Saturday, June 03, 2006

A walk around Parramatta Lake

AUS NSW Parramatta Lake MapThe other day I decided to walk around Parramatta Lake. After having first walked to Parramatta to do some shopping.

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Park Entrance - Under the Cumberland HighwayFollowing only the instructions from the GPS unit, set to a cache in the park, I found the entrance to the Parramatta Lake Park after zig zagging though back streets and lanes. This was mainly because I had mistakenly thought the part was further to the east and had not turned on the GPS soon enough. The entrance is under the Cumberland Highway.

Birds and picnicWhen entering the park the first part is the car park with toilets, cafe, BBQ and picnic tables. I went left to traverse the lake in a clock-wise direction. There are lots of birds resting by the water side, a family in the distance, seemingly not disturbing the birds and a woman hiding in the reeds. She must have been collecting some thing, but I could no see what it might be.

Start of the Lake Circuitdam wallThe circuit starts where there is a platform built to look out over the dam wall. The dam wall was built in 1856 over Hunt's Creek to supply water to Parramatta. In 1909 is ceased to be used for water supply and became a recreational lake.

Stepping stones to cross the Hunt's CreekThe path now plunges down the side of the valley to it's shady floor. There are stepping stones and exposed roots on the crossing of Hunt's Creek.

Hunt's CreekUnderneath the wallTurning away from the main path I start make my way along a side track to the base of the wall itself. Hunt's Creek is a very small creek, so the dam probablly fills only with flood waters. However, it has rained a fair bit recently and the floor of the valley is quite green and wet.

The FernAt the base of the dam wall there are quite a few ferns. Being so close it is quite difficult to get in a good shot. The wall itself is wet with dripping water, and has probably been damp like this for over 150 years. The base is treacherous, wet and slippery, so I could not get right up to the base of the wall.

The lizardWhile wandering around the base of the wall I disturbed this lizard. It ran up the stone and then stopped there for about 10 minutes. I took about three shots and this was the best. I will have to learn more about shooting wildlife like this. It is not quite in focus. In the end it was I who walked away. I would have though that there was some risk from predatory birds in this stance, but I guess the lizard knows better.

OverflowThis is a shot looking from the base back to the platform with the sign earlier in the post. I guess that the pipe is the overflow for the dam. The water in the creek itself appears to just seep though the wall.

Attack of the aphidsred and yellow flowersAs I started to return to the main path, I noticed these red ad yellow flowers and decided to practice some macro photography. I do not know if they are local plants or weeds. The one on the left had a sever aphid problem.

The wallBack on the main path, I now climb out of the valley and up to the other side of the wall. I could not understand what the sign was saying, but the fence is clearly designed to keep the curious out.

Walking trackFollowing the GPS to the cache, I leave the main track onto this track. The forest closes in with small trees, and the going is easy. A little later I had to do some bush bashing to get back on to the main track.

Lakeside reflectionsLilly padsI spent a good 15 minutes at this location looking for the cache and could not find it. :( However the views from the lake shoreline were very nice and the lily pads beautiful. I missed all the birds flying past. I need to be more patient.

Creek CrossingHeading back I cross Hunt's Creek, pondering who this Hunt person may be. Was he an early settler, or an explorer or the rich friend of some government official? Off to the right there is a crashing sound. A mountain bike rider, riding along the path has fallen off. I was only about 10 meters away, but was not looking in the right direction or close enough to get a good action shot. I did not ask them to repeat the effect for the benefit of my camera.

A degraded crossingI did not take many shots on the way back. I am not sure why, maybe it was the disappointment of not finding the cache, so I will have to return one day. This image is of the remains of what looks like a small stone ford over a tributary to Hunt's Creek. It is strange, it is the only one. I guess it was built when the dam was Parramatta's water supply.

The eucalyptsOne last image of the eucalyptus standing resplendent by the side of the lake. It is now only a short walk though the car park to the entrance. On the way I stopped at the cafe for a milk shake and icy pole.

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