Sydney / Destinations / Romantic Getaways: A weekend on the Central Coast

Romantic Getaways: A weekend on the Central Coast

On your next romantic getaway, leave the city behind and cruise 90 minutes north to the Central Coast, where sun, surf and a sea of sumptuous dining awaits. With its beautiful beaches, lush hinterland and sprawling national parks, this stretch of coastline is as scenic as it gets. Bounce from one beach town to the next, or don’t – either way, you’re in for a blissful break. Here’s where to eat, stay and play on the Central Coast.

For a romantic weekend in the Central Coast, be sure to…

EAT

Pop into Ludo’s Gourmet Patisserie for a pastry

A slice of France on the Central Coast, Ludo’s is famous for its huge selection of sweet and savoury pastries. While you’re there, grab some goodies for a picnic later at Ludo’s Gourmet Pantry.

Do as the locals do and get brekkie at Bellyfish

As you drive into Terrigal, Bellyfish is the first café you’ll see and it’s been a neighbourhood haunt since 2008. Stop by for a coffee or sit down to sample the seasonal, modern Australian menu.

Settle in for a long lunch at Pearls on the Beach

Pearl Beach is one of the most charming pockets on the Central Coast, and this waterfront restaurant is the perfect spot for a romantic lunch. The pretty pastels aside, Pearls is all about showcasing fresh produce in the most delicious ways.

Soak up the scene at The Box on the Water

Location, location, location. Steps from the sand, this restaurant is making waves thanks to its swish fit-out and Head Chef David Peters’ menu of creative share plates.

Grab a housemade pie from The Fat Goose Bakery, Deli & Cafe

Hardy Bay is home to a string of shops and cafes, and this one is always bustling. And for good reason – the team makes everything in house, from its crusty sourdough loaves to pies and pastries. Enjoy yours in the leafy courtyard, or take it up the hill to the Marie Byles lookout.

Linger over lunch at Saddles

Nestled in the bushland of Mt White, Saddles is the shiniest new addition to the Central Coast’s foodie scene. Owned by the dream team behind Bombini, the menu supports local producers and wine-makers, with most produce plucked from the kitchen garden. If you don’t have time for a sit-down lunch, pop in to the bakehouse for a lamington with raspberry cream.

Have a candlelit dinner at Bombini

Sitting on two acres of lush gardens, this Italian restaurant is ready-made for romance. It’s known for its seasonal, sustainable menu (most of the ingredients are sourced on-site). Anything you order is guaranteed to be good – just trust us when we say to share the housemade sorbetti for dessert.

Treat yourself to burgers at Chop n’ Grind

These babies have been awarded the ‘best burgers on the Central Coast’ by AGFG for two years in a row. They’re juicy and delicious, and best enjoyed on the beach.

BYO bottle of wine to Sapa Modern Vietnamese Cuisine

Pick a tipple together, and then wander over to this Wamberal restaurant for incredible Vietnamese food. You can order a la carte or go for the banquet.

Transport yourself to Bali for the day at Bamboo Buddha

Whether you’ve vegetarian or not, this spot is a must. Cosy up in the Balinese garden, and feast on curries and the signature Buddha burger.

Splash out on the tasting menu at Cowrie Restaurant

With views stretching across Terrigal Beach, this fine dining spot serves up the best seafood in the area – and it has the awards to prove it. On date night, opt for the tasting menu.

Eat the perfect plate of pasta at Young Barons

Indulge in the mouth-wateringly good gnocchi with mushrooms, garlic, thyme and pecorino. You may just fall in love all over again!

Share a cone from Terrigal Ice Creamery

Order a scoop (or three), stroll down the promenade and soak up the people-watching. If you’re a chocolate fan, add Luka Chocolates in Wyong to your hitlist, too.

Find out what the fuss is about at All Malay

This no-frills Malaysian spot is fabulous – but the line snaking out the door might give that way! Book ahead, nab a bottle of wine, and try the famous salt and pepper soft shell crab. 


DRINK

Swap stories over a cup of coffee

Catch up on each other’s weeks over a cuppa at Point Café, or Lords of Pour. Choose a bouquet of fresh blooms to brighten up your room at Becker & Co, and don’t leave Lords without trying a mini cake.

Try some of the best spirits in the world at Distillery Botanica

Yes, really! This boutique distillery is run by a herbalist turned genius gin maker, Phillip Moore. In 2012, his coffee liqueur Mr Black won the International Wine & Spirits Competition, then his lemon myrtle liqueur scooped up the award year later. Gin lovers, you’ll adore Moore’s Vintage Dry Gin, an aromatic spirit made with seven botanicals.

