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Oaklands Wetland

Oaklands Wetland is a natural open space which is home to a diversity of wildlife including birds, aquatic life and protected species including the Grey-headed Flying-fox and the Purple Spotted Gudgeon.

One of the main purposes of the wetland is to provide a clean water supply to more than 30 local reserves and other open spaces.

Oaklands Wetland and Reserve is located at 237-265 Oaklands Road in Oaklands Park; adjacent to the Oaklands Recreation Plaza and across the road from the Marion Outdoor Pool.

Oaklands Education Centre

The Oaklands Wetland and Reserve is home to the Oaklands Education Centre, an exciting purpose-built home for the partnership between the City of Marion and Flinders University, providing a place for education, research and studies into wetlands, and showcasing the site's storm water re-use scheme.

The Oaklands Education Centre is available for free for schools and are encouraged to book the facility for studies related to the environment. It is also a free community facility that can be used by not-for-profits and community groups.

The Oaklands Education Centre is blue building that is located along the western boundary of the Oaklands Wetland and Reserve, adjacent the Sturt River. To access the centre, parking is near the skate park and walk south towards the wetland.

Visit Oaklands Wetland

Oaklands Wetland is home to many different species of animals including parrots, ducks, cockatoos and wader birds such as spoonbills, ibis and gulls. Fish and frogs live in the wetland, plus many different types of insects like dragonflies and mayflies.

Majestic, old river red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and 85,000+ plants play an important role creating habitat for our wildlife.


There are many things to enjoy at Oaklands Wetland, such as:

  • Walk, run or cycle along the paths.
  • Cross the stepping stones in front of the wetland weir.
  • Sit on one of the several huge logs alongside Sturt Creek.
  • Volunteer with the Friends of Sturt River Landcare to plant and care for native plants.
  • Watch or photograph native birds foraging in the wetland
  • Relax with a picnic or BBQ.
  • Learn how the wetland works by booking a tour.
Self-guided walks

Download the map and take a self-guided tour. While you're there, why not explore the vast list of birds and other species that inhabit the area?

Wetland tours

Visitors can learn how the wetland functions, including its pumping infrastructure, electrical control equipment and the aquifer injection and extraction process.

Tours allow people to appreciate the extent and complexity of its infrastructure.

Book a FREE Oaklands Wetland Tour.

Virtual tour

If you unable to visit the site, why not take an Oaklands Wetland Virtual Tour?


A geocache is located within the Oaklands Wetland and Reserve, which is easily accessible for families. The geocache contains a log book, pen and small trinkets for the kids, and can be found with ease within the beautiful surroundings. There is plenty to see and do within the reserve that will keep kids occupied for hours. Please be sure to keep your eye on small children when you are near the water.

Oaklands Wetland and Reserve Geocache.


Orienteering SA has a permanent orienteering course at Oaklands Wetland. Visit their website for more information and to download the map.

Orienteering SA

How the wetland works

Oaklands Wetland can capture, clean and store up to 400 million litres of stormwater each year, when fully operational.

The process

The process begins when water is pumped into a gross pollutant trap from the Sturt River. The trap removes stones, gravels, litter and organic matter from the water before it flows into the wetland’s inlet pond.

Water is then cleaned as it moves slowly through a series of ponds, which each use natural processes in various ways to clean the water.

Sedimentation is a natural process where particles settle to the bottom of the wetland. Filtration is where plants naturally trap pollutants and excess nutrients.

It takes three days for the water to move through the wetland, where it can be injected into aquifers almost 100m below ground. From there, an 25km long distribution network will supply water to over 40 reserves and other open public spaces for irrigation use.

What the wetland needs to work
  • Calm water The water needs to be calm for the particles to settle. We carefully manage how water flows through the wetland.
  • Healthy plants The plants are the filters of the wetland and we need them to grow and spread.
  • Native animals Native fish and other animals feed off the insects and balance the ecosystem. Pest species such as carp create muddy water. The City of Marion removes pest species.

Department for Environment and Water - Feeding ducksOaklands Wetland is a healthy wetland and has a low number of mosquitoes.

Levels of mosquitoes are regularly monitored at the site by Council in conjunction with the University of South Australia and the Green Adelaide.

Looking after our ducks

Here at Marion we let ducks and water birds find their own food. Please enjoy watching ducks and water birds while allowing them to find their own food.

