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Published September 3rd 2020
Wild flowers, wildlife and history
I'm a keen walker and love it when I have the opportunity to walk somewhere I haven't been before. I had heard about a walking trail that starts at the tiny town of Milang, on the banks of Lake Alexandrina. The Nurragi Conservation Reserve Walking Trail follows a former rail corridor from Milang to Sandergrove, a distance of around 14kms. A return trip of 28kms was a bit too much to contemplate so I made a plan to walk half way then return to Milang. It just so happens there is an abandoned railway station at the half way mark which provided an end goal for the first part of the journey.
Leaving our car parked close to public bathroom facilities my walking partner and I headed for the Milang Wetlands Walk. We figured the convenience of our parking location might be appreciated on our return.
Nurragi was established as a nature conservation park in 1991 with the aim of recognising and preserving the significant flora and fauna of the area. There are over 300 different indigenous plant species present on the reserve, many of which are of regional significance. Stretching from the Mt Lofty Ranges to Lake Alexandrina, the corridor is significant to wildlife, in particular many bird species, due to the provision of food and protective cover.
The railway line between Milang and Sandergrove was opened in 1884 and closed in 1970. Interpretive information boards along the walking trail explain the importance of the train service, particularly to local farmers who dispatched wheat and vegetables and received seeds and fertilizer courtesy of the train service.
We observed flocks of Galahs, a few dainty Blue Wrens and an angry Blue Tongue Lizard. We also noticed a lot of holes in the sandy soil which may have been dug by Sand Goannas, one of eleven species of reptiles known to inhabit the park.
A nature walk is always enhanced, in my view, when there's a bit of history in the mix. So I was excited about seeing the site of the Nurragi train station and imagining how it functioned in bygone days.
I couldn't help feeling somewhat wistful at the loss of the train service. I love a good train trip due to the relaxing nature of this form of transport and the fact that train lines inevitably pass through beautiful scenic regions. Train travel is far kinder to our planet than other forms of travel and reestablishing rail routes would get my vote over concrete motorways any day.