Just a small distance from the centre of Stirling is Woorabinda Lake, part of Woorabinda Bushland Reserves – a 34-hectare park with approximately 4 km of walking trails.
Woorabinda Lake was originally constructed by the South Australian Railways Department in 1922 to supply water to Aldgate Station for the new, heavier class of steam locomotive that had been introduced to the steep Adelaide Hills line. When diesel locomotives began to replace steam trains in the 1950s the dam was no longer required by the railways. The land is now owned by the Adelaide Hills Council.
Woorabinda Lake is a bushland oasis that provides a habitat for birds, fish, reptiles, mammals and amphibians. Watch the short video below for a taste of what to expect.
Walk a small distance from Stirling centre and enter the main park from Ethel Street or Branch Road. Within minutes you find yourself in a peaceful valley surrounded by natural vegetation. Walk a little further and you arrive at a reed-fringed wetland – Woorabinda Lake. Continue on and you enter a cool woodland of stringybark eucalypts. There are four areas that make up Woorabinda Bushland Reserve, connected by walking trails: Stirling Park, Woorabinda, Hender Reserve and Madurta Reserve.
Woorabinda, along with Stirling Park, was originally known as Halliday’s Gully as the land was taken up in the 1850s by the Halliday family and developed as a market garden. Since coming under the control of Adelaide Hills Council, the land has been revegetated with the support of residents, community groups, schools and conservation groups. It’s the perfect spot for walking, picnicking and watching wildlife.
Members of the Stirling Marblehead Yacht Club race their beautiful remote-controlled boats on Woorabinda Lake each Wednesday, making this an ideal time to visit.
As you walk around Woorabinda Lake watch out for the poetry bench, sit down and read other people’s musings. The Woorabinda Lake Poetry Station has a beautiful back story – in 2010 a local woman had cancer and would walk along the lake for enjoyment and solace. When she died her husband put in a commemorative bench at her favourite spot. A year after her death he sat on the bench and wrote the most beautiful poem about her and left it on the bench. He went back a week later and found the poem – someone had laminated it and left it there for people to read. From then on the ‘Poetry Pouch’ was born. On the bench there is a hessian pouch with paper and pencils so that people can sit, take in the view, reflect and write a poem. You can then leave the poem in the pouch and someone (a dear unknown person) laminates it. The Poetry Pouch is full to the brim with laminated poems – from small kids writing about what they see to beautifully written life affirming verse. It is the best!
For a map of the walking trails in Woorabinda Bushland Reserve click here.
Refer to the map below if you need help finding this hidden gem.