Lake Macquarie History

Fernleigh Track

The City Council of Lake Macquarie acknowledge the Aboriginal people known today as the Awabakal, as the traditional Custodians of the land, respecting Aboriginal Elders past, present and future. Lake Macquarie City Council recognise the local Aboriginal community today in all of their diversity, who came forward to share their experiences, knowledge, images and memories.

photo: children riding bikes fernleigh track

Fernleigh Track is a unique and popular shared pathway, which takes walkers and cyclers on a breath-taking journey through a diverse range of coastal environments from Lake Macquarie to Newcastle. It follows a restored former railway corridor, where sleepers, signage and former stations have been recreated to present features from days gone by as well as welcoming rest areas. The 15 kilometre route is joint project of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle City Councils, which provided funding as well as State and Federal Government grants. After ten years, construction was completed in March 2011 and navigates through Glenrock State Conservation Area, Awabakal Nature Reserve, and the Belmont Wetlands State Park. At many points, cafés, takeaways and local shops are close by with many different access points, public toilets, drinking fountains and parking along the way.


The area is a rich natural environment, and was home to the Awabakal nation for an estimated six thousand years. They hunted and used the local resources along the diverse surroundings, from the open rocky coastline to swamp lands and also along the hilly forests.

The late 1880s saw the beginning of construction of the rail that was used to transport coal from mines in Lake Macquarie to the port of Newcastle. A passenger service also existed between Belmont to Newcastle. Diesel trains replaced steam trains in 1967, with the final scheduled passenger service being run in 1971. With the closure of the last mine, the Lambton Colliery, use of the line ceased.

Transformation of the former rail corridor was led by the Fernleigh Track Committee. It was a shared project of Lake Macquarie City and Newcastle City Councils, after a joint purchase of the land in 1994. The project was completed in stages, spanning from 2003 to 2004 with funding coming from both councils as well as NSW State and Federal governments.

Features of the Fernleigh Track:

  • Provides a peaceful and scenic walking and cycling track, through beautiful bushland and wetland areas
  • It has easy grades for people of all fitness levels.
  • The Fernleigh Tunnel is the connection point between Lake Macquarie and Newcastle and it even appears in a few television commercials.
  • It provides a safe off-road link between residential and employment areas
  • Former stations and heritage railway relics are visible from the Track.

Access Points:

Major access points with car park available:

  • Adamstown train station, Park Avenue
  • Burwood Road, Kahibah (car park at entry to Glenrock State Conservation Area).
  • Station Street/Hudson Street, Whitebridge
  • Cowlishaw Street, Redhead
  • Railway Crescent (via Wommara Avenue), Jewells
  • Railway Parade, Belmont

Other points accessible by car but without formal car parks:

  • Fletcher Street, Adamstown
  • Dibbs Street/Brisbane Water Road, Adamstown
  • Brisbane Water Road/Bailey Street, Adamstown
  • Kinross Avenue, Adamstown Heights
  • Faul Street, Adamstown Heights
  • Paterson Close, Whitebridge
  • Station Street/Candish Street, Whitebridge
  • Oakdale Road, Dudley

courtesy of


Lake Macquarie City Council. 2015. Fernleigh Track. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 June 2016].