See the Pelican Feeding Frenzy
at Surfers Paradise
All the family will enjoy the spectacle of this pelican feeding frenzy.
The fun begins as the large flock of pelicans begins converging at Harley Park, near Surfers Paradise, waiting excitedly for their daily feast.
They gather at Charis Seafoods at ~ 1.30pm daily to be fed leftover fish from the previous day’s trade, and other fish unsuitable for sale.
And when the fish arrive, ensure you’re not standing between the pelicans and the fish… for the feeding frenzy begins!
Pelicans are the largest flying bird in Australia (emus and cassowaries are land-based birds).
You’ll marvel at the size of these pelicans, which grow up to 1.8m long, and may have a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres. When they spread their wings to prepare for flight, it creates a very striking pose!
And pelicans are plainly very smart, and know when they’re onto a good thing – they gather every day to be fed by Charis Seafood attendants, whose owner Harry Demetriou, began the pelican feeding several years ago.
Now something of a tradition on the Gold Coast, many visitors and locals alike enjoy watching these magnificent creatures eagerly gather around the feeding area in the park.
You’ll be entranced with the ease at which these pelicans catch and gobble down the fish. The size of the birds’ bill - up to 50cm long – is a decided advantage to catching their prey!
And if you’re looking for a tongue twister, try pronouncing their scientific name, Pelecanus conspicillatus – pardon the pun, but it’s a real mouthful!
If you miss the pelican feeding time, pelicans may be sighted around the Broadwater at Labrador at other times of the day, too.
There are a couple of seafood places along Marine Parade, as well as fishing boats returning from a day’s outing – so it’s not unusual to see the pelicans congregating in the area and competing with squawking seagulls, hoping to pick up a stray fish or two.
Harley Park is a terrific park for families. There is an enclosed swimming lagoon, as well as swings for the kids to play on, and BBQ facilities.
Or, if a BBQ sounds like too much work, indulge in some hot fish n chips in the park for lunch and then watch the pelicans feeding at ~ 1.30pm.
Be warned, however, of encouraging seagulls with any food scraps.
As you can see in this photograph (a bit reminiscent of a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds), this poor fellow is almost knocked over in the frenzy of seagulls looking for leftover chips or fish!
...And in case you’re wondering, he did survive the encounter.
And finally, one other lunch option is to grab a bite to eat on the deck of the Grand Hotel, just across the road from the park.
You’ll be able to enjoy a cold beer and the warm sun on the deck at the same time. And you won’t have to fight the pelicans or the seagulls for your meal!
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|Harley Park’s facilities include a swimming lagoon, toilets, kids swings, BBQ.|
|There is limited shelter at the park, although you could quite easily bring an umbrella to keep dry for the time required to watch the pelicans feeding.|
|Allow 30 minutes to get there early and watch the birds gather, and then see the pelican feeding frenzy. Allow extra time to take a stroll along the Labrador harbour, or for the kids to have a swim in the lagoon.|
|- Enjoy a BBQ or fish ‘n’ chips in the park for lunch; or perhaps grab a bite to eat on the deck of the Grand Hotel, just across the road from the park.|
- If you’re lunching in the park, be wary of approaching pelicans. Whilst pelicans won’t attack people, there may be the occasional bold pelican that decides to help himself to your lunch, and it may be a little confronting for small children.
- Visitors are requested NOT to feed the pelicans. The Council does not wish to encourage the pelicans to approach people, as this may lead to unwanted contact.
|How To Get There|
|Harley Park, Marine Parade, Labrador.|
Refer map reference below.
|Charis Seafoods: |
Tel 07-5527 1100