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.

Read more about Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve

Located on the edge of Guyra, 37km north of Armidale, Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve offers a special birdwatching experience.

The reserve is a rare breeding place for several freshwater wetland bird species and a resting place for numerous migratory birds. Plan a visit or stop over while driving through the northern tablelands. You’ll see an ever-changing array of birds, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for things to do with kids.

Find a spot on the observation platform on the lagoon’s eastern edge to be treated to scenic views of this rare montane wetland. Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve is also a lovely spot for enjoying a picnic by the water.

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Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve.


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Getting there and parking

Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve is on the south-western edge of the township of Guyra. To get there from Guyra CBD:

  • Drive along Bradley Street towards the southern end of the Guyra CBD
  • Turn west onto McKie Drive
  • Proceed approximately 300m along McKie Drive to the signposted carpark located adjacent to the Guyra Golf Course


  • Mother of Ducks Lagoon birdwatching platform See on map

By bike

Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

By public transport

For information about public transport options, visit the NSW country transport info website.

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



Maps and downloads

Safety messages

However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

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).



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.

Nearby towns

Guyra (2 km)

Fishing in one of Guyra's numerous and beautiful streams is a great way to relax and get back to nature. You might land a big trout, too! If you're looking for more active pursuits, you're within easy reach of a number of scenic national parks, where rock climbing, kayaking horseriding and bushwalking are just some of your options.

Armidale (38 km)

During autumn the parks and gardens around Armidale show their beautiful colours. Enjoy a drive along the Waterfall Way, stopping at waterfalls and craggy gorges in the rugged countryside.

Glen Innes (62 km)

Set in the most prolific sapphire region of Country NSW, Glen Innes hosts the annual Minerama Fossicking and Gem Show and the annual Australian Celtic Festival, and is home to the Australian Standing Stones.

Learn more

Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

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.

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.

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.

Education resources (1)

What we're doing

Mother of Ducks Lagoon Nature Reserve has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents.