New South WalesCentral Coast, NSWLooking for a laidback lifestyle by the sea? Head to the Central Coast where the people are chilled, hospitable, and happy. We love it here. Good food and wine, great beaches, and plenty of adventure.
Where beautiful beaches meet unspoiled national parks and gorgeous waterways. Explore the area's natural treasures on outdoor adventures, get up close and personal with native animals at popular wildlife sanctuaries, indulge in local food and wine, and immerse yourself in the region’s thriving arts scene.
Wander through the Strickland State Forest
Strickland State Forest is the ecotourism gem of the Central Coast. Entry is at the top of Mangrove Road, Somersby. For a small day-use forest (5 square kilometres), Strickland contains an impressive diversity of flora and fauna: wildflowers, heath woodland, tall eucalypts and lush rainforest. Strickland was the site of the first government forest nursery (1886 - 1890) and national forestry training school (1920 - 1927). Remnants of native and exotic tree plantings established during those times, known as an arboretum, are among the oldest in Australia. Picnic facilities are set in dry eucalypt forest and include picnic tables, a large all-weather shelter, fireplaces and toilets. Extensive and well-built walking trails feature cabbage tree palms, rainforest vegetation and meander through the arboretum. Strickland State Forest offers a tranquil and unique Australian forest experience. Strickland State Forest is in the Hunter Central Coast Tourism Hall of Fame for ecotourism, having won gold three years running.
Take to the water on Avoca Lake
Aquafun Avoca Lake is a 'must-do' Central Coast experience. Hire from a huge selection of pedal boats and kayaks, or try stand-up paddleboarding. Aquafun is located on the shores of Avoca Lake, an enclosed large coastal lagoon with a large island and lots of bays and wetland to explore. An idyllic park location with shady picnic and barbecue areas, it is just 100 metres from the heart of Avoca Beach shops and cafes, a children's playground, and just 100 metres from the beach. Aquafun is a great Central Coast activity suitable for the whole family. Relax under the huge fig trees in the reserve and watch the kids or go on an adventure of your own. Something for all the family.
Look out for whales on the Bouddi Coastal Walk
The eight-kilometre Bouddi coastal walk runs from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach. Boasting beaches, boardwalks and birdlife, it’s known as one of the most beautiful central coast walks. This relatively easy hike is characterised by sweeping views, shady rainforest and inviting picnic spots. There’s a photo opportunity around every corner on Bouddi coastal walk. You might see wildflowers or migrating whales from Gerrin Point lookout, along with the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension and the PS Maitland shipwreck at the eastern end of Maitland Bay. Stay overnight before you set off at Putty Beach campground or stop along the way at Little Beach campground. Prefer a shorter walk? Break the walk into shorter sections - Putty Beach to Maitland Bay (three kilometres); Maitland Bay to Little Beach (3.5 kilometres); or Little Beach to MacMasters Beach (1.7 kilometres).
Take The Coast Walking Track in Bateau Bay
Discover one of the Central Coast’s most beautiful walks. The Coast walking track runs through a narrow strip of forest between Forresters and Bateau Bay Beaches. Setting out from Bateau Bay Beach picnic area, you'll wander along clifftops, past blackbutts and spotted gums, and absorb spectacular coastal views as you go. The best time to walk is between May and August when you can do some whale watching from Crackneck lookout along the way. If you’re walking in spring, you’ll be treated to wildflowers coming into bloom, including ground orchids and flannel flowers, and you’re bound to spot birds all year round. The return walk is about six kilometres, but if you’d like a shorter walk, try going one way, or you can break the walk up into shorter sections. No matter how you undertake it, you’re sure to find it rewarding.
Have a tree top adventure!
Treetops Central Coast has four exciting adventures for you to experience. Adventure Park is a high rope course up in the treetops, where participants slide down flying foxes, move from tree to tree on suspension bridges and enjoy 115 challenges including 20 flying foxes, the longest at 200 metres. Crazy Rider, the world’s longest roller coaster zip line. Ramp up the Wow factor as you swoop, twist and zig-zag through the trees. Both zip lines are fully accessible for wheelchairs. NetWorld, bounce, play, discover and explore an exciting new world, high up in the treetops. NetWorld is a vast network of interconnected bouncy spaces for all ages; experience a whole new sense of gravity as you bounce while enjoying a variety of fun games with gigantic inflatable balls. Vertical Challenges, anyone over five can enjoy climbing through various challenges from the ground up with a fun zig-zag ladder, challenging climbing walls, polka dots and more. In Ourimbah State Forest, TreeTops aims for minimal environmental impact on the forest, especially as the trees are the real stars of the course. This multi-award winning park caters for people from all walks of life and all levels of fitness.
