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Road Trip: Sydney to the Central Coast

Home > Sydney > Adventure | Day Trips | Escape the City | Fun Things To Do | Travel
by Gypsy Rose (subscribe)
I love travelling, discovering hidden gems & food. Experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass. Owner of do check it out for grazing platters and more :)
Published April 12th 2021
Short city-break or holiday, Central Coast is a must
* Please note that some attractions/activities might be closed due to Covid-19. Please check websites to avoid disappointments.

The Central Coast of New South Wales has been inhabited for thousands of years by Aboriginal people. It is a pre-urban region that lies on the spectacular Tasman Sea coast and is nestled between Sydney north and south of Lake Macquarie.

It is home to endless pristine and secluded beaches, coastal drives, hinterland forest, bustling and quaint towns, nature gems, adventure activities, family-friendly attractions, and more, making this part of New South Wales a popular holiday destination or weekend escape.

Other attractions include child-friendly lagoons, National Parks, great shopping, an array of walking and cycling tracks, and wildlife sanctuaries.

The Central Coast will not be complete without the cute Pelicans!

The Drive:

Being a mere 1-hour and 10-minute drive from Sydney, this road trip can be done in a weekend or as a day trip.

Follow the Pacific Highway- Australia's National Route 1- north from Sydney's CBD. This will join to the M1 Pacific Motorway- take the sign-posted exit to your destination.

The drive snakes its way around the Pacific Motorway, taking in spectacular sandstone cliffs, tranquil waterways, and lush surrounding native bushland.

Top Things to Do, See & Experience:


With an 87-kilometre coastline and more than 40 beaches, there is certainly no shortage of beaches here!

You will find plenty of sand and surf, with beaches ranging from family-friendly, secluded, snorkelling and diving and surf beaches.

Top beaches include Terrigal, Avoca and Wamberal beaches, and not far from Gosford.

The 700-metre long curved Toowoon Beach is popular with families and makes an excellent spot for snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking. While Soldiers Beach, just south of the historic Norah Head Lighthouse, is famous for its pristine white sand, clear water and reliable waves.

Pelican Beach, or 'Pelos' as the locals call it, is a true surfing nirvana and is relatively isolated, making you feel like you a million miles away.

For a list of beaches, click here.

Solders Beach

Australian Reptile Park:

With a focus on all kinds of reptiles, this hands-on zoo is home to over 2,000 animals, including crocodiles, alligators, giant tortoises, creepy crawlies, and Australian native wildlife. There is a range of wildlife shows, kids programs, animal encounters, and more.

Click here for the website.

Bouddi National Park:

This 3,785 acre (1,532 hectares) National Park is a coastal national park packed with winding tracks, lookouts, well-kept campsites, secluded beaches, wildlife spotting and birdwatching opportunities. It is also home to the PS Maitland, a paddle steamer wrecked in the bay in 1889.

Click here for the website.

Enjoying a tranquil bushwalk to Lobster Beach

Treetops Adventure Park:

If you are after something a little more adventurous or want to get out of your comfort zone, this attraction will certainly do that!
The Treetops Adventure Park features courses that cater for everyone aged three years and older, and it is also home to the Treetop NewWorld and Treetop Crazy Rider.

The Treetop NewWorld is an exciting new world where you bounce, play and discover. It is located high up in the treetops and features a vast network of interconnected spaces, various games with gigantic inflatable balls, and more.

The Treetop Crazy Rider is the fastest rollercoaster zip line in the world, featuring a 500m long zip line with two adrenalin pumping 360-degree loops.

Click here for the website.

Pelican Feeding at The Entrance:
A horde of hungry pelicans gathers at the scenic waterfront at The Entrance every day at 3:15pm for a feed from local volunteers. This free tourist attraction is a must-see when visiting The Entrance.

Click here for the website.

Pelican Feeding time at The Entrance

Glenworth Valley:

This privately-owned 3,000 acre (1,214-hectare) wilderness is home to a range of award-winning adventure activities and unforgettable experiences such as horse riding, quad biking, abseiling and contemporary eco-cabins, camping, and more.

Click here for the website.

Norah Head Lighthouse:

Overlooking breathtaking views, the historic and active Lighthouse was built from 1901 to 1903 to protect ships travelling between Sydney and Newcastle. Norah Head Lighthouse is also the last staffed Lighthouse constructed in New South Wales.

This attraction is also home to a unique accommodation that features two separate fully equipped Lighthouse Keepers Quarters and comfortably furnished, with each providing three bedrooms and generous living spaces.

The lighthouse also offers guided tours, including climbing 96 stairs and spectacular 360-degree views from the tower balcony.

Click here for the website.

Norah Head Lighthouse overlooking the mighty ocean

Crackneck Lookout:

This lookout offers panoramic views of Shelly Beach, Norah Head, Tuggerah Lake, The Entrance, and beyond, and during migration season, whale watching can be enjoyed here too.

Click here for the website.

How tranquil is this?

Mt Penang Gardens:

This impressive attraction features 19.8 acres (8 hectares) of twelve unique gardens, sculptures, and cascading waterfalls. It is also home to a large sculptural plateau, walled spaces, abstract pergolas, fountains, ponds, cascades, endless open lawns and picnic areas, and a 35-metre cantilevered steel footbridge.

Click here for the website.

Walking through the Bottle Trees exhibit

Somersby Falls & Picnic Area:

Somersby Falls makes you feel like you a million miles away from civilization. Situated amidst lush rainforest, making it a great place to enjoy a picnic, explore the cascades and stretch your legs with the 500-metre return walk through the rainforest that takes in views of the top and bottom of the waterfalls.

