Two Sundays ago I joined a walk along an out-of-the-way stretch of the Sevens Creek on the Strathbogie Tableland. And what a spectacular day – 20 degrees, sunny and still, with good company to boot. Organized by the Strathbogie Ranges CMN, this was the last walk in the current series of very popular creek walks – official report and images here.
First leg: Watkins Rd to Ankers rd/Creek Junction
Our walk began on Watkins Rd and followed the Seven Creeks downstream. This part of the Tableland is pretty flat and there is plenty of groundwater seeping out of the adjacent slopes to create extensive reedy/marshy wetlands. Water moves slowly through this landscape, creating plentiful habitat for frogs, water birds and a great variety of water plants like the Common Reed (Phragmites australis) and Soft Twig-rush (Machaerina rubiginosa). These excel in this waterlogged environment – in many places, it’s too wet for anything else to grow! The only tree that grows in these wet areas, mainly around the margins or only slightly higher ground, is the Mountain Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus camphora). You can read more about Strathbogie’s remarkable wetlands here.
Remember, much of this leg of the walk is on private property, so is only accessible with permission from the landholder.
Second leg: Ankers Rd/Creek Junction to Creek Junction Rd
The second half of the walk is entirely in the Seven Creeks Nature Reserve – no hunting or fishing is allowed and all native plants and animals are protected. Parts of this leg are exceptionally beautiful (particularly on a sunny day!). Take time to sit and watch the stream flow slowly by. There are Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster, the native water rat – I saw one the following day) here and likely Platypus.
Even though the stream banks are quite weedy in places and understory vegetation is sparse, there is much to appreciate about this reserve. Most of the landholders have fenced off the creek from stock and many have planted trees and shrubs to replace what was historically cleared. Thankfully, blackberries, ivy and other woody weeds, so common along Tableland roadsides and streams, are rare along this part of the Sevens.
This part of our walk, entirely on public land, is a delight. Just remember to respect fences and private property.
For comparison, below is the 1948 version of the above image. It’s a photo-mosaic, so not all the bits line up exactly, but you can clearly see there hasn’t been much change in tree cover, in this district, for more than 70 years. If anything, at least along the Seven Creeks, the tree cover appears to have increased since 1948, particularly in and around the wetland areas.
Thanks to Alastair, Justus and the Strathbogie Ranges CMN for organizing this fantastic walk.