Recognised as ‘Wetlands of International Importance’, the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary is on the wish-list for many birdwatchers, with a walk trail and hide offering opportunities to view some 75 species of native, nomadic and migrating birds, several of which are extremely rare.
The wetlands lie just to the northeast of Busselton, a two-hour-and-40-minute drive or a 50-minute flight south from Perth. The bird hide is situated on the southern side of the wetlands, accessed from Layman Road.
Visit in spring and you’ll find cygnets and ducklings on the water, but it’s in summer that the wetlands are at their vibrant best, with more than 30,000 migratory birds arriving en masse.
Explore the wetland’s open waters, sheltered bays, marshlands and shorelines, surrounded by flooded pastures, native bush and stands of paperbark trees. Spot everything from sharp-tailed sandpipers, greenshanks and plovers, to long-toed stints, egrets, spoonbills, herons, ducks, swans, coots, stilts, avocets, cormorants. You may even glimpse swamp harriers, kites, eagles and osprey passing overhead.
Nearby, you’ll also find one of the largest ibis breeding colonies in Western Australia, while to the south lies the world’s last great tuart forest, home to parrots, possums, bandicoots and kangaroos.