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Published: June 21st 2006
One of the best kept secrets of the Central Coast.
This is the question which most people are asking. Travelmate.com has the following description: Picture an island resort nestled among 100-year-old paperbarks protecting a narrow neck of land separating two lakes. Sound too serene to be true? Not if you visit Budgewoi, the resort village that divides Munmorah and Budgewoi lakes at the top of the Central Coast at Sydney’s northern gateway. Sydney and Newcastle families have been holidaying at Budgewoi for generations...and little wonder. With abundant fishing and safe swimming lakes at your doorstep, and surf beaches within walking distance, the town presents the ideal package for a traditional Aussie seaside holiday.
The scenic attractions and tourist traps of Lake Macquarie and the rest of the Central Coast are to the immediate north and south. The John Slade Rotary Park, on the north-eastern shoreline of Budgewoi Lake, not only offers picnickers a well-shaded BBQ area, but absorbing views across the water to the Toukley golf course. Curiously, in an area noted as an aquatic playground, the name Budgewoi is taken from the local Aboriginal word for 'young grass.'
Of course, those of us who live here know that that is not even remotely like the real story.
Arial view of Budgewoi
Norah Head lighthouse is in the far distance.
According to our local historian (Bruce Russell, "From Pudgeway to Budgewoi", 1984) the aboriginal name for the area was Budjeri, which meant "good conditions" and described the abundance of wallabies, birds, fish, prawns, trees, shrubs and plants they could use to sustain a healthy tribe.
The early colonists named the area Pudgewoy but over the years it has been know by many other names: Budgeway, Possum's Fence, Sandy Point, Halekulani and the present name of Budgewoi which was made official in July 1978.
Originally used for grazing cattle and agriculture, by the early 1930s Budgewoi was becoming known as a holiday destination and families would come from Sydney to camp over weekends and during holidays. However, getting to the area was not easy so it did not become as popular as other places on the Central Coast.
It wasn't until the 1980s that Budgewoi started to grow significantly. Due to the cheapness of land, many people bought properties in the area when they retired and the population soared. The balance has changed again in the last few years with a lot of young families moving in due to the ridiculous cost of buying a house in Sydney.
Budgewoi Winter Sunrise
Worth getting up for in the morning.
The current population is about 9000.
Despite the small population, there is a very active shopping centre with a supermarket and about 40 specialty shops. There are six restaurants - Thai, Mexican, Italian, Seafood and French (2) - and numerous take-away shops ranging from Lebanese to fish-and-chips. There is only one pub. As well as these there is also a Lawn Bowls club which acts as the main social centre for the area.
It's not the sort of place to come if you want to live life in the fast lane but it suits those of us who live here. If you like the water and the outdoors life, there is probably no better place to be with kilometres of pristine ocean beaches for swimming and fishing and two lakes for sailing or boating.
I'll add a few more photos when I get the opportunity.
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