In the lower reaches of Saltwater Creek off Bramble Bay, Hays Inlet is bordered by Anzac Avenue to the north, Houghton Highway to the east, Dohles Rocks to the south and the Bruce Highway to the west. This convenient location allows for simple access from any direction.
Hays Inlet offers a unique environmental experience within the Moreton Bay Region by playing host to a range of habitats including intertidal flats, mangrove forest, saltmarsh, Casuarina forest and open eucalypt forest.
Surrounded by mudflats and saltmarshes, Hays Inlet is a wetland and estuarine area lined with mangroves and coastal bushland. Water flows into Hays Inlet from the Saltwater and Freshwater Creek catchments and experiences tidal mixing with the Pine River. As a wetland, Hays Inlet has garnered international significance for its role in supporting migratory birds and homing native plants and animals. Due to its high levels of productivity and the importance of the breeding grounds, sections of Hays Inlet have been protected against commercial fishing for around 50 years. As part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park, the Hays Inlet Conservation Park supports and protects wildlife such as kangaroos, Flying Foxes, Eastern Curlews, fish, crabs and prawns.
Within the waterways of Hays Inlet, you’re likely to spot many insects, spiders, crustaceans and molluscs. In particular, Golden Orb spiders weave their webs in the casuarinas and butterflies take advantage of the open eucalypt forests while hooded oysters, whelks and snails make their home among the mangroves and intertidal flats. Dominant crustaceans include crabs and prawns as well as yabbies, mud shrimps and barnacles.
Making your way through the shallows and moving with the tide are fish such as Herring, Anchovy, Mullet, Bream and Whiting, however, this area is also home to Estuary Stingrays and Bull Sharks.
Large reptiles such as Common Bearded Dragon and the Lace Monitor have been spotted around Hays Inlet along with kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. Also known to inhabit or feed in the area are Flying Foxes, Brown Hares and foxes.
As mentioned earlier, Hays Inlet is a popular breeding ground for migratory birds along with other common birds of the Moreton Bay Region. This includes the Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew, Sandpiper, Darter, Pied Oystercatcher and Black-winged Stilt. There is also many bird’s dependant on the mangrove forest such as the Mangrove Kingfisher, Mangrove Honeyeater and the Mangrove Warbler. Out in the saltmarsh, you can find herons, spoonbills and ibises, but the most notable bird of the area is the Pelican which can be seen roosting on the light posts of the Houghton Highway Bridge. Of course, we can’t forget Osprey’s which can also be spotted hovering the open water.