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Published September 16th 2020
The ultimate list to the best attractions in Central Coast
* Please Note: Due to COVID-19 still being present some attractions may be closed. Please check the website for all updates.
Nestled between Sydney and Newcastle, the Central Coast is home to more than 40 beaches, vast bushland, and countless activities and attractions. It takes around 1-hour drive from Sydney CBD to the centre of Central Coast and just a little over an hour drive from Newcastle, so a day trip to the Central Coast is doable or extend your stay and spend the weekend experiencing the Central Coast's attractions.
Attractions include stunning beaches that meet lush national parks and scenic waterways that snake around the region, as well as many natural treasures, outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters and sanctuaries, local food and wine, tranquil gardens, and thriving arts scene.
The list below features the best free & ticketed attractions across the Central Coast:
With a coastline that stretches for 80km and over 40 beaches to explore, Central Coast is beach central! You will find an array of surfing beaches to secluded beaches, family-friendly beaches to snorkelling beaches, Central Coast as got it all. Popular beach spots include Terrigal and Avoca Beach. Click here for a list of beaches.
Central Coast is not just blessed with spectacular beaches; it is also home to breathtaking native bushland. There are bushwalks to suit all fitness levels and ages, from short less than two hour walks to all-day hikes.
A must-do scenic bushwalk is the Bouddi Coastal Walk, which is an epic walk that traverses along clifftop tracks, boardwalks, and passes endless vantage points; perfect for spotting whales during their migration or for taking a break and soaking in the unspoiled views.
Enjoying a bushwalk with a view on the Wyrrabalong Lookout Coast Walk
Whale watching (during migration season) is an absolute must if you are planning your weekend getaway between May-November- the best time to see whales at the Central Coast is during July, and the whales returning south between September and November. A visit to the Australian Reptile Park is a must! The park is home to native wildlife including koalas, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats, as well as many reptile creatures.
The Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary is not just home to native Australian wildlife; it is also home to many Aboriginal sites, including rock art sites, bushwalks and walking trails, and fantastic wildlife encounters.
Moo to Ewe Farmed Animal Sanctuary is a forever home for orphaned farmed animals. Tours include meeting cows, sheep, goats, pigs, alpacas, and other orphaned farm animals. It also includes feeding, cuddling, and petting the animals. Tour bookings are essential and can be made via their website.
Pelican Feeding at The Entrance is also a must-see attraction when visiting the Central Coast. The feeding is conducted daily at 3:30pm, and the volunteers feed the pelicans with donated fish from the local fish shop. It also allows volunteers to locate and treat any injured birds.
This cheeky Emu kept following us around at the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park
If you prefer an adventurous weekend getaway or a day trip packed with adventure or want to incorporate an adventure activity on your trip, check out the below:
Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, Segway Central Coast, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing and boating, Tree Top Adventure Park, Aquafun Avoca Lake, Tree Top Crazy Rider, and Central Coast Biking Tours are some of the adventure activities that can be enjoyed. Click here for a list of adventure activities.
Image Courtesy from Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures Facebook
There are many food and wine experiences across the Central Coast, including:
Wyong Milk Factory: this heritage-listed old riverside barn is home to an eclectic mix, including bakery, coffee, local produce of award-winning cheese and dairy, and handcrafted gourmet chocolates.
The Distillery Botanica, also known as The Fragrant Garden, is a two-in-one attraction. The Distillery is also home to two and a half acres of scenic gardens that boast with lush greenery, herbs, and flowers.
The Distillery itself offers a taste of the lovingly handcrafted spirits made up of the botanicals picked on site.
Firescreek Fruit Wines is home handcrafted wines from fruit, flowers and herbs. They change the selections throughout the year to reflect the seasons.
Central Coast is embedded with world-class surfing beaches including Copacabana Beach, Wamberal Beach, Forresters Beach, Shelly Beach, and Soldiers Beach.
To learn how to surf Terrigal Beach, Avoca Beach and Umina Beach offer surfing classes.
9. Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
If you are after scuba diving or snorkelling experiences, then you are in luck at the Central Coast.
Scuba diving at the 138.1 metres long and 15m wide, Ex-HMAS Adelaide is indeed a treat. This former Australian naval warship was deliberately sunk to create an artificial dive reef on the Central Coast. The site is suited for all levels of experience and located near Avoca Beach.
Some snorkelling and diving beaches include Lobster Beach, Spoon Bay, Wamberal Beach, Maitland Bay, Bullimah Beach, and more.
10. Norah Head Lighthouse
This historical landmark was built in 1903 to prevent more shipwreck. Today, the Lighthouse is still operational, and some tours take you inside the lighthouse. Click here for the website.
From May to November each year the Central Coast transforms into a hot spot for whale watching. Thousands of these majestic creatures migrate along the New South Wales coastline, heading to subtropical waters to mate and give birth in warmer waters.
Some of the best lookouts and vantage points that are perfect for whale watching include Captain Cook Lookout, Crackneck Lookout, Norah Head Lighthouse, The Skillion, and Gerrin Point Lookout.
13. Fishing Spots
If fishing is more your thing, then the Central Coast will not disappoint! The Central Coast region is blessed with spectacular fishing spots including beach fishing at Wamberal, Terrigal, Killcare, Ettalong, Ocean Beach, Patonga, Forresters, Shelly Beach, Budgewoi, North Entrance, Soldiers and Umina Beaches.
Bream, rock blackfish, groper and luderick are some of the fish that can be found near the headlands. For rock fishing, South Avoca Rocks that surrounds The Skillion makes an ideal spot. Other fishing hotspots include The Entrance, Tuggerah Lake, Lake Munmorah and Pelican Point.
Rock fishing is popular at Lighthouse Beach & Soldiers Beach
There are plenty of activities to entertain the whole family, including Australian Reptile Park, Treetops, Aquafun, family-friendly beaches and bushwalks, indoor play centres, Lasertag, Escape Rooms, and more.
The little ones will certainly be entertained with the quirky & fun interactive displays at the Australian Reptile Park
The Central Coast is home to several charming coastal towns that offer a unique atmosphere and flare. Bustling coastal towns include Terrigal for the stunning coastline, vibrant dining and nightlife, boutique shops, and more.
Quiet towns include Avoca Beach, Killcare, and The Entrance.
If bushwalking is not your thing, no need to worry, this list features the best walking and cycling paths across the Central Coast including boardwalks, coastal walks, family-friendly walks & cycle paths.
The Central Coast is scattered with stunning waterfalls that snake around the region. Some of these lagoons and lakes include Wamberal Lagoon, Tuggerah Lake, Terrigal Lagoon, Avoca Lake, Kimcumber Broadwater, Brisbane Water, Budgewoi Lake, Lake Munmorah, Colongra Lake, Lake Macquarie, and more.
Whether you want to visit an animal farm, orchid/produce farm, or maybe enjoy a farm stay, the Central Coast as it all. Including Grace Springs Farm, Margin's Mushrooms, Misty Mountain Farm Stay, The Egg Shed, Suesse Honey, Central Coast Honey Company, Eden's Edibles, Julie's Queen Bee Honey, and much more.
Where to Eat & Drink:
Central Coast is a fast-growing culinary hub and is home numerous eateries including seaside restaurants and cafes, international restaurants and cafes, many fantastic fish & chips shops, fine-dining and boutique eateries, takeaways, quirky bars, and more. Click here for the website.
Where to Stay:
There is a range of accommodation stays to suit all interests and budgets including NRMA Holiday Parks, camping, hotels, motels & hostels, backpacking stays, resorts and retreats, apartments, B&B stays, and more. Click here for the website.