Fish Ladder Cycle Tours

Guided cycling tour of the four Parramatta River weirs

Fish Ladder Cycle Tours

Guided cycling tour of the four Parramatta River weirs

Local Links - Stronger Communities -


The issue

There are four weirs along the Parramatta River. Fish ladders have been installed on two of the weirs and one has a fish elevator installed. The most upstream weir has no fish ladder and blocks upstream fish passage to an additional 19 km of habitat. The fish elevator is frequently broken, and with no champions to monitor and report to council, is often out of action. The two fish ladders are frequently blocked by rubbish and debris. All three were designed to be unobtrusive and are effectively invisible to the general public.

The solution

I was approached by Addventageous (a social enterprise that conducts cycle training and guided tours along the Parramatta River) to design and provide training for an ecological tour of the River as an alternative to their existing rides. Their location and enthusiasm was a perfect match for a Fish Ladder ride. As well as a discussion on fish ladders, participants:

  • are encouraged to become fish ladder champions, reporting issues to council and raising awareness where possible with politicians at all levels.
  • are encouraged to download snap send solve and start reporting environmental issues to the relevant agencies.
  • learn about the 5 mascots for the catchment.
  • learn about how their actions impact on the health of the river and how changing personal behaviour can have positive impacts.
  • identify bird species and undertake a bird species richness count.

The impact

There have now been four Fish Ladder tours with 100+ people participating and learning about our plans for the river. Addventageous staff now have the knowledge and confidence to independently conduct tours and educate others on the role of fish ladders, ecological health in the catchment and our 5 mascots.  Fish Ladder tours are now scheduled on a monthly basis with additional tours during school holiday periods. We have also received expert training on fish ladder operation and can now correctly identify and report functional issues to Council for rectification.


  • Connecting with existing local groups can dramatically expand the audience network.
  • Combining environmental education with a completely different activity can increase diversity of reach.

Key facts

  • Over 80 people have participated in a Fish Ladder tour.
  • The tour is developing champions in the local community.
  • The fish ladders and elevator are gaining visibility and support.

Project Partners