Stretch your legs and pack the tent here's the Coast's best spots
They don’t call it “The Coast” for nuthin’. In terms of a coastline, you’d be hard-pressed to find coastal views as fine as those you can explore on the Central Coast (although the Anzac Walk is pretty hard to top!). We’ve done the hard yards hiking around the Southern Belle to find you all the best places to stretch your legs!
Box Head Track, Bouddi National Park (50-60 minute round trip)
If you’re looking for that “middle of nowhere” feeling, without being too far from the creature comforts of civilisation, Bouddi National Park is the place to go. The walk to the headland is downhill and through some decent scrub, however, the track is well trod, just make sure you wear some sturdy shoes and if it’s been raining, leave the new Nikes at home! A few spots along the way are steep but most people will be able to complete this course. When you reach the headland, you’ll find one of the most stunning views on the Coast. From Box Head, you look straight across to Pearl Beach, Mount Ettalong, Umina and all the way down to Newport and Palm Beach on the Sydney side. Note: While the roads into the park are a little rugged, most cars can handle the trip but it’s probably a good idea to leave the Nissan Micra at home.
Allen Strom Lookout, Bouddi National Park (20-30 minute round trip)
The beauty of the Bouddi National Park is that there’s loads of good walks to do and they’re all a short drive apart. So if you’re looking for another quick walk after Box Head, check out the Allen Strom Lookout on the way out. Clear your mind and refresh your senses with the stunning view on top of the ridge above Rocky Point. From here you’ll be able to see the boats bobbing in the water at Ettalong and the ferry zipping between Ettalong and Palm Beach. You can do this track by foot or bike and you can easily extend it with the intersecting Bouddi Ridge explorer experience. This trail starts near the intersection of Wards Hill Road and Maitland Bay Road and takes about 15 minutes to reach the lookout from the carpark, a nice easy trail. If you want to go the whole hog at Bouddi, check out the Bouddi Coastal Walk which is 8.5kms and takes around three to four hours one way.
Mount Ettalong Lookout, Umina (20-30 minute round trip)
If you liked the look of the other side while at the National Park, you can take a drive to the Mount Ettalong Lookout for a view back at Box Head. This track is super easy and as you walk the ridge of the mountain, the views are everywhere. You’ll be looking down to the celebrity-clad Pearl Beach, as well as back around to Umina and Bouddi. This is a nice stop off on the way to Pearl Beach and Patonga. The start of the track is at the carpark next to the water tank on Patonga Drive. It’s a small entrance way, so keep your eyes peeled on the map.
The Four Villages Walk (2 hour round trip)
Okay, okay, so it’s not the Cinque Terre. But it’s still a beautiful and easy 3-4km walk around the Kincumber Broadwater and mangroves. The name comes from the four villages the walk passes through, starting in Kincumber (either behind the Kincumber Hotel or the park on Seabreeze Avenue), passing through Yattalunga, Saratoga and ending on the amazing waterfront in Davistown. The walk serves as a memorial to Central Coast shipbuilders of colonial times who lived along the track, so you’ll get a nice little taste of history as you make your way along. This walk is totally flat and can be tackled by foot, with pram or on wheels, however you like! Make sure you stop in at The Little Teapot Café for a pep up before the return trip.
5 Lands Walk (2 hours one way)
Each year in June, around 20,000 people far and wide converge on MacMasters Beach for the 5 Lands Walk. This year the walk will be held on 23 June. The event was actually inspired by the Cinque Terre and takes off from MacMasters, down the beach to Copacabana, over the hill to Avoca, down the next beach to North Avoca and then over the hill into Terrigal where you can pull up stumps for a coffee or well-deserved lunch at the end. The walk is a relatively easy 10 kilometres and takes approximately two hours. For more information about the walk the shuttle service from Terrigal to the start line, check out 5landswalk.com.au.
Coast to Lake Walk (4 hour loop)
This 7.6 km walk does a loop along Tuggerah Lake and it’s easy to do in parts that suit you and the time you have available. A nice, easy part of the loop is after you’ve picked up a coffee at Long Jetty, walk up the flat and wide pathway toward The Entrance. This loop and its parts are perfect for kids and prams as there’s plenty of play equipment and great parks at regular intervals all the way along. It also a cycleway, so pack the bikes too!
Umina to Patonga (4 hours round trip)
If you’ve decided you’re looking for a proper hike, look no further. This walk is perfect, as you can jump in wherever you like along the line, and start at Umina or Pearl Beach to suit your mood on the day. From Umina, you can take to the beach and make your way around the point by foot. Around the bend you’ll find yourself on Pearl Beach where you can pick up a nice coffee and head on up the fire trail and over the hill to Patonga. Why not stop and have lunch at the Patonga Beach Hotel (of the Boathouse Group, so the menu is mint). If you don’t feel like walking back or you’ve had a few bevvies at the end, the Patonga Beach Hotel has a courtesy bus back to West Street in Umina. There are few parts of the track that are a little more rugged and challenging between Pearl Beach and Patonga, but for the most part it’s an easy and scenic journey.
Camping… not glamping!
If you feel like you haven’t seen enough on a day trip or want to explore more, there’s plenty of options for throwing up a tent and claiming your peace of this paradise. Here’s our best finds off the beaten track (warning: not for the glamper set).
This spot is a quick 10 minute walk from the car. There are a few ups and downs on the track, so it’s a tough walk with all your gear, but for 10 minutes, it’s totally doable. When you arrive, you’ll notice the complete peace and tranquillity. This place truly feels like your own private beach, with toilets and BBQ facilities to boot! Book and pay via National Parks website.
Putty Beach campground is the largest of Bouddi National Park’s camping areas. This is a great spot for swimming and camping in the Bouddi National Park. Think of your group chilling out with a guitar jam session and you’ve got the right idea. The carpark is nearby so there’s no massive hike in, but if you are wanting a serious walk, you’re right on the start of the trail of the 8.5km Bouddi Coastal Walk. Showers, toilets and BBQ all make this spot pretty comfortable. Parking at the Putty Beach Precinct is $8 a day and site bookings can be made via the National Parks website.
This spot is for your legit, hardcore free camper. It’s a steep hike down to the beach via Bouddi National Park and you will need to take everything with you, there’s not much nearby. The seas facing the beach here are rough and rugged and you need to apply for a permit through the National Parks to camp here. Not for the faint-hearted but a very unique experience.