Beyond the mud line of the Mangrove belt, low tide at Nudgee beach uncovers vast tidal flats and textured sands. Otherwise hidden under the waters of Moreton Bay, it's a great space to walk, run, fish, and let the dogs roam free in the off-leash area. In the evenings, hordes of soldier crabs march in unison along the water-rippled beach. Watch long lines of cormorants fly in wavering skeins across the water to their roosts.
Redcliffe is visible across the water and if you walk towards Shorncliffe, you can watch fishing boats and pleasure craft pass through the neck of Cabbage Tree Creek on their way to and from Moreton Bay. The beach is renowned for superb sun sets and is a great place for sundowners/picnics and to watch the full moon rise.
Adjoining the area is the Nudgee Beach Reserve. From late August, the hide built out over the water is popular with birders who come to see the snipe, whimbrels, sandpipers and other migratory shorebirds and waders. They fly thousands of kilometres from the northern hemisphere to escape the harsh winters of places like Siberia and Alaska, returning north around March.
There are many resident birds to be seen, including egrets, lorikeets, colourful kingfishers and bee-eaters.
You can explore the mangrove forest from the parking space off O'Quinn Street via the meandering, partially shaded Tabbil-Ban Dhagan boardwalk (Place of salt water) around Nudgee Creek. Catch glimpses of the brightly coloured pincers of mud crabs before they dart furtively back into their holes. Illustrated signs list interesting facts about the fauna and flora and are placed at intervals along the boardwalk.
The cafe at 88 O'Quinn Street is a small cafe with heart, coffee and ice cream; the photo display and propped-up bikes, helmets and cycle shorts are proof of its popularity with cyclists over weekends.
Kayaking or canoeing the back waters of Nudgee Creek is another way to get close to the Mangrove environment surrounding the wetlands – but be warned, the outgoing tidal pull may result in an energetic paddle. Pass homes on the water's edge and paddle up Nudgee Creek through mangrove central to where the creek disappears. Fishermen need to be aware of green zones where fishing is prohibited.
Just past the turnoff for the Nudgee Waste Transfer Station on Nudgee road is a boardwalk and bike track. A relatively flat track, it heads across the wetlands and over Nundah Creek through grasslands and Melaleuca groves, salt marshes and Casuarina forests to the Boondall Wetlands reserve and Environmental Centre.
Housed in a raised, restored Queenslander which served as a school, the centre has informative interpretive displays related to the wealth of fauna and flora in the area. In summer, mosquitoes are plentiful - look out for the large webs of beautiful golden orb spiders, and green tree frogs sometimes lurk in the roof guttering and in a pipe near the ceiling of the toilet. They settle up high to escape snakes.