September 15, 2016

Surrounded by beautiful lakes and on the doorstep of some of Australia’s most stunning wilderness, residents of Watagan Park will never run out of ways to entertain the whole family. With everything from walking trails, water sports, quiet picnic spots to beautiful beaches, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, from the youngest in your family to the oldest.

Heatons Picnic Area 1

If you are after a picnic with a view, look no further. A laid-back picnic spot with tables, fire pits and amenities available, Heatons Picnic Area is one not to be missed. Pack up the snags, kids and some sunscreen for a great day out in the Watagan National Park. Don’t forget to bring your camera as the picnic area boasts unparalleled views from Newcastle to the Central Coast.

Monkey Face Lookout
With rolling views of the valley this is a beautiful spot if you’re after some peace and quiet. It’s also near several abseiling spots for the more adventurous. After something a little more low key? Stretch out the legs on the easy 1.3km loop track which will take about 45 minutes and has plenty of spots to stop and soak in the view. There are some picnic tables available at the lookout, but no drinking water or other amenities so don’t forget to pack plenty of water and anything else you may need.

Bangalow Camp Ground
Only a 20-minute drive from Watagan Park is the free campground, Bangalow. There are plenty of picnic tables, barbecues, toilets and parking but the sites are unpowered. There’s plenty to see and do, from cycling and walking tracks, bird watching or just settling in by the fire and listening to the kookaburras. It is open all year round, but roads can become boggy after heavy rain, so make sure to check the national parks website before heading out.

Swing Bridge
Loved by locals and visitors alike is the Cooranbong Swing Bridge. You can ride or walk over it, swim and kayak under it or even picnic next to it. For those looking for a little bit of fun, there’s also some rope swings nearby – nothing better on a warm summers days. The bridge is heritage listed and holds many memories for locals who use it to cross Dora Creek. It’s also a beautiful spot to capture some unique photos, showcasing a part of the region’s history.

Shingle Splitters Point
Taking advantage of the stunning Lake Macquarie is Shingle Splitters Point playground and picnic area. Parents can relax and enjoy a picnic while kids burn off energy on the playground, or you can launch your boat, go water-skiing, cast a line for some fishing or just sit and watch the sun go down at the end of the day.

Cooranbong Takeaway
Recently expanding to include a sit-down café, this is a great spot for a coffee with friends or to take the kids along for a bite to eat. As well as burgers, sandwiches and the usual café fare, there are also plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options so everyone is well catered for. You will also be hard pressed to leave without at least checking out the wide variety of cakes in the display casé. This local café is known for its friendly service and large menu and is one not to be missed.

The Elephant Shop
Right next door to Cooranbong Takeaway is a little slice of the exotic. The Elephant Shop specialises in precious gems, minerals, gifts, collectables, jewellery and even furniture. A great place to pick up a gift, or a little something for yourself, there’s something for every budget. People travel from all around to visit this unique shop, located right on the doorstep of Watagan Park.

The South Sea Islands Museum
The South Sea Islands Museum is only a 10-minute walk from Watagan Park and specialises in artefacts and history from the South Pacific. It includes everything from weapons, to intricately woven baskets and traditional clothing. It only has limited opening hours, Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday from 2pm to 4pm, but you can contact the museum to make an appointment for other times. Why not visit with the family and immerse yourself in the history of the South Pacific.

Lake Mac Kayak and bike hire
Explore your backyard from the water and hire a kayak from Lake Mac Kayak. A mobile business, they bring the kayaks, stand-up paddle boards or bikes to you, show you how it’s done and then pick them up when you’re done with the day’s adventure. You can also hire them for your trip away and even take part in beginners’ lessons if you haven’t used any of the equipment before.

Morisset Park
If you’re an animal lover, make sure to visit Morisset Park. It is a well-known spot to see and interact with kangaroos up close. It is located inside the grounds of the psychiatric hospital so it can be tough to find, but once you’re there it is well worth it. Take along a picnic as well and make a full day of fun, but don’t feed the kangaroos. The kangaroos are friendly but they are wild animals and human food isn’t good for them.

For more fun ideas check out Watagan Park’s free app – Nature’s Playground. It’s filled with lots of great ideas and information about the region.

Live outside the box at Watagan Park

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