If you love to explore the bush and are looking for something a little adventurous to do this summer, visit the stunning Watagans National Park. The Watagans National Park covers more than 7750 hectares of extensive mountain range, and whether you’re up for a challenge or prefer a more relaxed stroll, there are bushwalking trails to suit all abilities.
Boarding House Dam
Boarding House Dam is a short 20-minute walk from the picnic ground through the cool rainforest, and features a 110-metre long moss covered rock wall and unusual sculptured rock formations formed by the creek. This easy loop can be accessed from Watagan Forest Road and features sheltered picnic areas, toilets and free gas barbecues.
The Pines Trail
The Pines Trail follows Dora Creek from the picnic area through moist eucalypt forest and rainforest. This 45-minute loop passes Aboriginal grinding grooves in sandstone and a lovely rock pool. The 1.1km trail features picnic and barbecue facilities, toilets, freshwater and a camping area, and can be accessed from Walkers Ridge Forest Road.
Gap Creek Falls Trail
Commencing from the Gap Creek picnic area at the end of Bangalow Road, the popular Gap Creek Falls Trail wanders through areas of cool rainforest and passes beautiful features including red cedars and a large Illawarra flame tree. After about 300 metres, near the base of a giant bluegum, the track forks, the left hand fork continues about 200 metres to the impressive Gap Creek Falls with a sheer drop of 40m over a curved cliff face, while the right fork continues for another 400m through rainforest before finishing at Gap Creek. This moderate walk, accessible from Mount Faulk Road, takes about an hour and features free gas and wood barbecues, sheltered picnic areas, water and toilet facilities.
Experienced bushwalkers can explore the beautiful Watagan Trail, a four to five hour rainforest walk with views over the Hunter Valley. This walk leads from Heaton Lookout to McLeans Lookout taking in some of the best forest scenery and vantage points in the Watagans. The trail is part of the Great North Walk and passes through Wallis Creek Canyon with its beautiful moss-covered overhangs and rainforest plants. From McLeans Lookout there is also an easy walk to the Hunter Lookout (600m) following the cliff line with beautiful views over the Hunter Valley. The trail, accessed from Heaton Road and Mount Faulk Road, features barbecues, a picnic area, toilets and water facilities.
Before you set off on your walk make sure you:
- carry a bag for rubbish;
- carry enough drinking water and food;
- know the track you plan to take and carry a map with you;
- seek a weather forecast; and
- wear strong shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, protective clothing and a hat.
Lake Macquarie City offers an abundance of activities for people of all ages to enjoy. For more ideas of things to do in Lake Macquarie City, download our Lake Macquarie City guides or view day-tripper itineraries at visitlakemac.com.au.