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9 things to do on the NSW Central Coast with kids

If you’re looking for a fun-filled family vacation destination, look no further than the Central Coast region of New South Wales!

Just one hour’s drive north of Sydney, the NSW Central Coast is all about scenic road trips, safe family beaches, national parks dotted with walking trails and coastal villages perfect for family holidays and weekend getaways.

Children near The Entrance at Central Coast. Image Destination NSW
Children on the hill near The Entrance. Image Destination NSW

Halfway between Sydney and Newcastle, the Central Coast region of NSW stretches from the mouth of the Hawkesbury River to the southern end of Lake Macquarie. 

Popular holiday towns along the coast include The Entrance, Toowoon Bay, Bateau Bay, Terrigal, Avoca Beach, Gosford, Norah Head, Budgewoi and Woy Woy.

Of course, the region is best known for beaches, beaches and more beaches! However, there’s plenty more to fill your coastal holiday itinerary: bushwalks and horse riding, lakeside fishing and nature experiences, ice-skating at Erina Fair, daily pelican feeding at The Entrance, walks to Norah Head Lighthouse and so much more!

Read on to discover what the Central Coast has to offer for family fun. 

Best things to do on the NSW Central Coast with kids

The NSW Central Coast is a popular beach destination for families and offers fun activities year-round. Here are nine must-do activities for your next Central Coast family holiday:

1. Catch the views from Norah Head Lighthouse or the Skillion  

Take a stroll up to historic Norah Head Lighthouse or Terrigal’s Skillion, and enjoy the panoramic views over land and across the ocean at The Entrance. During the whale season (May to November) you might even spot some humpback whales offshore on their annual migration to and from Antarctic waters.

2. Visit the Central Coast’s best family beaches

There are so many beaches to choose from on the Central Coast. Near The Entrance, there is sheltered Toowoon Bay Beach, with popular Blue Bay Beach and Shelley Beach on either side. Further south the safe surfing beaches of Terrigal and Avoca are family favourites, and the very pretty Pearl Beach is perfect for families who like calm beaches and peaceful surroundings.

Family playing on Terrigal Beach.Image Destination NSW
A family plays on Terrigal Beach. Image Destination NSW

3. Hire a bike and cycle the Central Coast’s pathways

What better way to explore the Central Coast’s lakeside and beaches than by peddle power? Bring your own bicyles or hire bikes for the whole family for an hour or a full day at E-Bikes-R-Us in Long Jetty.

4. Fly through the trees at Treetops Adventure Central Coast

Visit Treetops Adventure Central Coast for a fun-filled adventure in nature. Spring, climb, fly and bounce into adventure with a range of active activities for all ages. Treetop ropes courses, zip coaster lines and rock climbing walls are suitable for teenagers while youngsters bounce around in the trampolines.

TreeTop Adventure Park Central Caost NSW
Swing through the canopy at Treetops Adventure

5. Paddle around Avoca Lake by kayak or SUP

Whether you like to paddle sitting down in a kayak or standing on a SUP board, explore the coastal lagoon wetlands around Avoca Lake and get up close and personal with birdlife and the marine life in the shallows. If you’re not a paddler, hire a pedal boat, perfect for young families, and explore the waterways with some gentle exercise thrown in.

6. Go horseriding or quad biking at Glenworth Valley Wilderness Adventures 

Glenworth Valley Wilderness Adventures is one of Australia’s largest horse riding centres spread over 3,000 acres. Ride a horse through free-range country or take a guided ride along wilderness trails – perfect for beginner riders. For something a little more adrenalin charged, there’s also quad bikes, abseil courses, laser skirmishes and kayaks to hire.

Glenworth Valley horse riding Central Coast
Riding horses at Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures

7. Buzz around Lake Macquarie in a Jet Boat

Buckle up for an action-packed adrenalin-fuelled jet boat ride on Lake Macquarie. Experience thrills and spills with a combination of high-speed slides, 360° spins, power brake stops and fish tails. Hang on and prepare to get wet!

8. Meet the critters at the Australian Reptile Park

See one of Australia’s largest reptile collections at the Australian Reptile Park, with over 2000 animals on display. Settle in for an entertaining reptile show, learn about snake venom and walk with a giant tortoise from the Galapagos. Get up close with native Australian wildlife like koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and wombats. The wandering roos, emu and tortoises provide entertainment for toddlers and teenagers alike.

Australian Reptile Park Galapagos Tortoise Hugo walking with child
A child walks with Hugo the tortoise at the Asutralian Reptile Park

9. Take a Mountain Bike Tour of the Central Coast

If you want to venture off the flat tracks around the lakes, then Central Coast Mountain Bike Tours have adventures for all ages, with options from a short one-hour-long ride to a full day. Tommos Loop and Rocky Ponds loop along with the Warrah Trigg Loop are two popular mountain bike trails on the Central Coast.

Family accommodation on the NSW Central Coast

The Central Coast has accommodation to suit every family’s budget or holiday style.

Budget-friendly Central Coast family accommodation

Central Coast Holiday Parks: Budgewoi, Canton Beach, Norah Head and Toowoon Bay
You can’t beat a cabin in a holiday park for convenience and value. You’ll have access to BBQs and playgrounds onsite and be walking distance from some of the best-patrolled beaches. Choose from a powered campsite to 3-bedroom cabins.

Learn more: cchp.com.au

Luxury Central Coast accommodation for families 

If you prefer Terrigal’s up-market social centre, with bars and restaurants on your doorstep, then Terrigal’s Crowne Plaza Pacific, with its day spa and heated pool, might be more your scene. The hotel has spacious family rooms, balconies overlooking Terrigal Beach and one of the best breakfast buffets on the entire east coast.

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