Field Trips will be held on Wednesday 1st November and included in full conference and Wednesday day registration. There are full day options, as well as two half day options. Please select with your registration which field trip option you would like to attend on Wednesday 1st November. Please note below field trip itineraries are subject to change.
Field Trip 1: Wetland Restoration Stories from the Hunter River Estuary (Full Day)
Departs 8.30am and returns approximately 4.30pm
Each of the five locations will require short walks from vehicles to viewing points. Hunter Wetlands Centre has well maintained walking trails and several sheltered viewing platforms. Other locations will offer minimum shelter and a range of surfaces. We recommend closed in shoes and being prepared for sun and/or showers. Binoculars will come in handy at all locations.
Newcastle is well known for a long and productive industrial history and for housing the Port of Newcastle, the largest coal port in the world. Less well known is Newcastle’s long record of wetland conservation and restoration achievements since the early 80s, where social partnerships and collaboration across science, government, community and industry have supported an impressive succession of initiatives.
The Hunter Estuary Field Trip will showcase 40 years of cross-sector wetland conservation efforts through visits to five wetland restoration sites in the lower estuary. Together the sites tell a fabulous story of ambitious ideas, inspirational people and wetland restoration success stories in internationally important wetlands adjacent to world-leading port facilities and industry.
Sites include Shortland Wetlands (Hunter Wetlands Centre), Hexham Wetlands, Ash Island, Stockton Sandspit and Tomago Wetlands. At each site participants will hear about the history, progress and challenges and meet some of the people who have worked together to make these initiatives successful. Estuary stakeholders will include site managers, community members, government officers, service providers, industry operators and educators.
Please note: We are using the field trip opportunity to collect footage for the production of two small video products for future use by all partners. Richard Snashell of Spinning Reel Audio Visual will be traveling with us on the day and managing all the video collection and any interviews that arise. Once the edited version is available, those that feature will be contacted for consent. If you do not want to be filmed, we would suggest you select anther field trip option.
Field Trip 2: Integrated coastal management in action – Lake Macquarie’s approach to Managing Coastal and Climate Hazards whilst Protecting and Improving Ecosystem Health (Full Day)
Departs 8.30am and returns approximately 4.30pm
Lake Macquarie is home to NSW’s largest coastal lake, 32km of open coast and growing population of over 210,000 people. Improving the health of the Lake Macquarie estuary has been a major focus of Lake Macquarie City Council and the NSW Government for the last 25+ years. Preparing vulnerable communities to adapt to rising water levels (and other climate change hazards) has also been a priority for the last 10+ years. This field trip will showcase how the council have been integrating ecological restoration across the catchment, estuary and coastline with strategies to prepare locally-led climate adaptation plans that manage current and future coastal hazards. We will visit key coastal and estuarine hotspots and the recently opened Lake Macquarie Landcare and Sustainable Living Centre.
The field trip will also explore how the recently prepared Lake Macquarie Coastal Management Program sets the future direction for Lake Macquarie’s coastal management to deliver is vision of Marung, Birirral bunaba (a healthy and resilient coastal zone).
Field Trip 3: Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Port Stephens Region (Full Day)
Departs 8.30am and returns approximately 5.00pm
This tour will include approximately 2 hours of walking along the sand dunes
Explore the rich cultural and environmental heritage of the Port Stephens coastal and marine areas, with a full day tour led by Worimi guides, local environmental practitioners and subject matter experts.
On this tour, you will learn about important Aboriginal culture, history and the coastal landscapes that provided for the Worimi people. Your will come to appreciate the deep connection between the Worimi culture and the natural environment, as well as the role of the Worimi in the ongoing management of the area.
The field trip will also examine a range of coastal and marine habitats that make up this diverse coastal region, including the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Parks. Local practitioners from Port Stephens Council, NSW DPI Fisheries and the National Parks and Wildlife Service will guide you through the values, threats and approaches being applied to manage the Port Stephens coastal zone.
The field trip will also visit a Hunter Estuary site where you can see a remnant oyster reefs and one of the best areas in NSW for viewing large numbers of migratory wading birds. Remember to bring your binoculars for sightseeing and to spot bird and marine life!
Field Trip 4: Coastal Geomorphology and Sediments of the Newcastle to Port Stephens Region (Full Day)
Departs 8.30am and returns approximately 5.00pm
This field trip will include several walks on paved terrain to access lookouts to observe the coastal geomorphology. While most walks are relatively flat, there will be approximately 15 minutes (each way) of reasonably steep walking to and from the lookout on Gan Gan hill.
