The best bushwalks to experience nature on the Central Coast

bushwalk in nature by james vodicka

Image: James Vodicka

bushwalk in nature by james vodicka

Image: James Vodicka

In need of some bush medicine? Take a hike in the great outdoors of the Central Coast.
The NSW Central Coast is well known for its stunning coastal scenery and gloriously green bushland. What better way to experience the natural wonders of the region than by going for a bushwalk along one of our many great walking tracks...

There's no greater remedy for stress, anxiety and boredom than a wander in the bush. Immersing yourself in nature offers positive health benefits, including heightening your sense of calm, enhancing focus, and has even shown to improve productivity when people conduct business meetings outdoors. And what better place to immerse yourself in nature than in a certified ECO Destination!

The natural world is always on hand to offer us adventure - just ask local design duo Kyal & Kara, who regularly take their family exploring in Wyrrabalong National Park. Bushwalks allow you to spot a whale off a headland lookout, meet resident wildlife on a trail, or play hide and seek with the kids between giant red gums. Whatever feeds your craving to get in the great outdoors, the Central Coast has some of the most magnificent walking trails in New South Wales - enjoy exploring some of the most captivating routes below.

group of hikers at coastal lookout
Bouddi National Park.
Image: James Vodicka
Tips for planning your outdoor adventure
Smart steps to trek safely

If you're from the Central Coast you may know your favourite bushwalks and trails like the back of your hand. But if you're a guest in our region, or simply new to exploring the great outdoors, it's worth planning ahead when venturing into the wild and wonderful Aussie bush. We recommend taking a few smart steps before your first step into the bush:

Check before you trek. To stay safe and aware always check the NPWS website for the latest alerts before visiting a national park.

Use hiking map apps. Download free apps such as NSW National Parks, Visit NSW Forests or AllTrails apps to plan your route

No service? No problem. Save the area you're exploring 'offline' in Google Maps so you can still access when out of reception

Prepared for anything. For big walks, ensure you have the Emergency+ government safety app installed and the Red Cross First Aid app.

🐍 Snake awareness 🐍

The Australian Reptile Park is calling for the public to exercise extreme caution when enjoying the warmer weather outdoors. Always tread lightly and remember if you spot a snake it will want to get out of your way - calmly stand still like a tree and leave it be.

couple take the piles creek loop track through lush ferns
Piles Creek Loop Walk
Image: James Vodicka
couple observing girrakool loop waterfall from lookout
Piles Creek Falls
Image: James Vodicka
Girrakool Loop Track
Brisbane Water National Park | 2km loop

If a short and easy walk through tranquil bushland is more your style, the Girrakool Loop Track will be the perfect choice. The scenic walk in Somersby, just minutes off the M1, offers scenic views over waterfalls and you will see an abundance of colourful wildflowers during late winter and early spring. Don’t forget to check out the Aboriginal rock engraving site, find the best angle of the hidden waterfall, and take a happy snap at Illoura Lookout and Andamira Lookout. If you're keen for a more adventures, longer bushwalk, try the Piles Creek Loop alternative.

For more information, visit the NSW National Parks website.

Bulgandry Art Site Aboriginal Place 
Brisbane Water National Park

Tucked away just off Woy Woy Road in Brisbane Water National Park, near the small township of Kariong, you will find some truly amazing Aboriginal rock art. The name 'Bulgandry' belongs to the large engraving of a man thought to represent an ancestral Great Creator God, Baiyami, depicted with an impressive headdress. The site is sacred to the local Indigenous people, and in order to protect and preserve the carvings a short, flat boardwalk has been built to tour you around each image. The symbols include a wallaby, fish, dolphin and what's thought to be a canoe and a bird. To visit, look for the signs along Woy Woy Road to turn off and park at the start of the walk. 

For more information, visit the NSW National Parks website.

dewy bushland
Brisbane Water National Park
Image: Yasmin Mund
old school visitor information centre
Bouddi National Park
Image: Chris Court
Maitland Bay Track
Killcare Heights | 2km one way

This wonderful walking track will lead you downhill toward Maitland Bay and the famous shipwreck. The walk, although only 2km, can be steep and there are a few steps requiring a moderate fitness level. When you reach the secluded shores of Maitland Bay, consider a dip in the ocean, so we recommend packing your swimmers and a towel.

For more information, visit the NSW National Parks website.

