Hidden down the quiet country roads of Maraylya, there is a lagoon secreted amongst the trees. School children, researchers and the stray bird watcher are the only visitors. Amongst the wider community, this beautiful and thriving wetland is practically unheard of.
The reserve is home to a dynamic wetland habitat. Wetlands such as that created by Longneck Lagoon are vital. They provide a safe home for many species of wildlife, especially during times of drought and are often areas of great natural beauty. Longneck Lagoon is no exception.
And it isn't difficult to find. Park your car along quiet Whitmore Road and make your way down the gravel driveway. Turn left and you will soon pass the simple wooden buildings of the education centre.
At the centre of the reserve you will find the widest part of the lagoon. Here, the banks provide a clearing to sit and the scenery is magnificent. Bring your camera or a sketch pad and you will surely find use for them here. Meditation and contemplation come naturally in the tranquility of this setting.
You may glimpse some of the birds that live on and around the lagoon. Be on the look out for the Great Egret, Australian Pelican, Purple Swamp Hen and the Black Swan - after which the lagoon was almost certainly named. From here, take a walk along the water and up into the forest above the lagoon, and you will hear other bird species all around you. You may even be lucky enough to see the odd rabbit or fox.
As you move further into the reserve, you will discover that there is a delightfully magical feel to the pathways. Here, even common plants like blackberries and lantana - that have taken a hold in some areas - look pretty, and add to the diversity of the flora along the trails. And varied habitats emerge as you explore further.
Marvel at the changes as you move from leafy forest to the lagoon banks dense with aquatic plants, along rows of Swamp Pine and then into the even denser bush, containing species of Iron Bark and Red Forest Gum.
And if you look carefully, up on the hill you will find the mini climbing wall that sits camouflaged against the trees. It's just the right size for the many school children who come here to learn the importance of preserving our wetlands.
The reserve can be an enchanting place, especially in the morning when the leaves are still covered in dew and a mist is on the water. Early evening, when the sun touches the lagoon, is also a lovely time to visit.
Take the opportunity to feel the wonder, and experience the natural splendor of Longneck Lagoon Reserve.