Rainforest walk to Riverside Park

Hunter Wetlands National Park

Overview

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.

Where
Hunter Wetlands National Park
Distance
2km one-way
Time suggested
1hr 45min - 2hrs 15min
Grade
Grade 3
Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • It’s a good idea to put insect repellent on before you set out
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch

Variety is the spice of this excellent walk from the western side of Ash Island, through its interior, finishing at the picnic area by the river. Stroll through wetlands and rainforest before arriving on the edges of Kooragang City Farm. Here, you’ll see vegetable and bush food gardens, egrets and ibis feeding in the fields and historic silos that are part of the island’s farming past. You’ll also pass the ruins of Milham’s Farmhouse, established here in the 1860s.

You’ll soon arrive at Riverside Park, where you can go fishing off the jetty, look out over the mangroves and relax at the picnic area. The birdlife around the river is worth observing through a set of binoculars. Sea eagles soar overhead, pelicans float past, and cormorants can be seen hanging out their wings to dry.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

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/walking-tracks/rainforest-walk-to-riverside-park/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Track grading

Grade 3

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    1hr 45min - 2hrs 15min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Flat

  • Distance

    2km one-way

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track, some obstacles

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

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

    • Head north along the Pacific Highway towards Hexham
    • Cross the Ash Island Bridge then turn left onto Scotts Point Way
    • Park at the end of Scotts Point Way
    • The walk commences to the right

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available on Scotts Point Way.

    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

    Drinking water is not available in this area so you'll need to bring your own supply.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Cycling safety

    Hundreds of cyclists head to our national parks for fun and adventure. If you're riding your bike through a national park, read these mountain biking and cycling safety tips.

    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 + 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.

    Prohibited

    Pets

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

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Learn more

    Rainforest walk to 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.

    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)

    Riverside Park, Hunter Wetlands National Park. Photo: Susan Davis/NSW Government