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Hasties Swamp is an important wetland site lying 3 kms to the south of the town of Atherton on the southern Atherton Tablelands. The swamp forms a national park of only 56.6 ha in extent. Being a permanent water body, it is of considerable importance to wildlife.
The main avian attractions of the site are wetland species, though bushland birds can be readily observed here too. These can include: Wandering Whistling Duck, Plumed Whistling Duck, Black Swan, Magpie Goose, Radjah Shelduck, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Green Pygmy Goose, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe, Australasian Darter, Great Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Black-necked Stork, Australian Pelican, White-necked Stork, White-faced Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Great White Egret, Nankeen Night Heron, Striated Heron, Straw-necked Ibis, Australian White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Swamp Harrier, Spotted Harrier, Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Australian Hobby, Sarus Crane, Brolga, Buff-banded Rail, Pale-vented Bush-hen, Eurasian Coot, Dusky Moorhen, Australasian Swamphen, Latham's Snipe, Australian Painted Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Black-fronted Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Bar-shouldered Dove, Crested Pigeon, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-winged Parrot, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Rainbow Lorikeet, Brush Cuckoo, Little Bronze Cuckoo, Forest Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Rufous Whistler, Leaden Flycatcher, Grey Fantail, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Varied Triller, Spangled Drongo, Olive-backed Sunbird, Mistletoebird and Barn Swallow.
Birds you can see here include:
History and Use
In the 1880s Hasties became an important watering point for livestock movements between the coast and the tin mines at Herberton. Timber harvesting of Cedars and Kauri Pines on the eastern side of the swamp followed shortly after that. Much of the rest of the east side was then opened up for market gardening. The swamp became a permanent reserve for stock movements in the 1890s.
In 1980 47.8 ha of the swamp were declared national park, extended to 56.6 ha in 1986. The water catchment itself is abstracted for agricultural and domestic use. An earthen dam was built at the outflow point to counter this and retain water in the swamp.
The reserve is mainly visited by birders.
Areas of Interest
The swamp itself is the main attraction. When water levels are high, or water bodies are abundant elsewhere in the area, the main lake can be largely devoid of much birding interest. As water levels drop however, especially late in the dry season (around September-November) and/or other water bodies dry up, wildfowl can congregate in their thousands; herons and egrets move in to take advantage of the shallower depths; and waders are often attracted to the exposed muddy margins. Also watch for birds of prey over the swamp and surrounding paddocks. It is also worth checking the paddocks to the east of the reserve for cranes.
Access and Facilities
'The national park lies about 3 kms to the south of Atherton and can be accessed from there by going south along the Atherton-Herberton Road; turn left on to the Hastie Road and then after about 300 metres turn south on to the Koci Road. The national park is signposted off the main highway and off the Hasties Road.
Coming from the direction of Yungaburra and Cairns, follow the Gillies Highway to Atherton. Shortly before arriving at that town, turn south into Marks Lane for a few kilometres before turning right into the Malanda-Atherton Road. From here turn left onto the Kennedy Highway and immediately right into Hastie Road. Koci Road is then signposted on your left.
All roads are sealed except Koci road which is gravel, but is usually in good condition and readily accessed by normal vehicles.
At the swamp there is a small carpark and toilet facilities. There is also a two-storey hide overlooking the lake, which gives excellent views. The swamp can be viewed further back along the road as well however and it is worth stopping at the northern end of the lake and scanning the area for any interesting birds. Crakes can often be seen early morning on the approach road.
Camping is not permitted in the park.
For further information, refer to the Queensland Parks website: