Beautiful beaches meet pristine national parks and pretty waterways on the NSW Central Coast, just north of Sydney. Explore the area's natural treasures on outdoor adventures, meet native animals at popular wildlife sanctuaries, sample local food and wine, and discover a thriving arts scene.
The Central Coast is blessed with national parks and nature reserves in its backyard: the Bouddi Coastal Walk and The Coast Walking Track showcase these spectacular landscapes. There are mountain biking and horse-riding trails, too, as well as 4WD touring in stately forests. The national parks on the Central Coast are:
The shared cycleways along the coastal path connect Ettalong Beach, Avoca Beach, Terrigal and The Entrance, home of the daily Pelican Feed. The Tuggerah Lakes Cycleway stretches 12km with plenty of picnic and barbecue spots along the way. The sparkling waterways are popular for fishing, kayaking, waterskiing and sailing, too.
Hike through Ourimbah State Forest to get to TreeTop Adventure Park where you can fly through the forest canopy on a rollercoaster zipline or flying fox. Go to Glenworth Valley to enjoy horse-riding in a sylvan setting. Other adventurous options include big game fishing tours, skydiving, scuba diving, kayaking and surf schools.
Food and culture
Enjoy a ferry ride on Brisbane Water with Central Coast Ferries to Woy Woy, where you will find Fishermen’s Wharf a top spot for fish and chips. There are many more great places to eat on the Central Coast from rustic restaurants like Saddles to the beach shack chic of Avoca Surf House. Local markets are also a magnet for day-trippers.
The Central Coast also has a vibrant art scene – visit the Gosford Regional Gallery, Art House and Ken Duncan Gallery. See the events calendar for the roster of exhibitions. The emerging art scene is complemented by boutique producers such as Mr Goaty Gelato, Bay Road Brewing and Distillery Botanica, which has a fragrant distillery garden.
See wildlife up close at The Australian Reptile Park, home to huge saltwater crocodile Elvis and giant Galapagos tortoise Hugo. Meet native animals including Kambala the koala and Hippo the wombat at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, which is a working wildlife sanctuary designed to protect animals that come into care.
Getting there and where to stay
The Central Coast is around an hours’ drive north of Sydney along the Central Coast Highway. You can catch the train direct from Sydney to Woy Woy or Gosford and the journey takes around 90min. There are also daily shuttles to Sydney Airport. For a scenic trip, take the ferry from Palm Beach to Ettalong.
There is a huge range of accommodation on the Central Coast with something to suit every taste and budget. Pitch your tent in a beachside campsite, settle the family into a stylish holiday house, go off the grid at a rural eco retreat or relax in luxury at a five-star hotel.