The Tinchi Tamba wetlands, a name meaning ‘mangroves and ibis’ in the local Aboriginal dialect, offers an interesting day in nature. Only a half-hour drive north of Brisbane it’s an easily accessible park covering 380 hectares on the banks of the Pine River.
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The Day Use Area
The day-use area has gas barbeques, picnic tables, shelters and a fishing platform out over the river complete with a fish cleaning station. A covered children’s playground and plenty of grass areas shaded by large trees provide entertainment for younger visitors. There are also toilet facilities and car parking in this area.
The fishing here is supposed to be pretty good. You can launch your boat or kayak from the ramp but even from the shore, there are some decent catches at Deep Water Bend. Cast close to make the most of the rocky area close in. Local fisherman report catches including mostly Bream, Whiting and Flathead. Seasonal catches of Luderick, Tailor, Mulloway and Mangrove Jack are also possible here.
The area was formed by sediment washed down from the D’Aguilar Ranges over thousands of years. It’s consistently changing as a result of seasonal flooding that sees significant portions regularly go underwater, tidal patterns and the faster flowing Tinchi Tamba side of the Pine River constantly etching into the sandbank. The dynamic and healthy ecosystem this creates has made it a fisherman’s paradise with the local Aboriginal people believed to have fished it as long as 1000 years ago.
Tinchi Tamba Wetland Walk
Walk from the day-use area past the boat ramp and you’ll come to the start of the walking track. There’s more car parking here at the boat ramp and another section that gives easy access to the start of the walking trails.
The Island Circuit loop track is around 2km long and is an easy walk. A large portion is a boardwalk and the rest drains reasonably well. We went after two days of quite heavy rain and aside from a large puddle at the entrance to the boat ramp car park and another where the boardwalk turned to track it was comfortable walking. The track makes its way through mangroves, tidal wetlands, salt marshes, casuarina trees, eucalypt woodlands and grasslands.
The track is best walked around the high tide when it’s at its most attractive and you can see the sea life in the water on either side of the boardwalk.
I’d read there are 200+ bird species documented in the area but we went on the wrong tide for seeing much in the way of waders. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see Osprey and Brahminy Kites over the river at any time of day and with the mangroves in flower, there were plenty of honeyeaters, mostly the Yellow-Faced, Lewins and Brown. It’s late spring so there are plenty of new season fledglings looking cute and fluffy too like this grey fantail and butcherbird.
One section of the boardwalk you pass through Casuarina trees and each time the Rufous Whistlers were taunting us but hiding well. We spotted the male and female eventually, this is the male singing his little heart out.
For me, the only better way to see this area is if you could get hold of a kayak. The waterways were full of life and so flat and still. There’s a map in the visitor information section below which gives you an idea of the extent of waterways to explore, there’s even a mapped kayak trail if you like to follow the beaten path.
The Bird Hide
A second walking track branches off away from the Pine River heading towards the Bald Hills Creek. The track starts off as a boardwalk turning into a wide all-weather gravelled track. Keep an eye on the grassed areas to the side, there’s a large mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroo in the area and you’re likely to spot a few through here.
In about 500 metres you’ll come to the bird hide nestled into the river bank.
Unfortunately, our timing was a bit off to see the wading birds that the area is well known for. The best time is 2 – 3 hours after low tide when there’s some shallow water over the muddy banks for the birds to feed. We were there closer to high tide and that means the creek looked very attractive but there were no mudflats for the birds to rest on. Again how perfect does that look for paddling on!
Saved from becoming a residential subdivision
In 1993 the area of Tinchi Tamba was earmarked for a housing estate. The council stepped in and used the Bushcare Acquisition Fund to secure its long term protection as a space for nature and visitors to enjoy. Some old houses were removed and the park area expanded. Walkways were added for easy access and to protect the delicate ecosystem.
Introduced grasses for cattle grazing and weeds have been removed and now some 15 species of native grass have re-established. Clearly, these grasses are somewhat of a delicacy for Eastern Grey Kangaroos as a large mob has moved back to the area from the other side of Bald Hills creek. Although we frequently see red-necked and swamp wallabies on our walks in South East Queensland these larger roo’s are less common. Some of the large bucks in this group were quite impressive.
Visitor information for Tinchi Tamba Wetlands
The wetland area is only 19km from Brisbane and an easy 30-minute drive from the CBD. Take the Bracken Ridge off-ramp and loop back along the side of the motorway to cross over to the eastern side. The reserve is off Wyampa Road, Bald Hills.
The day-use area is situated on Deep Water Bend, a popular area for fishing. There are plenty of car parks conveniently located for the day-use area, boat ramp and the start of the walking tracks.
You can also view or print the councils map of Tinchi Tamba walking and canoe tracks from their site.
What you’ll need
While there are shady trees and man-made shelters available the area is open. You’ll want a sunhat and sunscreen. The area is also a haven for mosquitos, particularly during the warmer wetter months of the year so remember to take and use your insect repellent.
I’m still trying to figure out how I painted all my exposed bits except my face and hands in tropical strength DEET repellent which claims 6-hour protection and 3 hours later I had a dozen very itchy bites. Going out to buy a new bottle tomorrow and will try a different brand. I hate getting bitten, not just for the itch factor but there are too many other health risks. If you have any suggestions you’ve had success with PLEASE let me know.
Gas-powered BBQ’s are provided and there are well-maintained picnic areas so consider bringing your lunch and making a day of it.
Fees and charges
There’s no entry fee to the Tinchi Tamba Wetlands park area or for use of the boat ramps, BBQ’s etc.
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