Smiths Lake Field Trip – 27th to 29th March 2020

  • March 27, 2020
  • Field Trips
  • UNSW Field Station
Event Expired


Every year the Australian Herpetological Society conducts a field trip in late summer based at the UNSW field study centre on Smiths Lake, which is about 4 hours north of Sydney. This is a beautiful location right on the lake and it’s not far from the beach at Seal Rocks.

The field trip commences at 7pm on Friday 27th March and concludes at lunch time on Sunday 29th March. The purpose is to survey for reptiles and frogs (please be aware that most of the surveying is done after dark on the Friday and Saturday nights, staying out beyond midnight, and sometimes this can extend very late into the night).

Most surveying is done by driving dirt roads in National Parks in the area to look for herps. While we encourage families to be involved we also recognise children may not be able to tolerate the schedule and ask parents to plan for this. Much of the day is spent recovering from the late nights! There’s plenty of free time to go to the beach, drive into town for supplies, go for a bush walk etc. However we do also investigate suitable locations during the day such as rainforest areas. The exact locations and times will be organised when we get there to account for weather etc.

Accommodation consists of shared bunkhouses (4 or more bunks in each), an ablutions block, well equipped kitchen with several fridges, and outside covered areas including a wood BBQ. The lawn areas can also be used to pitch a tent. Sometimes there are other researchers staying, but generally we have the field station to ourselves.

The field trip operates under the AHS Scientific Licence, for the purpose of surveying for herpetofauna. This means we have to record all reptiles and frogs found.

The licence has a number of conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Being a currently financial member of the AHS
  • Size of group (max 20 including 2 leaders)
  • Being with one of the leaders while surveying
  • Everyone needs to follow the code of conduct to which you will be briefed.
  • In particular there is to be no handling or interference of herpetofauna without the permission of one of the leaders and there is to be no handling of dangerous elapids by anyone.

Please contact Kelly Nowak and Frank Valckenborgh to reserve your spot! Once the final attendees have been booked in, they will receive further information regarding location address, what to bring etc.

Kelly: – ph: 0410 588 187


Cost: $50 adults – $25 High School students – $15 Primary School students – Preschoolers are free. A group BBQ on the Saturday evening is included!