School excursion

Aboriginal culture: Ash Island

Stage 2 (Years 3-4), HSIE, Hunter Wetlands National Park

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Aboriginal culture is a school excursion for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) HSIE students exploring the beautiful natural and built environments of Ash Island, part of Hunter Wetlands National Park. Through first-hand experiences learn about the culture of the Awabakal People, how they lived, what resources they used and the significance of the land and Dreamtime stories.

Read more about Aboriginal culture: Ash Island

Hunter Wetlands National Park is an internationally significant (Ramsar-listed) wetland consisting of Kooragang and Shortland wetlands and a wildlife corridor connecting Ironbark Creek, the Hunter River and Ash Island. Extremely popular with birdwatchers the park is home to over 100 bird species and 45 species of international migratory birds, and is a welcome refuge in times of drought.

For program outline, safety and practical information about this excursion, see info for teachers

Stage Stage 2 (Years 3-4)
Key learning area HSIE
Student outcomes

GE2-1. Examines features and characteristics of places and environments

GE2-2. Describes the ways people, places and environments interact

HT2-2. Describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community over time

HT2-3. Describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects


Students will:

  • discuss and determine the Aboriginal boundaries of the local community
  • discuss the significance of hills, trees, rivers etc
  • observe the remnant native vegetation of the local community
  • identify animal and plant life that may have provided food and discuss its preparation
  • discuss water quality in the local creeks or streams
  • discuss and compare changes and continuities in the lives of Aboriginal people in the local community
  • listen to Aboriginal stories.

Excursion details


Weekdays all year.

Hunter Wetlands National Park
Medium. Guided activities in a suburban national park, on formed and uneven bush walking tracks, and on a grassed picnic area.

$380 per group (includes GST). Maximum 30 students per group. For groups over 30 conditions apply.

Meeting point
Ash Island Schoolhouse carpark, Ash Island.
No. All equipment is provided.
If you would like to organise a NPWS school excursion please get in touch with local staff or use the 'Enquire' link for the online form.
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Local alerts

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Park info

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Info for teachers

All the practical information you need to know about Aboriginal culture: Ash Island .

Program outline

  • Welcome, introductions, safety briefing and acknowledgement
  • Bush walk –environment and culture
  • Morning tea
  • Aboriginal cultural activities (may include: weapons and tools, bush foods or art)
  • Local Dreamtime stories
  • Conclusion and farewell

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Travelling toward Newcastle on the Pacific Highway turn left and cross the Ash Island bridge. Take the first right turn and the school house is the next turn on the right.

    Park entry points

    What to bring

    Please wear fully enclosed shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, wet weather gear, and lunch which should be low waste with a refillable water bottle. Students should bring gear in a backpack or similar (not plastic bags).

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Pre activity briefing: participants will be briefed at the start of the activity/day.

    Safety equipment: NPWS staff carry radios and first aid kits, hold current first aid certificates and are aware of emergency procedures.

    Staff accreditation: NPWS staff have current Senior First Aid accreditation. They are experienced in working with groups of students in the natural environment and have excellent knowledge of the specific areas they are visiting including potential hazards. NPWS is committed to a Child Safe and Friendly Environment. Our staff have been screened for child-related employment and have completed a Working with Children Check.

    Emergencies: NPWS staff are trained to deal with emergencies and emergency procedures are in place. Ongoing supervision of a student following first aid treatment will be the responsibility of the visiting school.

    Risk assessment and risk benefits

    Our rangers and guides have the technical skill and experience to assess the risks and the benefits of a variety of activities delivered as part of our learning programs.

    We believe in including opportunities that allow students to learn and experience for themselves through exploration in the natural environment.

    Please make your own risk assessment based on the information provided. Detailed potential risks and controls are provided for the site to assist teachers in risk management planning. Teachers and carers should be aware of, and consider the needs, abilities and medical conditions of students when visiting this site. The supervision of students remains the responsibility of the teacher. The school must ensure an adequate number of adult supervisors are present.


    Disability access level - medium

    Please let us know in advance if you are bringing someone with special needs so that we can plan accordingly.