From bird rich remnant bushland to lush wetlands, Maitland has all manner of luminous landscapes and vibrant sceneries to explore. Whether you’re partial to a picnic, you crave the stillness of birdwatching, or a leisurely stroll in nature is more your style, the flora and fauna of Maitland is bound to delight.
It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting Maitland for a weekend, or a week; there are all kinds of bushland discoveries to be had, in the suburbs and on the city’s outskirts.
Wander around Walka
Leisure lovers from all ‘walks’ of life – birders, walkers, history buffs, cyclists and more will appreciate the heritage listed industrial complex and the picturesque surrounds of Walka Water Works, in Oakhampton Heights, around two kilometres northwest of the city of Maitland. Sitting on just over 64 hectares, Walka Water Works – or ‘Walka’ for short – has something for all types of day trippers. For starters, there’s a central lake that is home to over 300 species of birdlife. Walka is a very walkable site, too, with an easy 3km Walka Lagoon Trail Loop taking about 40 minutes. Or there’s a 5km circular trail called the Walka Lagoon Lake Trail and Grassy Knoll, popular for birding, hiking and mountain biking, and peaceful at different times of the day.
At Earthcare Park Tenambit you’re in for a real tweet
Keen bird watchers and nature lovers wishing to while away the hours might be able to spot a Golden Whistler at Earthcare Park Tenambit. Golden Whistlers are one of the many birds to be heard on this 32 hectare bush regeneration site that’s lovingly cared for by Earthcare Landcare Park. Known for their bowl shaped nests, Golden Whistlers breed September to January, so keep your eyes peeled if you take a visit.
Tread carefully and you could even encounter an endangered Hunter River Longneck Turtle, thanks to the staunch conservation efforts of Earthcare Park Landcare. The group and its citizen scientists – identified the area as a turtle nesting hotspot and – working in collaboration with the 1Million Turtles program – have been busy implementing pest management, mapping predation and undertaking a range of other initiatives to help bring back the turtle population. The area has abundant birdlife aplenty, too, with Tawny Frogmouths found. So look out for sticks on flat branches on your next walk. Have a closer at the tree hollows while you’re there because they’re go to spots for galahs. Please note that there are no amenities at this site.
Year round life at Lawler
Stop off a short drive away (from Maitland) at Ray Lawler Reserve in Morpeth, just off Edward St. Bring along a picnic to this picturesque park where its small ponds and neat lawns are home to many species of birds – the more common among them include Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, Blue-faced and Striped Honeyeater, parrots, Yellowrumped Thornbill and Nankeen Night Heron. In the colder months, you may spot the White naped Honeyeater, Rose Robin, and Silvereye. When it warms up, regular summer visitors are the Eastern Koel, White-winged Triller, Leaden Flycatcher and Rainbow Bee-eater. There are toilets and a small playground. Whilst you’re in Morpeth why not walk of the Morpeth to Walka shared pathway, keeping your eye out for other birdlife!
Get your binoculars out at Telarah Lagoon
Telarah Lagoon is a significant wetland area in eastern Maitland. It serves as a habitat for various bird species, including the resident ducks and geese, and features walking tracks, a barbeque and viewing platforms for visitors to enjoy. In 2021, 100 trees were planted on the site by Maitland Rotary Club members to commemorate 100 years of Rotary.
Blink and you’d miss it: Bolwarra Wetlands
A hidden gem of a spot, a short walk down the hill from the Bolwarra Sporting Complex on Victoria Rd (which runs off Paterson Rd, Bolwarra) is Bolwarra Wetlands. The site, which is home to a small area of bushland and a walking track, was once a sewage treatment works. Local birders have indicated the presence of Latham’s Snipe in Summer. A variety of waterfowl can usually be seen, sometimes in large numbers. Black-tailed Nativehen are occasionally present, while Zebra Finch have been recorded in the bush alongside the wetlands. There are no amenities at this site.