The Fernleigh track is a 15km rail trail running from Adamstown in the North to Belmont in the South, just outside of Newcastle and runs through the traditional lands of the Awabakal People.
The 15km route is along a disused coal haul rail line passes through the suburbs of Adamstown, Kahibah, Whitebridge, Redhead, Jewells and ends near Belmont TAFE, taking in the Glenrock State Conservation Area, Awabakal Nature Reserve and Belmont Wetlands State Park. The trail is a very popular walking and cycle trail and well known to locals. The Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST) is about to be extended by the City of Newcastle and will be a shared pathway linking the end of the Fernleigh Track at Belmont with Blacksmiths Beach, creating a 27km active transport route from Murrays Beach to Adamstown.
As a destination, we haven’t seen anything quite like it and so close to a major city. This is a great experience for old and young alike and you can do as little or as much as you like. There’s so much to see and do, the track is very gently graded and along the way, you’ll see a series of historical relics and informative signage about the rail lines' history.
We headed to Yuelarbah Trail Carpark on Burwood Road which is the perfect spot to base yourself from to access both the Fernleigh Track and the Glenrock Conservation area. If you are up for a slightly more adventurous hike, the conservation area has a host of walking trails that take in some remarkable natural coastline and bushland. You will cross creeks and descend towards the ocean through a variety of landscapes. The walk isn’t arduous and bring your swimmers so you can take a dip in the ocean at the end of the trail.
If you’re on a bike, feeling like a leisurely stroll or up for a run, then head north on the Fernleigh Track towards Adamstown where you’ll be able to take in a local spot popular for great photography – the Fernleigh Track tunnel. It runs right under the Pacific Highway and was built originally for the trains that shifted coal up and down.
The whole experience is a great way to spend a few hours and you’ll get to take in some great views and scenery the locals know very well but the average visitor may miss. It's worth exploring and Newcastle just keeps delivering on the unexpected.