Famous for its surf beaches, lakes and national parks, the Central Coast has a wide range of adventurous activities. Travel from the estuary of Broken Bay, at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, to the natural surrounds of the Newcastle area - there is no shortage of surf and turf to explore.
Beaches on the Central Coast
Just one hour's drive north of Sydney, the region's laid-back atmosphere, offers a number of great options for swimming or surfing.
Famous for its surf beaches, you'll find plenty of opportunities to learn to surf at accredited surf schools on the Central Coast.
Some of the best surfing beaches are at Terrigal and a popular surf location can be found at Soldiers Beach, Norah Head. Avoca Beach is a relaxed 2km stretch that offers fantastic fishing, surfing, boat, kayak and surf ski hire, protected rock pools to explore, excellent conditions with a northeasterly swell.
As always, make sure to keep between the flags when swimming.
The Entrance Beach is a great spot for families, with surfing beaches and a lagoon. It is also a good spot for taking the boat out - but don't forget to catch the daily pelican feeding in Memorial Park at 3.30pm! Twenty years in the making, this has become quite a spectacle.
Toowoon Bay and Ocean Beach at Umina are also family-friendly beaches. If you enjoy surfing and swimming in unspoilt surrounds, head to McMasters Beach, Wamberal Beach or Bouddi National Park which has several stunning beaches to explore.
Throw on the dive gear and explore the Ex-HMAS Adelaide Dive Site at Avoca Beach. The first of its kind in New South Wales, the HMAS Adelaide was scuttled to create an artificial dive site and is now home to an array of fascinating marine life. Take a tour or head out on your own, but remember that you will need to obtain a dive permit before you dive.
The Central Coast boasts a fisherman's bounty of bays, lakes and coastline. Book a charter from Central Coast Reef and Game Charter or Big Fish to test the deep. Or head to Munmorah River for bream, tailor and flathead or Budgewoi Lake for bream. Tailor and tuna also thrive below Norah Head lighthouse.
Explore the beatiful waters of the Central Coast in leisure or adventure mode. Sign up for a full-day kayak tour of Brisbane Water and explore the alluring Central Coast waterways, where you’ll get to feed the pelicans. You can also take a chartered tour of the area’s hidden beaches, or hire a kayak and explore at your own pace.
The Central Coast is famous for its surf beaches. Take a lesson with Central Coast Surf School or Sandra English Surf Coaching, with the option of group lessons, individual lessons and two-day surf camps. Some of the best surfing can be found at North Avoca and Soldiers Beach, while Terrigal and Umina's calm waters are good for beginners.
The Best of Central Coast Food and Drink
There are some excellent restaurant options on offer on the Central Coast. Check out Byblos, specialising in family-style lebanese fare with delicious mezze, dips and desserts. The highly acclaimed Bombini at Avoca Beach serves up expertly rendered modern Australian/Italian fare, and The Cowrie at Terrigal is also a winner, still going strong after more than 30 years. Seasalt, also in Terrigal, is another excellent option, known for its decadent buffet breakfasts and is a popular high tea destination. Other spots for high-tea include the Pullman Magenta Shores Resort and Mercure Kooindah Waters. If you’re after locally made produce, swing by The Milk Factory in Wyong where you can pick up handmade goodies from Luka Chocolates and vegetarian-friendly artisanal cheeses from Little Creek Cheese.
Enjoy Sydneys beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips
Always swim between the red and yellow flags surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It's also a good idea to always swim with a friend.
Make sure you read any safety signs at the beach and you are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.
Check conditions before you go and find a patrolled beach by visiting beachsafe.org.au.