Newport Lakes is a bushland oasis created from a former bluestone quarry and rubbish tip site, in the middle of busy Newport. The park is 33 ha in size and is a great place for a picnic with family and friends, for a leisurely walk or just to relax in a tranquil bushland setting. The lakes area of the park has been extensively revegetated using native plants, with over 200 species of plants and 85 species of birds recorded here.
A self-guided nature trail allows you to explore the lakes area at your own pace. The trail is about two kilometres in length and takes approximately 40 leisurely minutes. A brochure about the trail is available from the on-site nursery.
There are four bird trails in this area. The trails span between 1200 to 2100 meters in length and have been specifically designed as an aid to the bird watchers.
Other attractions of the park include:
North and south lakes: The Park’s lake separated by stepping-stones to form the North and south lakes is probably the loveliest part of the park. There are picnic tables around the lake where you can munch into some snacks and feed the seagulls as well.
Amphitheatre: This small round area encircled by blue rocks is like a lovely enclave. Earlier this area of the park was also a small pit like the other parts of the park.
Arboretum: This region of the park is like a small and cultivated garden housing some rare species of plants. This area was the earliest to be reconstructed from a pit, when the park was first formed.
Pavey’s park: This is like big grassland housing the Ranger’s Office, Nursery, Barbecues, and playing field along with a parking area.
This site, created from a former bluestone quarry and rubbish tip site, is a real gem. The lakes area of the park has been extensively revegetated using local native (indigenous) flora that attracts a range of native wildlife.
The main entrance is at Lakes Drive, off Mason Street, where there is a car park, playground and picnic facilities at Pavey's Picnic Area. The Sanctuary area for waterbirds and wildlife is fenced with a number of gates along the fence line. Dogs are prohibited from entering this area.
There is a Lakes Nature Trail, Bird Trails and the North and South Lakes.
A real highlight of the park, especially for kids, is the big stepping stone path which separates the North lake and the South lake. The water birds including the pair of Black Swans are not scared of people and often are very close to the stepping stones. There is plenty of bird life, both on and out of the water.
You'll find three tracks in this area: lakeside, cliff-bottom and cliff-top that can be taken individually for gentle walks or combined for a more substantial walk.
Please don't feed the birds and no swimming in the lake.
As well as the North and South lakes there is another aquatic area, the Amphitheatre.
The main features of the park are:
MAIN LOOKOUT - The main lookout offers spectacular views over the north and south lakes. With a little imagination you can try to picture the site as it was in the 1930s to 1950s when it operated as a bluestone quarry. The effort and vision required to transform Newport Lakes into what you see commenced in 1989. Today the park supports over 200 species of plants, 85 species of birds and many reptiles and frogs.
AMPHITHEATRE LOOKOUT - This former bluestone quarry hole now acts as a natural amphitheatre. The tributary ponds provide excellent habitat and breeding sites for many of the native waterbirds, including Purple Swamphen, Eurasian Coot and Dusky Moorhen. An important part of the wildlife habitat is the understorey, which includes native grasses, shrubs and various small wattle species.
WATERFALL - Stormwater that gathers in the park area is recycled through a series of pipes and ponds. This waterfall is part of that system but only operates during heavy rainfall. The stormwater is gradually filtered through aquatic plants in the amphitheatre ponds until it reaches the north and south lakes as clean water.
LAKES CROSSING - The stepping-stone crossing is made of large bluestone and basalt rocks quarried from the site. The surround of the stepping-stones has been built up to form a platform of bluestone rocks just below the surface, providing an opportunity to get up close to various waterbirds.
AQUATIC LIFE - The margins of the lakes are dominated by the Common Reed (Phragmites australis). The reeds provide the waterbirds with protection and shelter from predators such as dogs, cats and foxes. They also provide nesting sites and material and a food source for waterbirds.
