Kincumber - Places to See

St Paul's Anglican Church
The district's first two churches were built at Kincumber. St Paul's Anglican Church was erected between 1841 and 1847 on three acres of the village reserve allotted to the Church of England. In this period churches were funded by public subscription which the government matched dollar for dollar. In the porchway is the gravestone of James Dunlop, the superintendent of the government observatory at Parramatta who discovered a comet in 1833. He retired because of ill health in 1847 and died at Kincumber the next year. His grave is in the cemetery, along with those of other white pioneers. This small but genuinely charming church with its ivy-clad walls is located by the roundabout where Avoca Drive and Empire Bay Drive meet. For further information contact

Kincumba Mountain Reserve.
Head east along Avoca Drive and, to the right, is a turnoff into Island View Drive which leads to a large clearing and picnic area at Honeyman's Rock. Kincumba Mountain Reserve is one of the major attractions in the Kincumber area. It consists of 700 ha of rugged mountainous terrain populated by a variety of ecospheres, including one of the largest undisturbed rainforests on the Central Coast. The reserve is 200 m above sea-level at its high point with picnic-barbecue sites. There are caves, rock formations, palm groves, wildflowers, historic Aboriginal carvings and axe-grinding grooves. A pamphlet available from the information centre outlines the walking trails which range from 800 m to 3.5 km and take in a number of good scenic lookouts.

Gallery 460 and Sculpture Park.
Continue west along Avoca Drive. About 750 m further west, to the right at no. 460, is Gallery 460 and Sculpture Park. This complex consists of two small art galleries with a range of sculptural works distributed about landscaped and well-manicured private gardens. A wander through the parkland is pleasant indeed and does not take too long, with some interesting sculptures to focus the stroll, including a monumental work on the upper tier. They are open 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. daily, contact (02) 4369 2111.

About 600 m further west along Avoca Drive is a roundabout. Turn left into Davistown Rd and head south along a neck of land that protrudes down into Brisbane Water then branches both east to Davistown and west to Saratoga. About 1.5 km along this road is a left turn into Deborah St where there is The Farm House, the home of early settler John Bourke Senior who settled on 20 ha in 1863. He farmed his land until the late 1880s when he became one of the pioneers of the citrus industry, for which the Central Coast subsequently became known. His homestead, built in the late 19th century, is still extant.

Just past Deborah St turn right into High St. The second right is Mimosa Ave which will take you to the high tide boat ramp off Centennial Ave. There is a boat charter service around the corner at 3 Moonah Ave, contact (02-4369 5984).

High St continues westwards and then bends to the right as View Parade. Just after the bend turn left up Lydred St. At its end is the access path to Mt Pleasant Lookout with views over Brisbane Water to Koolewong and down to Woy Woy.

Return to View Parade, turn left by the shoreline along Steyne Rd which winds its way around the headland, eventually becoming Henderson Rd. After it passes Veterans Wharf Henderson Rd passes Kenneth Ave on the left and bends hard right, look to the right into the paddock and there, on the other side of the large brick wall, is Veteran Hall Cemetery. This land was promised to Patrick Geary, a veteran of the NSW Corps, hence its name. He died before the property was surveyed and it was thus bequeathed to his son-in-law, Robert Henderson, who was appointed district constable at Brisbane Water in 1825. Geary, Henderson, their family and descendants are buried beneath the headstones.

At the end of Henderson Rd turn right into High St. It will return you to Davistown Rd. A right will take you to Davistown which is a seaside residential area. There are three boat ramps located in Amy St facing into Kincumber Broadwater; Lintern St fronting Lintern Channel, and Restella Ave adjacent Cockle Channel. The latter is a high tide ramp - the other two are deepwater launches. There are two boat charter services at Davistown: Central Coast Charters at 38 Mirreen Ave (02-4363 1221) and Helmsman Yacht Charter at 10 Davistown Rd (02-4369 5858). Head north back along Davistown Rd to return to Avoca Drive.