The Newcastle to Port Stephens region hosts a range of coastal environments, sediment systems and geological features. The form and function of this diverse landscape has evolved over millennia. It continues to evolve today.
On this full day coastal geomorphology and sediments focussed tour, you will
- Explore the geological context for coastal evolution of the region.
- Learn about the long term evolution of the Lower Hunter coastal sediment system, which includes ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ coastal barrier deposits, the largest active transgressive dunefield in the southern hemisphere and extensive offshore coastal sediments bodies within Stockton bight.
- Explore the estuary structure and function of the Hunter River (mature barrier estuary) and Port Stephens (drowned river valley) estuaries.
- Compare and contrast the rocky coasts of the Newcastle and Port Stephens coastlines – the former comprising Newcastle Coal Measures sedimentary rocks and the later comprised of Nerong Volcanics igneous rocks.
The technically focussed tour will include targeted field stops and expert / practitioner led discussions, that will draw on the long history of coastal geoscience research in the region.
As a highlight, you will visit two stunning coastal walkways which are key coastal attractions of the region. The trip will begin with a cliff top walk along the Anzac Memorial Walkway that provides stunning views of Newcastle’s famous surf beaches and coal cliffs. Following several stops along the way, the tour will conclude by walking up Tomaree Head. From here, you will enjoy unparalleled views of idyllic Port Stephens and its coastline that includes prominent coastal cliffs and bluffs, pristine pocket beaches, offshore islands and the Fingal Spit sand isthmus.
Note: The invigorating short walk up the Tomaree Head summit requires a degree of fitness and ability. The 1.5 hour 2.2 kilometre headland walk traverses 160 metres in elevation. An alternate and leisurely walk along the base of Tomaree Head will be available for delegates not wanting to traverse the steep summit. This optional alternative activity inclusive of a guided map with points of interest, provides beautiful coastal views of the estuary entrance and surrounds, including Yacaaba Head and Shoal Bay.
Field Trip 5: Welcome to the Sand Pit – Coastal Management at Stockton Beach (Half Day)
Departs 9.00am and returns approximately 1.00pm
There will be a total distance of 1.5km of walking and this will be split over 3 stages during the tour. Approximately 250m will be on the beach and the remainder will either be on a footpath or reserve.
Stockton Beach, the location of the first certified CMP in NSW, is a valuable case study for management of the open coast. With the harbour infrastructure blocking natural sand flow from the south, and coastal processes continuing to move on average 146,000m3 of sand north every year, the consequences for Stockton have been severe.
Seawalls have been built to protect critical infrastructure such as key roads and the Surf Life Saving Club. The suburb’s only childcare centre had to be demolished. Continual exposure of historical building waste must be managed, as well as the inundation of local streets and the suburb’s Holiday Park.
The continual loss of the beach and coastal assets, and the creep of permanent and emergency protection works is impacting the character of the suburb, and the emotional toll on the community is significant.
The Stockton CMP 2020 determined that the best solution is to artificially reinstate the sand supply to naturally buffer Stockton through mass sand nourishment. But the work is not finished…
Come and hear about the journey to mass sand nourishment through the CMP process – the challenges to making this strategy a reality, and the lessons learned from implementing the various coastal management strategies to address the immediate exposure risk such as rock bags, buried vertical protection structures, and sand scraping, while Stockton waits for sand.
Field Trip 6: Changing Seascapes, Coastlines and Identities - Newcastle's Southern Beaches Walking Tour (Half Day)
Departs 1.00pm and returns approximately 4.30pm
This tour will depart from Queens Street Wharf
The tour will involve approximately 5km of walking.
Newcastle’s southern coast is a study in contrasts. Rich cultural and European Heritage, a thriving economy, significant tourism industry and local identity that are all intertwined with a coast that has a diverse array of natural and man-made attractions.
It’s a bustling place, from the active port and line of cargo ships steaming in and out of the harbour entrance, to the much-loved sandy beaches that attract visitors from near and far. Its spectacular cliff lines, rocky headlands and dunes are home to numerous swimming holes and valued ecological communities. Importantly, the coast also has a long history of use as a meeting and gathering place for the Awabakal people.
Finding the balance between competing interests in this area is a dynamic challenge – especially so with the spectre of climate change looming large in the future.
Come for a walk and learn about the history, geology, ecology and future of this stretch of coastline fundamental to Newcastle’s identity – and how those working in this space seek to achieve a balance between nature, recreation and social connection.