Starting at the reserve car park, there is a copse of native trees to walk through before the track takes you parallel to peaceful Harts Creek. There are swans, ducks and trout in this creek.
Here you walk along a flat track along a stop bank in the open beside grassy paddocks for about 10 to 15 minutes. The track leads into Harts Creek Wildlife Management Reserve, a densely wooded swamp area crossed by a board walk. Take care to keep to the board walkway to avoid damaging the wetland, and stinging nettle.
The walkway ends at the bird hide, a camouflaged hut set out on the lake for easy viewing of birdlife. With 166 species of birds recorded at the lake there is always plenty of bird activity to observe. The reserve entrance has a pleasant and sheltered spot for picnics.
The bird hide and boardwalk were built by the Ellesmere Lions Club.
There are predator traps located in the area, which can be seen from the walkway. Do not touch these traps. They are here to help reduce the predation of bird species that nest in the area.
Harts Creek Wildlife Management Reserve lies on the western margins of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. The reserve provides an excellent habitat for wildlife and is also a wildlife refuge.
Birdlife includes: white swans, black swans, pukeko, parekareka/spotted shag, Canada geese, several species of duck, kōtuku/white heron, kakī/pied stilts, kamana/crested grebe and more, with possible sightings of the elusive matuku/Australasian bittern.