Lightning Swamp Bushland - Noranda
Lightning Swamp Bushland has a number of trails that criss cross through it. The bushland is designed more for local use as it has no facilities. Access is actually quite difficult to find. We came in off Malaga Drive and did a few circuits before turning off at Mayer Close and parking on the street on Widgee Road. We then had to walk across Malaga Drive and walk up to the turnstile access point. The turnstile does move but makes pram or bike access tricky.
A better access point would be from Della Road and Matthews Close on the eastern border. Both Della Road and Matthews Close have limited parking bays or you could park at Lightning Reserve off Della Road.
There is an excellent trail map at the entrance turnstile. We took the trail directly north, enjoying listening to the birds as we walked the shady trail. The trail is pressed limestone but can be a little rough and even sandy in places.
We emerged alongside the open stormwater drain and turned east following the "stream" which drains into a seasonal wetlands on the eastern edge of the bushland. At one point you could cross over and there were paths on the northern side however as these were not mapped we stuck to the southern edge. There is a short boardwalk section but at the time of our walk the ground was dry anyway. We wandered up to what showed on the map as the Old Farm but were unable to locate anything recognisable. Following the drain, which was reasonably full of water, we could hear birds and frogs and saw ducks and plenty of dragonflies. The reflections of the trees in the water made this section quite pretty.
The main path eventually turned to the south and although there was a rough trail continuing to follow the drain east this was not marked on the trail map so we retraced our steps, aiming to get a longer walk in and explore the western dampland. Although we completed the full loop around the damplands we didn't see any evidence of water. Much of this loop followed Malaga Drive and the traffic noise combined with the heavy sand trail didn't make this section very enjoyable. At the north western edge, where you meet up with the stormwater drain again, you are very close to Reid Highway and although you can see the cars and signs very little noise filters down considering the volume of traffic that uses this road.
The western loop with a few repeats took about 45 minutes. We didn't extend our walk to the eastern side of the reserve. Looking at Google Maps it seems the trail heads west from Della Road following Mathews Close before joining up with the trails we walked. From Della Road heading north the trail loops around to follow the northern bank of the stormwater drain. The small wetlands area is at the corner of Della Road and Mathews Close.
This walk, done in early August, was pleasant but I wouldn't go out of my way to visit again. Maybe it shines during wildflower season but otherwise it is a pleasant local bush reserve for locals to walk in.
With the Reid and Tonkin Highways on it's northern and eastern sides it is good to see this piece of natural bush preserved as a Bush Forever site.