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Discover Brisbane and Surrounds with Create-a-Tour

Home > Brisbane > Animals and Wildlife | Day Trips | Environment | Outdoor | Walks
by Alison Muirhead (subscribe)
Doting grandmother and grey nomad who should join Volunteers Anonymous and is greatly in favour of a ten day week. So much to do, so little time.
Published April 9th 2017
Explore the natural and built environs of the Brisbane area
I have had many a guided tour of bird habitats in countries as far flung as Ireland and Taiwan, and I have taken like-minded visitors to Brisbane to various birding hotspots. I thought I knew all of the latter until l took a day trip with Annette Foy of Create-a-Tour.

Create-a-Tour, Brisbane and Surrounds, Nature walks, Bird watching
Lesson 1 - How to adjust your 'bins'

My husband spent all of his school holidays with grandparents in the Bayside suburbs, but he didn't know about the birding opportunities of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and its environs in Wynnum until I enlightened him. He spent years working in the banana ripening rooms at the Brisbane Markets (where we spent many of our courtship dates 45 years later and still going strong), but he wasn't aware of the Oxley Common just up the road.

Create-a-Tour,Wynnum Wetlands, Black-winged Stilts, birdwatching Brisbane
Black-winged Stilts at Wynnum Wetlands

Taking a day trip in Annette's very comfortable Mitsubishi 4WD Outlander with air -conditioning was just like going on an outing with a friend. Her company was also extremely comfortable. The four guests were so relaxed and the conversation flowed freely as Annette answered all of our questions about the natural wonders of our own city. In the book How to be a (Bad) Birdwatcher, Simon Barnes maintains that everyone is a birdwatcher, and my three fellow travellers certainly believed this by day's end.

Create - Tour, Swan Lake, Port of Brisbane
I spy with my little eye plus binoculars

First stop was the Port of Brisbane, where Swan Lake lived up to its name. There was a contentious proposal to fill in this man-made feature to construct a park for imported vehicles. The furore this raised with conservationists means that 143 different species of birds still have a beautiful home where visitors can enjoy the variety.

Create-a-Tour, Swan Lake, Port of Brisbane, Black Swans
Swan Lake prefers to share with..

Create-a-Tour, Swan Lke, Port of Brisbane, White-eyed Ducks
White-eyed Ducks

Another man-made feature is the wader wetlands which are serviced by two bird hides. Here we saw a wide variety of avians our fledgling birdwatchers were able to identify through the informative bird charts on the hide walls and the binoculars thoughtfully supplied by Annette.

Create-a-Tour, POrt of Brisbane Wetlands, shore birds
A mixed bag of shore birds

create-a-tour, POrt of Brisbane Wetlands shorebird roost, Pied Oystercatcher
What bird is that?

Morning tea was taken in the Visitors Centre where a spectacular view of the Port was to be had. It also gave the opportunity to see how Nature rubs along with the built environment. All the while Annette was sharing her passion for and deep knowledge of the natural environment.

Create-a-Tour, Port of Brisbane cafe view
Cafe with a view

Create-a-Tour, Port of Brisbane at low tide, waders
Waders foraging at low tide

Next stop was the wetlands of the Wynnum North Reserve Circuit where we observed a mix of flora and fauna. Annette pointed out how essential mangroves are as breeding grounds for a thriving eco system. We were able to observe many examples.

Create-a-Tour, Wynnum Wetlands mangrove boardwalk, Brisbane, birdwatching, nature walk
Over the boardwalk

Create-a-Tour, Wynnum Wetlands mangroves, nature walks, breeding grounds for sealife
Mangroves - where life begins

This circuit takes you through a variety of habitat from manicured lawns to a 350m red and grey mangrove boardwalk via a bird hide. There are other animals to see as well as bush and beach birds including
White-faced Heron
Royal Spoonbill
Great Egret
Australian White Ibis
White-browed Scrub Wren
Eastern Curlew
Bar-tailed Godwit
Black-winged Stilts
Australian Pelican
Torresian Crow and
Pied Cormorant

Create-a-Tour, Royal Spoonbill, Wynnum Wetlands, mangroves, mangrove boardwalk
Royal Spoonbill

Create-a-Tour, White-browed Scrub Wren, Wynnum Wetlands, mangroves
White-browed Scrubwren

Create-a-Tour, Pelicans, Moreton Bay Marine Park
Wait for me!

Hiding amongst the leaf litter and mangrove roots was a collection of colourful crabs.

Create-a-Tour, mangroves, Wynnum wetlands, Brisbane
Anyone home?

Continuing the emphasis on birdwatching, we travelled across town to Oxley Common. No need for a GPS. Annette knows all the highways and byways. Oxley Common is home to many birds such as the Tawny Grassbird for which grasses are a favoured natural habitat. Annette pointed out that mowing an area prior to tree planting does no favours for these birds. To have a variety of birds, one needs a variety of habitat.

Create-a-Tour, birdwatching, Oxley Common, Brisbane
Birding on Oxley Common

With the weather closing in and a great picnic shelter at hand, this was an ideal place for lunch. Annette caters for all dietary preferences, and we feasted on a diet friendly, tasty salad, fruit, dips, biscuits and breadrolls washed down with a glass of white wine. Water, hot drinks and fruit juice were also available.

Create-a-Tour, lunch, birdwatching, Oxley Common, Brisbane, dietary requirements

Bad weather, except maybe in cyclonic conditions, is no obstacle to Create-a-Tour. Annette knows her hometown and surrounds so well she is able to gear her tours to accommodate the vagaries of the weather. The schedule she had planned for us was quickly altered when the weather turned sour.

Create-a-Tour, weather conditions, Brisbane, Oxley Common
Snug and dry

Create-a-Tour does not limit its expeditions to birdwatching tours. How about a trip to the Gold Coast for surfing lessons, a bush walk through Brisbane Forest Park, some retail therapy at the Eumundi Markets, or some craft beer tasting? Annette has you covered from the Sunshine Coast to the Queensland border.

Create-a-Tour, Wynnum Wetlands, Brisbane, Torresian Crow
Torresian Crow

Create-a-Tour is ECO Certified in line with Annette's respect for the natural environment. Examples are the hand washing of her vehicle and the use of recyclable containers for meal breaks. This reflects her commitment to sustainable practices. Create-a-Tour conducts Ecotourism Australia Certified Day Tours. These are Half and Full Day PRIVATE TOURS for Singles or Small Groups of up to 4 People. Prices start from a low $120pp for a Half Day Tour and $150pp for a Full Day EcoTour. Lunch is at your own cost, but can be included for a fee.

The writer was a guest of Create-a-Tour.

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Why? To experience the joys of Brisbane and surrounds through a private personalised tour with a friendly guide.tour
When: Seven days
Phone: 0419 795 412
Where: From the Sunshine Coast to the NSW border
Cost: Varies from $120 pp. See website for more details
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