Things to do
There is no camping at Keatings Lagoon Conservation Park.
There is a range of accommodation at Cooktown, including motels, hotels and caravan parks. For more information see the tourism information links.
Wawu Balgal Bubu walk—1.4km return (1 hr) Grade: easy
Walk through open woodland along the edge of the lagoon to the wheelchair-accessible bird hide where signs identify commonly-seen water birds, then continue on to the picnic shelter near the water’s edge, before returning along the same track.
Picnic and day-use areas
A car park is located at the entrance to the park and there is a picnic shelter is provided 700m along the walking track at the end of the Wawu Balgal Bubu walk.
Stop at the bird hide, located about 500m along the walking track, to watch quietly as the waterbirds stalk, prod, stab and fossick for food. There are bird identification signs for commonly-seen birds inside the bird hide. The dry season is usually the best time for bird watching although a variety of birds can also be seen during the wet season.
As you watch quietly, look for the various ways that waterbirds are designed to take advantage of the plentiful aquatic life in the lagoon. Small waders, such as black-winged stilts and sharp-tailed sandpipers, probe at the lagoon’s edge for insects, crustaceans, molluscs, worms and small invertebrates. Larger birds such as black-necked storks jab their bills through deeper water in search of fish and frogs while Australian pelicans hunt in flocks to capture fish and darters spear fish and water insects on their long sharp bills. Diving ducks, such as wandering whistling-ducks and perching ducks such as green Pygmy-geese, forage on water lilies and sedges while Radjah shelducks sweep their bills from side to side to sieve insects and algae from the water. Magpie geese use their robust hooked bills to dig up starchy tubers and bulbs of bulkuru sedges around the lagoon edge.
Equipment such as insect repellant, binoculars and a camera will help you to enjoy your visit. Please be aware that crocodiles inhabit this park so visitors must take precautions. Remember to be crocwise in croc country.