Looking for a natural area for a walk in the fresh air, an extensive play area for the kids, picnic pavilions by the lagoon and extensive birdlife and wildlife? Crystal Waters park in Thornlands is a good choice this weekend.
I’m always on the lookout for new walking spots around greater Brisbane for those days when I need to stretch my legs and get some fresh air without having a whole lot of free time available. Redland City is part of greater Brisbane although it’s a separate region for local government purposes, it borders Brisbane to the south east and includes the islands of Morton Bay in addition to the Bayside suburbs.
We first visited here hoping to spot the comb crested Jacana or lotus bird, that had reportedly been recently seen in the lagoon. The bird has impossibly large feet and runs effortlessly across the lily pads on a lake making it strange and entertaining to watch. While not as rare as I’d initially thought it is difficult to spot and easy to miss.
This park is tucked away in a suburban area of Thornlands and isn’t particularly well known meaning it’s relaxed and peaceful even on the weekend. The area had strawberry farms here prior to the urban sprawl, these lagoons served as a water supply for irrigation. Now the park is an attractive community space and helps manage water run-off during the wet season
There are two large lagoons at Crystal Waters connected by a spillway with parklands and walking tracks surrounding them. The intensive plantings around the banks of the lagoon were quite sparse on our early visits and the view to the lagoon very open. Over the years this has regenerated well and while you can still see the lagoon all the way around you are now under a canopy of trees for much of the walk and there is a border or trees and shrubs for the birds, lizards and turtles to take cover.
There is a large island with good vegetation in the middle of the smaller lake where a lot of birds still roost. You’ll often see the large floating nests of the Australian Coot around the edge of the island during the breeding season from September to March.
The park can be accessed from a number of surrounding streets including Margery Street and Shiraz Street with plenty of easy street parking available.
Crystal Waters is a good urban spot for a walk and to observe the water birds but it’s an equally good place to bring the family to enjoy a picnic in the well maintained shelters or let the kids run off some energy on the excellent playground.
Near the play area and shelters on the smaller lake is a large pontoon over the water. This is a great spot for children to get close to the water and see the variety of waterbirds up close.
Birds of Crystal Waters
As a large lagoon, Crystal Waters maintains a good water depth and quality during the dry season in South East Queensland when many other water sources for wildlife have dried up. This means you can usually see a good selection of the more familiar water birds and a few of the less common in the area.
The water is however prone to blue and green algae which is harmless to the birds but toxic to people so you should stay out of the water.
You are likely to spot other wildlife as you wander around the lagoons, there are many turtles in the pond including our local Brisbane river turtles which you can recognise by their distinctive yellow stripe along the side of their face.
There are a number of lizard species too, the most common you’ll see through here are water dragons and in the ideal habitat, they grow to a good size. They are harmless if left alone and quietly bask in the sunshine but move with surprising speed if alarmed.
This isn’t one of our top koala spots around Brisbane but the Redland area has one of the most significant urban koala populations in Australia and they will be in the larger surrounding trees and gardens so it’s worth staying aware and keeping a watch for them.
Crystal Waters Lagoons are part of a larger corridor of interconnected habitat linking to William Stewart Park, Primrose Drive Wetlands and the Thornland Road nature park. There are walking tracks that join them all and continue on through to the coast at Manning Road Esplanade.
Other tops walks in Brisbane
Looking for some other weekend walks in the greater Brisbane area? Here’s a few more to get you started.
- Wynnum Mangrove Boardwalk
- The Gorge Walk on North Stradbroke Island
- Indigiscapes environmental centre and gardens
- Tinchi Tamba Wetlands
- Simpson Falls Walk
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