One of our favourite things to do as a family is to find new places to explore, that aren't too far from home.
Bushwalking is so great for the kids, navigating through the tracks, negotiating steep steps and giant boulders.
There are rarely complaints or arguments (other than who gets to be in the lead) and they are getting exercise in the great outdoors.
As we walk I also find it to be a great opportunity to have conversations with each of my kids. They aren't distracted by screens or toys and generally seem to be open books, chatting away as we stroll along. There are also moments of wildlife spotting and discussions over plants, trees and birds.
My top three walks (so far) around The Central Coast would be:
1) Piles Creek Loop
We were possibly a little ambitious taking a three year old on this hike - because that's what it felt like, a hike! A three hour round trip up and down some pretty steep inclines. But she did it, she walked the whole 4kms, crossing creeks and waterfalls and a pretty cool suspension bridge. There are parts of this walk where the track isn't obvious and it is definite 'bush' walking, so just be prepared and keep that in mind... our shoes got quite muddy and wet.
If you are up that way there is another beautiful walk from the same starting place. It is called the Girakool Loop and it is an easier 2km hike.
2) The Coast Walking Track
The entire track is 3km one way but we cheated and parked our car at Crackneck Lookout which cuts the walk down by 1km or so. This walk is an easy walk on a mostly sandy track. There are quite aa few stairs as you head towards Forresters Beach but they are proper man-made steps with a handrail.
This track has spectacular ocean views and if you are there at the right time of year you may even spot a whale or two!
3) Norah Head Lighthouse Loop
Loop tracks are my favourite as you don't have to turn around and go back the way you came. This loop is 2.5km and is an easy-grade walk. Take a packed lunch to have on the grassy area surrounding the Lighthouse before you continue on the loop back to the car.
You can also go down to Lighthouse Beach and the rock pool but we chose to stay up at the Lighthouse and join the next tour. The view from the top of the lighthouse was fantastic and even the kids seemed to enjoy learning the history of the lighthouse and the boats.
If you have any family-friendly walks around the coast or Sydney way that you'd recommend, we'd love to hear about them.