11 Birdwatching Hot Spots in NSW

28 November 2016

NSW offers novice and experienced birdwatchers, or ‘twitchers’ as they are known, a variety of environments to see local and migratory birdlife. The State’s coastal and inland wetlands, tropical rainforest, Outback lakes, wooded bushland, coastline and islands are home to some of Australia’s rarest and largest concentration of bird species.

Spring in NSW offers ideal birdwatching conditions with hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and local waterbirds flocking to lakes and pristine wetlands. No matter which bird watching destination travellers choose, they are bound to glimpse some truly spectacular birds at inland and coastal locations across NSW.

Here are some of NSW’s most exciting birdwatching hotspots:

1. Menindee Lakes, Outback NSW

Spoonbills, Menindee Lakes

Spoonbills, Menindee Lakes. Image credit: Destination NSW

Menindee Lakes in Outback NSW is one of Australia’s most iconic wetlands. This inland oasis, which has more than 220 species of bird life, attracts hundreds of thousands of birds including large flocks of Black Swans, Budgerigars, Pelicans, Major Mitchell Cockatoos and Emus.

2. Lord Howe Island

Bird watching, Lord Howe Island

Bird watching, Lord Howe Island. Image credit: Destination NSW

Seabird breeding on Lord Howe Island is frantic over summer, however year round the island is a bird watchers paradise. Lord Howe Island is the only known breeding ground for the Providence Petrel and the island’s breeding program has brought the Woodhen back from the brink of extinction.

3. Capertree Valley

Capertree Valley near Lithgow is one of the most important breeding grounds for the beautiful and endangered Regent Honeyeater. More than 235 bird species have been recorded in the valley, including 25 threatened species.

4. Macquarie Marshes

Macquarie Marshes, northwest of Dubbo

Macquarie Marshes, northwest of Dubbo. Image credit: Office of Environment and Heritage

The recent rain has brought abundant birdlife to the Macquarie River Smart Trail, a birdwatching route along the Macquarie River. The trail starts at Lake Burrendong near Wellington and ends at the ecologically rich Macquarie Marshes near Dubbo. The Macquarie Marshes wetlands is a major waterbird breeding area and attracts some very special birds – Brolgas, Magpie Geese and Australasian and Little Bitterns, as well as massive colonies of Ibis and Egrets.

5. The Hunter Wetlands, Port Stephens Area

The Hunter Wetlands attracts large numbers of migratory birds during summer. A total of 217 bird species have been recorded in the wetlands, including 18 species of raptors and 72 wetland species, including the endangered Black-necked Stork.

6. Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay, South Coast

Jervis Bay, South Coast. Image credit: Adam Taylor, Destination NSW

Known as the Bird Spotters Walk in the ‘twitcher’ world, the Hyams Beach Trail in Jervis Bay offers the perfect opportunity to spot New Holland Honey-Eaters, Eastern Spinebills, and Eastern and Crimson Rosellas.

7. Narrandera, Riverina

Rainbow bee eater bird

Rainbow bee eater bird. Image credit: Riverina Regional Tourism

Not only can you spot koalas in the wild around Narrandera in the Riverina, there are also 13 informal bird watching sites set-up to seek out the 200 plus bird species found in the region. The Yanga Lake Red Gum Bird Hide near Balranald, nestled amongst the river red gums and old man saltbush, is a great spot to watch Black Swans, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Great Crested Grebes and Pelicans.

8. The Murray Valley National Park, The Murray

Geese at Andrew Peace Wines, The Murray

Geese at Andrew Peace Wines, The Murray. Image credit: Rob Blackburn, Destination NSW

In the Murray Valley National Park at Mathoura, Egrets and Musk Ducks can be spotted along the Reeds Bird Hide Boardwalk. The Wonga Wetlands near Albury is an 80 hectares ecosystem of lagoons and billabongs and is a haven for more than 150 bird species which can be spotted from six bird hides set amongst century old river red gums.

9. Centennial Parklands, Sydney

Moore Park, Centennial Parklands

Moore Park, Centennial Parklands. Image credit: Centennial Parklands

For an introduction to bird watching or to join other avid ‘twitchers’, book into one of Sydney Centennial Parklands regular Birdwatching Tours. More than 140 species have been spotted in the Parklands.

10. Dorrigo National Park, Dorrigo

Wildlife, Dorrigo National Park

Wildlife, Dorrigo National Park. Image credit: Destination NSW

With hundreds of recorded bird species, Dorrigo is a bird lovers’ paradise. A downloadable birdwatching guide provides the insider tips on where to go and what species may be sighted, including Satin Bower Birds, Superb Lyrebirds and Bassian Thrush.

11. Eden, South Coast

Bird watching, NSW

Bird watching, NSW. Image credit: Kiah Wilderness Tours

On the far South Coast, Kiah Wilderness Tours run birdwatching kayak tours along the Kiah River near Eden. Creep quietly along the river and spot magnificent Azure Kingfisher, majestic Wedge-tailed Eagles and mighty White-bellied Sea Eagles. For a much closer encounter, the new On the Perch Aviaries Café has 75 bird species on display across five exhibits including three large walk-in aviaries.

Share your NSW wildlife encounter with us on social media by using the hashtag #ilovesydney or #NewSouthWales.

  • Chris Munson

    I am setting off later in Aug 2017 and intend to head from Sydney NSW to Port Macquarie, then back and down to Narooma, maybe Eden NSW. I will let you know what the bird spots are like.

    • Karen Doyle

      How did you go Chris ?