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Fernleigh Track - Trail Description



Fernleigh Track

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Near Newcastle , 160km from Sydney
Start/end: Adamstown to Belmont
Status: Open
Length open: 16km
Surface: Sealed
Terrain: Undulating
Best seasons: All
Public transport: Train, Bus
Contact Region: Newcastle Area
Typical scenery on the trail (2009)
Typical scenery on the trail (2009)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for wheelchairs Suitable for prams Suitable for scooters in line skates



  • A high quality rail trail through a range of landscapes from suburbia to dense bushland.
  • The rail trail is gently graded.
  • All busy road crossings have facilities to cross safely.
  • A major feature is the 180m long curved brick lined tunnel under the Pacific Highway.
  • Considerable effort has gone into preserving the history of the corridor with rail track being left in place where practical, and removed rail and sleepers used for features along the trail.


Access Points

  • Adamstown - railway station

  • Whitebridge - Station street car park

  • Redhead - Colishaw St car park

  • Jewells - Railway Crescent car park

  • Belmont - Railway Parade

Adamstown to Whitebridge (6km)

The trail climbs on a slight gradient passing through the 180m brick lined tunnel under the Pacific Highway. It then runs through bushland in the Glenrock State Recreation Area.

  • From the south side of the Adamstown railway station head south west along Park Avenue to the roundabout to the start of the trail.
  • Follow the trail through the tunnel and then across Burwood Rd.

Whitebridge to Redhead (4.5km)

The restored station platform at Redhead is a major feature of this section. Here 'up' and 'down' traffic take different sides of the platform!

  • From Whitebridge the trail gently descends to Redhead through native bush.
  • From Collishaw Street it is only 1.5km down to the locally renowned Redhead surf beach.

Redhead to Belmont (5.5km)

This section is basically flat and the scenery predominantly coastal bushland, the highlight being the boardwalk across wetlands. The platform and surrounds at Belmont have had considerable landscaping making it quite a feature.

  • The rail trail finishes in Railway Parade, a few hundred metres from the picturesque Lake Macquarie harbour at Belmont.

Belmont is the best place along the trail to buy refreshments having a large range of place to eat and drink.

Background Information

The railway opened in the late 1880's. It was used to transport coal from mines in the Lake Macquarie area to the Port of Newcastle. Evidence of some of the mines is still visible from the track. It was also used as a passenger service between Belmont and Newcastle with stations at Kahibah, Whitebridge and Redhead. The last passenger train ran in 1971 and during the 1980's as coal mines along the corridor began to close down the line ceased to be used in 1991.

The Newcastle City and Lake Macquarie councils bought the land of this former private coal railway to Belmont and opened the first section of the rail trail, Adamstown - Kahibah (Burwood Rd), in 2003. Stage 3 of the Fernleigh Track from Whitebridge to Redhead opened in 2009. Stage 4 from Redhead to Jewells Station was completed in mid 2010 and the completed rail trail to Belmont was opened in March 2011.

The councils are now planning to further enhance the trail with some toilets and interpretive signage.


The trail is managed by the Lake Macquarie Council and the City of Newcastle.  Refer to their websites below to report issues.

Lake Macquarie Council website

City of Newcastle website


Navigate this trail on your phone or tablet with the Cylewayz App

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Rail Trails Australia has worked with Cyclewayz to provide this trail as a free download. With the app you can navigate point by point and view details and photos of points of interest.

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May 2011

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27 January , 2020 by Martincousins

Have ridden this trail many times in the past. Walked a short section around the tunnel yesterday. A great trail passing through a variety of bush. It's shorter than many but among the best trails in Australia, and is justifiably popular with local runners, walkers and cyclists. Note: was told that the trail and parts of the adjacent Glenrock Lagoon were closed due to fire. The trail at least now appears to be open.

02 February , 2018 by oliverd

A fantastic family ride with the kids (9 and 11). A few complaints and grumbling going up from Belmont, but much quicker and easier coming back Rail tunnel was fun. We were passed by some "serious cyclists", but it was never a problem or a danger. You just need to keep an eye out for other trail users.

20 January , 2018 by Beverlina

This is a fantastic track and should be for everyone. I find the Lycra cyclist very arrogant on this track, pacing at fast road speeds and expecting everyone to get out of their way. It was not enjoyable taking my 4 yr old twins on a scooter ride with cyclist not slowing down. A bad accident waiting to happen if it hasn’t already. Should be a reinforced speed limit on this track.

21 April , 2017 by rogerog

I rode this trail over the Easter weekend 2017 with my partner and her brother. What a great asset for Newcastle, the ride was easy and as mentioned above even had areas where no pedaling was required. I know for certain of other areas in the Hunter Valley that have disused rail tracks which could easily be converted to this purpose. Look in Victoria where there are over 700 kms of tracks which attract many avid users. Get on-board to press the State Government to release this land to Local Councils so we can see more of this great activity.

04 April , 2017 by wow01

Although NSW has very few rail trails, the Fernleigh trail is excellent. It has a great surface and traverses really nice country. It comes complete with some old stations and a tunnel. It will suit a family ride, no problem. Just watch the road crossings. Five stars from me.

26 March , 2016 by cascho

I rode this trail this afternoon (26/3/16) with my brother, as part of doing the three main rail trails around Newcastle. This is a fantastic trail and I really enjoyed it. The highlight is the Fernleigh tunnel – which is the best rail tunnel I have come across on the trails I have undertaken. It is clearly a popular trail with a lot of other users on the whole of the trail. The trail is sealed and in very good state, though there a few road crossings that don’t provide good visual of the oncoming traffic. There is one long hill up to Whitebridge – and a great downhill, I don’t think I needed to pedal for 4 kms. I thoroughly recommend this trail and will be back.

09 January , 2016 by KarenH

I love this rail trail. It is well maintained and is easy to get to the start by train, which is just near the roundabout on Park Avenue just behind Adamstown Station. Once I get to Belmont I ride around the northern side of the lake and then link up with the Glendale to Wallsend track and onto Jesmond and Lambton and home.

25 October , 2013 by su4care

The Address of the starting Point and End Point is not very apparent. For the benefit of the users the address should be provided in more detail along with GPS location, Street number and Street name

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Design taking shape for new Fernleigh Track amenities block

(Posted: 11/12/20)

A new amenities block on the Fernleigh Track rail trail in NSW will include an accessible toilet, two unisex toilets and bike racks nearby.


Cessnock City Council Trails Strategy recognises value of colliery rail network

(Posted: 23/06/20)

Cessnock City Council (CCC) recently released their Trails Strategy. The Strategy was developed by CCC and by Tredwell Management to "provide a vision for the region’s trails network with a consistent policy framework to guide development and management of trails across the Local Government Area (LGA)".


NSW continues the momentum for developing cycling facilities

(Posted: 19/06/20)

Lake Macquarie and Newcastle City Councils are showing what can be done when it comes to building great facilities, including rail trails, for cyclists.


Newcastle’s Fernleigh Track to be extended

(Posted: 19/02/20)

The very popular Fernleigh Track – Adamstown to Belmont Rail Trail is set to be extended following receipt of NSW State government funding.