I'm a writer living in Newtown Sydney. I love travel, coffee, sweet indulgence and finding new things to do with with my husband, son and crazy dog. Check out my blog at lastboardingcallforgate77.wordpress.com for more.
Published December 28th 2016
Fur baby family fun
Now that the holidays are upon us, it is time to think about getting away to explore new places and enjoy time off work with our families and friends over summer.
Earlier this year, I took a generational long weekend to Long Jetty on the New South Wales Central Coast with my husband, toddler, dog and our in-laws.
It was a fun, relaxing long weekend in a beautiful part of the central coast. I came away really loving the area. I had never really thought of Long Jetty or The Entrance as a holiday destination in its own right, but it is a wonderful spot to holiday.
Being so close to Sydney and Newcastle it is a great place to get away from the city, get back to nature and have some time out from busy schedules.
We only had a few days in the area, but here is ten things we managed to do which are mostly family and dog friendly for when you visit.
1. Watch a spectacular sunset across Tuggerah Lake. Nothing beats watching the sunset over water. Take advantage of the BBQs along the foreshore and bring the whole family for a sunset dinner. Don't forget the mossie repellant though!
Long Jetty - Image By Timothy M Roberts - Good Afternoon, CC BY-SA 2.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44793561
2. Explore the rockpools at Toowoon Bay with the kids. We enjoyed a whole morning beachcombing for treasures. The bays and beach at the north end of Shelly beach are great for inquisitive kids and paddling.
Please note that Toowoon Bay itself is not dog-friendly but the beach next to Toowoon, North Shelley beach is. To access, you go to the northern beach access walkway off Shelly Beach Road (adjacent to the golf course) and use the beach access stairs where you can run out your dog off leash all day.
Swadling reserve has picnic tables with shelters, a large grassed area, shady trees and a children's playground to keep everyone busy. Located at the cnr of Koongara St & Bay Rd in Toowoon Bay, you can run out the little ones and enjoy views over the ocean with some great takeaway coffee options a short drive away at Two Birds Gallery, Flour & Co or the Bay Cafe.
4. Our family loves to ride bikes and our little guy loves scooting. If your family does too, pack your bikes, scooters and skateboards to take advantage of the 12 kms of waterfront bicycle paths along Tuggerah Lake. There are several playgrounds along the path so you can be sure to have fun with the kids and your dog.
5. Enjoy a lazy morning or long lunch of no cooking, cleaning, delicious coffee and food at the numerous cafes in Long Jetty, the Entrance and Toowoon bay.
The Glass Onion Cafe - Image courtesy of CoastChic - Savvy Girls Guide to the Central Coast
Be sure to check out the boho and upcycled style at The Glass Onion Society 308 The Entrance Rd, Long Jetty. It is a great place to kick back and people watch, it's also child and dog-friendly and they often have live music.
Gotham Coffee at 381 The Entrance Rd is a really nice cafe and will soon be serving Crazy Shakes.
If you like to browse art and shop with your coffee you'll love the Two Birds Gallery at 104 Pacific St, Toowoon Bay NSW 2261. An eclectic collection of art, jewellery and beautiful pieces in a rustic, romantic setting. The coffee is good too. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for high teas and events.
6. Visit the Entrance foreshore, At Memorial Park the kids can have lots of fun at Vera's Water Garden, it is great for toddlers. Stock up with paddock to plate goodies at the open air farmers markets held at the Entrance on the weekends.
Vera's water garden - image courtesy of www. theentrance.org.au
7. Enjoy a scenic drive along the central coast highway, through Terrigal and stop at Avoca beach to run out the fur baby off leash on the northern end of the beach. Grab some fish and chips and picnic by the lagoon.
Alternatively, leave your four-legged friend at home and catch a movie at the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, a gorgeous retro cinema showing recent releases.
8. We are a bit of a sucker for a lighthouse visit, the romance, history and beauty always draw us in. We like to learn about Australia's seafaring history and enjoy amazing views. There are plenty of spectacular views at Norah Head Lighthouse a very pretty lighthouse modelled off of Macquarie lighthouse on Sydney's South Head.
Norah Head Lighthouse - Image Timothy M Roberts (Norah Head Lighthouse) [)
10. The Entrance is known as the Pelican Capital of Australi! If you love these giant birds, you can take the kids to see Pelican Feeding at 3.30pm daily, 365 days a year rain, hail or shine. You can learn about the pelicans, other bird and marine life and general information about the area. The feeding, which started by accident by a local fish and chip shop is now used to monitor the health of the birds in the area.
Pelican feeding - image courtesy of the Entrance.org.au
Unless your dog loves them too (ours definitely doesn't) it might be best to leave them at home or it is a great excuse for mum to have some down time at a local cafe along the boardwalk while dad or the grandparents enjoy the show!
There really is so much to see and do in the area, you can easily enjoy a week or two. For more ideas and information visit the website Central Coast Australia.
So pack your cossies, beach towel and spirit of adventure and explore this beautiful region for a wonderful holiday or long weekend that will leave you feeling refreshed but won't break the bank.