A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published June 22nd 2014
Transport, accommodation & leisure ideas for the Coast
Fancy a coastal retreat? With picturesque beaches, tranquil green forests, peaceful seaside towns, and activities for all tastes, the Central Coast is the perfect weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of Sydney.
While Gosford is where you will experience the Coast's hub of businesses, if serene seaside is what you are seeking, the peaceful towns of Patonga, Pearl Beach, Bateau Bay, Ettalong, Terrigal and The Entrance are among the places that will be reeling you in.
At just two hours from Sydney's CBD, the drive to the Central Coast can easily be done by car or even train. However, if you are looking for a leisurely way to travel and stay at the Central Coast, I recommend taking a campervan. With beds, bathrooms, kitchen facilities and in some cases, a television, you'll have all creature comforts at your fingertips throughout the trip. A Mighty Campervan can be picked up close to Sydney Airport, at 653 Gardeners Road, Mascot.
Mighty Campers have a large range of campers to choose from and prices begin from around $260 for the five days hire (the minimum time you'd have to hire for). You may get a quote for any van you fancy so to ensure a budget-happy holiday.
With your camper sorted, the journey to the Central Coast is as simple as taking a relaxed two-hour drive on the Pacific Motorway (M1) from Sydney. Your only turn will be onto the Central Coast Highway (A43), which will lead you toward the seaside. Once in the area, you will be spoilt for choice as to where to set up camp.
Central Coast Camping Accommodation
1. Patonga Beach caravan and camping area
Bordering the serene Patonga creek and shimmering blue waters of Broken Bay, sits this relaxing campsite. Water-babies will love the chance to fish, kayak, swim, and snorkel from their doorstep. For nature-lovers there are nearby forest trail access-points - eerie yet tranquil in early morning mist. There are also onsite tennis courts for those who feel like a game.
The campsite is equipped with modern amenities, making for a more comfortable stay. Electric barbecues, amenities blocks, laundries and driers are all yours. Choose a powered or unpowered site for your van. Food options extend to the fish and chips store and pub just around the corner at Patonga Beach.
If you are looking for a more budget-conscious getaway, visit during off-peak periods to receive rates of $18-22AUD per night. If you are visiting in peak-periods (December, January, April & October holidays, plus the Easter Long Weekend) you will see rates of $37.50-47AUD per night.
Enquiries or bookings? Call (02) 4304 4382 between 8am and 4pm, Monday-Friday.
2. Sun Valley Tourist Park in Bateau Bay
If you would like to fall asleep and wake up to the sound of the sea, Sun Valley is an ideal campground. Expect a family-friendly atmosphere and a pleasant stroll away from Shelly Beach. Nearby are cliffside picnic spots, and scenic nature trails that will surprise you with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean on one side, and mountainous landscapes on the other.
Right on The Entrance lakeside, Dunleith has claimed one of the Coast's most idyllic spots since 1958. With pelicans abundant, this lake is great for a scenic boating or paddle session. A short walk away, across the sandbar, is a sprawling surfing beach. Just over the bridge sits the town centre with waterfront dining and entertainment.
The caravan park includes powered sites and conveniences such as an amenities block, laundry facilities, barbecues, kiosk, and public phone. For leisure, there is the games room and the Shell, Shark and Historical Museum.
Caravan sites range from $36AUD per night in off-peak season, to $42AUD per night in peak season. If you fancy a prime waterfront spot, these are respectively upped to $41.50AUD and $48AUD per night.
Call: (02) 4332 2172
Address: Hutton Rd, The Entrance Central Coast NSW
Activities in the Central Coast
In addition to the recreational activities at the doorsteps of many campsites, there are a number of iconic Central Coast locations that are a must see for a fun day out, including:
1. Treetop Adventure Park
Want to get your adrenaline pumping as you climb high into canopies and soar through a forest? Test your skills and courage at Treetop Adventure Park in Ourimbah State Forest. Tightrope-walk between trees, cross suspension bridges, and slide across high-speed flying-foxes. Never fear though, you will be constantly hooked to a harness device that will catch you if you fall.
Cost is $25AUD for children, $35AUD for teenagers, and $45AUD for adults. Trust that the experience is priceless. You will earn yourself a great workout, clarity of mind amongst the gums, and quality bonding time with family and friends. For $80, why not take the challenge to the next level with a night-time attempt at the course?
Address: 1 Red Hill Rd (off Yarramalong Rd), WYONG CREEK NSW 2259
Phone: (02) 4025 1008
2. Australian Reptile Park
While in the area, it is recommended you check out the famous Australian Reptile Park in Somersby. As a hands-on zoo, it is a great chance to get up close and personal with the likes of venomous snakes, crocs, a galapagos tortoise and even some Funnel Web spiders. Don't worry, your favourite Aussie mammals all await you here as well.
The attraction is open 9am-5pm everyday except for Christmas Day. It will cost $17AUD for kids, $20AUD for concession, and $33AUD for adults. For enquiries or bookings phone (02) 4340 1022, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call: (02) 4340 1022
Address: Australian Reptile Park, Pacific Highway Somersby NSW
3. Swim and chill out at Pearl Beach
For a true secluded beach experience, tour over to Pearl Beach. Between Broken Bay and Umina Beach, this gem is nestled in with the greenery of the Brisbane Waters National Park. Swim in the beachside lake, river, or seawater. Stroll through the parkland. Grab some fish and chips and lay down a towel on the sand - it doesn't get much better.
A little gem of a beach.
Don't forget to keep an eye out for the street names as you tour through this quaint coastal suburb - they have all been cleverly named after gemstones. For more on Pearl Beach, check out my previous article.
4. Norah Head Lighthouse and Beach
Norah Head in itself is also a natural oasis, surrounded by the beautiful Wyrrabalong National Park. While in the area, learn some local maritime history as you enjoy a close view of the towering heritage-listed Norah Head Lighthouse.
If you're up for some sailing, sea-kayaking, surfing, swimming, or simply sun-baking, Norah Head Beach is another of the Coast's picturesque places to do so.
There is something for everyone at the Central Coast. Next time you and fellow Sydney-siders feel like a break from your busy lives, the peaceful Coast is your campervan-calling. Whatever you do - whether it is everything or nothing at all - you are sure to return feeling refreshed.
Enjoy stunning sunsets by the water - image taken at Patonga.