Saturday 15 January 2022. Today we visited the beautiful bushland of Newport Lakes Reserve (also known as Newport Lakes Park) for the first time in more than a year. The weather was warm, but surprisingly the reserve was quiet; perhaps Omicron was keeping the crowds away?
The 33-hectare reserve comprises several distinct zones: a conservation area containing twin lakes surrounded by bushland; Pavey Park, an open recreational area with picnic facilities; the Arboretum; and North West Plain, a dog off-leash area.
Newport Lakes Reserve was a bluestone quarry from the 1860s to the 1960s, by which time the quarry was exhausted. The section of the reserve that today is Pavey Park was used as a municipal tip from the mid-1970s to 1982, then became the first area, along with the Arboretum, to be rehabilitated in the early 1980s. In 1984 a citizens’ action group formed to stop the City of Williamstown using the remaining quarry holes for landfill. A compromise was reached that saw one of the remaining holes used in order to provide funds for the rehabilitation of the rest. In late 1995 the entirety of the former quarry was officially opened as a reserve, and today Newport Lakes Reserve – particularly the conservation area of the reserve – is an urban oasis.
Shared paths wind through the bush and convey recreational walkers, joggers and cyclists around the lakes.
Stepping stones carry one between and across the lakes and are fun to walk on.
A picnic area above the lakes provides an occasion to rest in a shady glade.
There are several good vantage points giving onto the lakes.
Birds – wrens, honeyeaters and many others – twitter ceaselessly in the bush, while on the lakes one encounters coots, ducks, moorhens and often Black Swans. In fact, according to Hobsons Bay City Council, 165 species of birds have been recorded at the reserve.
The paths through the bushland are marked by mosaics. Younger visitors can try to find them all.
There are upper paths and lower paths totalling several kilometres; today, feeling a little tired, we chose the lower paths to keep our walk shorter.
At the end of our walk we enjoyed afternoon tea in Pavey Park, followed by a game of Speedminton. It had been a lovely day out.