I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published March 28th 2018
Mangroves and Birds
I've kayaked up Nundah Creek and Cabbage Tree Creek in Boondall Wetlands and seen the bird hide from the water on Nundah Creek, but until recently, I hadn't walked around the tracks or visited the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre.
I joined sixteen other walkers from the Brisbane Bushwalking club on a recent wet weekday. We met at the Nudgee Beach car park at the end of Fortitude Street, near the toilet block and walked along the short two kilometre Nudgee Beach Reserve boardwalk. We then walked along the path beside the road to get onto the bike track beside Nudgee Creek. We followed the track to the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre and returned on the same track, covering a distance of thirteen kilometres.
On the way, we climbed to the Anne Beasley lookout where we had wonderful views across the whole area. We timed our walk for low tide to have the opportunity to see some of the migratory birds, which come to this area between September and March each year. The Brisbane City Council erected the lookout in memory of Anne Beasley, who was a protector of the environment and the Boondall Wetlands. She died in 2000
The Boondall Wetlands Reserve was created in 1990 and the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre was opened in 1996. The wetlands are protected. Moreton Bay is internationally important to migratory shorebirds.
Moreton Bay is part of the East Asian Australasian Flyway, the migratory path that shorebirds travel between the northern and southern hemispheres each year. Over 50,000 birds roost, feed and store energy for their long flight back to the Arctic or sub-Arctic regions where they breed.
The boardwalk through the mangroves was flat and easy, although we did have to walk through some ankle deep water on the track in some areas because of recent rain. My feet didn't get wet in my waterproof boots, although some of the others did get wet feet when they discovered their boots were not waterproof. This track did pass close to the M1 for part of the way. It would be good if they could plant some trees as a buffer.
I found the walk very interesting, looking for water birds in the mangroves, and trying to catch a photo of the soldier crabs and other crustaceans, but they always managed to duck back into their mud holes before I could get a photo. I just missed getting a photo of a large colourful blue and red crab. I did see an Australasian Swamphen, a Royal Spoonbill and some other birds. Over 190 species of birds have been recorded in the wetlands. The tide was out when we started our walk, but by the time we reached the Environment Centre, the tide had come in. We went through a variety of habitats from melaleuca forests, paperbark forests, mangroves and lovely native hibiscus trees.
This walk is not a circuit and you have to walk back the way you came. You can also get to the Reserve by road and public transport. See map here.
We saw a snakeskin on one of the bridges and a group of processionary caterpillars on the track. I think a bike rider must have ridden through the procession because they were not in a straight line as usual but in a confused circle. We hat to watch out for bike riders too, as it is a popular bike-riding track.
Unfortunately, the Environment Centre was closed when we got there, but we sheltered from the rain under the picnic table shelters and used the toilets before visiting the bird hide and walking around the wetlands circuit. The centre does have indoor display and learning activities, so it is worth checking the opening times before a visit.
The website says it is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 4pm, and closed on Monday and public holidays. It may also be closed at other times. Phone Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888 prior to your visit for current centre and reserve notifications.
The Nurri Millen Totem Trail is a collection of eighteen aluminium totems highlighting the relationship between Indigenous Australians and the wetlands environment. A guide to the trail is available from the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre.
Nundah Creek looked different from the land, probably because when I kayak up the creeks we go at high tide, not low tide. We visited two bird hides but didn't stay long enough to spot any birds. I'm sure serious patient bird watchers would see lots of those migratory birds.
We ended up back at Nundah Beach and had coffee at Pam's Cafe before heading home. We walked around fifteen kilometres in total. I'm sure children would find this walk very interesting searching for birds and crabs. It could be a great thing to do in the school holidays. The bird hides have photos of the different birds that you can see in posters around the walls.