When’s the last time you visited Mount Sugarloaf? Many of us visited as kids and have since viewed the summit from a distance. Some have never taken the drive over to West Wallsend to climb Lake Macquarie’s highest point or enjoy a Mount Sugarloaf walk. If you’ve forgotten about this hidden gem add it to your family activities list. With so many different walks on offer, you can enjoy one which is perfect for you and your family.
History of Mount Sugarloaf
The Awabakal people call the mountain ‘Warrawelong’. With views over the Awabakal area, it was a place used to teach and hold sacred ceremonies. When Captain James Cook first saw Mount Sugarloaf on 10th May 1770, he described the shape of it as ‘like the Crown of a hatt’. In the 1860s, as the early settlers arrived, the area became popular due to the work available in the coal mines. Even the mountain itself was mined. It’s important you stick to the tracks because of this.
The mountain was once named “Great Sugar Loaf” because of how much it’s shape looked like a Brazilian sugar product. The sugar was formed into conical shapes for the export trade. This product was called “sugar loaves”. The resemblance was uncanny and the name stuck.
Snow on the mountain
The summit of Mount Sugarloaf is the highest point in the Lake Macquarie area. Sitting 412 metres high it’s easily identifiable by the television and radio aerials that sit on its highest point. Did you know that on Sunday, July 18th 1965, ten centimetres of snow fell on the mountain? There was such excitement in the local Lake Macquarie area that the police had to close the roads to stop people heading up to it. In 1975, snow-covered on the top of the mountain again to the delight of the locals.
Getting to Mount Sugarloaf
To get to Mount Sugarloaf, follow George Booth Road in West Wallsend until you come to Mount Sugarloaf Road. Turn off here and follow the road all the way to the top. There is a car park at the top, and if that’s full, simply come back down and park where the facilities are. There is also a car park lower down which is a good place to park if you are planning a longer walk. You will have passed this on the way up.
Mount Sugarloaf has toilet facilities, picnic tables and barbeques for the public to use. There are also several beautiful grassy areas where you can stop, spread out your blanket and have a bite to eat.
We arrived around 9 am and went exploring first. Head up to the Summit and check out the view. Then come back down and choose a Mount Sugarloaf walk that’s perfect for you. There are detailed signs to guide you on your way.
From the car park, you can follow the linear track which takes you up a steep hill to a set of steep steps. This is not suitable for wheelchairs or prams. Once you get to the top you’ll enjoy the amazing views overlooking Lake Macquarie and right into Newcastle as well as the ocean. This walk takes about fifteen minutes each way with kids and covers about half a kilometre there and back. It won’t be long before the kids find the giant boulders along this walk which they can climb and explore on. It’s so gorgeous around here, so don’t rush back down.
Summit Loop Walk
This walk lets you explore a loop of Mount Sugarloaf. It’s a moderate walk that will take you about an hour. Head to the Western lookout where you’ll enjoy amazing views of the Hunter Region. There is a section of this track which is wheelchair & pram friendly. Once you leave the lookout, the trail takes you back around the front of the mountain facing Lake Macquarie. You’ll finish this walk back at the car park.
From the Western lookout you can continue on and follow the Cliff Walk along to the Northern viewpoint which is on a rocky ridge. This area is usually the quieter part of the walking tracks.
There are plenty of options to end a walk and return to the picnic area. We chose to only do a section of it and included the Cliff walk, both lookouts and then headed back to have something to eat. All the tracks are well signposted and have directional posts along the way to help guide you.
Other walking tracks
There are plenty of options for the more experienced adventurers. You can learn all about the trails once you arrive. We know which one we’d like to do on our next visit to Mount Sugarloaf.
Put a Mount Sugarloaf walk with your family on the list. There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in our gorgeous bushland. The kids can grab their favourite walking stick and start exploring. Remember to pack some snacks, plenty of water and the mozzie spray in summer! Love where we live.