Culture and community together at the Hunter Estuary Festival
04 April 2018
It’s a great time of year to explore the wetlands in the Hunter River estuary and the annual Estuary Festival on Sunday 15 April is the perfect reason to visit this internationally recognised landmark.
This year’s event in the Hunter Wetlands National Park is celebrating local cultural and environmental treasures. The day will open with Welcome to Country, a smoking ceremony and performances by local Worimi Aboriginal dancers.
Keep the kids entertained all day with horse and cart rides, native animal shows, bush tucker tours, basket weaving and craft classes, kayak tours and more! Then relax and take in the serenity of the wetlands with some delicious treats and live music.
Hunter Local Land Services Estuary officer Peggy Svoboda said many locals don’t realise the value of this important ecological and cultural location.
“Thousands of people drive past the Ash Island bridge at Hexham every day and don’t realise just over the river there is another world teeming with life,” said Peggy Svoboda, Hunter Local Land Services Estuary officer.
“The rehabilitation of the wetlands is due mostly to the great team of volunteers, who are doing amazing work with agencies including Hunter Local Land Services to conserve sites with real historical significance,” said Peggy Svoboda, Hunter Local Land Services Estuary officer.
Ash Island has been transformed over the past 23 years into a biodiversity hotspot, providing habitat for countless species of birds, bats, frogs, fish, crabs and other animals of local and international significance. The wetland system contains the second largest area of mangroves in New South Wales and extensive areas of coastal saltmarsh. You could also take a mini bus tour around the island to see the regeneration first hand.
The wetland system within the National Park contains the second largest area of mangroves in New South Wales and extensive areas of coastal saltmarsh. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service will be conducting mangrove boardwalk tours and members of the Hunter Bird Observers Club will also be sharing their knowledge on local shorebirds and how to get involved in bird observing.
Visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the families who lived on the island.
“The restored 1890s Schoolmaster’s House contains a collection of historic photos, artworks, and a library of books and resources about the island and its former inhabitants,” said Ms Svoboda.
“Visitors to the festival are more than welcome to spend some time there learning about the area’s fascinating history.” Food and drinks will be available to purchase and families are also welcome to bring a picnic. The festival will take place on Sunday, 15 April from 10am to 3pm in the Hunter Wetlands National Park. Access to Ash Island is via Ash Island Bridge, opposite McDonalds on the Pacific Highway, Hexham. Parking is available on the island, with a shuttle bus transporting visitors from carparks to the festival which is based at the Schoolmasters House. For further details visit the Hunter Local Land Services website at www.hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au