Just north of Stockton Bridge, just 12km from Newcastle, is a birdwatching haven you have to see to believe. At Stockton sandspit you’ll find masses of long-legged shore birds – often hundreds at a time – gathering and feeding in the mangrove-ringed mud flats of the Hunter River estuary.
Visit at low tide to experience the sandspit in maximum activity. Look for flocks of red-necked avocets, foraging ibis and bitterns, and stilts wading or standing on one leg.
Come in summer to see staggering numbers of migratory birds, many of which are protected under international agreements. Some of these birds originate in the northern hemisphere, and then rest and feed at the sandspit before repeating their long flights home. Whilst birdwatching, see if you can spot the bar-tailed godwit. This large wader makes the longest-known non-stop flight of any bird – an unbelievable 11,000km from Alaska to Australia.
Bring your binoculars, telescope or camera and don’t forget the kids – they’ll enjoy this Stockton attraction as much as the sandpipers do. And the pelicans. And the terns. And the curlews.