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Published March 25th 2016
With over 140 species of birds
Travelling through the hills the other day I was amazed to learn that Mount Barker has one of the most successful and diverse artificial wetlands in Australia, and the only one of its kind in South Australia. Named Laratinga after the Peramangk meaning for Mount Barker Creek "Flooding Land Creek", the wetlands are the jewel in the crown for the region being the winner of several awards, including the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award.
The issue of disposing of treated water became a real issue for the Mount Barker Council in 1993 when population started to grow and planning commenced to avoid long term ecological damage to the Mount Barker Creek. By 1999 the waste water treatment plant had been upgraded and the large artificial wetlands to filter the water further and reuse it for local irrigators, parks and gardens had been created.
Three walking trails through the 17 hectares of the Laratinga Wetlands give visitors a real insight in to what wetlands are all about and what they can do for local flora and fauna. In fact the names of each of the trails is somewhat of a give-away : the chestnut teal, the rosella and the sacred ibis trail.
Wetlands not only serve a great purpose of being able to deal with treated water, but they also resemble a natural ecosystem. Landscaping design with the use of indigenous plant species encourages birds to utilise the wetlands, while migrating birds utilise the safe island habitats. And even beautiful birds such as the rare Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo and encouraged to come back to an area that they long since departed.
But it is not just the 153 recorded species of birds that can be seen at Laratinga, but the four frog species can often be heard disturbing the sleep of the Common Long Necked Turtle, while the Common Brushtail Possum and the Common Ringtail Possum share a few branches with the birds.
On the various trails, with numerous information boards, we learn that the Laratinga Wetlands also have a unique feature in that the mudflats are often subject to seasonal drying and re-wetting. This drying of the mudflats over the warmer months aids adaptation and the ecological health of the various species that inhabit and migrate to the wetlands.
The Laratinga Wetlands are located on the corner of Springs Road and Bald Hills Road with the car park on Bald Hills Road. The wetlands are open all year around, and the walking trails are disability friendly. Further details on the walking trails and a brochure on the wetlands are available from the Mount Barker Council offices or their website.
Loving these posts. Thank you to those poor people who have to trudge thru all these park and trails and share the info with us. Wondering if there is a walking/trekking group in the Sth burbs I could join.....
Oh happy trekking to you all. Kim
Thanks for the great pictures and info on this trail which I haven't been on. That was a little superb blue wren in the mix. Will definitely put this on my list of places to go (with camera).