Located in the Clare Valley, Gleeson Wetlands is fast becoming popular among walkers, cyclists, bird watchers and native plant enthusiasts. An easy 20-minute walk along relatively flat paths will take you around the wetlands where picnic shelters, as well as a bird hide, make for a pleasant outing. The huge variety of native plants provide habitat for a multitude of birds including the white-faced herron and rainbow lorikeet. Specially selected, these plants cater to the various feeding habits of different bird species.
The wetlands consist of three constructed ponds with a total area of about three hectares. These ponds allow treated effluent to be used again for irrigation purposes, hence solving the issue of wastewater management in the area.
To my surprise, a friendship torii (traditional Japanese gate) can be found within the wetlands. It was erected to commemorate the twinning of Clare in South Australia and Yoshinaga in Okayama. I later learned that the torii was imported all the way from Japan.
For those interested in a longer walk, the wetlands also form part of the link to the Riesling Trail. Wandering past the golf course, Inchiquin Lake and Melrose Park will lead you to this famous trail at York Road. A map showing the pathways is displayed at the wetlands. Just take a photo of the map while you're there and away you go.
So, on your next road trip to Clare, be sure to put aside some time to enjoy the natural beauty of Gleeson Wetlands. You can enter the wetlands from either Christison Avenue or Phoenix Avenue. Both entrances have a short walk that leads to the nearest pond, however, Phoenix Avenue does provide easier access for those with limited mobility.