The Central Coast is heating up to be the next must-visit destination for Sydney weekenders and holidaymakers alike. Surrounded by stunning national parklands and sandy beaches—and with its mix of sleepy seaside towns filled with new coastal cafés and bustling weekend markets—the Central Coast is the perfect place to plan a weekend getaway from the concrete jungle to relax and explore.
Chic Coastal Cafes
No longer home to just traditional beachside fish-and-chip shops and quiet corner snack bars, the Central Coast is blowing up with inviting new eateries and chic coastal cafés.
Whether you’re staying around The Entrance or heading farther north toward Wyong, be sure you make time for the eclectically awesome suburb of Long Jetty, which has become a local hub for creative types, foodies and fashionistas. Peruse the many antique, second-hand and vintage clothing stores dotted along The Entrance Road or grab a table at local haunts The Glass Onion Society, artisan bakery Green Tangerine or The Common Ground Café, which now offers dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.
For those enjoying a visit to the secluded beaches of Hardy’s Bay or perhaps further south in Woy Woy, you have to visit the white and bright nautical themed Coast 175 Café, just opposite the indoor Ettalong Markets and just past the art deco themed Cinema Paradiso.
Locals tip: Book a table on weekends or prepare yourself for the wait!
If you do want to try something more traditional, fish and chips by the water still remains top of the coastal to-do list. You can try Fisherman’s Wharf at Woy Woy, or perhaps Haven Seafoods at Terrigal (488 Scenic Highway, Terrigal) where you can choose to dine in the café or grab takeaway and head to local landmark The Skillion to enjoy the cliffside views.
As night falls, you won’t be stuck for choice with restaurants like Safran Restaurant serving traditional Turkish in a modern tapas style to share. The 12-hour glazed beef rib is a must!
For extra special occasions, stay at luxury boutique hotel Bells at Killcare and dine at the only hatted restaurant on the coast, Manfredi at Bells, which offers a delicious fine-dining experience on the Bouddi Peninsula with a Locals Dinner on Tuesday nights.
Bohemian Vibes and Beachside Buys
Known for its bohemian beach vibe, you can find all kinds of funky handmade products visiting any of the monthly weekend markets that have popped up along the coast. From the Terrigal Beach Markets (every first Saturday), Umina Beach Markets (every third Sunday) or the super popular Avoca Beach Markets (every fourth Sunday) you will be spoilt for choice. If food is more your thing then don’t miss the weekly Gosford City Farmers Markets at the Gosford Racecourse every Sunday from 8 am to 1 pm for delicious local produce.
Get Back to Nature
But if there’s one thing you should do on your visit it is to make sure you really immerse yourself in the beauty of nature for which the Central Coast is truly known for.
Don’t miss its beautiful sandy beaches—try Maitland Bay, Avoca Beach or Lighthouse Beach below the historic Norah Head Lighthouse—or secluded rainforest walks like the Bouddi Coastal Walk (from Putty Beach to Little Beach) where you can keep watch for whales during their annual migration from May to November.
Or if you’re game, get face-to-face with a Komodo Dragon at the Australian Reptile Park, fly through the Ourimbah State Forest treetops on the world’s longest roller-coaster zipline at Treetop Adventure Park, or join the masses for a spot of Pelican Feeding at Memorial Park in The Entrance (3:30 pm daily). There’s so much to see and do!
The Central Coast is less than two hours from Sydney by train or car. Head north and follow the M1 Pacific Motorway to the Gosford or Wyong exits. For a more scenic route, take the Old Pacific Highway. For a special treat, arrive by seaplane from Sydney in under 30 minutes or take the scenic ferry ride that runs daily from Sydney’s Palm Beach.