BIRD VIEWING AREA - The Friends of Newport Lakes constructed the bird hide in 1999. The hide is an ideal spot for spending some quite time observing the many bird species at Newport Lakes
YELLOW GUM - Yellow Gum is the most common type of . eucalypt found at Newport Lakes. They are around ten years old and are soma. of the first trees planted In the development of the park. They provide shelter and protection for many species of terrestrial birds as well as protecting the understorey vegetation.
PLANT COMMUNITIES - As you walk along the Lakes Nature Trail you will notice changes in the vegetation. Plants naturally occur in groupings or associations known as plant communities. Along the trail you will see plant communities of Yellow Gum (Eucalyptus leucoxlyn) woodland, Ironbark (E sideroxlylon) woodland and Wallaby Grass (Danthonia) grassland.
There are plenty of seats located along the walks for a rest. There are some dangerous cliff edges and care needs to be taken. Also snakes occur naturally in this area.
A beautiful feature are four trails featuring resident bird life on mosaics designed and constructed with the help of local school students and residents. Part of one trail features a bird hide. All the trails begin with the Purple Swamp Hen mosaic just inside the main entrance. It is necessary to explore more than one trail to find all the mosaics.
Here is a bit of a cheat sheet to help you find as many mosaics as possible:
Purple Swamp Hen (all trails start and end here)
Bell Frog (1, 2,3,4)
Darter (1, 2)
Black Swan (1,2,3)
New Holland Honey Eater (3)
Fairy Wren (3)
Rainbow Lorikeet (3)
From the Purple Swamp Hen, go left and down hill. Look for a Willy Wagtail 1 Marker before a second lookout. Turn left, walking around the top of the Amphitheatre. Find the Bell Frog mosaic and walk down slope into the Amphitheatre. Walk across the Amphitheatre and the bridge.
Cross the stepping-stones and look for the Darter mosaic. Turn right and follow the lakeside path around South Lake, past the Black Swan and up hill to the Purple Swamp Hen.
From the Purple Swamp Hen, go left and down hill to the stepping- stones. Cross the stones and look for the Darter mosaic. Follow Willy Wagtail 2 Markers left around North Lake where you’ll pass Crake’s Corner.
Follow the lakeside track around the lake and uphill. On your left, you’ll find the bird hide built in 2000 by the Friends of Newport Lakes. Cross the little bridge on your left.
Follow this track and you’ll pass the Magpie mosaic on your left. Follow the track left to the Amphitheatre At the Bell Frog mosaic walk down slope into the Amphitheatre.
Walk across the Amphitheatre and the bridge. Cross the stepping-stones again and turn right following the Willy Wagtail 2B Markers. Follow the lakeside path around South Lake, past the Black Swan and up hill to the Purple Swamp Hen.
From the Purple Swamp Hen, turn right down hill to the Black Swan. Walk halfway up the steep slope where you’ll see a Willy Wagtail 3 Marker.
Turn left and follow the track at the base of the cliff. Along the way, you’ll see the New Holland Honey Eater and Fairy Wren mosaic. Cross over the grassy picnic area and pick up the track at the base of the cliff again.
Pass the Rainbow Lorikeet mosaic, walk down the steps and cross the little bridge ahead of you. Follow this track and you’ll pass the Magpie mosaic on your left. Follow the track and the Willy Wagtail 3 Markers left to the Amphitheatre.
At the Ampihitheatre, find the Bell Frog, look for a Willy Wagtail 3 Marker, and follow the track around the top of the Amphitheatre. At the Amphitheatre Lookout, turn right and walk up hill back to the Purple Swamp Hen.
Follow this track around the perimeter of the park. It takes you past the South and then North Lake, around the back of the undeveloped area and past the Arboretum to the paved road.
Look for a Willy Wagtail 4 Marker on your left directing you towards the Lakes. At the Ampihitheatre, find the Bell Frog, look for a Willy Wagtail 4 Marker, and follow the track around the top of the Amphitheatre.
At the Amphitheatre Lookout, turn right and walk up hill back to the Purple Swamp Hen.