Newcastle’s ‘Blackbutt Reserve’ Review – A Family Outing

blackbutt reserve

A Beautiful Day

Today was an unseasonably warm day with perfect weather, the perfect opportunity for an outdoors adventure. Following my own advice from Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids, we decided to head outdoors, beyond the limits of our backyard. Living in the city generally means we need to travel a little bit further to enjoy nature, this is the one exception.

What better way to enjoy the beautiful day and spend time as a family then to go wandering through the bush and exploring the different wildlife that live in our country. To make the day even better some of my wider family joined us as well!

Today’s destination – Blackbutt Reserve!

Disclaimer, while this might read like a paid review, that couldn’t be further from the truth. My family enjoyed a great day out here and I am simply letting you as the reader know what an amazing place we found it to be.

Black What Reserve?

So what is Blackbutt Reserve? if your a local reader then feel free to skip onto the next section (unless you feel like possibly learning something). For the wider audience I’ll elaborate.

blackbutt reserve

Blackbutt Reserve is a nature reservation a short 15-minute drive from the centre of Newcastle. It is situated on over 182 hectares of bushland, including a dedicated area with wildlife exhibits. They are setup in such a way that allow visitors (free of charge) to watch the animals in their native habitat and learn more about them. What better way to learn more about the animals then attending one of the scheduled animal feeding sessions on throughout the day.

Of the 93 things listed on TripAdvisor to do in Newcastle, it is ranked 4th, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Aside from the wildlife, Blackbutt is also a great location for other outdoor recreational activities. The reserve boasts 10 kilometers of tracks that will suit a range of fitness levels.

Or for those looking for something a bit quieter, there is ample BBQ and picnic facilities with a sizable kids playground as well

Combine all this together and you have the making of a wonderful family outing. Which is exactly what we did today.

Our Adventure

We started our visit by heading straight to one of the many picnic tables. We brought our lunch with us (see my advice section later on) as it was already the afternoon and none of us had eaten yet (rookie error). While sitting down eating we took turns enjoying the open area to kick a ball around with the little guy.

ball kicking

Once lunch was finished it was time to check out the wildlife. The reserve has a set walking path through the various enclosures allowing you to see (almost!) all the animals in one go.

Blackbutt koalas

On our way we got to see a couple of Wombats snacking away, and various species of birds. One of the more popular enclosures would have been the Koalas. You could get pretty close to them, even if the majority of them were passed out.

Blackbutt Lizards

As we moved further through the reserve we were led through a couple of darkened enclosures highlighting the various nocturnal animals native to the area. Hot Tip! if you are taking younger kids through here, it can be hard to point out the smaller animals in the exhibits, try and bring them before they get too tired and their patience wears out.

After completing our adventure through the first section, we wondered why we had purchased ’emu food’ ($2) when we hadn’t seen any. We then realised that on the other side of the clearing was another large enclosure, highlighting the larger animals. This is where our little guy really became interested.

Emus

He was fascinated. That is until Grandma almost lost a finger feeding the Emus, then he wanted to move on pretty quickly. Whether it was the Emus or Grandmas reaction that spooked him is still up for debate.

By this stage our man was getting very tired, to the point where he refused to walk by himself and didn’t want anyone holding him except mum. That is until he saw the wallabies.

blackbutt wallaby

Honestly I think he would have stayed their all afternoon if we were with him. He wasn’t just staring at them, he was waving and saying hello!

By the time we got back to our cars the entire family was a bit worn out. The little guy because he didn’t have his usual nap before we went. The rest of us because I think we underestimated how much walking would be involved (see advice later on for shoes).

Suffice to say it was definitely worth heading out for

tired child

 

Advice for Families

As parents you may think you can prepare for every situation, but can you ensure you make the most of every adventure. Here’s a quick list if you plan on visiting Blackbutt, or any similar location

  • Choose your Time of Day Carefully – Some will say go earlier in the day to try and beat the crowds. With the reserve being open all day, you can miss the crowds by going later on too. I would also work this around your kids. If they are still young, work it around nap time etc.
  • Pack Well – The car park is only a short walk from the main recreational area so don’t be afraid to over pack. Bringing your own lunch is a good idea with onsite food options very limited. BBQ’s are an option but this place does get busy. Don’t forget to pack your esky with drinks for the family too.
  • Dress Appropriately – Sure some parts are in the sun, others are well shaded, so if its a cooler day don’t underestimate the temperature dropping. Also I wouldn’t attend without wearing good footwear. If you want to experience the wildlife you will need to do some walking, and its not flat.
  • Respect the environment – this should be a given. It is rare to find such a large reserve of bushland so close to the city. The only way it will last is if its looked after. Don’t litter, look after the facilities, and follow the advice listed for feeding the wildlife.

blackbutt reserve

 

As I said earlier, the Down Under Family had a great afternoon at Blackbutt. I would highly recommend it to any families, as well as those who have never experienced the wildlife of our country. I know we are already planning our next visit.

Links

Blackbutt Reserve Website

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve/Home

Blackbutt Reserve on TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g255325-d953695-Reviews-Blackbutt_Reserve-Newcastle_Greater_Newcastle_New_South_Wales.html

Visit Newcastle – Blackbutt Reserve

https://www.visitnewcastle.com.au/blackbutt-reserve