You will not be disappointed if you take time and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the well defined paths and raised walkways to observe nature doing its thing on the Yea River flood plain, at Yea Wetlands.
Take a leisurely 45 to 60 minute stroll through the Yea Wetlands and you will have the opportunity to see platypus, rakali (native water rats), sacred king fisher, koala, sugar glider or, if you are visiting at the right time, maybe an opportunity to see the rare and ancient damselfly, Hemiphlebia mirabilis, described in scientific journals as a 'living fossil'.
Walk the Franklin Track and discover little known information about the Taungurung Clan, the Aboriginal community that lived in this area prior to European settlement. Learn about their people, their history, food culture and relationship with the environment.
The nearby Y Water Discovery Centre is a multi-purpose facility incorporating an accredited Visitor Information Centre and an Interpretive & Educational Centre. The facility offers a range of services including visitor information (maps, brochures, accommodation and travel guides), a gift shop, free wi-fi, public toilets and meeting room hire.
The interpretive displays draw attention to this region's most valued, yet misunderstood export - water - and all the life dependent on it. Water is Murrindindi Shire's most valuable export.
The Centre aims to inform more people about that precious, yet controversial water resource as well as the birds, and animals that form part of the important ecology of the disappearing wetlands.
The combination of a walk through the wetlands and a visit to the Discovery Centre is a rewarding experience for visitors.
The wetlands walk is basically a circular route with a few opportunities to add a loop or short diversion. The wetlands are home to several species of snakes and there is a reasonable probability that you'll come across a snake on warm days. The best advice is to keep an eye on the path at all times and if you see a snake, wait until the snake moves off the path. A fair part of the walk is on elevated boardwalks and the remainder is on fairly wide paths which makes the chance of seeing a snake high before you inadvertently get too close.
Initially you cross the Yea River on a 30m cable suspension bridge in order to get to the wetlands area. There are a number of colourful, detailed and informative information boards along the route, a bird hide overlooking a pond, large information boards about the threatened Macquarie Perch (less than 12 populations now remain in the wild) and a hut with animal and bird silhouettes cut out of the walls. The full route took us about 45 minutes.
We saw a range of birds and no snakes (thankfully). As well as the more difficult creatures to spot such as a platypus, rakali (native water rat) and koala, there are birds such as swamphen, heron, cockatoo, ibis, duck and spoonbill in the wetlands.
At the south east corner, accessible by car from the Goulburn Valley Highway is a picnic area with unshaded tables (around Cummins Lagoon) and lovely wooden tables under shade sails.
Around the outside of the Discovery Centre is a table under a shelter with lots of information to read on the walls and a BBQ under shade sails.
The Discovery Centre has a range of interesting interactive exhibits which relate to the theme of water and all the life dependent on it. There are some dark boxes you can put your hand in (if you are brave enough) and try and guess what is inside before a light turns on to reveal whether you are correct. Be warned - there is a redback spider and snake in one box (made of plastic to reduce your blood pressure). Another one of my favourite displays shows where our water goes (68% to agriculture, 16% to industry, 7% from water supply losses, 4.5% to household garden use, 2.25% to flush toilets, 2.2% to other household uses and only less than 0.05% for drinking.