Explore Wyrrabalong National Park
Discover paradise just minutes from The Entrance on the Central Coast. Go whale watching, fishing, surfing, bushwalking and birdwatching at Wyrrabalong National Park. Divided into two sections, Wyrrabalong National Park conserves the last patch of coastal rainforest on the Central Coast. Visit this precious place to swim, surf and fish along a striking coastline and be awed by the superb red gum forest, diverse wildlife and rich Aboriginal heritage. Take a walk along the beach to see how the park’s sandy beaches alternate with rocky cliffs pounded by the sea. Look to the sky for eagles and kestrels. Explore the park’s varied landscape on a network of walking tracks, or stop at its picnic areas and enjoy picture-perfect surroundings. There are a few bike trails in the park to explore as well. Soak up dramatic coastal views and take in the spectacular sight of whales on their annual migration – the park is a hot spot for whale watching.
Gosford Regional Gallery and Edogawa Commemorative Garden
The Gosford Regional Gallery is located on the shores of Caroline Bay in East Gosford. It is part of a complex that also includes the Gosford/Edogawa Commemorative Garden, the Arts Centre, and the Point Cafe'-Japanese Gardens. The gallery offers a diverse and stimulating exhibition program consisting of a range of local, national and international exhibitions of various media including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, ceramics and works on paper. A tea house and fish feeding pavilion area overlooking the main body of the lake. Other features of the garden include a dry stone garden, timber footbridges, wisteria pergola and plantings of pines, maples, cherries, azaleas, lotus and water lilies. The Point Cafe'- Japanese Gardens is a fully licensed restaurant open for lunch daily and dinner Thursday to Saturday nights.
Go Horse Riding through Glenworth Valley
Regarded as one of Australia's leading horse-riding centres, Glenworth Valley has over 200 quality horses that cater for all riders. Friendly and knowledgeable staff will select a horse to suit your riding ability, from gentle horses for beginners to more challenging horses for experienced riders. Individual instruction is given to all riders before departure and roving supervisors are on hand to assist riders if required. Visitors to Glenworth Valley have the option of free-range riding without a guide (experienced riders only) or guided riding (suitable for all abilities). Rides are available for two hours, four hours or six hours and are suitable for ages seven and over. Lead ponies/horses are available for children aged three to twelve years old, for one or two hours.
Have a tipple at the Distillery Botanica
Distillery Botanica offers award-winning spirits and liqueurs, made right there on the Central Coast, with no artificial colours or flavours. Made in the traditional European method in a copper pot still, Distillery Botanica holds three Gold medals and four Silver medals from the International Wine and Spirit Competition. Gold medal winners are Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, Lemon Myrtle Liqueur and Aniseed Myrtle Liqueur. Silver medal winners are Moore's Vintage Dry Gin, Skillion Blue Vodka, Mountain Pepperberry Liqueur and Absinthe Reverie. These handcrafted products make fantastic gifts for both International and Interstate visitors as they are not only uniquely Australian but also made in the only Distillery on the Central Coast. Come and try them for yourself at the cellar door - see if you agree with the international judges!
Enjoy lunch and beautiful views at Saddles Mt White, Mount White
Don’t be deterred as you drive up the narrow, unpaved road after turning off the highway – the GPS hasn’t made a mistake. Keep following the instructions and you’ll arrive at this picturesque spot, complete with a lake, on a 10-hectare property that feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. The interiors have an equine vibe, with bespoke saddle chairs at the bar, but the best spot to while away the day is at one of the seats on the wide veranda overlooking the water. Take in the onsite kitchen garden, where many of the heirloom vegetables will make it onto the menu. Start the day with great coffee, by local roaster Evolution Specialty, and brunch on favourites such as corn fritters and waffles. Lunch ranges from house-made charcuterie to savoury pastries. On the way out, don’t forget to pick up a freshly baked sourdough loaf to take home.
Get up close with Australian Wildlife
Located on the Central Coast of NSW, approximately one hour north of Sydney and one hour south of Newcastle is the award-winning Australian Reptile Park, renowned to be a great family fun day out. Get up close with native Australian wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils and their resident wombat. Admire cassowaries, dingos, Komodo dragons, and walk with Hugo, their giant Galapagos tortoise. Learn about the venom program in the reptile show and catch the thrill-seeking action of feeding Elvis, their monster crocodile on weekends, plus the 40 American alligators in the lagoon over warmer months. Kids of all ages will enjoy the playground and interactive exhibits including the Lost World of Reptiles, Spider World, Frog Hollow and Platypus House. Pack a barbecue lunch and enjoy the complimentary barbecue facilities in the picnic grounds surrounded by kangaroos or enjoy a variety of food from the cafe.
Discover more in New South Wales
- Blue Mountains
- Bondi Beach
- Bundanoon & Surrounds
- Byron Bay
- Central Coast, NSW
- Coffs Harbour
- Country NSW
- Hunter Valley
- Jervis Bay
- Lord Howe Island
- Merimbula & Sapphire Coast
- Mungo National Park
- Murramarang National Park
- North Coast
- Outback NSW
- Port Macquarie
- Port Stephens
- Snowy Mountains
- South Coast, NSW
- South West Rocks
- Sydney Harbour
- The Mallee Region
- The Murray
- Tilba Tilba