The Four Villages Shipbuilders’ Heritage Walk

Discover one of the Central Coast’s most historic waterways on this easy and accessible waterfront walk

Ketches, schooners, ferries and pearling boats are among the hundreds of timber vessels that were built in and around Brisbane Water back when it was home to one of the busiest shipbuilding hubs in Australia.

Today you can discover some of the highlights of the Central Coast’s shipbuilding history on the self-guided Four Villages Shipbuilders’ Heritage Walk.

Thanks to being paved and flat the 3km walk from Kincumber to Davistown is wheelchair accessible and pram friendly and there are seven sandstone plinths along the way sharing tales from 1829 to 1953.

While you could do it in under an hour, it’s a lot more fun to take your time and explore the villages as you take in the view.

Shipbuilders Memorial commission
Shipbuilders Memorial
Credit: Kincumber Rotary Club

Start your day with a great coffee and bite to eat. At the Kincumber Post Café you can fuel up on an all day breakfast including house made granola and decadent French brioche toast in the old post office building, while at Loo Loo’s Coffee Warehouse it’s all about the buttery and delicious Toasties. 

Limber up with a little retail therapy at The Petal Sisters where hand picked homewares and fashion mingle with fresh blooms and mixed posies. Then make your way to the start of the walk at Kincumber Broadwater Park, just a stone’s throw from the family friendly Kincumber Hotel where they serve pub classics from 11.30am for those walking a little later in the day.

Visit the Shipbuilders’ Memorial Sculpture created by award winning local sculptor and traditional shipwright, John Woulfe, and then start walking along the waterfront as you imagine what life was like on and around Brisbane Water almost two hundred years ago.

Petal Sisters James Horan
Petal Sisters, Kincumber
Post Office Cafe, Kincumber
Post Office Cafe, Kincumber
Yattalonga and Saratoga

The Four Villages Shipbuilders’ Heritage Walk welcomes pets and while the café may not be along the walk, on the way home you can enjoy a coffee at Shelly's cafe and sit outside in the sunshine with your 4 legged friend.

Keep an eye out for birdlife including black swans and pelicans as you look out at the views across the Kincumber Broadwater then continue along the wetlands boardwalk at Saratoga as you make your way into Davistown.

Mount Pleasant Lookout, Saratoga
Mount Pleasant Lookout, Saratoga

As you reach your fourth village the Shipbuilders’ walk comes to an end but you can continue walking and learning new things on the Illoura Reserve Walk.

The walk takes around 20 minutes to do and leads you along the Davistown waterfront where you can find plaques that share insights into the history of the area, including the time the Sisters of Saint Joseph started the first regular ferry services on Brisbane Water back in 1905.

For a light bite head to The Little Teapot, a local favourite where the freshly baked scones and muffins include gluten free options, while for something more substantial the Davistown RSL, AKA The Davo, serves up fresh seafood, modern pub meals and vegan dishes. There’s a fully fenced playground for the kids and a large sunny deck with water views for you.

Kincumber Broadwater  Credit: jco_photography
Kincumber Broadwater
Credit: jco_photography
Kincumber to Davistown walk
Kincumber to Davistown heritage walk
Image: @terri_d_photography
The annual Shipbuilder's Heritage Walk

The Four Villages Shipbuilders’ Heritage Walk has been created by the Kincumber Rotary Club and on the third Sunday of May the club hosts a fun walk day with food, music, magicians, classic cars and free shuttle buses.

You can buy souvenir passports to be stamped in each of the four villages, and children dressed up as pirates, mermaids and sea creatures receive free passports and a lucky dip.

To find out more about the area’s shipbuilding past you can join one of the driving forces behind the walk, Peter Rea, on a History Ferry Tour on event day, and other dates upon request throughout the year.

Central Coast Ferries, Saratoga
Central Coast Ferries, Saratoga

This article was originally authored by Amanda Woods, with photography by James Horan, as part of a Love Central Coast grant project brought to you by Destination Central Coast, jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. To maintain accuracy, some editorial changes may have been made since publication.