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.
1. Take in the stunning coastal views
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-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 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.
3. Hire a bike and cycle 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 full a day at E-Bikes-R-Us in Long Jetty.
4. Swing, fly and bounce through the treetops
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.
5. Paddle around Avoca Lagoon
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. Take an outdoor adventure on the Central Coast
Glenworth Valley Outdoor 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
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. Visit the Australian Reptile Park
See one of Australia’s largest reptile collections with approx. 50 reptiles 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 koala’s, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and wombats.. The wandering roos, emu and tortoises provide entertainment for toddlers and teenagers alike.
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.
Where to stay on the Central Coast
The Central Coast has accommodation to suit every family’s budget or holiday style.
Central Coast accomodation for the budget conscious
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.
Central Coast accommodation for splurging
If you prefer Terrigal’s up-market social centre, with bars and restaurants on your doorstep, then Terrigal’s Crowne Plaza, 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.