Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST)

  • Project typeActive transport infrastructure
  • Project scheduleConstruction of the southern section commenced in April 2021
Fernleigh Track - lifestyle shoot 2019 - active transport - cycling _ young adult female (95).jpg

The Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track (FAST) will be a shared pathway linking the end of the Fernleigh Track at Belmont with Blacksmiths Beach, creating a 27km active transport route from Murrays Beach to Adamstown.

Once completed, it will be the longest active transport route in the Hunter Region.

NSW Government awarded the project $7.5 million in funding through Round Two of its Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund, and a further $1.2 million through its Get NSW Active fund. The Australian Government is providing $1.2 million through its Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Fund.

Council will contribute the remaining funds to ensure the track's completion. Total project cost will be determined when current tenders are finalised.

Project benefits

The project will:

  • create a 27km active transport route from Murrays Beach to Adamstown
  • increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • improve lifestyle and fitness in the community
  • showcase Lake Macquarie’s natural assets
  • increase active transport options.


Where is the project up to?

The project was initially divided into two sections: a southern section, from Awabakal Avenue at Blacksmiths to Hilda Street at Belmont South, and a northern section from the end of the Fernleigh Track at Belmont to Hilda Street.

Construction of the FAST project's southern section began in April 2021 and was completed to schedule in August 2022. The northern section route was announced in October 2021, with this part of the project further broken down into two distinct parts: the middle section, from Ocean Park Road in the north to the start of the southern section on the Pacific Highway, and a northern section from the end of the existing Fernleigh Track to Ocean Park Road.

Work on the middle section began in July 2023, including closing Green Street between Harry Street and Arthur Street to traffic to allow for construction of the shared path. Both Harry and Arthur Streets will become permanent cul-de-sacs (see detailed plans at the bottom of this page for further information). These works will be undertaken by Council crews and are due to be completed by April 2024.

Council began work on the northern section in September 2023, starting at Ocean Park Road and Cold Tea Creek. Work on this section is due to be completed by April 2024, marking completion of the entire project.

The already completed southern section of the project includes:

  • new concrete shared pathway
  • safety barrier separating shared pathway users and highway traffic
  • upgraded bus stops along its length

An on-road cycling lane has also been maintained along the Pacific Highway for faster, more confident riders.

The FAST project includes construction of a new amenities building that opened in August, 2022, on the existing Fernleigh Track, near the Belmont terminus.

Northern and middle sections

Route selection for this part of the project was the result of more than 18 months of community consultation, environmental investigations, collaboration with local Aboriginal stakeholders and negotiation with land-owners.

It will include a landmark viewing platform and 400m of wetland boardwalk, separate footpath loops for bird-watching, a spectacular new bridge over Cold Tea Creek and shared pathway from the end of the existing Fernleigh Track to the start of the southern section at Belmont South.

A $1.17 million NSW Government 'Get Active NSW' grant, announced in November 2022, will help fund key parts, including a stretch of shared pathway running behind Belmont TAFE, and safety improvements at the intersection of Green Street and Ocean Park Road.

View and download the route map and detailed sections of the route via the "Related Information" menu at the bottom of this page.

You can view a recording of a community information session outlining the northern route, and the rationale behind it, by clicking here.

FAST public art

A major artwork recognising Belmont Lagoon’s significance as a campsite for the Awabakal people is set to be a striking feature of the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track.

Lake Macquarie City Council has commissioned local Aboriginal artists Shellie Smith and Daniella Chedzey, along with fellow artist Julie Squires, to create the work, which will include sculptural interpretations of a ‘gunya’ shelter, a bark canoe and other features of a traditional Aboriginal camp.

This will be a meaningful acknowledgement of the traditions and daily lives of the Awabakal people, who called this area home for thousands of years before European settlement.

A location for the major installation artwork is yet to be finalised, but it will be in a prominent spot, close to Belmont Lagoon.

One of the key elements of this commission is community engagement.

Participants at public workshops held in June 2022 helped weave animal sculptures that will be cast in aluminium and incorporated into the raised walkway overlooking Belmont Lagoon.

Community consultation

Extensive community consultation took place throughout the project’s detailed design stage. Drop-in information sessions were held in Belmont in March, 2020, with feedback collected from attendees.

The community was also invited to share its thoughts during an initial consultation period via the project's online forum.

Another round of consultation took place in November, 2020, to gauge community priorities relating to the FAST project. This included a community information session held online, and an online survey asking people to provide feedback about aspects of the project they considered most important.

Preparatory works

Surveyors pegged out potential sections of the route in early 2020 to provide a more precise insight into property boundaries and design challenges.

Geotechnical investigations along key locations took place in February, 2020. This involved machinery mounted on a ute or trailer taking borehole soil samples up to one metre in depth. The samples provided an insight into ground structure and stability, with results assisting the track's design and construction.

An Environmental Impact Statement and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report provided further insights to help Council determine the most suitable route.

Community support

The project has the backing of local MPs, the RMS, NRMA, Hunter Business Chamber, City of Newcastle, Bahtabah Local Aboriginal Land Council, The Heart Foundation, Newcastle Cycleways Movement, and various other peak sporting, business and tourism groups.

Return of public land

The project may require return of relatively small parcels of public land along the track route, historically used by private property owners for their own purposes. Council is liaising with affected property owners throughout the process to ensure they are aware of the situation, their rights and Council's rights.


Contact details

Lake Macquarie City Council
4921 0333


Awabakal Avenue, Blacksmiths 2281

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