NSW Central Coast: an adventurer’s paradise
The Central Coast of NSW is home to some of the state’s best beaches and outdoor adventures. It’s a place where you can meet pelicans, kangaroos and koalas; have a thrilling treetop adventure through eucalyptus forests or hike through coastal wilderness to spot whales. A wonderland of pristine waterways, verdant hinterland and ocean-fresh seafood — it’s the perfect holiday for nature lovers.
To get to the Central Coast from the city of Sydney is easy. You can hire a car and drive about an hour up the coast; catch a 90-minute train ride 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.
Horse Riding Experience
Hidden in the hinterland of the Central Coast is Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures — Australia’s largest horse-riding centre. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never ridden a horse — you can go on a guided trail ride for beginners with an experienced instructor. You’ll learn to control your horse, then trail through beautiful natural scenery. Children can have a memorable pony ride with an experienced instructor leading them around. Don’t miss their ‘Running of the Horses’ spectacle, where every afternoon at about 4.30pm, 200 horses are mustered out of the riding yards.
Glenworth Valley also offers other exciting outdoor adventures from kayaking to quad biking. Jump on a quad bike and zip along bush trails for a fun, adrenalin-fuelled adventure. Even David Beckham and his family had a fabulous day amongst the wilderness on quad bikes here. For a more peaceful trek, hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board on the banks of Popran Creek. You can explore the winding waterway, spot wildlife and soak up the natural beauty at your leisure.
Swing through the trees, climb massive eucalypts and ride the world’s longest zipline. For some seriously good fun in the great outdoors, Treetops Central Coast has four thrilling adventures to experience. Explore Adventure Park, a high ropes course with 115 challenges including suspension bridges and 20 flying foxes. Climb from the ground up in Vertical Challenges, with climbing walls and a fun zig-zag ladder, or swoop through the trees on Crazy Rider. Don’t leave without trying the all-ages NetWorld — interconnected bouncy spaces high in the trees.
Getting Close To Nature
On the Central Coast, get close to kangaroos, see freshwater birds and spot whales. Between May and November, watch humpback whales from Gerrin Point and Crackneck Point. Get up close and personal with the likes of koalas and Komodo dragons at Australian Reptile Park, then enjoy a barbeque in the picnic grounds, surrounded by kangaroos. At The Entrance, every afternoon at 3.30pm, you can sit and watch the local pelican birds feast on whole fresh fish! Get there about 3pm for a front-row spot.
For a quieter experience, the Central Coast is just made for walking adventures with magical rainforests, pristine waterways and coastal lookouts. For an entry-level walk just over three kilometres, hit the Box Head Track. It winds through open heath and rugged bushland, offering breathtaking views from clifftop vantage points of the Hawkesbury River, Lion Island and the Tasman Sea.
Central Coast Dining Gems
Wyong Milk Factory is a wonderful place to visit for lunch. The restored heritage site boasts a cafe, bar, artisan craft cottages, a playground and stand-up paddle board hire. Try a Red Velvet gelato at Udderly Sweet; award-winning local gourmet handmade cheeses from Little Creek Cheese and artisan chocolates from Lucas Chocolates.
For a dinner of market-fresh seafood, head to Woy Woy’s Fishermen's Wharf for Sydney Rock Oysters by the dozen; creamy Goolwa pipis in XO sauce or a delicious whole salt and pepper snapper.
For a garden-to-plate experience visit Wild Flower Bar & Dining on site at the luxury boutique hotel, Bells of Killcare. They gather fruit, vegetables, herbs and olives from their kitchen garden and honey from their own hives to use in their Mediterranean-style cuisine.
If you like to play chef, collect local produce from the Entrance Markets on Saturdays, and cook in your own self-contained accommodation.
Distillery Botanica is truly as pretty as its name. Here amongst fragrant gardens, herbalist Philip Moore turns beautiful flowers, berries and aromatic spices into award-winning gin. Visit this magical place to explore the gardens, purchase liquor from the Distillery Door or have brunch at the beautiful Bar Botanica. Don’t forget to grab a gelato before your garden stroll — Bar Botanica won Best Gelato in NSW 2020 (Gourmet Traveller Magazine)
Pearls of wisdom
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. The unique, high-quality pearls have striking, naturally occurring colours such as pink, yellow and blue, and are not bleached or dyed like some pearls from around the world. The farm is a pioneer of environmentally-friendly, chemical-free farming practices, and Broken Bay offers fascinating Pearl Farm Tours where visitors immerse themselves in the pearl-cultivating business, head out to see the longlines on water and learn pearl culturing, harvesting and grading.
Photos: Destination NSW
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