It's so easy to get back to nature living here in Brisbane. There are so many parks and forests peppered around the region that you are probably never more than a half hour drive from some sort of bushland. There are some great examples of the diversity as well - the Koala bushlands are very typical of how one might imagine the stereotypical Australian bush, where the hilly regions surrounding the city (Nebo Range to the west, Tambourine mountains to the south and Glasshouse to the north) are great examples of temperate rainforests, and of course we have some great beaches. Today we decided to visit some wetlands - the Boondall Wetlands.
Just to the north of Brisbane Airport, right next to the Gateway Motorway, you will find the really nice, council maintained facility and protected bushland known as Boondall Wetlands. It's maybe about 30 minutes’ drive from Brisbane's CBD and it is serviced by public transport. There is a reasonable amount of parking available which I think would be sufficient even on the nicest of days when visitors are most likely. It's quite a large area extending from the south of Shorncliffe through to Nudgee Beach. In fact, part of Nudgee Beach is actually included in the Boondall Wetlands, and there are tracks (quite long - 3.5 hr walk!) linking the two areas! We can't really imagine tackling that one with kids, unless of course you are riding!
Most likely the main reason you will visit the wetlands will be to take a walk on the trails through the area (although the new look Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre is a fantastic facility), so you will need to come prepared for walking. The trails are very well maintained and the walk itself is not difficult, so your main concern will be to carry water (it gets quite hot and humid in the summer months), sun protection (hat, sunscreen) and being a wetland some bugs are to be expected!
It's only a short stroll from the carpark to the new environment centre building which is well staffed and has some excellent static and interactive displays which are relevant to the area - things like a Great Migration Challenge (it's a bird simulator - so much fun!), synthetic mud, viewing platforms, preserved display specimens and skeletons of animals found in the area. They also had loan exhibits from the museum when we were there, and there are plenty of brochures of this area and lots of which will provide ideas for future explorations! It's had a recent expansion and modernisation so there are heaps of things to see here and they have some fantastic school holiday activities on here as well. We were also provided with a loan book which provided lots more detail on what we might find on our walk, including a number of aboriginal sculptures (Nurri Millen totems) which are spread out along the walk! The environment centre also provides an opportunity to slap on some sunscreen for those who might have forgotten to bring some!
There are a number of different tracks and trails throughout the Boondall Wetlands. We would take the main track running from the Environment Centre called "Billai dhagun" which means ‘place of casuarinas’. Casuarinas are just one of the types of trees that you will find in the area - they are the trees with needle-like leaves. It's a 2 kilometre walk, which at a very leisurely pace, and providing plenty of stopping to explore, should be completed in an hour. It's not long into the walk that the noise of the Gateway traffic is soon lost and you feel like you are miles away! The wetlands when we visited were not very wet at all - it was quite dry, however nice and warm and humid - the breeze come through every now and then was a welcome relief!
The little ones had lots of fun looking for spiders and birds, however we didn't see much else - an occasional butterfly or dragonfly, but the kids we still very excited with anticipation as to what they might see next! As stated previously, there are also a number of Nurri Millen totems spread along the track which are surprisingly difficult to find, so the kids gladly accepted the challenge of trying to be the first to find them! There is also a great little bird-watching hut right on the Nundah Creek Estuary, but again, we were perhaps a little unlucky (or perhaps too noisy!) to see anything too exciting! All in all, we had a really nice morning out at Boondall Wetlands! Although the wildlife was a little elusive when we visited, the excitement of capturing a glimpse of something was balanced by the anticipation, and at the end of the day, the kids were happy! Which means we were happy! We will be back here again at some point - it's a nice and relaxing way to get away from it all!
Amenities: Toilets at the Environmental Centre, none on the track! 👍👍
Cost: Free! Just the cost of some snacks, sunscreen and the fuel to get there! 👍👍👍👍👍
Parking: Lots of Parking, perhaps it might get crowded on a weekend? 👍👍👍👍
Access: Easy access all through the walk - the trails are dirt but well maintained! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: More in anticipation, however a bush walk is all about the escape! 👍👍
Best for: We think from 5 and up might get the most out of this, although our 3 year old had fun too! 👍👍👍
Wildlife: Enough birds and bugs around, but we were hoping for more! 👍👍👍
Summary: A really nice and relaxing walk that is easy enough for anyone to get through! 👍👍👍
Hints: Try not to forget these three staples: water, sunscreen and insect repellent!
New Look Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre (Jan 2020)
Brisbane Family Explorers