Riverside Park

Hunter Wetlands National Park

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Overview

The family-friendly Riverside Park, near Newcastle, is the perfect base for cycling, walking, fishing and birdwatching on Ash Island.

Type
Picnic areas
Where
Hunter Wetlands National Park
Accessibility
Medium
What to
bring
Drinking water, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen, binoculars

What better place to set up for a day of exploring than Riverside Park? Located at the northern end of Ash Island, near Newcastle, it’s a blissfully peaceful spot with sheltered picnic tables and a large deepwater jetty. What to bring with you? The kids, their bikes, a good pair of walking shoes, a fishing line, and your binoculars.

With its relaxing outlook over the Hunter River, you could easily open the Sunday papers and take it easy while the young at heart frolic on the large expanses of grass. But go for a walk and explore some of the other nearby landscapes – there are wetlands nearby, as well as remnants of coastal rainforest. The roads here are especially suitable for cyclists of all levels and take you all over the island, including to the old World War II radar station. Take some time when you pedal past the river foreshore to stop and birdwatch, as this is a popular spot for pelicans and white-faced herons.

Take a virtual tour of Riverside Park captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Map


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Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/picnic-areas/riverside-park/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Riverside Park.

Getting there and parking

Riverside Park is in the Ash Island precinct of Hunter Wetlands National Park. To get there from Newcastle:

  • Follow the Pacific Highway north towards Hexham
  • Turn right onto Ash Island Bridge
  • Follow the signs to Riverside Park

Road quality

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • All weather

Parking

Parking is available at Riverside Park.

Best times to visit

There are lots of great things waiting for you in Hunter Wetlands National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

With the weather mild, now is the time to get those bicycles out and ride the paths around Ash Island.

Spring

Pack a picnic to eat at Scotts Point or Riverside Park This is also the time you'll see the cream flowers of the mangroves .

Summer

This is the best time for birdwatching at Stockton Sandspit, as many of the migratory birds are here feeding. Make sure you're there at low-tide.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature

Average

20°C and 25°C

Highest recorded

42°C

Winter temperature

Average

10°C and 18°C

Lowest recorded

1.8°C

Rainfall

Wettest month

March

Driest month

November

The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

283.7mm

Facilities

Toilets

  • Flush toilets

Picnic tables

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

River and lake safety

The aquatic environment around rivers, lakes and lagoons can be unpredictable. If you're visiting these areas, take note of these river and lake safety tips.

Accessibility

Disability access level - medium

Assistance may be required to access this area.

Permitted

Fishing

A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dogs and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Learn more

Riverside Park is in Hunter Wetlands National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

All-ages adventure

Stockton Sandspit lookout, Hunter Wetlands National Park. Photo: Susan Davis

The action all starts at Riverside Park. Here, you'll find a picnic area and paths leading off around Ash Island. They're all flat and wide, so perfect for getting kids on their bikes for some fresh air. Take a walk through the wetlands and identify different species of birds. Head to the deepwater jetty and do some fishing. There's quite the underwater bounty around here and, whether your spot is the jetty or the river foreshores, you can haul in flathead, whiting, tailor and bream.

  • Rainforest walk to Riverside Park Rainforest walk to Riverside Park, near Newcastle, is suitable for walking or cycling and crosses Ash Island, ending by the river where you can fish and birdwatch.
  • Riverside Park The family-friendly Riverside Park, near Newcastle, is the perfect base for cycling, walking, fishing and birdwatching on Ash Island.
  • Scotts Point Way to Riverside Park trail Enjoy an easy walk or bike ride along the river on the Scott Point to Riverside Park trail, Ash Island, as it takes you past excellent spots for fishing and birdwatching.

Early evidence

World War II Radar Station, Hunter Wetlands National Park. Photo: Susan Davis

Get a taste of some of the area's history. From the picnic area at Riverside Park, you can walk through the Kooragang City Farm precinct and find the ruins of the farmhouse and dairy built by William Milham, who ran a property here with the first European owner of Ash Island, AW Scott. Also on the island is a heritage-listed World War II radar 'igloo'.

  • Rainforest walk to Riverside Park Rainforest walk to Riverside Park, near Newcastle, is suitable for walking or cycling and crosses Ash Island, ending by the river where you can fish and birdwatch.
  • Scotts Point Way to Riverside Park trail Enjoy an easy walk or bike ride along the river on the Scott Point to Riverside Park trail, Ash Island, as it takes you past excellent spots for fishing and birdwatching.

Feather bluster

Sunset over Hunter Wetlands National Park. Photo: Susan Davis

The Hunter River and its estuaries are home to a number of habitats - freshwater wetlands, mangroves and coastal rainforest among them - making the area a haven for birdlife. More than 200 species of birds live here or pass through on their migration. Head to Stockton Sandspit, where shorebirds - plovers, oystercatchers and curlews, to name a few - roost and feed on the mud flats. Along the river foreshore, you'll also likely see pelicans, spoonbills, black swans and, sweeping over the water searching for fish, sea eagles and swamp harriers.

  • Guided kayak adventures at Smiths Island Spend a day exploring mangrove forests and islands by kayak on this tour of Hunter Wetlands National Park with the friendly guides from the School of Yak. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature in this birdwatchers’ paradise around Smiths Island.
  • The earth's environment Did you know that over 9 per cent of NSW is a national park? That’s over 7 million hectares. This Stage 2 (Years 3-4) earth’s environment geography excursion is delivered Hunter Wetlands National Park.

World-class wetlands

Wetlands, Hunter Wetlands National Park. Photo: Susan Davis

Hunter Wetlands National Park makes up part of the Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar site (the Ramsar convention recognises wetlands of international importance). This peaceful area is important for many species of birds, including 45 that migrate internationally. The green and golden bell frogs, both threatened species, breed in the freshwater lagoons. The mangroves here also provide maternity roosts for tiny bats, including the eastern free-tail bat.

  • Rainforest walk to Riverside Park Rainforest walk to Riverside Park, near Newcastle, is suitable for walking or cycling and crosses Ash Island, ending by the river where you can fish and birdwatch.
  • Riverside Park The family-friendly Riverside Park, near Newcastle, is the perfect base for cycling, walking, fishing and birdwatching on Ash Island.

Education resources (1)

School excursions (2)