Birdwatching is a fun hobby to try out with the kids (especially to try and stretch out a tight holiday budget!). You don't really need anything at all but it is more fun if you can rustle up a couple pairs of binoculars and a book or app to help you identify the birds you see along the way. Today we took along an old copy of Birds of Australia but we also downloaded the Melbourne Water app- Wetlands Birds, which is really good.
Now, where to go? Melbourne has lots of great parks where you will see birds so it depends on what type of birds you would like to find, how far you want to travel and if you want to get serious about this whole thing and start applying for permits to restricted bird watching areas.
Some parks I would recommend to get started would be:
Westgate Park, Port Melbourne
Queens Park, Essendon
Cruickshank Park, Yarraville
Royal Botanic Gardens
Cranbourne Botanic Gardens
Merri Creek Trail
Royal Park, Parkville
If you decide birdwatching is for you consider applying for a permit to visit the Western Treatment Plant near Little River, west of Melbourne. We visited today and saw an amazing variety and number of birds including herons, pelicans, stilts, swans and brolgas. It is easy to apply and costs $20 for two years plus a $50 refundable deposit for the key that you will need to access the plant. The permit covers the car so you don't need individual permits for each person.
The tracks inside the Western Treatment Plant were easy to navigate and kept in good condition. There were plenty of lookouts and a sheltered bird hide. It's a large area and only open to those with permits so it is very quiet.
For bird diversity and numbers the Western Treatment Plant is ranked second in Australia, and that's second to Kakadu national park!
Happy birdwatching, hope you see some amazing feathered friends!