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The Spectacles Wetlands at Beeliar Regional Park

Home > Perth > Walks | Outdoor | Nature | National Parks | Free
by Celeste Lorraine (subscribe)
I recently returned from living in London so I am re-discovering Perth and its hidden nooks and crannies.
Published March 14th 2015
Not The Glasses, The Spectacles
If you love bush walking and are near the City of Kwinana south of Perth you can take a bush walk around The Spectacles Wetlands, a 360 hectare area within Beeliar Regional Park.

The Spectacles Wetlands, Beeliar Regional Park
The entrance to The Spectacles Wetlands trails

These are two wetlands joined by a waterway thereby giving the appearance of spectacles, hence the name. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail is 4.4km long and is around the main wetlands and contains the Biara Lookout and the Paperback Lookout. There is also the Banksia Walk Trail off to the side of the main wetlands trail which is a 3.2 km loop. You'll also see an amphitheatre near the beginning of the trail where tours and demonstrations are conducted as organised by the Friends of the Spectacles.

Amphitheatre, Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail
Amphitheatre at the start of the Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail

My Dad, brother and I set off on the main trail one humid Saturday and as we walked on we could see the obvious areas that had been burnt in a bush fire a few weeks back. We first visited the Biara Lookout via a long boardwalk which was reminiscent of swamps in the deep south of the US but this being the tail end of summer there was no water to be seen.

Biara Lookout boardwalk, The Spectacles
Biara Lookout boardwalk

Biara Lookout, The Spectacles Wetlands, Beeliar Regional Park
View of the dry wetlands from Biara Lookout

We doubled back and continued around the main wetland area. Perhaps due to the fire clearing some areas there wasn't much to look at on some parts of the trail but soon we came across a forest of burnt paperback trees and the charcoal smell of burnt bark. This led to the Paperback Lookout which gave another view over the dry wetlands.

Paperbark Lookout, The Spectacles Wetlands
The burnt paperbark forest leading to the Paperbark Lookout

There were signposts at the beginning of the trail and a few more along the way with Nyoongar elder Joe Walley's anecdotes. These detailed the significance of the Munjdakr (Bell Banksia), the Burna Kumba (Big Trees), the Modong (the paper back trees) used for bush hut roofs, the Bardy grubs in the Bardy trees that were eaten, and even how Yargan (tortoise) were hunted here. The area is part of the Wajuk peoples traditional land and they are in turn part of the Nyoongar language group of the south west of WA.

Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail, The Spectacles Wetlands
Signpost on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail

Continuing round the trail there were changes in flora and sections where ferns grew. In the humid weather it seemed to have its own ecosystem acting as a hothouse enabling certain types of flora to flourish in some areas.

Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail, The Spectacles Wetlands
New growth after the fire on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail

The walk took us a good hour and half but we did stop along the way at the lookouts and for water breaks. It would probably be worth visiting in late Autumn to winter to view the wetlands with actual water from the two lookouts. It is a place that you could visit at different times of the year to see how the landscape changes and imagine how the Wajuk people foraged, hunted and used the surrounding flora and fauna to survive during different seasons.

It should be noted that there is no drinking water or toilets and no seats or shelter around the trail (only at the beginning) so make sure you are prepared and leave the area as you found it.
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Why? Glimpse into Wajuk Nyoongar way of life
When: Daily
Phone: 61 (08) 9219 9000
Where: City of Kwinana
Cost: Free
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