The Jerrabomberra Wetlands in the ACT are a hidden gem for nature lovers just 8 minutes from the centre of Canberra. Located in Fyshwick, the wetlands have three walking trails and are a great place to explore. The lagoons and Jerrabomberra Creek are an interesting contrast to the bushland reserves around Canberra.
A feature of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands is the birdlife. Across the three walks there are 5 bird hides where you can settle in and spot a range of water species. We walked through the wetlands twice in a couple of days (after getting rained out on our first visit there) and saw lots of different birds on each visit. Also keep an eye out for kangaroos, platypus in the creek and eastern long neck turtles sunning on the logs.
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Jerrabomberra Wetlands at a Glance
Getting to the Jerrabomberra Wetlands
Look for the carpark on Dairy Road in Fyshwick. For our visit the road was blocked off just after the carpark, so the carpark is hard to miss!
There are 3 walks – Kelly’s Loop, the Billabong Walk and the slightly longer Woodland Loop. The walks take between 40 and 60 minutes and are all easy, flat walks. The walks all start at the carpark.
Dogs are not permitted on the Jerrabomberra Wetlands walking trails.
How long do you need here?
If you just want to do a lap of the wetlands, you can get around in an hour which allows for a bit of bird spotting too. If your idea of fun is sitting in a bird hide looking for birds, pack a snack and spend a couple of hours here.
Jerrabomberra Wetlands Walks
Kelly’s Loop Walk
This is the shortest of the 3 walks around the Jerrabomberra Wetlands. It starts in the carpark and is well signed with yellow markers. One thing missing from all the trail signage here is the length of the walks, we guessed the Kelly’s Loop walk is about 2.5km. The track is a mixture of dirt path and boardwalk over the Kelly’s Swamp.
No sooner do you start the walk; you get to the first bird hide – named Bittern. It’s a lovely spot with views over a small crescent shaped area of water separated from Kelly’s Swamp by reeds. We stayed here for a few minutes and saw a black swan, a moorhen with chicks in tow and a colourful starling. A little further along is the Cygnus bird hide where we spotted reed warblers and lots of ducks.
The track then takes you around the edge of Kelly’s Swamp where we saw some pied cormorants and golden spoonbills. It is worth having binoculars or a zoom camera if you want to get a good look at the birds resting on the logs poking out of the water. The second half of the walk is on a boardwalk walk and takes you through head high reeds. There are birds flitting around everywhere and the sound of the wind rustling around you is quite magic.
The walk ends near the third bird hide on the walk – called the Snipe Hide. There is not an enclosed viewing area and probably has the least water views of the 5 bird watching points at the wetlands. From here it is a short walk to get back to the car park.
The Billabong Track is an extension of Kelly’s Loop and adds at most 15 minutes to your walk. To do the Billabong Walk look for the blue trail markers. The track diverges from Kelly’s Loop about one third of the way around. You do catch a glimpse of some of Fyshwick’s light-industrial area on this bit of the walk but that’s all off to your left. There is still plenty of birdlife through here. After getting through a flock of ducks that were resting on the path, we spotted pied cormorants, parrots, spoonbills, wrens and fantails.
The highlight of the detour is reaching the small landing with views of Jerrabomberra Creek. As we came around the corner, we spotted four or five black swans cruising around in the steadily increasing rain. The trail then goes up an embankment and you get great views back over the wetlands, you can see across the water to where you started. From here we spotted a white faced heron and a kangaroo. Yes, there are plenty of kangaroos through here so keep an eye out for them.
You walk down off the embankment and re-join Kelly’s Loop for the walk along the boardwalk through the reeds back to the carpark. If you have the time, it is worth doing the extra few minutes along the Billabong Walk. It includes some different habitats to the main lagoon so you never know what you might see. And the elevated view from the embankment is nice too.
The Woodland Loop is the longest of the three walks at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, allow about 60 minutes to go around and a bit longer if you want to stop to take in the views from the Tadorna and Fulica bird hides.
The Woodland Loop starts at the main carpark and goes off in a different direction to the start of Kelly’s Loop. The Woodland Loop is signed with red trail markers. From the car park, follow the markers over Jerrabomberra Pool and shortly after you turn left up a small hill to the woodlands. At the top of the rise is a carved wooden bench where you can sit and take in the views across Kelly’s Swamp.
From here, the outward part of the trail takes you through bushland. We spotted kangaroos resting under trees and lots of birds, big and small. At about halfway through the walk, across the road, is a new wetlands project called the Healthy Waterways Wetland which is worth a look. The trail then loops back, and the return walk takes you along Jerrabomberra Creek back towards the carpark.
There are two great but easy to miss bird hides on the return walk. If you see unmarked tracks on your left going towards the water, they lead to the bird hides. The first one you get to is named Tadorna and the second, quite close to the end, is Fulica. Both are under cover and have nice views. At Fulica you are closer to the water and can spot fish swimming around.
Get the Jerrabomberra Wetlands App
If you want to really immerse yourself in the wetlands there is a Jerrabomberra Wetlands App. The app includes an audio tour of the Kelly’s Loop Walk, The Woodland Walk which is called the Water All Round Walk in the App and goes in the opposite direction to the way we walked, and a third walk, the Trench Warfare Trail located nearby and has the remains of where soldiers did their trench warfare training.
Even if you don’t do with walks with Ranger Mel in your ear, the app also acts as a map which is especially helpful for the Woodlands Walk which, in places, could be slightly better marked. The app also has lots of useful information to help you appreciate the special environment at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
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