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BirdLife Australia Melbourne Branch



Western Treatment Plant

Location:  Werribee: Melways Page 11 Grids D12, D13, E11 & E12

Access:  Point Wilson Road (Grids D12 & D13)

The historic Western Treatment Plant (WTP) is a world leader in environmentally-friendly sewage treatment, and also one of Victoria’s most unlikely treasures. Roughly the size of Phillip Island, the vast site is home to more than just world-class sewage treatment facilities – doubling as a working farm and supporting internationally-recognised bird habitat.
Birdwatching access is by permit only and must be obtained in advance of entry.  Short and long term access is available. For more information on site access requirements and to find out how to apply visit the Melbourne Water website.
The site is large and a car is essential to travel around the site.  The roads are a mixture of gravel roads and formed tracks.

Facilities:  Two bird hides with parking - located at the mouth of Little River and at Austin Road, and toilets and parking are available at the Paradise Road entry.

Habitat: Sewage ponds/constructed wetlands, natural wetlands, waterways and estuaries, coastal saltmarsh, intertidal flats, native grasslands, paddocks, drains, plantations and shelterbelts.

Map: Melbourne Water issues a map to all permit holders showing the parts of the site that are accessible to birdwatchers.                       

Other Information: Many birdwatchers consider the WTP to be the prime birdwatching site in Victoria.  Late Spring to early Autumn is the best time for waders, but many waders overwinter.  Late Autumn to early Spring is the best time for Orange-bellied Parrots.

To receive email updates with birdwatching news, follow the Western Treatment Plant Birdwatching community engagement page.

Typical Common Birds include:

Musk Duck; Cape Barren Goose; Black Swan; Australian Shelduck; Pink-eared Duck; Australasian Shoveler; Grey Teal; Chestnut Teal; Pacific Black Duck; Hardhead; Blue-billed Duck; Hoary-headed Grebe; Spotted Dove; Crested Pigeon; Little Pied Cormorant; Great Cormorant; Little Black Cormorant; Pied Cormorant; Australian Pelican; Eastern Great Egret; White-faced Heron; Australian White Ibis; Straw-necked Ibis; Royal Spoonbill; Yellow-billed Spoonbill; Black-shouldered Kite; Whistling Kite; Swamp Harrier; Brown Falcon; Purple Swamphen; Australian Spotted Crake; Dusky Moorhen; Eurasian Coot; Australian Pied Oystercatcher; Black-winged Stilt; Red-necked Avocet; Red-capped Plover; Masked Lapwing; Black-tailed Godwit; Bar-tailed Godwit; Common Greenshank; Red-necked Stint; Sharp-tailed Sandpiper; Curlew Sandpiper; Whiskered Tern; Crested Tern; Pacific Gull; Silver Gull; Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Striated Fieldwren; Yellow-rumped Thornbill; White-plumed Honeyeater; Red Wattlebird; White-fronted Chat; Australian Magpie; Willie Wagtail; Little Raven; Magpie-lark; Eurasian Skylark; Golden-headed Cisticola; Australian Reed-Warbler; Little Grassbird; Silvereye; Welcome Swallow; Fairy Martin; Common Blackbird; Common Starling; House Sparrow; Australasian Pipit; European Goldfinch; Common Greenfinch.

Other Possible Birds include:

Stubble Quail; Freckled Duck; Australian Wood Duck; Australasian Grebe; Great Crested Grebe; Australasian Gannet; Australasian Darter; Australasian Bittern; Cattle Egret; Little Egret; Glossy Ibis; White-bellied Sea-Eagle; Black Kite; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Australian Hobby; Black Falcon; Peregrine Falcon; Brolga; Black-tailed Native-hen; Sooty Oystercatcher; Banded Stilt; Pacific Golden Plover; Double-banded Plover; Black-fronted Dotterel; Red-kneed Dotterel; Marsh Sandpiper; Wood Sandpiper; Pectoral Sandpiper; Fairy Tern; White-winged Black Tern; Common Tern; Galah; Blue-winged Parrot; Orange-bellied Parrot; Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo; Brown Thornbill; New Holland Honeyeater; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Grey Fantail; Common Myna; Red-browed Finch

Outings Bird Lists: For a Bird List of all recent BirdLife Melbourne Outings to this site, and images of the birds seen, click here

Recent Victorian Rarities & Vagrants include:

Northern Shoveler; Tufted Duck; Hudsonian Godwit; Little Curlew; Little Stint; Long-toed Stint; Stilt Sandpiper; Red-necked Phalarope; Oriental Pratincole; Franklin’s Gull; Eastern Grass Owl; Eastern Yellow Wagtail.

For more information on the bird species at the Western Treatment Plant visit the Melbourne Water website.


Musk Dusk - Photograph by Xenia Dennett


Updated: 24-Aug-2022