Holy Cross Catholic Church
At the Avoca Drive/Empire Bay Drive roundabout, turn right heading to South Kincumber. 1.9 km from the roundabout turn right into Mackillop Rd. Turn right at the T-intersection into Humphrey Rd. Just before its end is Holy Cross Catholic Church. The oldest church in the district it was built in 1842 on land donated by Thomas Humphrey. William Pickett supplied the sandstone from his adjoining property. Both are buried beside the church along with other European pioneers. The church has a Tudor facade with ornamental battlements. Also on the grounds is the old Kincumber Orphanage which operated between 1887 and 1976. It is now St Joseph's Conference Centre. Return to Empire Bay Drive and turn right.

Empire Bay
Empire Bay Drive runs south through South Kincumber and Bensville then west to Empire Bay. To the right, just before the traffic lights as you enter the Empire Bay area, is Cockle Bay Nature Reserve, a section of bushland which makes for a pleasant though perhaps not remarkable stroll. There are no formal walking tracks, facilities nor parking, nor is the site well signposted (the sign is obscured from the road but look for the bush clearing on the roadside by the bus stop).

The first right turn will take you out towards Cockle Channel which separates Empire Bay from the Saratoga peninsula. At the Kendall Rd/Sorrento Rd intersection is a boat ramp and picnic area. From here Brisbane Water Ferries run 75-minute scenic cruises of the waterway about a dozen times a day, stopping at Davistown, Saratoga and Woy Woy, from 6 am to 9 pm weekdays and from 9 to 6 on weekends, contact (02) 4369 5066.

Empire Bay Drive continues on to The Rip Bridge which will take you across to Woy Woy. Just before The Rip Bridge is another bridge which drops sharply down to St Huberts Island, once a mangrove island owned by The Reverend Cornelius Coughlan who was associated with Holy Cross Church between 1843 and 1847. It is now an overdeveloped residential area .

Hardy's Bay, Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe
Return along Empire Bay Drive. Just past the Cockle Bay Nature Reserve turn right into Wards Hill Rd which heads south. At the road's end turn right into The Scenic Drive. Proceed to its end where it intersects with Killcare Rd, Beach Rd and Nukara Ave. If you take the hard right into Killcare Rd then turn left at its end into Araluen Drive the latter follows the shoreline of Hardy's Bay and continues on past Pretty Beach, where there is a deepwater boat ramp opposite the primary school, to Wagstaffe: all three being pleasant and attractive beachfront holiday spots.

Bouddi National Park
By far the most impressive attraction in the area is the 1189-ha Bouddi National Park . Part of the Sydney Geological Basin it offers fishing (although a marine extension has been declared from Third Point to Gerrin Point within which all marine life is protected), surfing, sunbathing, swimming, excellent bushwalks, panoramic lookouts, and beautiful, tranquil, secluded bays and beaches backed by wet sclerophyll forest, grasslands, swamps, heathlands and densely-canopied rainforests. The park is home to gliders, possums, echidnae, bandicoots, bush rats, marsupial mice, owls, scrub turkeys, lyrebirds, bowerbirds, white-breasted sea eagles and a host of other avifauna.

There are large and ancient sand dunes (90-100 m above sea-level) at Bombi Point and Mourawaring Moors, in the northern section of the park. There are camping-picnic areas at Little Beach, Putty Beach and Tallow Beach. Bookings can be made on (02) 4324 4911.

The south-western end of the park can be accessed via Hawke Head Drive. At the aforementioned intersection of The Scenic Rd, Killcare Rd, Nukara Ave and Beach Rd head up the very short and steep Nukara Ave. At its top there are three choices. Take the middle path (Hawke Head Rd - the signpost is obscured but just around the corner). This dirt road, which heads to the Tallow Beach carpark, furnishes some quite breathtaking views down over Putty and Tallow Beaches, out into the ocean and south to Barrenjoey Head and its lighthouse. Walking trails head off from the carpark down to Tallow Beach and through dense scrub along a poorly defined path to the lookout near Box Head, the southernmost tip of the peninsula. Trees obscure the view but it is still worth the effort.

Returning again to the pharisee intersection, Beach Rd leads to the surf lifesaving club at Putty Beach. The Scenic Rd heads north-east along the park's western boundary. A short distance from the intersection along The Scenic Rd, is Putty Beach Drive which will take you to the camping area and the start of a walking track that leads to Maitland Bay and ultimately to Little Beach at the north-eastern end of the park.

Further north-east along The Scenic Rd, a little over a kilometre from the intersection with Wards Hill Rd, is a formal roadside lookout with an information board and pointers indicating locations in the distance. The views are quite spectacular - Barrenjoey Lighthouse is again visible to the south-west.

Continue along The Scenic Rd to the Information Centre, on the right-hand side of the road. There is a large carpark. It is from here that the walk begins to Maitland Bay ( a spur track heads off to Bullimah Lookout). It is not especially long and is very much downhill on the way there. However, be warned. To the degree that it is easy going down it is an exhausting climb back up, but well worth the effort. The bay has a sense of seclusion and privacy owing to the fact that it is deeply recessed behind Bouddi Point and protected from the rear by the very steep rockface which adds to the sense of enclosure. The beach is beautiful and so is the forestry around it.

Maitland Bay was originally known to Europeans as the Boat Harbour. In 1898 the 880-ton paddlesteamer Maitland, seeking shelter in Broken Bay from gale-force winds, became swamped with water from the swells, drifted during the night, hit submerged rocks off Bouddi Point, became wedged on a rock ledge and began to break up. 27 died in the attempts to reach the beach with a line to secure the position and facilitate access to the shore. If you walk around the bay and clamber carefully out on to the slippery rock ledge off Bouddi Point you can walk over to the ship's boiler. Other remnants are a short distance away.

If you proceed along The Scenic Rd, Mt Bouddi Rd departs to the right and leads to a picnic area and a walking track to another excellent lookout at Mt Bouddi. This track also leads down to Maitland Bay and north-east to Little Beach.

Little Beach can also be reached by proceeding north-east along The Scenic Rd and turning right into Grahame Drive which leads to a carpark from whence there is an easy track down to Little Beach , which is well named, being located within a very small and rocky bay. It is a popular yet secluded surfing, picnic and camping spot.

Another major drawcard is Daleys Point Aboriginal Site. Access is via a gravel road opposite the intersection of Maitland Bay Drive and Wards Hill Rd. Follow this road for 2-3 km. Go straight ahead when the road bends to the right and it will lead to a carpark from whence you can see a rock shelf marked with engravings. Below the outcrop is a shelter where drawings and stencils can be found.

MacMasters Beach
The Scenic Rd continues on past MacMasters Beach then it bends eastwards past Cockrone Lagoon and back to Kincumber. MacMasters Beach is divided off from Bouddi National Park by the steep cliffs of Mourawaring Point. It marks a return to suburbia. It is popular and less secluded: the start of an almost continuous strip of residential coastline. MacMasters is a perfectly good beach and requires less effort to get there for those who want an ordinary day at an everyday beach.

Tours, Cruises and Other Services
A number of operators will pick up clients from their homes, though this may depend upon whether there are sufficient numbers. Central Coast Kayak Tours will pick people up from most Central Coast train stations (there is also a daily coach service from Sydney), contact (02) 4381 0342. Meals are provided and no experience is necessary. Central Coast Bushworks offer guided bushwalks in the area as well as abseiling, all equipment supplied, contact (02) 4363 2028.

Alcheringa Tours at 20 Sierra Crescent, East Gosford, offer tours for small groups of varying duration into the local caves and national parks, contact (02) 4325 5966. It's Easy Tours organise luxury coach holidays with day tours of the Central Coast and out to Wisemans Ferry, contact (02) 4340 1037. Fresh Tracks Safaris specialise in 4WD tours of the Central Coast, the Hunter Vineyards and Aboriginal sites, contact (02) 4385 3024. Blunsdon Day Tours and Charters run mini-coach day tours around the Central Coast and other areas. They will pick you up by arrangement, contact (02) 4328 1317. Aeroflite offer scenic flights over the Central Coast for up to seven passengers, as well as charter flights. They depart from Warnervale aerodrome, just north of Wyong, contact (02) 4392 4199.