Taste-test your way through Pocket Bar’s cocktails

You guessed it: this is the Darlinghurst bar’s sister spot. Sip on bespoke cocktails or a drop from the long wine list, and if you’re peckish, order a few tapas share plates.

Sip on a cider in the sun at Six String Brewing Company

Spend a lazy afternoon at the Central Coast’s first boutique brewery. On weekends, there are live music performances and a pop-up Mexican cantina.

Grab sundowners at the Avoca Beach Hotel

Go early, so you can score a highly coveted seat on the deck. Then, watch the sun go down over the treetops.

Listen to live music Terrigal Hotel or Kincumber Hotel

Sitting on the golden shores of Terrigal Beach, the local pub is perfect for sunset drinks. Over in Kincumber, the hotel has live music and open mic nights all week, along with the biggest cider bar on the Central Coast.

EXPLORE

Start your morning at The Skillion

There are two ways to soak up the views from this Terrigal landmark: climb up the hill for panoramic vistas over the beach or stick to ground level and weave your way though the rock pools and cliffs.

Swim at the Central Coast’s sunkissed beaches

The Coast has 41 to choose from, but our picks are Terrigal Beach, Umina Beach, The Entrance Beach, Copacabana Beach and Lobster Beach for a more peaceful vibe. If you want to learn how to surf, sign up for a class together with The Central Coast Surf Academy. 

Stand-up paddleboard or kayak on Avoca Lake

For another view of the beach town, you can rent gear from Aquafun and paddleboard or kayak on the lovely Avoca Lake – and laugh a lot in the process!

Stroll the Avoca Beachside Markets

Held on the fourth Sunday of the month, this market has over 100 stalls selling fashion, art and gourmet goodies by the water’s edge. It’s a celebration of all things local, with live music as the soundtrack.

Get a fresh air fix with the Patonga to Pearl Beach hike

Rise, shine and start your day the right way with this two-hour stroll. It starts at the Patonga Boat Ramp, before heading into the Brisbane Waters National Park. At Warrah Lookout, pause for breathtaking views of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River, and wear your cossies so you can go for a dip when you reach Pearl Beach. A more easygoing option is the Box Head track, which takes around an hour, while the Mooney Mooney Nature Walk is ideal for seasoned walkers.

Pack a picnic for Somersby Falls

It’s time to check out the rainforest! The cascading waterfall is romantic in itself (and you can splash around in the water below), and the surrounding area is perfect for picnics and BBQs.

Cosy up and catch a movie at the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

The BBC named this independent cinema as one of the top 20 in the world. If you’re in Avoca, watch a flick at the old-world cinema, which screens arty, classic and blockbuster films.

Before you leave, make time to visit…

Bouddi National Park

This national park is flush with rainforests, trails, beaches, bays and marine and wildlife. It’s also sprawling, so for a snapshot of everything the park has to offer, set off the Bouddi National Park Coastal Walk – one of the most famous coastal walks in Oz. Pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy it at Maitland Bay or Gerrin Point Lookout, where you might spot migrating whales!

Bells at Killcare

This Hamptons-inspired hotel put the Central Coast on the map when it opened in 2007, and it’s still going strong. Book in for a couples massage at the Day Spa, and then keep the blissful vibes going with lunch at the in-house Italian restaurant, Manfredi. It’s incredible.

Wamberal Lagoon

Tucked behind Wamberal Beach, the lagoon is beautiful, and a go-to spot for both watersports and wildlife-watching.

Aussie Night Markets

This travelling food market pops up in the Central Coast every Friday night. Take your tastebuds on a trip though the street food stalls, which serve up Spanish, Filipino, Indian, Turkish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Italian delights. 

The Entrance Winter Blues & Jazz Festival

If you’re up the Coast during winter, try to time your trip with this lively festival, which features a lineup of local and international artists.

Romantic stays

Bells at Killcare

Sitting on eight acres of immaculate gardens, this boutique hotel is – in a word – luxe. There are 25 private rooms on offer, and the one-bedroom cottages, king and spa suites, and lakeview villas are adults-only.

Pretty Beach House

Perched on the fringe of Bouddi National Park, Pretty Beach House is made up of four glamorous guesthouses plus a restaurant and spa. Book Treetops, and you’ll wake up to eucalyptus trees and ancient angophoras.

Kim’s Beachside Retreat

On the shores of Toowoon Bay, this adults-only, luxury resort was made for couples getaways. Every lodging is private, from the timber bungalows to the upscale spa villas.

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