Apply for a birdwatching permit

The Western Treatment Plant is one of the most popular sites for birdwatching in Victoria, with 284 species recorded at the site. You must apply for a permit to birdwatch at the plant.

To access the site, you need to:

  • have a current permit and access key (if required)
  • be 18 years or older to be eligible for a permit
  • have access to a car to reach the vast permit areas
  • use your permit for only one car per visit (the driver and up to four guests)
  • wear long sleeves, long pants and closed shoes when onsite
  • have a mobile phone when onsite

Birdwatching Site Safety Inductions 

  • Birdwatching site safety inductions for Special Access permits will resume on 17 January 2019 and will occur on a fortnightly basis throughout 2019.

Permit types

The Western Treatment Plant has two types of birdwatching permits:

  • long-term permits
  • short-term permits (for once-off interstate and international visitors)

Long-term permits

Long-term permits are valid for 2 years from the date of application. They are available for the general and special access areas marked on the birdwatching access map:

    If you are applying for a special access area permit, you must attend a 1 hour health and safety induction at the Western Treatment Plant before the permit can be issued.

      General access Special access
    • Lake Borrie and Lake Borrie foreshore
    • Little River bird hide
    • Western Lagoon
    • T-Section Lagoon
    • Paradise Road Ponds
    • Austin Road bird hide
    • Austin Road Ponds
    • Ryans Swamp
    • views of The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve (from the coastal road)

    General access area plus an area close to our sewage treatment works, which includes:

    • conservation ponds
    • Borrow Pit
    • Walsh's Lagoon
    Entry points Gates 1 to 6 Gate 8, plus Gates 1 to 6 for general access area

    Short-term permits

    Short-term permits are only given to once-off visitors from interstate and overseas, who must provide valid identification. Access keys must be returned before 4pm on the same day they are issued.

    Apply online and collect your short-term permits from:

    Application and payment

    Before you apply for a birdwatching permit, make sure you read and understand the following documents:

    Please note: A permit and an access key is required to access the site. Permit only (no key) applications are only available in some circumstances. If you have any queries, please contact us.

    A long-term permit (two years) costs $20 and an access key is available for a refundable deposit of $50. We accept online credit card payments. Please allow 14 days for processing and postage.

    Apply and pay online for a long-term or short-term birdwatching permit, permit renewal or replacement key: 

    Apply now 

    Permit collection

    Permit type Collection method
    Long-term permit (general access) Your permit and access key will be mailed to your postal address via registered post.
    Long-term permit (special access)
    You must attend a site health and safety induction before you can receive your permit and access key. We will contact you to arrange an appointment once we receive your application.
    Short-term permit

    Bring valid identification and collect your short-term permit and loan access key from either:

    • Werribee Visitor Information Centre — Werribee Open Range Zoo, K Road Werribee, Victoria 3030
    Long-term permit renewal

    Your renewed permit will be mailed to your postal address.

    Contact us

    For birdwatching queries, please email [email protected] or call 131 722.

    To register your birdwatching visit, call +613 9325 2525.

    Postal address
    Melbourne Water
    Western Treatment Plant
    PO Box 4342
    Melbourne VIC 3001

    Last updated:
    7 September 2019