakes side of the creek, the path is unsealed but firm.

17. Great habitat for frogs

Listen out for the growls and croaks of frogs.

18. Elevated walkway

Phragmites, common reed grass, growing in the creek bed creates a dense, green corridor.

19. Pedestrian bridge

Head back over the bridge to Bruce Comben Reserve where this walk began.

20. Birdwatching on the bridge

Species spotted here include the Royal Spoonbill, Eurasian Coot, Purple Swamphen, ibis, cormorants and cockatoos.

21. Water fountain

Drinking water and air for bike tyres are available here.

22. Downstream from the bridge

Skeleton creek and the dense phragmites habitat seen from the bridge.


Features

Drinking Water available Drinking Water available
Pram friendly Pram friendly
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river