The Broadwater is located at the mouth of the Nerang River on the northern end of the Gold Coast. Within The Broadwater, Wave Break Island and the sandbank just to its south are the best places to see waders. These birds can be viewed from either the east or the west and a spotting scope is essential at both locations. On neap high tides, the sandbank is the preferred roost site. An excellent time to view waders is as they spread out on to the mudflats about 2 to 3 hours after high tide. The whole area is a popular recreational area, so some disturbance to the birds can be expected on almost any day in the week.
Species seen all year round are Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eastern Curlew and Pied Oystercatcher. Other species regularly present in small numbers from spring to autumn are Common Greenshank, Grey-tailed Tattler, Great Knot, Red-necked Stint, Pacific Golden Plover and Red-capped Plover. Less frequently seen are Ruddy Turnstone, Curlew Sandpiper, Lesser Sand Plover and Greater Sand Plover. The Broadwater is one of the few remaining sites in south-east Queensland where Beach Stone-curlew persist and Sanderling are occasionally also seen here. In autumn and winter, Double-banded Plover can be reliably found, often in the company of Red-capped Plover.
How to get there: In the afternoon, viewing from the western side of The Broadwater is recommended. From Brisbane, drive down the Gold Coast Highway to Southport and turn left into Whiting Street, Labrador. Whiting Street runs into Marine Parade next to The Broadwater. From here, the sandbank is about 200 m to the east and Wave Break Island is slightly to its north.
In the morning, viewing from The Spit on the eastern side of The Broadwater is recommended. Drive north along Seaworld Drive, past Seaworld, continue to Doug Jennings Park, turn left and continue for about 200 m to a junction in the road around the park. After turning left, drive south for about 500 m and stop at the car park on the right. From here the sandbank is about 200 m to the west and Wave Break Island is slightly to its north.
Site coordinates: Lat 27º 56’ 45” S, Long 153º 24’ 55” E.
Amenities/access: Toilets and picnic facilities are located in several of the parks adjacent to The Broadwater. Both vantage points mentioned above are easily accessible for disabled people.
Wader species: Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eastern Curlew, Common Greenshank, Grey-tailed Tattler, Ruddy Turnstone, Great Knot, Sanderling, Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Beach Stone-curlew, Pied Oystercatcher, Pacific Golden Plover, Red-capped Plover, Double-banded Plover (March – August), Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover and Masked Lapwing.