On Sunday 12 October, 17 members of the Longlea & District Landcare group set off to explore the Eppalock Bushland Reserve on the banks on the Campaspe River approximately 500m downstream of the Lake Eppalock spillway.
Members were keen to find potential hidden treasures in this pocket of public land managed by Parks Victoria that few locals are aware of.
Picking our way carefully amongst the tall (still green) pasture grasses, we tried our best to scare off our reptile friends. While no flora species of note were discovered, we marveled at the grand landscape with its rocky ridgelines and majestic River Red Gums. Spotting Rainbow Bee-eaters and Wedge-tailed Eagles, the group enjoyed a break beside the river which ran clear and deep with the release of an environmental flow at its 1600ML/day peak. The fringing River Bottlebrush and Wirilda wattle, well adapted to the river’s fluctuations, provided great inundated habitat for the benefit of native fish and water bugs that form the foundation of a healthy river.
To our amazement, several wombat burrows and scats were found along the lower riverbank. Too large for foxes, our suspicions were confirmed by the sighting of a wombat bumbling along the river bank a short distance downstream. To top it off, a platypus was also seen by some feeding on bugs along the riverbank at the base of a large River Red Gum.
For others wanting to explore the Eppalock Bushland Reserve, it can be accessed by foot only from the Axedale-Kimbolton Road about 1km north of Spillway Road from an unused road under license to nearby property owners. Please be mindful of leaving all gates as you find them and treating the area with respect.