Cattai Wetlands is known as a birdwatching hot-spot

The new bird-hide at Cattai Wetlands. The wetlands attract birdwatchers from across Australia and abroad.
The new bird-hide at Cattai Wetlands. The wetlands attract birdwatchers from across Australia and abroad.

Internationally recognised as a birdwatching hot-spot, the award-winning Cattai Wetlands now boasts a new bird hide that helps visitors keep a watchful eye on more than 180 different species of birds.

The newly constructed bird hide, open for use in time for the peak holiday season, allows visitors to get up close and personal with the birds on the wetland without disturbing them, using a design that screens the visitor’s approach and includes viewing windows.

“This is an incredible addition to the Cattai experience, not only for local and visiting birdwatchers, but as an environmental education resource for our community”, explained Tanya Cross, MidCoast Council’s sustainability and natural assets coordinator.

Cattai Wetlands is home to a diverse range of bird species, including the threatened comb-crested jacana, and the jabiru or black-necked stork, as well as other native fauna including kangaroos, wallabies and goannas, an abundance of plant species, and the endangered giant dragonfly.

A pair of jabiru spotted at Cattai Wetlands.

A pair of jabiru spotted at Cattai Wetlands.

The reclaimed wetlands site is a growing tourist attraction, drawing more than 6000 visitors over the past 12 months.

“Construction of the bird hide at Cattai was driven by on-going requests from local birdwatchers, and we worked in close consultation with groups including the Hunter Bird Observers and the Manning-Great Lakes Birdwatchers to finalise the design and its location,” Tanya said.

“Visitors to Cattai include local birdwatchers, children from local schools, tourists, and after being included as a hot-spot on the eBird website, we now welcome people from interstate and abroad.”

Located just 20 minutes north of Taree off the Pacific Highway, Cattai Wetlands is one of Manning Valley’s many hidden gems, with directional signage soon to be placed on the highway to encourage visitation.

Three walking tracks are available including a 2km stroll around the wetlands.

The wetlands are open to the public between 8am and 3pm Monday to Friday, and 7am to 5pm on weekends. Dogs are not allowed at the wetlands and mosquitoes are prevalent so personal insect repellent is highly recommended.

The bird hide project was funded through the environmental levy and is part of MidCoast Council’s commitment to supporting the local community.

Looking out from the new bird-hide at Cattai Wetlands.

Looking out from the new bird-hide at Cattai Wetlands.