Awabakal Nature Reserve is an area of bushland on the coast between Dudley and Redhead, 15km south of Newcastle. It contains a wide range of habitats including coastal heath, perched lagoons, creek catchments, dry and wet sclerophyll forests and remnant rainforest. The nature reserve is approximately 228 ha and 0 to 100m above sea level.
The present vegetation has developed over thousands of years on ancient sand dunes. 25 000 years ago, the sea level was 20 kms further east. The following increase in global temperatures, 6 000 years ago blew in sand, cutting off the flow of Freshwater Creek and formed Redhead Lagoon. The cool temperate rainforests retreated due to the increased temperatures which later cooled and promoted the establishment of the present vegetation communities and some revival of rainforest in sheltered gullies.
Classified as a nature reserve, the area is protected for educational and scientific purposes only. This is in recognition that it is one of the largest remaining coastal heath communities and the site supports a wide range of vegetation ecosystems.