There are lots of reasons to visit wetlands. They are great places to take your kids to teach them about ecosystems. They are fantastic places to spot migratory wetlands birds that fly to Australia ever summer from places as far away as Russia and Alaska. They are also just great places for a walk. Some have barbecue areas, fishing platforms and places to launch boats and kayaks.
Before going to the wetlands remember to prepare a few things. Wear shoes that you don't mind getting wet or muddy. Often there are boardwalks and paths, but sometimes these are covered at high tide or you want to get off the main track. You should take water and a hat. But most importantly, take insect repellent. The mosquitos are less of a problem than the sand flies that can give you nasty lumps wherever they bite.
Brisbane used to have a mangrove boardwalk right in the heart of the city, however it was destroyed in the floods and there are no plans to rebuild it. However you can still visit mangroves in Brisbane.
The main area with mangroves is at the City Botanic Gardens where the old boardwalk used to be. While you can no longer walk out among the mangrove, you can walk on the footpath right beside the river.
The mangrove boardwalk at the City Botanic Gardens is no more, but the mangroves are still there
An alternative is the little beach at Captain Burke Park right under the Story Bridge. Take the stairs down to the little beach where trees grow out of the sand. As the Brisbane River is tidal, the beach partially floods at high tide, but at low tide you can walk among the trees.
You will also find patches of mangroves at other places around the river. If you follow the river path from South Brisbane to West End you will see patches of mangroves as well as a few around the University of Queensland's St Lucia Campus. The rest of the river has been kept pretty much mangrove free.
The Boondall Wetlands are Brisbane's most famous wetlands area. There are both positives and negatives to these wetlands.
Photo of the Boondall Wetlands Visitor Centre courtesy of the Brisbane City Council
The main positive is that they have a great information centre and on weekends they conduct information walks. There is both a short 2 km walk at the information centre and a much longer track heading through the wetlands which is a popular cycling track.
The main negative is that the longer track tends to be dominated by cyclists. I have ridden this wonderful track on many occasions and have never seen anyone walking it. It is a multi-use track but speeding cyclists have discouraged walkers. However it is a great place to ride and you should consider taking your bicycle to the Wetlands. You can easily hope on a train to Boondall station and ride from there, through the wetlands, and out to Nudgee Beach.
Nudgee Beach is a small community next to what is loosely termed a beach. This place actually sees a lot of visitors who have cycled along Kedron Brook from Toombul or from the Boondall Wetlands. There is one shop/cafe/takeaway that does brisk business with cyclists.
The area borders the Bondall Wetlands and so is surrounded on all sides by mangroves. The Nudgee Beach Reserve has a little boardwalk, bird hide as we as dirt paths that you can walk around. Overall this is one of the nicest little wetlands reserves to visit.
The birds think so too and you will see many migratory wading birds around these wetlands during the summer months.
Photo courtesy of the Brisbane City Council
TinchiTamba Wetland Reserve
Most people have never heard of the new Tinchi Tamba reserve, however it should be on everyone's list to visit. This lovely reserve has a park with barbecues, boat ramp and fishing platform located on the Pine River in the suburb of Griffin.
There is a main boardwalk that goes out to a tidal island and another walk that goes to a bird hide overlooking Bald Hills Creek. It is much more fun though to get off the main tracks and follow the bush tracks through the wetlands. While looking for various birds, don't forget to keep an eye out for the mob of kangaroos that make Tinchi Tamba their home.
If you get off the main tracks at Tinchi Tamba you enter an other worldly landscape
Wellington Point is known for its tidal walk to King Island, but it also has a sizeable coastal wetlands area. You can start the walk from the east side of the park at Wellington Point Recreational reserve. You can also walk up main road from the Wellington Point village area and you will see the walk start on the right as you approach the end of the peninsular.
The Wellington Point Jetty seen behind the mangrove wetlands
The Manly to Wynnum walk is a popular walking destination. The very north of this walk leads to the Mangrove Boardwalk. This great little wetlands reserve includes the boardwalk, other tracks and a bird hide out at the very north of the walk while overlooks a tidal flood plain.
Photo of the boardwalk at Wynnum courtesy of the Brisbane City Council
Most people walking around the Manly and Wynnum area don't bother heading up the Wetlands. When walking north from Wynnum you will feel that you have reached the end of the walk when you encounter the estuary. However it is just a matter of walking beside the road for a short distance and then the coastal walk continues for a short time before you start to see mangroves.