A great egret looks for breakfast at Calamvale Creek


Best time to see the critters

Creek critters are around all the time, but many are most active around dawn for a few hours and a little before sunset.

Some, such as Ruth the rufous night heron, don't like to be seen at all, and Elwood the eel is often in the murky parts of the creek, making him difficult to see clearly.

Some appear in public only once a year, such as the processionary bag-shelter moth caterpillars, and broad-shelled turtles that come out of the creek to lay eggs. So you have to have a bit of luck to see these critters.

Ducks, dusky moorhens, and swamp hens are around most of the time, and if they think someone has brought bread they will usually appear from wherever they happen to be.

But a council sign warns against feeding them. They can find enough food without your help, and if some birds or animals become dependent on humans for food it can upset the balance of the ecosystem.

When the creek floods

When the creek floods after heavy rain, as it did on January 25, 2007, some critters find new positions if their normal roosting spots change or float away. Some leave the area, while others arrive periodically to check on the food supply and living conditions.

Important tip

Some people can walk around the creek and see nothing. But as the photos on this website show, there are plenty of interesting critters coming and going all the time.

If you develop a genuine interest in the wetlands and creek, you will be richly rewarded if you take your time, walk slowly, listen and try to be observant, and appreciate any critters that reveal themselves to you in the time you are there.

Using our photos

Photos on this website are copyright. If you want to use any, email us at: creeklife@gmail.com

Trees at Calamvale Creek

by Kroona the kookaburra

“Kook-kook-hoo ha.” That's kookaburra talk for “Hey, lighten up and have a good laugh today.”

The creek has a few fantastic gum trees for kookaburras like me and my family. We find a high branch and use it to look out for lizards and water skinks who would like to be our lunch.

In fact, the tallest tree in the park is the Big Gum at the eastern end of the wooden bridge. Here's a photo:

big_gum (11K)

The creek also has lots of paperbark trees. They don't seem to mind getting their feet wet, and grow all around the water's edge.

Melaleuca trees are common — the narrow-leaved paperbark, Melaleuca linariifolia, and the broad-leaved paperbark, Melaleuca quinquenervia.

There are also wattles and conifers.

At Gowan Road and in the riparian wetland you will see bulrushes (Typha domingensis). At Kameruka Street there is a big grevillea that the rainbow lorikeets visit when it's flowering, and there are long grasses around various parts of the creek where you may see beautiful monarch butterflies.

In fact, now that I think about it, there is some sort of vegetation for everyone living at the creek. Ha, otherwise, we wouldn't be here! Oh, I'm a laugh a minute.

Keep smiling!

Ha-ha hoo-hoo kook-kook-kook kook-hoo-hoo ah-ah!

— Kroona

Critters of Calamvale Creek

The creek that doesn't exist?

Photo of Calmvale Creek from south of the bridgeCalamvale Creek runs through part of the suburb of Calamvale, on the outskirts of the Brisbane metropolitan area in Queensland, Australia. Brisbane is the fastest-growing city in Australia.

You probably won't find the name Calamvale Creek on any map except the map on this website.

Brisbane City Council has referred to it as Scrubby Creek, but because there are already more widely known areas called Scrubby Creek, we call it Calamvale Creek, because that's what most locals call it and there is no other creek in the world by that name.

The creek and upstream wetlands together are referred to as the Golden Pond wetland system.

wooden_bridge (40K)

Above: This wooden bridge over the creek is exactly 18 kilometres south of Brisbane city. The wooden bridge joins parkland on one side and a boardwalk on the other. The boardwalk and track follow the creek south past a small lagoon, and branch off to another park with a playground.

Source of the creek

Photo of Calamvale Creek looking south from the wooden bridgeAmazingly, the most upstream source of all this beauty starts with a stormwater drain that spills out under Parklands Street, Calamvale, about one kilometre upland from the wooden bridge.

(See drain in the next photo.)


The stormwater drain that is the source of Calamvale CreekA number of other stormwater drains run into it along the way. Most of the time they produce only a trickle, but the Golden Pond wetlands, and the downstream natural creek it runs into, are a permanent waterbowl and wildfowl habitat that are either home to, or a retreat for, many critters.

The Golden Pond wetland system

golden_pond_wetland1 (26K)

The photo above was taken on April 13, 2007. It shows the constructed Golden Pond wetland, looking north from Golden Avenue. At the far end is a sediment basin. Golden Pond is in fact two adjoining constructed wetlands, one on each side of the Golden Avenue bridge (the road bridge — not the wooden bridge pictured above).

The whole Golden Pond wetland system consists of two constructed wetlands, a sediment basin, two below-ground gross pollutant traps, a natural riparian wetland, and a natural downstream creek and lagoons.

golden_pond_wetland2 (37K) The photo above, taken the same day as the previous photo, shows Wetland 2 (on the southern side of Golden Avenue). Wetland 2 was originally a small farm dam (see photo of the farm dam on the wetlands history page).

At the far end of Wetland 2, the water flows left into a natural riparian wetland, and runs for about 600 metres through two small lagoons, and finally leaves Calamvale as it flows under Gowan Road into the adjoining suburb of Stretton. (Photo note: A small white dot at the far end of the photo above, on the right bank, is Harry the white-faced heron, who flew in moments before this photo was taken.)

Gross pollutant trap

emptying_pollutant_trap_May2000 (61K)

The photo above shows a gross pollutant trap at the wetlands being emptied in May 2000. The trap collects litter, sediment, and other debris and allows the filtered water to flow into the wetlands system. The trap is known as a CDS (Continuous Deflective Separation) trap. Brisbane City Council empties it periodically.

Favourite areas

Many people walk the whole length of the creek every day. It provides excercise and fresh air, and even though this wetland area is tiny compared with many others, it offers encounters with wildlife that most people don't find in their backyards.

Track on southeastern side of creekThere are walking tracks (see one at left), parks at every end, and playgrounds for the kids.

A lot happens around the wooden bridge. Butcherbird Lookout is only 20 metres (60 feet) from it, Kookaburra Corner is nearby, the Big Gum (tallest tree around the creek) is next to the bridge, and you can see the ducks, dusky moorhens, and noisy miners around the bridge.

If you visit the area, look at our map to see where the boundaries are.

See also: