A Wee Wander up a Hill and Down Again – Cape Hawke Lookout, Forster NSW

Sometimes there is just not the time or inclination for a long, tiring trek through the countryside.

Sometimes a short walk ticks all the boxes, especially when you know there are some pleasant coastal views waiting for you at the end of the path.

Join me for a wee walk, just South of Forster on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales. No lighthouses, no whales, but there is a lofty lookout.

The just-out-of-bed legs were not happy to be moving so early on a Sunday morning! They soon ‘got with the programme’ though as they warmed up tackling the steps up to Cape Hawke Lookout.

Cape Hawke was named by Captain Cook on his journey up the Eastern coastline of Australia in 1770. The Hawke in question was First Lord of the Admiralty, Edward Hawke, and obviously he was important and powerful enough to warrant a landmark in his honour. In reality, the land around Cape Hawke was designated as Worimi country and is now the most northern point of Booti Booti National Park.

Here are the Nuts and Bolts of this little walk:

On the way up to Cape Hawke Lookout near Forster, NSW
  • Distance: 840m return
  • Time: This is entirely dependent on your fitness levels and lung capacity! 😊 The sign says 30minutes return.
  • Rating: Moderate.
  • Summit Height: 224m above sea level.
  • Terrain: From the very start of the path, it is basically straight UP!
  • Path: The path is open and wide with clearly formed steps and stairs. It is definitely a heart-starter! It does not really require any waymarking as it is simply an out-and-back route. Sneakers/running shoes are more than sufficient to handle the terrain, or a pair of those hiking sandals would also work well.
  • Mobile Phone Coverage: Telephone reception is available.
  • Water: Take water with you. There are no watering points available anywhere in this area. This is even more important if you walk in Summer.
  • Sun Protection: Wear a hat and sunscreen. Even though there is plenty of shade on the path, the Australian sun is unforgiving.
  • Insect Protection: Take some bug spray to discourage flies and other bities, if you are susceptible.
  • Snakes: This area would be prime snake country in summertime or get walking early before they get on the move. Be careful where you step.
  • Bushfires: Be careful with any cigarettes or naked flame. Sometimes you are walking through thick patches of bush with no real escape routes, so be vigilant.
  • Toilets: There are no toilet facilities out on the path.

General Comments:

  • Driving out to Cape Hawke Lookout was a slow reveal of how the Forster area has changed over the years. What was once native bush, in the 1970s it was systematically cleared for farmland, banana plantations and cattle grazing. It has now changed once more and has become an expansive residential area. It was part of Forster I had never seen before and it came as a bit of a shock that suburbia’s tendrils stretched so far.
  • For an early Sunday morning it was busy out on the path. There were a few other casual Sunday strollers like me, taking it steady and enjoying the bush, but for others it was a more serious undertaking. Lycra-clad athletes were putting in some pulse-elevating training up and down the steps, and my heartrate was going out/up in sympathy with them before I had even started.
Map of Cape Hawke Lookout near Forster, NSW. Source: National Parks & Wildlife Service
Source: National Parks & Wildlife Service
  • But why bust yourself on a Sunday morning? My approach was much more sedate and I enjoyed peering into the thick undergrowth that edged the path, hoping to spot some wildlife. Unfortunately, all the local wildlife must still have been tucked up in their beds as there was a distinct lack of rustling in the bushes. Or maybe I couldn’t hear them over my huffing, puffing and thundering heartbeat?
  • The rays of sunlight filtering through the treetops gave everything a magical feel. It was a good excuse to stop and catch my breath, enjoying the play of light through the branches, spotlighting small sections of the forest floor.
  • Up, up, up some more until finally a patch of blue sky could be seen in a small clearing. Dominating the clearing was an 8m high tower, so the steps and stairs weren’t quite finished yet.
  • Up some more to reach the very top of the platform and a welcoming breeze cooled me as I took in the view. I have to admit that the view is a little underwhelming. The bush is so thick (and that is not necessarily a bad thing with the coastal rainforest reclaiming its territory) it obstructs any views of the neighbouring coastline. Instead, the distant views to the North are of One Mile Beach, Forster and even further on towards Tuncurry and Nine Mile Beach. While not outstanding, it does give you a good perspective of both towns and how they have expanded.

