Tomato Lake is situated in the Perth suburb of Kewdale and has like many places in Western Australia been known by an assortment of names. On settlement it was called Smith’s Swamp because it was owned by a Mr Smith. Come the early 1900’s it became known as Craig’s Swamp because it was owned by a Mr Stephen Craig and it continued this way until the 1960’s when it became known by its current name Tomato Lake. No it isn’t owned by Mr Tomato! It got the name Tomato Lake because Mr Craig grew tomatoes there. Urban clearing around the lake meant it eventually dried up and became no good for market gardening and the whole place got really neglected and riddled with duckweed, an imported feral species, which choked the remaining water killing off native flora and fauna. By the mid 1970’s a local action group formed to rehabilitate the lake and now it is an important nature reserve as well as being a very popular recreational facility.
So what’s there? Well the lake is in the middle of a large reserve and it is bisected by a broad walk with pergola. There is an island in the lake which provides a breeding area for the waterbirds. The lake is circumnavigated by a 1.6 Km paved path. There are also some unpaved trails through different parts of the reserve which I added to the walk to make a 2.5Km loop. At the top of the park on the corner of Oats Street and Scenic Drive there is a cafe, BBQs and playground. The southern end of the lake is where you’ll see the bushbirds while the waterfowl can be seen over the entire lake. According to EBird Australia 83 different species of bird have been sighted there which is quite a number for such a small area. As it can be very busy at weekends, especially in wedding season, it would be best to visit midweek early in the morning or an hour before sundown.