See Native Australian Animals at Blackbutt Reserve in Newcastle

Inquisitive Rainbow Lorikeets.

I can’t get enough of Australian animals. They were in my life for 25 years and I completely took them for granted. I felt bereft without them and it’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve felt semi-balanced again.

There are a two reasons I really like our native fauna. They’re usually really weird looking and it’s easy to spot most of them in the wild, depending on where you live. I never see koalas in the wild (but their numbers are strong in certain destinations like Kangaroo Island).

On the upside, Kangaroos used to hang out on my front yard and my current area is completely inundated with birdlife.

Emus at Blackbutt Reserve.

Others however, are a bit harder to spot in the wild and many more, currently endangered, like the koala. So, thank goodness that there are various reserves around the country, that house many of these animals in their natural habitat, keeping them well-fed and safe.

The entrance to the animal walk.

Lost in contemplation.

One such place is the Blackbutt Reserve in Newcastle.

The Reserve was once intended as a subdivision for the nearby suburb of Kotara, but was instead developed into a public recreational reserve. It exists now as a popular destination for birthday parties and picnics. You can throw some sausages on the BBQ, whilst guarding the bread from the nearby birdlife, including beautiful peacocks and peahens.

I usually make no mention of kid-related activities on this blog, as a very happily childless twenty-something year old, but the reserve really is a great place to take kids. There are playgrounds, plenty of space for them to run around and do whatever it is children do these days. They seem to climb less trees than I did, as a kid.

Keith the snake, playing his part in the reptile show.

The Reptile Show

Every Saturday and Sunday, at 11am, a reptile show is held. This is an opportunity to get up close to some of Australia’s least deadly snakes, lizards and turtles (okay, turtles aren’t exactly deadly, but their bites bloody well hurt and yes, I am talking from experience). It’s $2.50 AUD for a ticket, which is hardly breaking the bank and you get to pat a snake. Enough said.

Animal Enclosures

Personally, I was there for the numerous animal enclosures. Blackbutt is home to emus, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, a smattering of reptiles and tonnes of birdlife.

It’s free to enter the reserve and walk through the animal enclosures – how many places can you think of which offer that sort of a deal? (Okay, you have to pay for parking… but that aside!)

The entrance to the nocturnal house.

Peacocks roam around, without a care in the world, deliberately not being Australian.

The BBQ Area

As Blackbutt is a reserve first a foremost, it’s a super lovely setting to hold a birthday party, picnic, or good old fashioned Aussie BBQ! Just make sure you guard your food from the local wildlife – they can and will attempt to relieve you of your feast, if you’re not careful.

Related: Battling racoons in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

A peahen and her babies.

I feel odd about zoo and nature reserves sometimes. On the one hand, I believe that animals and birds belong in the wild. On the other, many of the animals housed in these sort of places do have very good lives. They’re well fed, loved and looked after and their living spaces look quite enviable, particularly compared with some of the rooms I’ve rented out across the world. With many of Australia’s native animals under threat from loss of habitat, invasive species or the spread of disease, it’s nice to know that a small portion of their populations are being taken care of and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

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LC

LC can often be found nursing a cup of green tea, with her head in a book. She is a writer, video editor and professional cheese eater. Her life's aspiration is to one day live on a farm in Tasmania with 11 dogs, a Shetland pony and several pygmy goats. Follow along on Facebook or sign up to the monthly newsletter.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

neha - February 2, 2017

Beautiful snaps of beautiful animals. Australia seems to be very rich in diverse and unique wildlife like the emu and kangaroos. Even those parrots are a unique species.

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    We have some pretty cool fauna. 🙂

    Reply
Ticking the Bucketlist - February 2, 2017

its nice to see that the birds are kept well…and the confines are too closed. Makes me feel terrible when that happens. Loved the pic of the peacock…and awww…the chicks are soooo cute!

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    Si - February 2, 2017

    Yes so cute, I love that even as babies they have those little dinggily thingys on their heads!

    Reply
      LC - February 4, 2017

      I love the dinggily things!

      Reply
Ticker Eats The World - February 2, 2017

Love natural reserves as an alternative to zoos and Australia has such a unique and rich flora and fauna that it’s perfect to visit one there. The koala looks so cute and the peacock is beautiful. Not a big fan of the creepy crawlies though. Lovely post.

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    Snakes and the like are probably more of a niche category to like, as far as animals are concerned!

    Reply
Carol - February 2, 2017

I understand why you might have mixed feelings about zoos and reserves. But places like this are immeasurably helpful in bring public awareness to endangered species. And zoos often monetarily support field conservation work. I hope that’s happening in Oz

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    It is, I like Taronga in particularly for its conversation efforts.

    Reply
Ashley Smith - February 2, 2017

Great pictures! I’m such a bird lover, this place sounds great. And Australian animals are something I know nothing about – we don’t see a lot of that here in the US. I don’t know how I would feel about having a BBQ at this place though – cooking animals surrounded by animals? Eh…

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    Yep, super odd… but BBQ’ing is part of the Australian way.

    Reply
Jean - February 2, 2017

Oh Australia! We have so many beautiful birds and fun animals. Let’s not talk about how many will potentially kill you.

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    Oh, but I love to talk about that!

    Reply
Global Girl Travels - February 3, 2017

I feel the same way. While it is a good way to see wildlife species that close as compared to when they are out on the wild, you can’t help but feel as though they might be somehow exploited. But as you pointed out, it is important for their own survival. As long as they aren’t exploited for animal shows like they do in Seaworld and other similar attractions then I guess that is fine.

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    I worry sometimes that for certain animals in the future, reserves and zoos will be the only places we’ll be able to see them… But yeah. The Reptile Show wasn’t exploitative at all thankfully.

    Reply
Shem - February 3, 2017

I’m always wary if whether a place is taking care of animals and whether they have their best interest in mind, but this place looks pretty legitimate! The peacocks are so bright and beautiful — they’re one of my favorite animals! Your photography looks wonderful!

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    Thank you! I love peacocks too – even if they aren’t Australian, haha.

    Reply
Kreete - February 3, 2017

I have similar feelings towards animals in enclosures and I think we will really never know how good their life is there until we have worked in that environment. I had no idea that this place was free though! How exciting! When I go back to Newcastle, I will definitely keep it in the back of my mind.

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    LC - February 4, 2017

    Yes, true. Most of the animals there seemed happy and healthy to me – particularly the birds. 🙂 Newcastle is aces, hope you make it back soon.

    Reply
Local and Hidden Gems of Newcastle, Australia - BirdgehlsBirdgehls - April 25, 2017

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