Bouddi Coastal Walk
Bouddi National Park | 8km one way via boardwalk and bushwalk

The Bouddi Coastal Walk is famously known for its beaches, boardwalk and birdlife. It's one of the most beautiful (and popular) walks on the Central Coast but the route is not for the faint-hearted... all worth it though when you reach breathtaking breaks at its series of coastal lookouts across the Pacific Ocean. Start from either MacMasters Beach near the Surf Club, or from Putty Beach at Killcare. You will experience sweeping ocean views, cliff-side boardwalks, cool and shady rainforest, relaxing picnic spots and the opportunity to spot migrating whales from some of the Central Coast's most amazing vantage points. There’s also the option to enjoy a picnic or swim at Maitland Bay along the trail.

For more information, visit the NSW National Parks website.

two guys hiking amoung red gum trees
Bouddi National Park
Image: James Vodicka
man hiking in rainforest
Strickland State Forest
Image: Forestry Corporation of NSW
Ridge to Rainforest Track
Strickland State Forest | 4.2km loop

The Strickland State Forest is just five square kilometres in size and features six walking tracks through the incredibly diverse areas of the forest. The Ridge to Rainforest track begins in dry forest and follows along the ridge to reach the gully rainforest where you will walk through mossy rocks and statuesque trees that run along the creek.

For more information, visit the Forestry Corporation website.

The Coast Walking Track
Wyrrabalong National Park | 3km one way

The narrow strip of forest between Forresters and Bateau Bay Beaches in Wyrrabalong National Park is known as the Coast Walking Track. This walk offers many great vantage points to watch the whales migrate, especially from Crackneck Lookout. Spring is one of the best times to enjoy this track as the wildflowers are in full bloom. Pack a picnic to enjoy at Crackneck Point lookout, or pack the swimmers and head down the winding stairs to the protected Bateau Bay Beach for a swim surrounded by lush national park.

For more information, visit the NSW National Parks website.

coastal walking track
Wyrrabalong National Park
Image: Grace Picot
family playing in falls
Somersby Falls, Brisbane Water National Park
Somersby Falls Walking Track*
Brisbane Water National Park | less than 1km

If you’re chasing waterfalls, then this beaut but steep walking track is for you. Just minutes off the M1, this relatively quick, 100m walk winds you down to the base of the spectacular Somersby Falls. There’s plenty of lookout points on the way down and during the summer months, the mist from the falls is a wonderful way to cool down. During wet weather, this is an incredible place to watch the power of nature unfold as the falls gush down into the green gully of Brisbane Water National Park below. There are a few steps, so some level of fitness is required.

*Please check ahead before visiting Somersby Falls from July 2022 as its opening hours and access may change due to upgrades in progress. Visit the alerts section on the NSW National Parks website.

Moonee Beach Trail & Palms Circuit Track
Munmorah State Conservation Area | 0.75km - 4km loop trails

Munmorah State Conservation Area is a park for all seasons. As part of the Sydney Basin, it tours you through the impressive ancient geology of the region to the north of the Central Coast. Enjoy bushwalking, camping, fishing, surfing or swimming and don't forget to bring your binoculars to spot whales during their annual migration from May to September. Keep an eye out for some of the incredible bird species that live in the coastal trees and scrub. Take your bushwalking adventure along the 4km return Moonee Beach trail, through coastal heath to the white sands of Moonee beach. Or try the Palms circuit track on a hot day for a short loop walk beneath a canopy of shady cabbage tree palms. Don't miss visiting Tea Tree picnic area and its lookout, which is just a short walk to Birdie Beach for a refreshing swim (heads up - this is a nudist beach).

For more information, visit NSW National Parks website.

people walking through palms of arboretum
Pearl Beach Arboretum
Image: James Vodicka
couple walking through trees
Pearl Beach Arboretum
Image: James Vodicka
Patonga to Pearl Beach Walking Track
Brisbane Water National Park | 3km one way bushwalk

The Patonga to Pearl Beach walk takes you on a scenic journey through Brisbane Water National Park, and you can start at either the Patonga or Pearl Beach end, as both seaside towns have cafes to fuel you. Starting from Pearl Beach near the Arboretum, the challenging hike will lead you along a fire trail through beautiful red gums to reach expansive views across the mouth of the Hawkesbury River to Palm Beach from the spectacular Warrah Lookout. You will walk past impressive sandstone caves and beautiful hanging native ferns, with several wallaby living in the area so keep an eye out in the scrub. Don't forget your togs and towel for a well-deserved swim at the end at one of the most peaceful beaches on the Central Coast.

For more information, visit the NSW National Parks website.

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Do you have a favourite bushwalk on Central Coast that deserves a mention here? We’d love to see your photos or hear what you loved most about exploring nature in our ECO Destination! Simply contact us via email or feel free to message us directly on our socials.


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