Many of us have often enjoyed feeding wildlife such as ducks. It’s been a popular way to get up close with nature, entertain the kids or just to soak up some quiet time. However, did you know it is not healthy for the ducks to be fed?

Why we shouldn't feed ducks and birds

We now know that feeding wildlife can be harmful to them because:

  • Bread is unhealthy for birds as it can cause poor nutrition and make them sick.
  • It encourages unnatural and aggressive behaviour, and favours non-native species.
  • It may contribute to overpopulation and water quality problems overtime.

Although there are other foods such as pellets, peas and grapes which they can eat, ducks can live longer and healthier lives by eating aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects found naturally.

We encourage the public to enjoy wildlife in other ways, such as;

  • Watch the ducks forage naturally.
  • Go for a walk along the paths.
  • Sit quietly on a bench and enjoy the view.

For more information, visit the Department for Water and Environment - Feeding ducks

So we ask you “Please don't feed ducks.”

Watch this video which explains why feeding ducks is bad for them. Thanks to Tea Tree Gully Council for letting us share this video.

Carp management

European carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a pest that adversely affects the health of our rivers and wetlands. It was first introduced to Australian waterways more than 100 years ago and has since established in every state except the Northern Territory. Visit the National Carp Control Plan website to find out more information on why we remove Carp from Oaklands Wetland.

How you can help

Our community values the wetland, its wildlife and the green open spaces which the wetland can support. Visitors to the wetland show they care by:

  • Keep dogs on leads and stick to the walking tracks
  • Allow ducks and water birds find their own food - feeding them can make them sick, cause aggression and pollute the water
  • Do not operate model boats
  • Do not fish or introduce fish
  • Consider supporting Friends of Sturt River Landcare

Public safety at Oaklands Wetland

A valued feature of Oaklands Wetland is the public's close interaction with the wetland and the aquatic life. The open water areas are a particular feature which give good water views and are a component of all stormwater treatment wetlands.

The majority of the wetland is shallow (less than 300mm) with extensive water plants. The open ponds are deeper (up to 1.7m) and don’t have emergent vegetation.

Designed for public safety

Public safety is very important and the wetland has a number of design features to ensure this and support adult supervision of children. These include:

  • At the water’s edge there is a minimum two and a half metre wide very mild sloped buffer zone before any deeper ponds. This extends to 250mm depth and then the batters increase in slope down to the deeper pools. Even 1 vertical to 3 horizontal slopes are quite trafficable.
  • The complete perimeter of the wetland is covered with mass planting that will discourage entry. The wetland edges are designed and constructed in accordance with Australian artificial water feature design guidelines.
  • Around the formal path and edge there is a 100mm high kerb which provides a physical barrier to the wetland for prams and the like.
  • The majority of bridge structures are low and over shallow water to allow close interaction with the wetland and its wildlife. Where there is a vertical drop of more than one metre a handrail is provided for safety.

All of these design elements meet the requirements of Australian Standards for design of such systems.

Council has independently verified this through their own risk assessment conducted by an external consultant. However, as with all areas of open space, it is important that children are supervised at all times.

Oaklands Wetland Educational Workshops - Flinders University

Designed for high school students and aligned with the SACE curriculum, Flinders University has created various educational modules where students are able to participate in water-related STEM activities - topics included are groundwater, environmental health and ecology.

More about Flinders University workshops

Students get first-hand experience of practical activities such as conducting a theoretical risk assessment to see whether wetland water is safe for its intended use. The activities will be of particular use to the new science as a human endeavour strand of the SACE curriculum.

There will also be unique opportunities to have your class led, in conjunction with your teacher, by a PhD researcher from Flinders University.

This not only allows expert scientific guidance but enables students to see and discuss potential future tertiary education and career pathways in STEM.

For more information in regards to booking a Flinders University student led workshop, please contact STEM Outreach Team at

Find out more about wetlands by watching this video created by Flinders University students.

Stormwater SA Excellence Awards

The Excellence Awards encourages, recognises, promotes and celebrates excellence in the innovation, development, completion and management of stormwater projects and the people involved.

The City of Marion, together with partners Flinders University, won the Excellence in Research and Innovation category in 2020. Watch the video by Stormwater SA to find out more.