Guide to the best lookouts on the Central Coast
For those seeking a scenic adventure, visit these special lookouts for some unforgettable views of the Central Coast region
Many people find it mind-blowing how large the Central Coast actually is when they first visit. To truly appreciate the magnitude of our region, simply take a trip to one of our best local lookouts!
The Coast has several official lookout points from north to south, but it also features a long list of scenic vantage points known by nature-loving locals who enjoy a good bushwalk, trail run or dose of yoga atop a ridgeline. So you can see nature at its finest, we’ve collected a great mix of both well-known and secret lookouts across the Central Coast, each offering the ultimate reward - a view that will take your breath away! Follow this guide to find a lookout near you…
Brisbane Water National Park
See Woy Woy Bay from this angle and it'll put the town centre of Woy Woy in an entirely new perspective for you. The view is vastly scenic looking across the expanse of Brisbane Water and Woy Woy Bay surrounded by greenery and waterways. Look southwest and you can see all the way to Mount Wondabyne, the highest point in Brisbane Water National Park.
It’s a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars with several rare bird species living in the area. Try to find an endangered yellow-tailed black cockatoo flying overhead, as they are common residents of this protected landscape and national park (you often hear them before you see them). You can also break out the pre-packed picnic with some tables available at Staples Lookout to soak up the outstanding view before heading downhill to Umina Beach, or starting one of several bushwalking trails nearby, including Tunnel Track, Rocky Ponds, or climbing Mt Wondabyne.
Crackneck Point* & Wyrrabalong Lookout
Wyrrabalong National Park
This is Mother Nature in all her glory. Watch the whales during their annual migration, throw in a line and fish, catch a surf break, walk through the native red gum forest, spot local birdlife and explore rich Aboriginal heritage. It's a magical place lining the coast from Forresters Beach stretching right up to Soldiers Beach.
With a network of walking tracks, there are plenty of spots to park up and make sure you plan a picnic along the way. It’s about a 6km round trip from Crackneck Point Lookout to Wyrrabalong Lookout, with spectacular ocean views at each end. You may even spot a hang glider launching from the cliff edge (Crackneck Lookout is a common take-off point), or a wild roo foraging close by at sunrise.
*Please note: Crackneck Lookout is undergoing an upgrade to improve visitor enjoyment, access and safety. The NSW Parks & Wildlife Service expect the upgrade project to be completed by the end of 2022 or early 2023. During this time parts of the track may be closed to visitors.
Bouddi National Park
This bay is one of the sparkling gems of Bouddi National Park; a stunning arc of secluded coastline. You can only reach it with a 15-minute bushwalk, making your way along the beautiful Maitland Bay Track. As you approach, look out for the tropical blue water of the bay below peeking between the trees. When the forest walk opens out onto Maitland Bay, you might notice the PS Maitland, shipwrecked in 1898, high and dry in the eastern corner of the shore at low tide.
It’s worth taking your snorkelling gear for a dip in the pristine waters to meet some amazing marine life in this undeveloped haven on the Central Coast. When it’s time to leave, you can either head via the route back to Putty Beach, near Killcare, or up the short but steep Maitland Bay walking trail that starts from the parking lot at the old style Maitland Bay Visitor Centre.
Brisbane Water National Park
The views here will make your jaw drop (and your camera snap happy). Warrah Lookout allows you to see for miles across Patonga, Broken Bay, the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, with Barrenjoey Head in the distance perched on Palm Beach, and across the majestic Pacific Ocean. Eucalypts tower above, waves lap on shore below, all manner of seafaring vessels pass by.
In late winter to early spring, you can witness the fiery red bloom of the NSW state emblem, the Warratah, along the walking route to this lookout. There are several ways to reach Warrah Lookout, including taking the Warrah Trig Road off Patonga Drive (it's a bit bumpy so any fancy or low lying vehicles think twice), or start walking from Patonga Beach or Pearl Beach and follow the firetrail up. One for those who enjoy a hike with an epic view in the middle.
Gerrin Point Lookout
Bouddi National Park
Anywhere along the Bouddi National Park’s Coastal Walk offers spectacular views... but from Gerrin Point Lookout you get one of the best views in New South Wales. Enjoy the panorama featuring Maitland Bay and beyond (and below!) including the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension and the Bouddi Grand Deep rainforest - extremely precious areas of the Central Coast environment.
The lookout platform is an easy 1.2km walk from the eastern end of Putty Beach, along the manmade wooden boardwalk and up some stairs. You’ll find a bench built into the lookout giving you a simple place to chill out and soak up the scenery. Gerrin Point Lookout is also one of the more magical spots to see migrating whales during season (May - August). As the lookout is quite exposed, consider bringing a jacket as it can get a little windy, and wear joggers or hiking shoes when you visit Bouddi, as despite being a well-managed route the ground is uneven in certain areas.