Click here for the website.

Top Coastal Villages to Visit or/and Stay:

The Entrance:

Situated between Tuggerah Lake's calm waters and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, The Entrance is an aquatic playground with its many water-based activities.

It is also home to the popular daily Pelican Feeding, the Tuggerah Lakes Cycleway & Walkway, many surrounding bays, including Toowoon Bay, Shelly Beach and Bateau Bay, the iconic Long Jetty, and Wyrrabalong National Park.

The Entrance is also a great spot to enjoy fresh seafood, browse the boutique shops, and soak up the laid-back coastal atmosphere.

Click here for free attractions at The Entrance.

Click here for the article on Road Trip to The Entrance.

The historic Long Jetty at sunset


Here you will find stretches of untouched national park, an array of gorgeous beaches (at times, you might have it all to yourself), and makes the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Killcare is also a great place to walk a section of the Bouddi Coastal Walk- an 8.5km track that leads to some of the country's most postcard-worthy beaches or hire a boat, kayak or paddleboat at the Killcare Marina and enjoy a day out on the water.

Click here for the website.

Exploring the lush native bushland


With rows of Norfolk Pines trees along the upmarket Esplanade, an array of ritzy shops and restaurants, and several luxurious accommodation options, Terrigal is one of the most popular villages on the Central Coast.

Attractions and activities including taking an underwater journey to the ex-HMAS Adelaide dive site near The Skillion, paddleboard, kayak or snorkel at the Terrigal Lagoon, pick up bargains and unique gifts at the Terrigal Beach Markets (first Saturday of every month) and visit the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre where you can get up close and personal to marine life.

Click here for the website.


Gosford is filled with a rich history and is home to spectacular national parks, sparkling waterways and a gateway to stunning beaches. It features endless activities and attractions, including water-based activities, bushwalking, cycling trails, horse riding opportunities, mountain biking, wildlife experiences, and more.

Some other attractions include the Mt Penang Gardens, Brisbane Water National Park, The Bulgandry Aboriginal Engravings, Great North Walk, Gosford Regional Art Gallery, reserves, wetlands, Henry Kendall Cottage, Gosford Edogawa Commemorative Garden, and much more.

Click here for the website.

The tranquil & beautiful Gosford Edogawa Commemorative Garden

Woy Woy:

First white settlers were drawn to Woy Woy by the abundance of cedar supplies, forest oak, blue gum, and other hardwoods. It was also when boatbuilding began and continued until World War I.

Today, Woy Woy makes a beautiful place to visit or stay with its surrounding waterways and beaches, Brisbane Water Drive, Koolewong- a strip of parkland that lies between the road and the ocean, water-based activities, Fishermans Wharf, and more.

Click here for the website.

Bateau Bay:

Situated just a few kilometres south of The Entrance and neighbouring Shelly Beach, Bateau Bay is a great spot to discover the Central Coasts natural seaside flora and fauna, enjoy stunning coastline walks, and fishing from the beach or coastal rocks.

Other attractions include Crackneck Point Lookout and Wyrabalong National Park.

Click here for the website.

For a full list of all other towns/suburbs, click here.

Crackneck Lookout

Where to Eat:

The Central Coast is jam-packed with culinary delights ranging from a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, takeaway eateries, romantic seaside bistros, bars, and wineries.

Some top eateries include:

Waters Edge Seafood Restaurant offers a stunning vista, relaxing atmosphere, and friendly service. It is opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Helado (Spanish for Gelato) is a Central Coast's one-stop-shop for delicious sundaes, waffles, specialty desserts, and of course, gelato. You will also find a breakfast menu, burgers, bowls, specialty coffee, crazy shakes, and more.

It's all about the fresh seafood at the Central Coast

Six String Brewery is the Coast's first homegrown craft brewery. It is 100% locally owned with 100% locally made products. It makes a great place to enjoy great beer and live music.

Wineries include Firescreek Fruit Wines- located in Holgate, this winery is home to an exciting variety of wines from fruit, flowers and herbs in small releases.

The Distillery Botanica- located in Erina, is the spirit of Australia that inspires award-winning beverages handcrafted from 100% native Australian botanicals.

Click here for a full list of eateries, bars & wineries.

Where to Stay:

The Central Coast is packed with a diverse range of accommodation options, including luxurious stays, hotels & motels, pet-friendly, family-friendly & romantic stays, camping, cabins & caravaning, B&B stays & holiday houses, backpackers & budget, self-contained stays, and resorts.

Click here for a list of accommodation options.
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Why? Explore, discover & experience
When: All year round
Where: Central Coast, NSW
Your Comment
So much to see in a relatively short distance. It's definitely a 'stop and smell the roses' type trip. No matter where you are there is always something interesting to see. Love the pelican photos.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4259) 485 days ago

A lot of beautiful places you visited; photographs say a thousand words and yours certainly do.
by Susan J Bowes (score: 3|2610) 481 days ago
Some great places to explore. Great photos too. I stay at Killcare and have done the Bouddi Coastal Walk many times. I look forward to exploring the other places you mention next time I'm in Killcare.
by Maria-MPG Narratives (score: 2|972) 481 days ago
Certainly is! Thank you, Neil :)
by Gypsy Rose (score: 2|749) 480 days ago
Thank you, Susan :)
by Gypsy Rose (score: 2|749) 480 days ago
Thank you, Maria :)
by Gypsy Rose (score: 2|749) 480 days ago
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