The Western Treatment Plant is one of Victoria’s most popular birdwatching spots and an operational site. For your safety, you must have been granted access to birdwatch at the plant, or join a licensed tour operator listed on this page.
Due to ongoing coastal remediation works, a section of the coastal road of the birdwatching route will be closed indefinitely. Birdwatchers will still have access through Gate 4, and the rest of the birdwatching area including the Little River (Lake Borrie) Bird Hide.
To receive the latest updates about gate closures, works, safety and more, we encourage all birdwatching access holders to sign up to our YourSay birdwatching hub, our main way of communicating with birdwatchers.
There are two access types available: long-term access and short-term access.
- Long-term access (2 years)
- Valid for two years
- Cost $70 (inclusive of a $50 refundable key deposit)
- Short-term access (single visit)
- Valid for one visit
- Cost $20
Site access conditions
To visit the site, you must:
- have read and understood our Birdwatching access conditions and hazards (101.42 KB, DOCX)
- have access to a car to reach the vast areas available to you, or join a licensed tour operator: Peregrine Bird Tours or Firetail Birdwatching Tours
- use your access for private purposes only, and for only one vehicle per visit (the driver can take up to one car load of non-paying guests)
- check the Country Fire Authority website beforehand – and cancel your visit on Total Fire Ban days
- abide by Melbourne Water’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy (91.92 KB, DOCX), and other COVID-safe practices
- wear long sleeves, long pants and closed shoes
- carry a mobile phone, so we can contact you in an emergency.
To help you navigate your way around the site, bring a copy of the:
Application and payment
Apply and pay online for both short- and long-term access (including access renewals and key replacements). As part of this process you must complete a mandatory online safety induction, which takes approximately 10 minutes.
You must be 18 years or older to be eligible, and ensure you have read and understand our Birdwatching access conditions and hazards (101.42 KB, DOCX).
Processing and key collection
Once you’ve applied online for birdwatching access, including completing the mandatory safety induction, the next steps are as follows:
- Long-term access applicants should allow up to 28 days for processing your application, at which stage your access key will be mailed via registered post. Existing access renewals will be confirmed via email. Birdwatchers will not be able to access the site before receiving their access key. Long-term access keys are only available via post and will not be issued from the Werribee Visitor Information Centre. If you forget your key, you will not be able to access the site.
- Short-term access applicants must first apply online before visiting the Werribee Visitor Information Centre. Applicants must bring valid identification to collect a loan access key from the Werribee Visitor Information Centre (address below). Keys must be returned before 4pm the same day.
Birdwatching tour operators
Only licensed tour operators, approved by Melbourne Water, are permitted to run tours at the Western Treatment Plant. This helps sustainably manage tourism and birdwatching in the area – which is recognised as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.
The two tour companies currently licensed to run Western Treatment Plant birdwatching tours are:
Tour operators who wish to be considered for the next round of Western Treatment Plant birdwatching tour operator licences can register their interest via email: [email protected]