Start/Finish : Corner Waterfall Rd and Acacia St, Oatley
Time : (return) 50 minutes
Wooden steps lead down to the creek where there is a trash rack designed to stop large items of rubbish from entering Lime Kiln Bay. On warm days it is common to see Water Dragons on the rocks in this vicinity. Follow the service trail to the left down beside the creek to a series of ponds which make up Lime Kiln wetlands. These were constructed by Hurstville City Council in 2001-02 and are designed to slow the water flowing from the catchment, collect silt and help purify the water before it reached Lime Kiln Bay. The work has had an addition benefit. Since completion, a number of waterbirds have been attracted to the area.
Beyond the ponds, on your right, the upper reaches of the bay is thick with reeds, an indication of the presence of fresh water. Between the track and the reed beds there are tall Swamp Oak and the paperbark. The mangrove zone begins as you approach the Oatley Park boundary gate. There are two species of mangrove. The Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina) is far more numerous and is typically surrounded by conspicuous aerial roots in the mud. Grey Mangrove, has lance-shaped leaves, orange flowers in summer and compressed oval fruit. River Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum) is smaller and grows on the landward side of the swamp. River Mangrove has rounded leaves, white flowers in winter and spring and cylindrical fruit
The service trail follows the margins of the mangroves beneath the wooded slopes of Oatley Park. Beautiful large Smooth-barked Apple, Grey Gum and Brown Stringybark grow on this slope, and there is a fine variety of understorey shrubs. The track emerges at the end of a tarred road and crosses a footbridge over the bay. This is a good viewing point for wading birds especially at low tide.
See our guide to Wetland and River Birds
The track re-commences 100 metres beyond the bridge. Ascend the steps on your right and follow the sheltered lower slopes around through a fine patch of bushland. Here the trees are Sydney Peppermint, Red Bloodwood, Blackbutt and Smooth-barked Apple, and there is a thick growth of lower canopy plants such as Old Man Banksia, Grass Trees, Woollsia and Blueberry Ash. Descend to a boardwalk beside the mangroves. This mangrove stand contains some very old trees, some with aerial roots on their trunks and hollows in their branches. Note the thousands of seedlings in the mud.
The track skirts the lower part of the golf course. Beside the water tank and shed, the narrow track runs up the slope and works its way through the bushland above the bay. At one point, the track emerges at a rocky lookout point overlooking the reed beds. Keep to the right. The track skirts the head of the bay above the ponds and brings you to a concrete bridge (above a sewage line) over the creek near the trash rack. Your starting point is up the wooden steps.