Blackbutt Reserve – Newcastle

Blackbutt reserve newcastle

School holidays are here! Autumn is a great time for new adventures and there is a sunny day or two coming up. Head out of town these school holidays and discover what is on offer at Blackbutt Reserve in Newcastle.

Operated by Newcastle Council, Blackbutt Reserve occupies over 182 hectares and has 10 kilometres of walking trails. The reserve has opportunities for picnics, bushwalking, wildlife exhibits and playgrounds.

Blackbutt Reserve has two areas – Carnley Avenue and Richley Reserve.  Central Coast Weekender visited the Carnley Avenue site.  The wildlife exhibits are found at the Carnley Avenue site.  It is a 430 metre walk between the two sites.


The wildlife exhibits at Blackbutt Reserve make it a unique destination. A visit to the wildlife exhibits is free!

The enclosures are intimate and ideal for young children. The exhibits include koalas, wombats, reptiles, wallabies and birds. The boardwalk is an easy walk and is suitable for wheelchairs and prams.

The koalas were our favourite by far!

Wildlife exhibit at Blackbutt Reserve

Koala exhibit @ Blackbutt Reserve

Feeding Times

Emu at Blackbutt Reserve Newcastle

I see you!

If you are keen to see a little more, head along at a feeding time! Held daily @

  • 10:30 am – Wombat Feast
  • 10:45 am – Bird Brunch
  • 1:30 pm – Nocturnal nourish
  • 2 pm – Koala Dining

Reptile Show

Join in at the Reptile show held daily during the school holidays and on weekends. Tickets are available from the kiosk for $2.50 per person.  Kids under 3 are free.

The show starts at 11 am.

Kangaroos and Emu Walk

A bushwalk around a second large enclosure offers a chance to visit kangaroos and emus.

Food for the emus can be purchased at the kiosk if you are game to feed them through the fence!

We had the chance to say hello to a cheeky emu up close!

Take a Picnic

The Carnley Avenue Facility has 11 picnic shelters. The shelters surround a large grassed reserve.

The picnic shelters can be hired for birthday parties, weddings and functions.  The picnic shelters are extremely popular so if you would like to book one, book early!  If you miss out on a shelter, never fear – there is plenty of other picnic room at the reserve.

Blackbutt Reserve Newcastle with Central Coast weekender

Carnley Avenue Picnic Area

Communal BBQs are available at Carnley Avenue. Peacocks roam the grounds while you cook and keep the bush turkeys at bay.

Blackbutt Reserve is extremely popular on the weekends. We highly recommend arriving early to grab a good spot.  We visited the reserve on a weekday outside of school holidays.


The playground at the Carnley Avenue site is unique. The design is unlike any playgrounds on the Central Coast, so it certainly provided a few hours of entertainment!

The playground is not fenced and is mostly suited to 6 – 10 year old play. Keep a close eye on kids under 4.  A large picnic shelter is next to this playground. We happily cooked lunch while the kids played (aged 4).  Our best tip – wear rough and tumble clothes for this park.

Blackbutt Reserve Playground

Carnley Avenue Playground

The alternative Richley Reserve playground offers facilities for juniors.


Run by volunteers, the Carnley Avenue kiosk is the first stop for information, reptile show tickets, souvenirs, cold drinks and tea or coffee.

You can also purchase food for the Emus or a kids activity pack to enjoy during your visit.

Junior Ranger Program

The Newcastle Permanent Junior Ranger Fun Day is a free event held every school holidays.  The day aims to give kids a chance to learn about the environment.

The next Junior Ranger Fun Day is on 12 April 2017.  The fun day runs from 11am to 1pm and is held at Richley Reserve.

Activities include jumping castles, environmental activities, craft, games and animal encounters.

Bookings are not required. However, parental supervision is compulsory and kids must have enclosed shoes.

More information is available at the Blackbutt Reserve webpage.

Opening Hours

Picnic facilities:  7am to 7pm

Wildlife Exhibits: 10am – 5pm daily

Closed Christmas Day, Good Friday and before 1pm on ANZAC Day

A parking fee $3/hr or $8/day applies to all vehicles. All fees raised contribute to the conservation work at the reserve.


Blackbutt Reserve is located in Kotara, Newcastle. Richley Reserve and Carnley Reserve are accessible by vehicle from two separate entrances.

We hope you have a great day out!

Central Coast Weekender Jen and Allie

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