Sunday 24 January 2021. Jet skis are more than a little irritating. They’re noisy, they’re polluting and they’re dangerous. And on the day of our visit to Swan Bay-Edwards Point Wildlife Reserve, occupying a sand spit – Edwards Point – to the south of St. Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula, they were legion. We could hear the wretched things as soon as we arrived at the Beach Road carpark. As paddleboarders, swimmers and others were carrying out their quiet pursuits, the jet skiers were raising Cain, relentlessly pounding the water with their infernal craft. We had driven to Edwards Point to walk to Two Bays Lookout, a rotunda located three kilometres or so along the spit, from where one can indeed see Swan Bay to the west and Port Phillip Bay to the east. To reach the lookout we first followed the Coastal Woodlands Walk to its end about half-way down the spit, then a track through grassland and saltmarsh. We returned via the beach.
The Coastal Woodlands Walk passes through attractive bush known as Coastal Moonah Woodland, which is characterised by tea-tree, saltbush, Wirilda (which, being an acacia, looks very much like wattle) and heath. Some of the more ancient-looking tea-trees had been blown into strangely gnarled shapes by the unconstrained action of the wind. Meanwhile the noise from the jet skis gradually abated, and we began to hear the twittering and trilling of woodland birds – Superb Fairywrens, New Holland Honeyeaters – and other pleasant sounds of nature.
As we continued south the landscape began to change; the woodland receded, tussocks of spiky grass appeared, and saltmarsh became more prominent. We began to glimpse Swan Bay to the west – our right. Soon we reached a boardwalk that carried us over a patch of saltmarsh fringed with grasses. It was a very appealing landscape. After a few more minutes the Coastal Woodlands Walk ended and we started along the track to the lookout. (There is another track here that heads east towards the beach.) Now we had clear views west across the saltmarsh to Swan Bay. To our east, though thinning out, the woodland continued to occlude Port Phillip Bay.
After another fifteen minutes we reached Two Bays Lookout and spent some moments admiring the views on either side.
We decided to return via the beach. On the way we encountered several species of sea and wading birds. There were Pacific Gulls, Red-capped Plovers, Australian Pied Oystercatchers and a White-faced Heron. The interesting beach was strewn with seaweed and shells, including several unbroken sea urchins. At one point we waded through banks of seaweed two feet high. On this very warm day the water was still and lovely, and we wished we had brought our swimming things. As we drew nearer to the end of our walk the buzz of the jet skis really began to reassert itself. Even at the lookout we had been able to hear it faintly. We arrived back at the car park having taken around one hour and forty-five minutes to complete the six-kilometre walk. Not bad going really. Meanwhile the paddleboarders, swimmers and others were still carrying out their quiet pursuits.