It’s not unusual to feel the need to travel far and wide to immerse yourself in extraordinary natural beauty but on the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales, all you have to do is lace up your joggers and take a short drive and you’ll be greeted by this…
With stunning sea views and thriving bushland, the Patonga to Pearl Beach stretch of the Great North Walk (or Pearl Beach to Patonga depending where you start) is a great way to be reminded of all that is magnificent about the Coast and our country.
Aside from a brief stroll along the sand and a mild uphill at the beginning, it’s 3.8km of relatively easy walking through shady gum canopies and corridors of pretty wildflowers.
At a few points it’s possible to veer off the track onto the rocks and viewing platforms where breathtaking views of West Head and Sydney’s northern peninsula seem to stretch on forever.
On a cloudless afternoon, a handful of yachts are making the most of the sunshine, tacking their way across the flat sheet of sea.
Back on the sandy track, we step over stairs made from roots and stone, and marvel at giant gums wriggling their way towards the heavens.
It’s so tranquil, only the odd call from a bird and whoosh of wind disturb the serenity.
We’ve set off at 3pm thinking the walk is a 3.8km circuit but that’s just the distance from Patonga to Pearly, which takes about an hour depending on how many stops you make.
After passing a gentle waterfall and an imposing wall of rock we descend to Pearl Beach and are spat out in the tree-lined backstreets near the arboretum where a bride and her family are posing for wedding photos.
With the sun starting its descent towards the horizon, we power back to Patonga in under an hour.
While we’ve been stopping to smell the flowers, the tide has come in and started to fill the stretch of sand at the mouth of the Patonga end of the walk.
We wait for the ocean to breath in and meander back to the picturesque fishing village of Patonga, beachcombing along the way.
We make it back to the car just as the sun is setting, the striking golden rays silhouetting Patonga’s trademark pines and casting a metallic sheen over the sand.
It’s a fitting crescendo to a day exploring a stunning corner of the Coast.
Coastal Chic Tip: If 3.8km each way is too much of a hike, leave a car at both ends and enjoy the stunning walk one way. There’s ample parking at Patonga and in the back streets of Pearl Beach.