Mount Compass wetland walk | SOUTH COAST COLUMN

I almost didn't visit the wetlands boardwalk at Mt Compass because someone told me it went through a swamp. You have to understand, as a kid I loved third-rate horror films like Revenge of the Swamp Monster, Curse of the Swamp Creature, or just Swamp Thing.

Huge slimy beasts with sharp teeth lived in these swamps and I was suitably terrified of being their lunch. At Mt Compass, the most 'dangerous' lizard-like beast is the Eastern Water Skink, and I reckon no one has much suffered by encountering one. Instead, this the happy brand of swamp, a refuge for ibis, egrets, honey-eaters, herons and the endangered Southern Emu Wren. It's also an easy and pleasant locale for a short walk and some photos. The swamp's most noticeable feature is its 730 metre-long boardwalk that takes you through wet grasslands filled with orchids and ferns. The experts tell us that wetlands help with flood control. They can act like natural sponges, absorbing large volumes of water during heavy rains and later releasing it during dry periods.

The new boardwalk has only been open since May of 2014, passing alongside the Swamp Honey-myrtle and Prickly Tea-tree vegetation to a school swamp where local students get a first-hand view of wetland ecology.

Located just behind IGA in Mt Compass is another area of wetland, this one boasting its own shorter boardwalk and some very striking modern sculptures. There's a useful covered picnic table here and plenty of parking. Both wetlands offer excellent facilities for shooting pictures, especially if you use a tripod for stability. We explored them around midday, but an early evening visit with soft lighting and maybe a bit of fill-flash could prove quite rewarding next time. That is, unless the swamp monster decides this is his night for revenge.

Each month local travel writer Steve Robertson explores a new location in our region where you can walk and photograph.