Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve

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Located in Port Stephens, near Newcastle in the NSW Hunter region, Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve offers birdwatching, bushwalking and Aboriginal heritage.

Read more about Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve

Whether you’re interested in birdwatching, Aboriginal heritage, bushwalking or natural history, the Hunter region’s Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve offers a memorable experience.

Birdwatching enthusiasts have already caught onto this little gem, which is a habitat for numerous waterfowl. Locals will also tell you it’s a great place for a walk at any time of year, and historically significant in more ways than one.

Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve boasts an impressive variety of freshwater wetland habitats, from open water and mud flats to melaleuca forest, open woodlands and pasture. Bring along a picnic, a camera and your trusty walking shoes and you’re all set for a delightful day in the great outdoors.

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Local alerts

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See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve.


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Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Sydney:

    • Take the F3 Freeway towards Newcastle
    • When you reach the roundabout at Black Hill, take the third exit onto John Renshaw Drive, still heading towards Newcastle.
    • Exit onto Anderson Drive towards Woodberry/Beresfield, then turn right to stay on Anderson Drive.
    • Take the first left onto Woodberry Road, then turn right to stay on Woodberry Road.
    • At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Raymond Terrace Road.
    • After about 4km, turn left onto Seaham Road, which turns into Warren Street.
    • Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve is located on the corner of Warren and Torrence streets


    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    By public transport

    For information about public transport options, visit the NSW country transport info website.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.


    Autumn's gorgeous blue skies make it an ideal time for picnicking. Bring the hamper and grab a picnic table for a great lunch backed by the sound of the birds.


    Spring is the ideal time for birdwatching at Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve. You'll likely see lots of baby birds around and maybe even a dedicated mother teaching her chicks to swim.


    Visit in summer and head to the Seaham Swamp Bird Hide to catch an array of birds in their seasonal plumage.


    Be energised by the crisp winter weather and set out on the lovely Seaham Swamp walk through beautiful ironbark forest.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature


    16°C and 29°C

    Highest recorded


    Winter temperature


    6°C and 19°C

    Lowest recorded



    Wettest month

    February and March

    Driest month



    Picnic tables

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    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).



    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.


    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Morpeth (15 km)

    Walking down the historic, sandstone-lined streets of Morpeth, you'll be tempted to stop for a riverside lunch; sip some locally produced wine or browse the town's many boutiques for chic fashion, stylish homewares and unique jewellery.

    Maitland (22 km)

    One of Maitland's premier stops, Maitland Gaol ceased service as a correctional facility in 1998, After housing some of Australia's most hardened and notorious criminals, Maitland Gaol closed in 1998. Now, the cell doors are open again and you can take a self-guided audio tour, a themed-guided tour or torchlight tour by night.

    Newcastle (40 km)

    Newcastle is a harbour city surrounded by amazing surf beaches that are linked by a great coastal walk, the Bathers Way. The walk from Nobbys Beach to Merewether Beach takes about three hours and is a great way to explore the city.

    Learn more

    Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Incredible geology

    The swamp,  Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    Interested in natural history? The reserve protects Seaham Quarry, a historic site containing scientifically important sediments from ancient glacial thaw water. These sediments date back 90 -120 million years, and the quarry was dedicated for preservation in 1925 for scientific purposes. Check out the remarkable streaky rock and read the notice from Professor Edgeworth David, the pioneering geologist and explorer who first recognised the sediments’ glacigene origin in 1914.

    • Seaham Swamp Bird Hide See an array of birdlife at Seaham Swamp Bird Hide. A top Seaham attraction and picnic spot, this birdwatching haven is open all year round.
    • Seaham Swamp walk Seaham Swamp walk is a great option for walking with kids. This short walk near Newcastle and Raymond Terrace is also a must for birdwatching.

    Bird watching paradise

    Pelicans (Pelecanus), Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    Come and see why countless species live in and migrate to Seaham Swamp year after year. Look carefully and you’ll see species like white-bellied sea eagles, storks and glossy ibis. Listen out for the honking magpie goose and head to Seaham Swamp Bird Hide and see how many others you can spot. And don’t forget your camera – you’re sure to get some terrific photos. You may well see a grey kangaroo or eastern snake-necked turtle on your visit, as well as many wonderful birds. The reserve provides important habitats for a range of creatures on both wet and dry land. Roam the woodlands to see mighty ironbark and forest red gums and spot birds aplenty roosting in broad-leaved paperbarks. Some of these habitats are sadly under pressure, but revegetation is underway thanks to Seaham Primary School students.

    • Seaham Swamp Bird Hide See an array of birdlife at Seaham Swamp Bird Hide. A top Seaham attraction and picnic spot, this birdwatching haven is open all year round.
    • Seaham Swamp walk Seaham Swamp walk is a great option for walking with kids. This short walk near Newcastle and Raymond Terrace is also a must for birdwatching.

    A rich Aboriginal heritage

    Trees on the bank of the swamp,  Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    The reserve lies within the area of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council. In years gone by, it and the adjoining Williams River would have provided important resources to Aboriginal residents, such as waterfowl and fish. Looking at the reserve’s abundant melaleucas today, it’s fascinating to think those very trees would have delivered paperbark for cooking, while other barks may have been used for coolamons and other wooden implements.

    A colonial cottage

    Toms cottage, Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve. Photo: John Spencer

    Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve is also home to a historic slab cottage known as Tom McLellan’s Cottage, or simply Tom’s Cottage. Come see a fine example of a typical colonial era rural dwelling which was moved to its current location in the early 1900s. Though it’s named for Tom, the cottage was actually first built as a retirement home for his mother, Mary McLellan.

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents.