CHEETHAM OBSERVATION TOWER LOOP
Starting at Point Cook Homestead the trail loops through an old pine plantation down to the beach and original site of Point Cooke and then follows the beach and on towards the Observation Tower and the best views of the Cheetham wetlands.
The Point Cooke promontory is an impressive spot, with wonderful views of the whole bay. So stay for a while and reflect back to another time, 1836, when a Corvette of the Royal Navy came into view. It was the HMS Rattlesnake, under Captain William Hobson, charting Port Phillip Bay. John M. Cooke, a ship’s mate on board, spotted the promontory ahead, and gave his name to the area. Officially named Point Cooke, the last letter ‘e’ is not now used. Of course, the Captain named Hobsons Bay for himself.
THE OBSERVATION TOWER
The Tower itself is an odd structure. It defies an easy description, more a retro early Doctor Who design. So, like the Time Lord, enter and proceed along a zig zag metallic ramp, which ends at a landing. From here you ascend a spiral staircase that leads you to a dramatic viewing platform. There is a vertical rotor kinetic element right at the top. None the less, this crazy structure is fit for purpose as from this vantage point, it is one of the best views of the Cheetham wetlands. You can see in all directions, with a great view of the city as well. The Tower was the result as an arts project, and is designed as a monument for ‘Migration and Aspirations’- Birds are a metaphor for human migration, as these areas are used by local and migratory birds. What you are looking over was once a natural saltmarsh. It was later developed as the Cheetham Saltworks, who created the lagoon system. Just ahead of you the Saltwater moat, winding its way as a barrier. These waterways are now a haven for migratory birds and diverse saltmarsh flora and fauna, and it is highly protected by the council and international agreements.
Every year, thousands of migratory birds arrive from the northern hemisphere winter to this wetland habitat. You could observe, Red-necked Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Marsh Sandpipers and Pacific Golden Plovers, Greenshanks. Numbers reach a peak between September and March.