Top Tips For This Walk:

  • There are three carparking areas leading to the start of the path. If you really feel like a good workout, with a few extra hills thrown into the mix, then park in the first carpark area you arrive at as you drive up onto the ridgeline.
  • The Lookout tower is 8m high and has an open stairway i.e. open gaps between each step. It is perfectly safe, but it may not be enjoyable for people you do not like heights or all that air between each step.
  • Bird lovers will enjoy this short walk if they are patient, quiet and have a good zoom lens on their camera or binoculars. The rain forest and thick bush would be a haven for all sorts of native birds.

I would describe this walk as pleasant.  It’s no world-beater with views that take your breath away, but it is a good reason to get out of bed early on a Sunday morning.

What gets you out of bed on a Sunday morning?

The Basics

What: Booti Booti National Park has a number of other small walks on offer which showcase small sections of Wallis Lake and Seven Mile Beach. Choose a path that matches your energy levels.

A Sunday shadow at Cape Hawke Lookout near Forster, NSW.
The obligatory shadow selfie

Where: Cape Hawke Lookout is approximately 8km south of Forster, NSW.

When: You could walk this path at any time of year however I would recommend avoiding the serious heat of Summer. An early morning or late afternoon visit would increase your chance of seeing native wildlife. Pack your binoculars and you may also be able to see the annual north-south whale migration from early June through to late October.

Why: To get the heart pumping and enjoy some Aussie bush.

How: You will need your own transport to get to the Lookout or be prepared for an extra-long walk. Parking is plentiful if you have your own car.

Who: While this path may not be suitable for people with mobility issues, there are a number of benches and seats at intervals along the path where you can relax and catch your breath.

Related Posts: If you enjoy this part of the mid-north coast, there is another fabulous walk just down the road.

Related Blogs: No water views from Jo today, but she always walks under glorious blue skies and she always finds cake!

Read About It: For an interesting historical read about a completely unplanned walk up the NSW coast in early Australia, grab a copy of Jock Serong’s novel Preservation. Available from Book Depository.

#bushwalk #travelinspo #shortwalks #forster #bootibooti #australianflora #sunrise #greatoutdoors #heartstarter #nationalparks #capehawke #captaincook #coastalwalks #waterviews #oceanviews

15 thoughts on “A Wee Wander up a Hill and Down Again – Cape Hawke Lookout, Forster NSW

  1. Well, my legs are tired before I even start the day, and you’ve done all the work! But that might have something to do with a long beach walk. A good start to my day, Mel. Thanks for stretching my legs! Most Sundays we have a walk about 10.00 so unless it’s a long way off it’s not an early start. Time to put the washing out first, and finish in time for lunch. I’m starting a walk at 8.45 tomorrow, so a bit more effort involved. Fine once I’ve had my coffee and a chat on here. Lazyish today- just t’ai chi. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are livin’ the dream! Half your luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like a lovely place for a walk, especially with those coastal views. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The views would be even better if they chopped some trees down, but that would upset a few National Parks people! 😉


  3. I can definitely see it’s uphill from the very first step! And you probably don’t have to run the route (although there are such crazies). To me, it sounds much better: Walk, breathe, take a photo and then walk on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my policy too. I am slowly learning it is more about the journey than the destination.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It may be short but you sure got great views at the top!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice to do a short walk every now and then, rather than a trek! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Booti Booti National Park: honestly, you guys have the best names for things! 🙂
    I’d call that a pretty good view, myself. And you got some huffing and puffing in, so I’d call that a fine day out.
    I’m glad the snakes weren’t out, and I sure hope they’re in a deep hibernation when we’re there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will let all my slithery friends know that you are coming and tell them to stay away! 🙂 You should be pretty safe in our mid-Winter. Most of them will be tucked up in their beds.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I like a short walk even uphill if not too steep, I stop for a breather and to take photos. I don’t think this is an area I have stopped at, but looking at the map it looks like a very interesting region.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a little off the beaten track, but well worth the detour!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah the sunlight filtering through the trees and the view from the top are spectacular. Lovely walk. Especially the slower Sunday kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Morning light is always the best. Thanks for strolling with me. Mel

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close