Bird watching

Power and Water is proud to manage and support public bird watching at two world-class bird watching facilities, Leanyer ponds in Darwin and Ilparpa ponds in Alice Springs. A number of ornithology books note these sites and they attract tourists from across Australia and around the world. These sites are not always open, and this website should be checked before proceeding to the site.

Site status

The Leanyer ponds: Closed due to crocodiles in the area.

The Ilparpa ponds: Closed due to wild dogs. Area 'totally restricted' while dog control is underway. No public access under any circumstances.

Leanyer ponds – Darwin

Power and Water's Leanyer treatment facility is situated next to the Leanyer Swamp. This location has a tidal system with extensive mangroves and more than 240 species of birds have been recorded in the vicinity. These include Pink-eared Ducks, Wandering Whistling-ducks, Radjah Shelduck, Magpie Geese, Pied Heron and Brahminy and Whistling Kites.

Ilparpa ponds – Alice Springs

The Ilparpa Swamp and adjacent sewerage ponds is a permanent site which is home to a variety of birds and an important staging point for migratory birds on their way across Australia and overseas. Part of a protected area, it covers about 130 hectares. The bird life at the waste stabilisation ponds is spectacular, with many rare species gathering around this body of water. Bird screen, interpretive signs and purpose built bird nesting islands have also been constructed at this site.

View the birdwatchers' map and guide to the Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds.

Site access information

Due to the number of requests for access by visitors and residents who are interested in seeing the unique bird life at the waste stabilisation ponds, Power and Water has released some simple guidelines for access to this area.

  • Access to waste stabilisation ponds will be granted to members of the public on completion of an online safety induction and online indemnity form. 
  • Access to the Leanyer ponds will be via the electronic gate only. A remote control device to activate the gate will be issued on completion of all required paperwork and the receipt of a $50 (AUD) fully refundable deposit at Alice Springs or Darwin retail outlets.
  • Access to the Ilparpa ponds is only via a pedestrian gate which will remain locked at all times. Access keys for this gate will be issued to those who have completed the appropriate paperwork and paid a $50 (AUD) fully refundable deposit at Alice Springs or Darwin retail outlets.
  • Access to the Ilparpa ponds is pedestrian only.
  • All persons accessing the waste stabilisation ponds area are required to carry completed induction certificates and show photo identification should they be approached by pond security or Power and Water staff.

Please contact Customer Service on 1800 245 092 for further information or email