Mother of Ducks Lagoon birdwatching platform

Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve

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Stuck for things to do with kids? Enjoy scenic views and a picnic while birdwatching at Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve at Guyra, near Armidale in NSW’s northern tablelands.

Opening times

Mother of Ducks Lagoon birdwatching platform is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

What to
Hat, sunscreen, drinking water
Please note
  • Be sure to watch out for golfers and golfballs
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go bird watching

Like the sound of an afternoon surrounded by wetlands, native plants and more birds than you can count? Head to the birdwatching platform at Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve in Guyra. This wooden observation platform sits at the eastern edge of the lagoon, a bustling bird habitat, and is a great place to stop for a picnic, while driving on the New England Highway.

Come face-to-face with a huge variety of birds, including endangered and threatened species. See if you can glimpse the renowned Japanese Snipe, which lives here from August to April, before returning to Japan, and keep an eye out for other migratory birds, including common greenshanks and white-throated needletails.

After watching from the bird hide, why not enjoy a different view with a short walk around the wetlands? There’s no formal track, but it’s easy to walk along the levee bank. Then pause for a picnic, once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, but be sure to protect your sandwiches from any opportunistic ibis.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info


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Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mother of Ducks Lagoon birdwatching platform.

Getting there and parking

Mother of Ducks Lagoon birdwatching platform is in Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve. To get there:

  • From Guyra CBD, drive south along Bradley Street.
  • Turn west onto McKie Drive
  • Proceed approximately 300m along McKie Drive to the signposted carpark located adjacent to the Guyra Golf Course
  • The birdwatching platform is just a 300m walk to the west across the golf course and boardwalk

Road quality

  • Sealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles (no long vehicle access)

Weather restrictions

  • All weather


Parking is available in a small, signposted gravel parking area adjacent to McKie Drive. Access to the bird observation platform is via the golf course – a 300m walk.

RV camping is provided by Guyra Council and located 100m from the parking area on McKie Drive.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.


Picnic at the edge of the lagoon and photograph colourful autumn leaves along with aquatic birds.


The reserve comes alive in spring, with plant life at full bloom. It's a great opportunity to go birdwatching and see the local birdlife thriving in their natural habitat.


Combine a birdwatching outing with a visit to Guyra's Lamb and Potato Festival held annually from mid-January. Alternatively, stop in at the reserve en route to the Tamworth Country Music Festival.


Pull out your thermals and be at the reserve for the arrival of the Japanese snipe. These wonderful migratory birds return to the reserve around August each year.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature


10°C and 26°C

Highest recorded


Winter temperature


-2°C and 12°C

Lowest recorded



Wettest month


Driest month


The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day



Drinking water is not available in this area, so it's a good idea to bring your own.

Picnic tables


Step-free access

  • The birdwatching platform and surrounding area is flat and step-free, but there are no pathways.
  • You'll need to cross over flat grass to reach the bridge that leads to the bird hide and the picnic tables.
  • There's a small lip to get onto the bridge from the surrounding grass.

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.


Disability access level - medium

The birdwatching platform is step-free and mostly flat with some slight slopes in parts.

There are no pathways - you'll need to cross over flat grass to reach the picnic tables and the bridge that leads to the bird hide. There's a slight lip to get from the surrounding grass onto the bridge.



Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.


NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Learn more

Mother of Ducks Lagoon birdwatching platform is in Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

A changing world

Bird watching platform, Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

The beautiful Mother of Ducks Lagoon has a complex history. Over the years, it’s been drained for pastoral purposes, among others, and has suffered the effects of drought. It’s fascinating to imagine that years ago much of it would probably have been underwater.

Many species call this home

Bird watching platform, Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

With over 87 species observed in and around it, Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve is a major bird habitat. You’ll also see black swans, wading ibis and cormorants diving for fish. Several endangered, threatened and vulnerable bird species rely on the reserve for survival, including the curlew sandpiper and grey falcon. You might even see one of the many reptiles recorded in the park, such as the common snake-necked tortoise or the endangered Booroolong frog. With so many migratory birds calling it home at least part of the year, the reserve has real international significance. Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve features birds protected under international agreements between Australia and Japan, China and Korea.

Wetlands full of life

Wetlands, Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

There’s more to wetlands than birds, of course. The lagoon abounds with lush plant life, including tall spike-rush, common pondweed, Australian sweet grass and even carnivorous plants. Look carefully to see rare woodruff growing on the levee bank.

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