I am a freelance photographer and writer from Port Stephens NSW Australia. Visit my web site at www.philipduncanphotography.com
Published March 28th 2014
Go for a walk or cycle and discover Walka Water Works
Gates to main picnic area and lake
Just out of Maitland is a great spot to take the kids for a picnic. Of course you can just go for a walk or ride around the lake stroll through the bush or take the kids for a ride on the mini trains. This place has it all.
The old Pump House
To get to Walka Water Works just follow the signs from the west end of high street Maitland and you will be able to see the old buildings as you are travelling beside the Hunter River. The reserve is open from 7.00 am till 5.00 pm and 7.00 pm during daylight savings.
This is a reserve and wildlife refuge so there are lots of wild birds and animals to be discovered in the park. The lake near the main picnic area has lots of water loving birds and they are very friendly, especially if they think you have some food. The day I was there I also spotted some lizards sunning themselves as well as other bush birds in the picnic area.
The sandstone wall is one feature of the lake
If you wish to venture a little further from the picnic areas three are a couple of tracks to explore. One of the tracks that will take you on a loop of the lake and the other one will take you through some of the bushland. There are some open areas and seats along the tracks for a rest and to take in the atmosphere and views. There is a greater variety of animals to be found including kangaroos, bunnies, lizards and birds.
One of the rest areas around the lake.
The lake loop is about 3km but mostly flat and you can also cycle around this track. The bushland track is a little harder but there are no big hill to worry about in the area.
If you would like to explore but are not that keen for a walk or ride there is a mini train that operates on Saturday and Sundays from 11.00 am The trains are run by a friendly bunch of guys that just love to give the kids a great time. The tracks run about ½ way around the lake and then back to the main station. The train ride costs 3.00 per person.
Walka mini train station
There are 2 large picnic areas both with free electric barbecues and picnic tables. There is also plenty of room to stretch out a rug. You can let the kids run around the large grassed area or on the play ground. They can also explore some of the old buildings and machines that remain around the area. But don't worry as the old ponds are all well fenced off to keep them safe.
The construction of the water works started in 1882 and was mostly completed over a 5 year period to supply fresh drinking water to the low hunter valley and Newcastle. But increasing demand for water lead to the construction of Chichester dam. The water works was placed into standby in 1925 and closed by 1929.
The site was reopened in 1951 as a power station but was decommissioned in 1978.
Victorian Brick work and architecture are a feature of the old pump house.
The Main pump house with its large chimney and ornate brick work is a fine example of Victorian era architecture and is one of the largest and mostly intact examples of Victorian era industrial complexes remaining in the Hunter Valley.