Norah Head – what a beautiful, beachy place at our end of the Central Coast. An historic lighthouse, tidal rockpool, nature trail, great café, playground in the shade of the trees, and heaps of golden sand…why haven’t we been for so long? I’ve no idea, but we certainly made up for it with our most recent visit.
Daddy Ickle was in sporty mode and set off from home on his bike, while Icklegen and I opted for the more leisurely car journey. The route includes some of my favourite stretches of road up here. Elizabeth Bay Drive cuts through some fabulous bushland on the way to Budgewoi, after the Lake Munmorah residential zone. Then, come the rugged sand dunes on Budgewoi Road, as you skirt parallel to the seashore, the ocean itself tantalisingly out of sight. The dedicated cycle track from Budgewoi to Toukley gets the thumbs-up from Daddy Ickle, too.
First stop on arrival at Norah Head: the rockpool. The trick here is timing, as the water level and ‘bumpiness’ varies with the tides. We didn’t get it quite right on this occasion. The tide was still in, waves were breaking over the surrounding rocks and sweeping through the pool. Hit the right moment, however, and your toddler can happily frolic around in beautifully still water up to her waist.
It’s a popular spot and there were people camped out like sardines along the narrow strip of sand, so we headed around the corner where the beach was virtually deserted. Loads of space all to ourselves, and just a quick clamber over the rocks from the pool. Don’t tell anyone we told you! We made sandcastles, buried ourselves in the sand, dipped our toes in the many little pools hidden in the rocks, and relished being outdoors on such a beautiful day.
We then had an obligatory stop at the Rockpool Retreat one of those places we’ve been to before (several times) and know we’ll go back to again and again. Great menu, good coffee and cakes, kiddies’ corner, arty feel and décor, relaxing atmosphere…need I say more? It was busy, so we went for a takeaway, which was a little on the disappointing side (chips were undercooked, plus you don’t get the benefit of their presentation when you eat out of a box). But it hit the spot all the same.
Bursting with renewed energy after his lunch, Daddy Ickle hopped back on his bike and headed for home; Icklegen and I chose to stay a little longer. We looked at the start of the wonderful little nature trail that links Bush Street Reserve with the lighthouse. At around 1 km one-way, it’s a tad far for a young toddler, but easily manageable with her in a baby-carrier, or backpack. Being short on time (i.e. it was almost nap o’clock for Ickle), we got in the car for a quick look at the lighthouse – a stunning landmark dating to the early-1900s, and a great way to end our fun-packed morning.