Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle, New South Wales

Blackbutt Reserve is set on about 182 hectares of land just 6km from the centre of the city of Newcastle in New South Wales. It provides a bushland recreational area for visitors as well as running various environmental education, conservation and research programs. The Reserve is undulating natural bushland of ridges and sheltered gullies with several picnic areas, open grassy spaces, bushwalking tracks. Vegetation on the Reserve is mainly Eucalypt forest with pockets of remnant vegetation. A restored rainforest provides habitats for a number of rare and vulnerable species. A colony of fruit bats can be reached via the rainforest walk.

On the Reserve are a number of native wildlife exhibits with modern enclosures for easy viewing of the animals. Animals on display include koalas, wombats, native birds, emus and kangaroos. Each day there is a Koala Encounters talk by Reserve staff. The Reserve also offers “Spotlight adventures” where guides will take on a night tour through Blackbutt Reserve to see some of the nocturnal animals such as possums, owls and bats. A traditional Aussie Billy Tea and Damper is served by the camp fire after the tour. You will need to contact the Reserve or check their web site for availability and prices.

Blackbutt Reserve has a number of picnic areas, with the main ones being Richley Reserve and Black Duck Picnic Area.

  • Richley Reserve is accessed via the Freyberg Street entrance. This area is on a mine site that has been restored to a peaceful picnic ground with grassy areas, two duck ponds, barbeques and picnic tables.
  • Black Duck Picnic Area is accessed via the Carnley Avenue entrance in Kotara. This area has a number of captive native wildlife exhibits including koalas, kangaroos wombats, emus, wallabies, and native birds. There is a duck pond, children’s playground, barbeque shelters and an information centre.
  • Other picnic areas within Blackbutt Reserve are Dead Tree Picnic Area, Lily Pond Picnic Area (at the corner of Queens Rd and Mahogany Drive) and the Lookout Road picnic areas.

Blackbutt Reserve is located six kilometres from the centre of Newcastle in the suburbs of Kotara and New Lambton. The main access points to the Reserve are from Carnley Avenue, Queens Road, Lookout Road and Freyberg Street.

The Wildlife Exhibits are open from 9am to 5pm every day of the year. The picnic and recreation facilities are open from 7am to 5pm (7am to 7pm during daylight saving). Admission is free.

The map marker below shows the location of Richley Reserve. If you scroll the map down a little bit, you will see the Black Duck Picnic Area with access from Camley Avenue.



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  3. Nowra Wildlife Park, North Nowra, New South Wales
  4. Urimbirra Wildlife Park, Victor Harbor, South Australia
  5. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Australian Capital Territory

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