A natural attraction of the Central Coast is the huge variety of bushland parks, trails and stunning lookouts to enjoy on foot, on your bike, and even by horse.
Central Coast Council manages a network of bushland and other natural reserves in the Coastal Open Space System (COSS). These reserves are places where our native plants, animals, fungi and other living organisms can thrive.
Access to some reserves and some parts of the reserves is prohibited to allow native species to remain undisturbed. But in others Council has provided picnic areas, lookouts and walking tracks so that residents and visitors can experience and enjoy the natural environment.
Council bushland reserves, picnic areas and walking tracks
Due to recent bush fires, The Mangrove Creek Dam picnic area and walking tracks in Dubbo Gully remain closed until further notice. Other Council bushland reserves, picnic areas and walking tracks are open. However, they will be closed during declared total fire bans or if the changing fire or weather conditions pose a risk to community safety. Notice signs will be displayed at reserves to advise the community and visitors to our region of the current status.
Our reserves have many walking tracks to explore - from 20-minute gentle circuit tracks, to challenging full day walks. They lead through a variety of habitats including lush rainforest, towering wet sclerophyll forests and wildflower-filled ridge-top woodlands. A natural attraction of the Central Coast is the huge variety of bushland parks, trails and stunning lookouts to enjoy on foot, on your bike, and even on a horse.
Rumbalara and Katandra Reserves
The Railway to Rainforest Walk leads from Gosford railway station to the rainforest at Seymour Pond, in Katandra Reserve in Holgate. This is an extensive 11 kilometre return walk (22km all up) that allows views of some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Coastal Open Space System. There are a number of shorter loop walks available if time is limited.
The walk can be accessed from the Donnison Street entrance to Rumbalara Reserve or off the Katandra Road entrance to Katandra Reserve. Picnic and barbecue facilities are provided in both reserves.
Kincumba Mountain Regional Reserve
Kincumber Mountain Regional Reserve is accessible from Terrigal, Green Point and Kincumber.
The Kanning Walk is a short walk full of interesting plants and rock formations.
The Sid Pulsford fire trail provides a longer experience for walkers and bike riders wanting to explore the reserve further. The main picnic area can be reached by car from Kincumber Street, Kincumber.
Our bushland reserves can be a great place to get out of the traffic and into nature. But be aware that many tracks and trails are not hardened and may be uneven or crossed by roots and other obstructions.
Be ready, too, for other users. Tracks will have walkers, mountain bike riders and even horse riders.
Mountain bike riding is allowed on a number of bushland reserve fire trails. Travel slowly, keep to the marked trails and be aware that there may be other users.
Picnics and whale watching
Our bushland reserves have several large picnic areas to enjoy. You may want to try one of our hilltop picnic areas:
Each year between June and November humpback whales migrate northwards from Antarctica heading for the southern Great Barrier Reef where they give birth.
There are many places along the coast to view whales during the migration period. The higher vantage points such as Crackneck Lookout at Bateau Bay, Captain Cook Lookout at Copacabana are great places.
The Central Coast has many lookouts that provide outstanding views of the coastline, waterways, bushland and urban areas. Some of the easier access lookouts in the bushland reserves are:
- Marie Byles Lookout at Killcare Heights
- St John Lookout in Katandra Reserve at Mount Elliot
- Yaruga Lookout in Rumbalara Reserve at East Gosford
In addition our local national parks also provide opportunities to experience and enjoy nature.