Ash Island, Newcastle

This page is a chapter in the book New South Wales.


Ash Island is a large, flat island in the Hunter River, located in the Newcastle suburb of Hexham. It is part of the Hunter Wetlands National Park. Part is also referred to as the Kooragang Wetlands.

The island was once covered in lowland rainforest but was cleared for agriculture. There are still patches of mangroves, reedbeds and woodland, and large areas of fresh and salt water wetlands. The dirt roads are maintained but can be very rough at times (mainly after rain) and some lesser tracks are overgrown.

[top]Getting there

The narrow bridge that crosses the Hunter River is located opposite the Hexham McDonalds restaurant on the Pacific Hwy, Hexham. Once on the island there is a carpark and map which will help you get your bearings. Popular birding spots include Scott's Point, Crabhole Creek, Rosella Track and Wagtail Way.

[top]When to go

As with most locations, early morning and late afternoon are best. Spring and Summer are good times to photograph waders and other migratory species.


There are few facilities on the island but toilets can be found at the old radar bunkers and the old schoolmasters house. There are picnic tables at the end of Scott's Point.

[top]Key species

Ash Island has a wide variety of species and one can easily spend a day there exploring every corner of the island. Common species include: Brown Quail, Chestnut Teal, Swamp Harrier, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Brown Falcon, Rufous Whistler (summer), Horsfield's and Shining Bronze-cuckoo (summer), Mangrove Gerygone, White-fronted Chat, Australian Pipit, Little Grassbird, Golden-headed Cisticola, Tawny Grassbird, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (summer), Curlew Sandpiper (summer), White necked heron and Gull-billed Tern.

More uncommon species include Australasian Bittern, Painted Snipe, Black Falcon, Spotted Crake, Lewin's Rail, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Grass Owl and Pheasant Coucal.

Rarities have included Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-toed Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, Australian Pratincole and Northern Shoveler.

Eramaea Bird List for Ash Island and Hexham, click here.


A detailed Birding Guide is available here.

During the warmer months mosquitoes can be a real issue so come prepared.

A good source of local knowledge is the Hunter Bird Observers Club, click here.

Birding in the wider Newcastle area, read here.

Weather here and here.

Information on wetlands here.

[top]Maps & GPS

Detailed map here.


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