Apply for a birdwatching permit

The Western Treatment Plant (WTP) is one of the most popular sites for birdwatching in Victoria, with 284 species of bird recorded at the site. You must apply for a permit to bird watch at WTP, and must register each visit. A special permit may be needed to access some areas of the plant.

The site is vast and a car is required to access the permit areas.

Total fire ban days

You are not permitted to enter the Western Treatment Plant on total fire ban days. Before you vi​sit, please check the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website to see if a ban is in place.

Total fire bans and ratings – CFA​ 

Permit types

Birdwatching permit types

There are two types of permits for bird watchers at WTP:

  • general access permits

  • special access permits (requires a one hour safety induction)

Each permit type specifies the areas within the plant you can access. You will be given a key along with your permit to unlock gates within these specified areas.

To determine which permit you need learn about bird species at the plant and where to find them.

Bird species at Western Treatment Plant

You must be 18 years or older to be eligible for a permit. Your permit is valid for two years from the date we approve it.

Permit types and plant areas covered

Permit type​ Areas covered​
​General access permit
  • Lake Borrie and Lake Borrie foreshore
  • bird hide
  • Western Lagoon
  • T-Section Lagoon
  • Paradise Road Ponds
  • Austen Road Ponds
  • Ryans Swamp
  • views of The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve (from the coastal road)​
Special access permit​

All areas covered by a general access permit, plus an area close to our sewage treatment works which includes:

  • conservation ponds
  • Borrow Pit
  • Walsh Lagoon​


Application and payment

To apply for a birdwatching permit download our application pack. It contains:

  • an application form to complete and return

  • a map of Western Treatment Plant birdwatching access

  • permit conditions and hazards

Note: the permit documentation has been updated as of May 2017. Please ensure you use the latest versions below before submitting your application.

Make sure you read and understand the permit conditions before applying.


We accept online credit card payments. 

A two-year permit costs $20 and an access key is available for a refundable deposit of $50.​

Please allow 14 days for permit processing and postage.

Short-term permits (interstate and international visitors)

Short-term permits are available from the Werribee Visitor Information Centre at the Werribee Zoo, open 9am to 5pm daily.

For further information contact the centre:

Permit collection

In person

You will be issued with your permit after we receive payment.

Over the phone or by mail

Your permit will be mailed to your postal address. Access keys will be sent via registered mail.

Special access permits

You must complete a safety induction before you can receive a special access permit. We will contact you to arrange an appointment after we receive your application.

Register your visit

Your safety at WTP is our priority. You must register with us every time you intend to visit the plant.

You cannot enter the plant on total fire ban days – check if a ban is in place before you visit via the Country Fire Authority.

To register for a visit, please call (03) 9325 2525.​


Last updated:
26 September 2017