Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published December 2nd 2014
A nature walk for everyone - bring the kiddies
Tucked away in the Gilbert Valley, about 100kms from the Adelaide CBD, the small town of Riverton is hard to beat for peace and tranquillity. I enjoy walking and the Duck Ponds Trail was recommended. What a surprise, not duck ponds at all but a well set up picnic area and walking track by the Gilbert River Lake.
The Riverton Duck Ponds (Gilbert River Lake) and picnic grounds.
At the Bruce Road car park a sign on the tail of a windmill declares 'Riverton Duck Ponds.' Beyond is a grassed area with picnic tables and a BBQ. Galahs perch in a pine tree feasting on young cones. A pair of red-rumped parrots forage in the grass. Trees and reeds reflect in the water.
Male (left) and female (right) red-rumped parrots.
From the picnic area a concrete path crosses the river and can be walked when the water is low. On the high bank a park bench beneath pines is a perfect lookout across the lake to where the river runs beneath the Bruce Road Bridge. I cannot resist a photo. Then it's back across the river to the Duck Ponds Trail.
The walk is an easy 1km loop on compacted gravel. I take the right fork and meander along listening to bird song and looking for the singers. A flash of red flies by, a rosella I think, but it is too fast to be sure.
As the trail turns I see the old Riverton Railway Station, a private residence now. I step off the path for a closer look at this grand stone building with green colonial roofing and expansive verandahs. The long platform seems out of place in this small town and testifies to busier times. Built in the 1870's the station is photo fodder and I stop for some snaps.
Riverton Railway Station, built in the 1870's, now a private residence.
Back on the trail I spot a red wattle bird in the grass. Although I have seen many before this is the first time I've been close enough to notice they have red eyes. A white-plumed honeyeater perches on a spindly tree branch, its otherwise grey plumage broken up by a yellow face underlined with a white stripe.
Wattle blooming along the Duck Ponds Trail in Riverton.
I pass an old gum tree, its gnarly branches large enough to be tree trunks themselves seeming almost too heavy for their host. On the return loop of the trail wattle trees bloom. Nearby a park bench overlooks reed beds at the river's edge. It is July and fungi can be found beneath the trees - puff balls, shaggy ink cap and another with a ragged span as big as my hand.
The loop finishes where it began, at The Duck Ponds car park. It is hard to believe it has been a kilometre.
The Duck Ponds Trail is in Bruce Road, Riverton. The picnic ground has a well maintained grassed area with shade trees, picnic tables and a BBQ. There is an off-road car-park and a public toilet. The walk is a 1km loop, is flat and suitable for all ages.
Riverton is in the Gilbert Valley around 100kms north of Adelaide.
Lovely narrative Gayle. Yes this is a peaceful spot and off the main roads, so people usually miss it. A good stopover if travelling to Burra or return. I went on a first date here after a drink at the pub...its kinda country romantic! Miss K x