Wetland Wanderings - McLeods Waterholes

Brochure 5 in the series covering information on Wetland Wanderings.

McLeods Waterholes, located on the urban edge of Drysdale, is a very special place.  It has an important aboriginal and early settlement heritage, provides habitat for many bird species and is a great place to walk and appreciate nature.


McLeods Waterholes is located west of Drysdale Township, within part of the Drysdale Recreation Reserve.  It can be accessed via a number of roads in Drysdale.

Site description

McLeods Waterholes is a Crown Land Reserve with the City of Greater  Geelong having Committee of Management responsibilities.  The waterholes are named after Angus McLeod, who was a local pioneer.

It comprises two natural freshwater lakes surrounded by reserve totalling approximately 14 hectares in size.

Both lakes and the surrounding land were very important to the Wadawurrung Aboriginal community and it still holds great significance to those people today.

The upper lake provided the freshwater drinking supply to the early settlers of Drysdale.  It is a shallow waterbody and can dry out in periods of extended drought.

In the 1980s parts of the lake were deepened and an island was established with the spoil.

Both lakes are fed by stormwater from the urban areas of Drysdale as well as surface flows from the surrounding reserve.  The larger stormwater drain that discharges into the lower lake has a gross pollutant trap installed to remove a significant amount of the litter and sediment that enters the drain from the  Drysdale shopping centre as well as the surrounding residential areas.

Map of the McLeods Waterholes area showing points of interest plus two images
Click to Enlarge Image

Biodiversity values

The upper lake in particular supports a diverse population of waterbirds including several which have special conservation status.  These include the Blue-Billed Duck, Freckled Duck and Pink Eared Ducks.   This lake is especially important as a refuge and feeding site.

The lake shores slope gently so when the water level falls a border of bare mud is exposed, supporting important wader species.

The larger lower lake provides an important role as a drought refuge for waterbirds and from hunting during the open season.

The parklands that surround the lake include extensive grassed areas and stands of remnant vegetation, including River Red gums.  The City has been undertaking an on-going program of weed and exotic vegetation removal and complementing this with an active revegetation program using local indigenous species including River Red gum, Swamp gum, Blackwood and Manna gum.

 Logos of sponsor organisations: action Salinity & Water Australia, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Geelong Region Wetlands Project and Parks Victoria

A project sponsored by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality program. A joint Initiative of the Victorian and Australian Governments.

This site is part of the Wetland Wanderings Ecotour. Each wetland site has its own brochure highlighting the features of the site in more detail. Some sites may be drive by only and some are close to a parking bay so you can stop, read the site information from the selected brochure and go for a wander around the wetland.

Happy Wetland Wandering.

Page last updated: Monday, 9 December 2019