Tiny village on the edge of the Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay.
The tiny settlement of Patonga, edged by Brisk Bay and Patonga Creek, is typical of the sleepy, "away from it all", ambience which characterises so many of the small villages which edge the Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay. It has the great advantage of being constrained by boundaries that are either water or National Park (the Brisbane Water National Park). Patonga is the most southerly beach on the Central Coast.
Patonga is located 94 km north of Sydney via the Pacific Motorway, Woy Woy Road and Patonga Drive.^ TOP
Origin of Name
It has been claimed that 'patonga' is a Kuring-gai Aboriginal word, more accurately pronounced 'batonga', meaning 'oyster'.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
The waters which lap against Patonga Beach are calm because of the town's position far removed from the wilder forces of the ocean. Consequently the beach is safe for swimming. Jutting out into the water is a jetty and there is also a boat ramp and a childrens' play area making the surrounding waters ideal for boating, fishing and just relaxing. It is essentially a family destination. Beyond the beach the small village has a war memorial and there is a caravan park.
At the southern end of Patonga Beach lies one of the area's ancient tidal inlets, Patonga Creek, which is surrounded by Brisbane Water National Park. The creek is shallow and edged by mangroves on the estuarine mudflats. The average depth is only one metre at low tide making it ideal for kayaking and canoeing. The birdlife is impressive and visitors can see azure kingfishers, great egrets, sea eagles and whistling kites.
Other Attractions in the Area
Ferries to Patonga
There is a daily scenic cruise which leaves Palm Beach, stops briefly at Patonga and then continues up the Hawkesbury River to Bobbin Head. It leaves daily from Palm Beach at 11.00 am, arrives at Patonga at 11.30 and reaches Bobbin Head at 12.50 where it stops until 1.45 pm when it returns to Patonga arriving at 3.00 pm and Palm Beach at 3.30 pm. There are increased services during weekends and public holidays. The appeal is obvious: this is a very beautiful part of both Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury with unspoilt shorelines, rugged sandstone cliffs, the impressive Lion Island standing like a sentinel at the opening to Broken Bay, and the endless charm of sailing boats cutting across the waters. Check out http://www.sydneysceniccruises.com/ for details and ticketing, tel 0414 466 635.
Patonga to Pearl Beach Track
This is a pleasant 2.5 km walk from Patonga to Pearl Beach on a well-marked track. It is a walk through bushland with a number of lookouts over the Hawkesbury River and the attraction of good cafes at Pearl Beach. It is possible to do the walk in reverse by catching the Patonga to Pearl Beach bus and walking back to Patonga. See http://www.patonga.me/whattodo for an easy variation which avoids any steep parts of the track.
Great North Walk - Patonga to Girrakool Track
Patonga is on the route of the 250 km Great North Walk from Sydney to Newcastle, a moderately difficult walk which usually takes between 10-14 days (it has been done in under 60 hours) which includes a wide range of environments and attractions ranging from Aboriginal rock engravings to bridges, waterways, coal mines and beautiful bushland. It was created in 1988 as a Bicentennial Project but includes tracks which were used by Aborigines for thousands of years. It can be broken down into smaller sections. The section which includes Patonga is known as the Girrakool Track and runs for 25 km from the Girrakool picnic area to Patonga. It includes superb views over the waterways of the Hawkesbury, Brisbane Water and Broken Bay as well as interesting sections through bushland and onto the open ridge above the water. For more information check out http://www.patonga.me/whattodo and http://www.patonga.me/. Get a downloadable map from http://www.everytrail.com/guide/woy-woy-to-cowan-hawkesbury-on-great-north-walk/map. There is a worthwhile shorter walk of 15.5 km (5 hours 45 minutes) from Woy Woy to Patonga. Check out http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/brisbane-water-national-park/patonga-to-woy-woy.html
One of the best vantage points to admire the view over Broken Bay and the lower Hawkesbury River is Warrah Lookout. The surrounding environment is predominantly dry eucalypt forest but in spring (September-October) the area has impressive displays of warpaths. There is even an area called "Waratah Patch'. To access the lookout head back towards Woy Woy on Patonga Drive. Turn east onto Warrah Trig Road - a 1.2 km dirt road to Warrah Trig. From the trig there is the Tony Doyle Walking Trail which joins up with the Great North Walk and also leads to Warrah Lookout over Broken Bay. Check out http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/nationalparks/parkLookouts.aspx?id=N0006 for more details.
* Prior to European settlement the area around Patonga was inhabited by the Kuring-gai Aboriginal people.
* In 1789 Governor Phillip sent a party to explore Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River. They observed Lion Island but made no observations about the Patonga area.
* The land which is now Patonga was surveyed and granted to John Hatfield in 1839.
* The first European settlement of the area probably occurred as late as the 1860s and some time later a fisherman, Robert Robinson, took up residence in the area.
* Patonga was subdivided in 1916 and by 1921 all the lots had been sold. By 1925 there were 70 houses on the promontory.
* In the 1930s during the Great Depression people were attracted to the area because they could live cheaply by fishing and living off the land.
* In 1937 a proper road was built from Umina. Prior to that the only access was by boat or rough bush track.
* Today it is one of the many "get away from it all" tiny settlements on the edge of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River.^ TOP
Patonga has no specific visitor information centre but the Central Coast Visitor Information Centres at 52 The Avenue, Mt Penang Parklands, Kariong, tel: (02) 4343 4444 and 200 Mann Street, Gosford, tel: (02) 4343 4444 can help with information about the village.^ TOP
There is an excellent and detailed local website - http://www.patonga.me/ - which offers useful and practical information.^ TOP