The Central Coast is a lively holiday destination with a whole range of activities for the adventurous and the foodie. While taking in the gorgeous beaches, you can also enjoy spirited adventures and inventive cuisine.
Harking back to those childhood beach holidays when feet stayed sandy for days and fish and chips were eaten from greaseproof paper oceanside, the Central Coast of NSW is made for a classic beach getaway. Bounded by the Hawkesbury River in the south, Watagan Mountains in the west and the base of Lake Macquarie to the north, in the Central Coast region you can do as little or as much as you like. For those that crave adventure, try horse riding treks through peaceful hinterland or zipline thrills high in the treetops. And if your holiday inclination is more sunrise walks and seafood feasts – you'll find uncrowded beaches, top fishing spots and clever chefs plating up ocean-fresh bounty. For something a little different, there are one-of-a-kind tours and meet-the-maker experiences to put on your getaway list.
Getting there: A trip to the Central Coast from Sydney is easy. You can hire a car and drive about an hour north up the coast; catch a 90-minute train from Central Station and get off at Woy Woy or Gosford; or travel to Palm Beach in Sydney’s north and take a scenic ferry ride to Ettalong.
Get a natural high
The Central Coast is home to some of the state’s best beaches and stunning coastal wilderness — just the place for getting your heart rate up with a scenic venture in the fresh air. At Treetops Central Coast in Wyong Creek, get your Tarzan on with a swing through eucalyptus trees and a whoosh on the world’s longest tree-based rollercoaster zipline, the Crazy Rider — a speedy one-kilometre track high in the leafy canopy. If wave-count is on your mind, paddle out at Avoca Beach — it's not only one of the prettiest beaches but has one of the best surf breaks with a consistent swell all year round. The beach is also a top pick for families — there's a lovely rock pool for little ones, the beach is shielded by the headland and it’s a popular spot to learn to surf with Central Coast Surf Academy.
TreeTops Central Coast
TreeTops Central Coast, Red Hill Road, Wyong ...
Avoca Beach NSW, Australia
Cake by the ocean
The Central Coast is a food lover’s paradise with incredible local producers, brilliant baristas and innovative chefs. Just-out-of-the-ocean seafood is the star, with classic fish and chips, freshly caught lobster and grilled prawns on local menus. A lovely spot for coffee or lunch is The Boathouse at Patonga where you can perch outside overlooking the calm waters of Patonga Beach and choose from an all-day menu packed with seafood, delicious burgers and sweet treats. For more water views and an al fresco meal of fish and chips or calamari rings, head to Woy Woy Fisherman’s Wharf.
Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf
Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf, The Boulevarde, Wo...
Another top spot is the Pearl Beach cottage restaurant Pearls on the Beach, with a tranquil on-the-sand setting and inventive, seasonal menu. In Gosford, chef Sean Connolly of Bon Pavilion grills meats and fish on the bone for big, bold flavours, and the modern space with leather banquettes and open kitchen brings an exciting culinary adventure. For more taste sensations, Firescreek Winery in Holgate crafts award-winning wines from fruits and flowers – try the Chilli Citrus Wine.
Pearls on the Beach
Pearls on the Beach, Tourmaline Avenue, Pearl...
Firescreek Winery, Wattle Tree Road, Holgate ...
From chocolate factories to pearl farms, the Central Coast boasts some surprising travel experiences. One of the sweetest is a tour of the Nougat and Chocolate Factory in Gosford, where you can explore the factory floor with a guide or simply watch your favourite treats being made through portal windows. For cheese lovers, Little Creek Cheese in the Old Wyong Milk Factory make exceptional artisan cheeses and offer The Cheese Experience, a fascinating behind-the-scenes masterclass, where you can take home your own hand-made ricotta and paneer.
Wyong Milk Factory Cafe
Wyong Milk Factory Cafe, Alison Road, Wyong N...
To see luminescent pearls straight from the farm, visit Pearls of Australia – rare and valuable Akoya pearls are grown here at Broken Bay Pearl Farm.
Broken Bay Pearl Farm
Broken Bay Pearl Farm, Kowan Road, Mooney Moo...
For a more traditional farm experience, you can meet the friendly alpacas at Iris Lodge and even join in for a countryside Alpaca Afternoon Tea where you enjoy scones with jam and cream in the heart of the farm and give the alpacas their treat of banana.