Whether you are a train enthusiast, nature lover, history buff or barbecue guru, there is something for everyone at Walka Water Works just outside Maitland. Enjoy a family day out here.
February 2022 Update: Maitland City Council has identified the presence of asbestos at some parts of the site, most likely associated with the site’s historical use as a power station. As a precaution, the entire Walka Water Works site HAS BEEN CLOSED to the public until further notice.
Our family recently visited Maitland City Council’s Walka Water Works and Wildlife Reserve. It was originally built in 1887 to supply water to Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Valley. The area has since been restored and preserved and is now registered with the New South Wales State Heritage Register. It was a lovely setting for a relaxing few hours for family excursion.
We chose to go on a Sunday as riding the miniature train was at the top of our agenda for the day. The train operates on the first and third Sundays each month between 11am and 2pm weather permitting. The cost is $3 per person and enclosed shoes must be worn.
The park was a popular destination on such a beautiful Sunday but it didn’t feel crowded in the least. Upon arriving, we easily found a space to park our car. It coincidentally happened to be right in front of the entrance area for the miniature train so we jumped in the short line straight away as we were all excited for this train ride! After a couple of minutes (just enough time to apply some sunscreen and make sure we all had our hats on) it was time to board the train.
The ride was approximately twenty minutes in length (1.5 km) and the scenery was lovely and peaceful. There was always something pretty to notice along the journey. We saw beautifully coloured flowers, model yachts in the lake, tree canopies overhead as well as butterflies and birds.
The trees provide shade for much of the train ride which makes it a pleasant ride. The four of us really enjoyed the experience and felt the cost of $3 per person was more than reasonable for the length of the ride and the sights enjoyed along the way.
After the train ride, my girls wanted to check out the playground. It’s only a short distance from the train to the playground and we squeezed in a pit stop down by the water to see turtles which was an unexpected and sweet surprise for us.
Near the banks of the water, there were some information signs about the park and this is also where we learned that the Aboriginal meaning of Walka is “resting place by the water.” What a perfect name for this spot!
The playground is well-maintained with modern play equipment. There are several trees for shade around the perimeter of the play area. Included in the play area are four swings, a decent-sized rope climbing structure and a see-saw large enough for four children.
There was a birthday party in full swing the day we were there. If you’re looking for a park to host a party, Walka Waterworks is ideal with barbecues, picnic tables, toilets, shade and plenty of green space.
There are also walking trails located throughout the park. The Bush Trail is known for its expansive views and The Kangaroo Trail is where, you guessed it, you are most likely to see a mob of kangaroos.
The grounds are lovely with established trees full of pretty flowers. We loved the floral archway and captured some family photos under that backdrop.
There is also a pretty rotunda which adds to the overall charm of the location.
The original brick building (construction began in 1882) is impressive with its scope and architecture. There is also an array of equipment on display outside for visitors to view.
We certainly enjoyed our time at Walka Waterworks and were happy to have explored this special place. It’s a great spot for families as there is something for everyone here.
Highlights of the day for us were the miniature train and finding a NSW Rocks painted rock just as we were finishing up our adventure! It was the perfect ending to a relaxing and scenic family outing.
Address: 55 Scobies Lane Oakhampton Heights NSW (five minute drive from central Maitland)
Hours: 7 Days a Week 7am to 5pm Daylight Saving 7am to 7pm. Miniature train operates on the first and third Sunday of the month 11am – 2pm weather permitting
Cost: Free admission. $3 per person to ride the train (strictly enclosed shoes)
Public Toilets: Yes
Water Fountain: Yes
Picnic Facilities: Picnic tables and park benches
Café Nearby: No
Website: Maitland City Council
Janice is a proud mum to two energetic girls who love spending their time dancing, exploring and just plain having fun. She followed her heart and relocated from overseas to Australia thirteen years ago. After six years in Sydney, Janice and her family made the decision to return to her husband’s hometown of Newcastle and with the amazing lifestyle Newcastle has to offer, they feel grateful to call this place home. She is passionate about embracing lifelong learning and making lasting memories with loved ones.