Activities - discover, play, eat, shop
Experience the magic of wetlands from the water as you explore picturesque Ironbark Creek in your own two or three-person canoe. Paddle your way along the meandering 2km trail to the coastal rainforest shelter for a tranquil picnic lunch. Or join one of our regular guided canoe tours.*
*Must have closed in shoes.
Grab a bucket and net and discover the critters that live in and around our wetland ponds. The magic combination of mud, bugs and water add up to make this is one of our best-loved activities.
Our wetlands support a huge diversity of animal life year-round including birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and frogs. Some of our most popular residents include the Magpie Geese, Freckled Ducks, Egrets and much more. They are all a vital part of the unique ecology of our site.
Click through to our online guides to learn more about our wetlands.
Extensive walking and bike trails criss-cross the 45ha Hunter Wetlands Centre site. All of them are graded ‘easy’ walking and riding—how far you go is entirely up to you! Don’t forget to keep your eyes wide open for the fascinating array of birds, animals, reptiles and plants that make these wetlands such a unique and interesting part of the Hunter’s ecology. Check out our hand-carved totem poles along the way—all uniquely designed to represent the animals, plants and natural interactions of each different habitat. Please keep to the tracks to protect our wildlife and reduce your impact on our site.
The five main trails are:
Sensory Trail: Head towards the dam and demonstration ponds; before the boardwalk stop, listen, look, smell and feel on the Sensory Trail.
Freckled Duck Enclosure: Visit the Freckled Duck enclosure to see one the world’s rarest ducks. Often referred to as the ‘dinosaur duck’ these endangered, ancient proto-ducks came before ducks, swans and geese in the evolutionary chain. The males have bright red bill markings during breeding season.
Boardwalk: From the Freckled Duck enclosure take the path between the Melaleuca Swamp and Moorhen Swamp; turn left and at the aboriginal heritage totem pole junction turn right and travel along the boardwalk which takes you over the Wetland Reed Marsh – a truly magical spot! Head towards the end of the boardwalk and turn left and make your way along the Canoe Trail to the BBQ and picnic facilities at BHP Billiton Pond. Enjoy the fantastic view.
Egret Tower: Climb the Egret Tower for a ‘birds eye’ view into the canopy of the Melaleuca Swamp. In summer this haven for wetland birds attracts four types of Egrets which breed here in their thousands.
Rainforest Shelter: A more energetic walk/ride to the outer limits of the site; an ideal place to stop and rest or have some lunch.
Don’t miss our bird feeding talks. Daily at 10.30am and Reptile tank talk at 1pm
Each year we conduct a range of guided activities—including wetland walkabouts, canoe tours and bird watching—for hundreds of groups, from wetland experts to local preschools. Hunter Wetlands Centre would love to create a wetland experience for your group of ten or more people. And don’t miss our special regular events.
Journey through our 45 hectare site and explore our Discovery Zone. Go on a treasure hunt to complete your animal library map. Track down the wildlife on each of nine directional signposts, place your map over each Discovery Zone square, and trace over the etchings to watch your very own wetland habitat unfold! A fun discovery activity for all the family.
Don’t miss our fantastic and unique children’s playground—we guarantee that young wetland explorers will love it! Ideally situated adjacent to the BBQ shelter and picnic facilities on the far side of the BHP Billiton Pond, this modern playground is great for kids of all ages.
Come and try the new Spoonbill Café! Open for dinner every Friday night from the 19th April, lunch 7days and Breakfast every Sunday.
Conference and function menus are available and can be tailored to any special event or function. Group bookings are available. Phone on (02) 4951 6466 to discuss your catering needs with the professional and friendly staff at Spoonbill Cafe.
Picnics and BBQs
Hunter Wetlands Centre is hard to beat for a family picnic or BBQ. Take advantage of our numerous picnic and BBQ facilities—you can even reserve the main BBQ area (for a small fee) for those larger gatherings.
Our Hunter Wetlands Centre Giftshop is stocked with a fantastic range of eco-gifts from both local and national suppliers including local wetland art and Australian wildlife toys and books. A great spot to for birthday presents for those hard-to-buy-for kids and adults!