Australasian Swamphen, Porphyrio melanotus, Hunter Wetlands Centre, New South Wales, Australia, December 2019; Shutterstock ID 1812295432; your: Bridget Brown; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI Image Update

Kirsty Nadine/Shutterstock

Hunter Wetlands Centre


Transformed from a dump and abandoned sporting fields into a magnificent conservation sanctuary, this swampy centre is home to over 200 species of bird, including magpie geese, freckled ducks and egrets, and a huge diversity of animal residents. Extensive walking and bike trails criss-cross the site, or you can hire a canoe ($10/3 per adult/non-paddling child for two hours, times tide-dependent) and paddle along picturesque Ironbark Creek.

Popular Segway tours ($75, Sundays, must be pre-booked, are also a fun way to quietly view the animals. The centre is off Sandgate Rd. To get here, take the Pacific Hwy towards Maitland and turn left at the cemetery, or catch the train to Sandgate and walk (10 minutes). There's a cafe on-site (open 9.30am to 2.30pm).

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