If you visit Terrigal on the Central Coast, it’s almost a rite of passage to conquer that steep walk up The Skillion. As a trig point along the coastline, this lookout offers the perfect midway view of the Central Coast – with Forresters Beach and The Entrance to the north, and Avoca Beach and Bouddi National Park to its south.
Head to The Haven area of Terrigal and park up at the base of the climb. It should only take you a few minutes to reach the top, and as there are both steps and a grassy steep hill it is somewhat doable with prams, plus there’s a few benches dotted along the way to take a break! Chances are you’ll have to catch your breath at the top before having it snapped away again once you see the spectacular view! The Skillion is also a great location to spot whales, seals and pods of dolphins passing by.
Marie Byles Lookout
Named after pioneering conservationist, explorer and feminist Marie Byles (1900-1979), this is an accessible lookout on the Central Coast, easily reachable by car. Located along the Scenic Road in Killcare Heights on the Bouddi Peninsula, Marie Byles Lookout has a handful of car parking spaces right in front of the breathtaking view across the Pacific Ocean. Just a short drive from the Maitland Bay Visitor Centre and local luxury bakery, bar and restaurant, Bells of Killcare, this lookout is an essential stop if you’re passing through the area.
Marie Byles Lookout presents views that reach as far as Manly headland in Sydney! Closer to home you can see the Northern Beaches and Broken Bay, Lion Island and Putty Beach. There’s a handy information plaque on whales here too, perfect for learning more about their magnificent annual migration down the East Coast of Australia!
Captain Cook Lookout
Named after explorer Cook himself, this lookout invites you to step back in time to when the region was first being mapped by the British – this headland being one of three important vantage points along our region’s coastline. Captain Cook Lookout is around 25 minutes by car from Gosford CBD, perched atop Tudibaring Head in the beautiful coastal town of Copacabana. The short walk to its edge offers sweeping views up and down the east coast; on a clear day views extend from Norah Head in the north all the way down to the skyscrapers of the Sydney CBD!
With its extensive views, Captain Cook Lookout is considered one of the best places in NSW to watch Humpback whales as they migrate along the coast each year - the large viewing platform is perfect for this. Just below the lookout lies Copacabana beach, one of the Central Coast’s most picturesque beaches. Watch local surfers catching waves towards the northern end of the beach, or spot people kayaking and snorkelling in huge Cockrone Lagoon, just behind the sands of Copacabana Beach.
More hidden lookouts to...look out for
There are so many hidden lookouts to stumble upon across the Central Coast, we've captured some of the larger ones above, but if you fancy a trek slightly off the beaten track, these lesser known lookouts were designed for explorers like you.
- Wybung Head – Munmorah State Conservation Area
- Tea Tree Lookout – Munmorah State Conservation Area
- Mount Ettalong Lookout – Brisbane Water National Park
- Allen Strom Lookout – Bouddi National Park
- Bullimah Spur Outlook – Bouddi National Park
- Box Head Lookout – Bouddi National Park
- Mt Penang Parklands - Sculpture Trail with lookout to Gosford
- St John Lookout – Katandra Reserve at Mount Elliot
- Yaruga Lookout & Picnic Area – Rumbalara Reserve at East Gosford
- Blackwall Mountain Lookout – Blackwall Mountain Reserve, near Woy Woy
Plan a luxury lookout picnic
One brilliant way to enjoy the great outdoors in luxury, is to pack the ultimate scenic picnic into your adventure. Several local businesses on the Central Coast have mastered the art of designing and delivering fancy picnics by our beautiful foreshores, in our national parks, and at some secret lookouts.
Try local luxury ECO-certified tour guides - Elixir Journeys - who do all the hard work for you by sourcing local produce, packing chairs, cushions, rugs, tables and treats, and venturing ahead of your hike into Bouddi National Park or Brisbane Water National Park to set the whole experience up for your group. Their savvy guides know some of the most hidden lookouts in the region, so will always endeavour to deliver an unforgettable private luxury picnic.
Phat Platter & Luxury Picnics also create stunning outdoor picnic displays in parks and reserves, featuring table, cutlery and seating for special occasions. They can set this up locations across the region - from Jenny Dixon Reserve near Norah Head, to Terrigal and beyond.
For more ideas, explore our ultimate guide to scenic Central Coast picnic spots.
Tips for hiking to a hidden lookout
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 visiting 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.
No service? No problem. Save the area you're exploring 'offline' in Google Maps so you can still access when out of reception
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