With the Pacific Ocean to one side and Brisbane Water to the other, this beautiful stretch of coastline is a water lover’s paradise. National parks with secluded bays and surfing beaches, and seaside towns with golden-hued shorelines and meandering lagoons, the chances of finding a quiet place for a dip or surf are high. From Patonga in the south to Bateau Bay in the north, the Central Coast has an impressive line-up of alluring beaches that are as pretty as they are fun to explore.
This is our edit of the most beautiful and best beaches on the Central Coast.
Want to feel like you’re truly away from it all? Bouddi National Park is a natural delight with its stunning wilderness, jaw-dropping coastal walks, and string of secluded beaches. At times, the beaches can be a bit of a hike to get to, but they’re well worth it. Walking trails surrounded by natural bushland will lead you to Maitland Bay, which has a shipwreck dating back to 1898, Little Beach, is a cove surrounded by rainforest, Lobster Beach is on the shores of Broken Bay, while a steep walk will lead you down to Tallow Beach.
A hotspot for weekend getaways, Avoca Beach sure knows how to draw a crowd during the warmer months. This picture-perfect beach is the suburb’s beating heart. Known for its great surfing and swimming conditions, ocean pool, golden-hued sand, playground and dog-friendly areas. Plus, it has a lagoon behind the beach, which is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing. Steps away from all this is a delightful selection of cafes, eateries and restaurants. With this combo, it’s easy to see why Avoca is one of the best beaches on the Central Coast.
One of the most picturesque spots on the Central Coast, thanks to its isolating position on the southern tip of the coast, Patonga is one good looking seaside village. On the shores of Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay, the beach itself is perfect for swimming, kayaking and standup paddling boarding. At the same time, Patonga Foreshore Reserve is an idyllic spot to devour a serving of fish n’ chips. A steady stream of day-trippers come via the Palm Beach ferry to experience all this and the stylishly chic Boathouse Hotel and Brisbane Waters National Park.
Sitting side-by-side, Killcare Beach and Putty Beach are a firm favourite among the locals. Perched on the foreshore of Bouddi National Park, the beach is renowned for its rock pools and sandstone cliffs – a stunning backdrop at sunrise and sunset. If that wasn’t enough to make this one of the best beaches on the Central Coast, then the swimming, surfing, fishing, and off-leash dog area will be. And if you’re feeling particularly active, Putty Beach forms part of the Bouddi Coastal Walk, which stretches all the way to Macmasters Beach.
The stretch of golden sand that runs the length of Terrigal’s town centre is the suburb’s pride and joy, and for a good reason. It’s patrolled during the warmer months and known for its excellent surfing, swimming and fishing conditions. At the south end, there’s an ocean rock pool and Terrigal Haven, a boat harbour with scuba diving, snorkelling, picnic and barbeque facilities. The eateries, cafes and restaurants that are steps away from the beach, also make this a hotspot.
At the northern end of the Central Coast, in Munmorah State Conservation Area, Frazer Beach is a sheltered 400-metre-long surf break. Only patrolled over summer and Easter, it’s a popular go-to for local surfers, while the grassy area in front of the beach is a dreamy spot for a picnic. Make the most of this beach on the Central Coast by spending the night at the secluded beachside campground. While in the area, stop by Wybung Head Lookout and Snapper Point for impressive coastal views.
Tucked away at the southern end of the Central Coast, this lesser-known beachside suburb loves to sit on the sideline, letting neighbouring Ettalong and Patonga garner all the attention. But, don’t be fooled by this quiet gem because it is one the Central Coast’s best-kept secrets. Pearl Beach’s bayside position and ocean rock pool, makes it a perfect spot for swimming. And if water and sand play isn’t enough to wear out the kids, then stopping by the children’s play area on the way home might just do the trick.
Unspoilt and uncrowded, Wamberal Beach has views stretching to Terrigal Beach, Forresters Beach and the Wyrrabalong National Park. This patrolled beach on the Central Coast is a great spot for swimming and fishing, while the area called ‘The Bend’ attracts surfers from all over. The beach also features a rockpool and off-leash dog areas. Located just behind the beach is Wamberal Lagoon (perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding), it has a tranquil feel with the land on either side being a sanctuary for protected birds and animals.
North of Wyrrabalong National Park, Bateau Bay Beach has quite the reputation for its swimming, snorkelling, and hang-gliding. Wide swathes of grassy areas meet golden sand and a beach that is just as alluring. Sitting along the picture-perfect Wyrrabalong Coastal Walk, at the southern end of Bateau Bay Beach, through subtropical fauna, is Crackneck Lookout, which is the place to watch the whales during their annual migration.
Set along the shores of Brisbane Waters at the point where it meets Broken Bay, Ettalong Beach is a firm family go-to. Although lifeguards do not patrol this beach, the calm waters of the bay, the ease of cafes and restaurants, and excellent boating facilities are all big drawcards. And the ferry service connecting Ettalong to Palm Beach, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, has long made this one of best beaches on the Central Coast.
Sitting just south of Ettalong and bordering Brisbane Waters National Park, Umina Beach’s gentle swell makes it a great spot for swimming and those learning to surf. A popular weekend destination, Umina’s golden beaches are pulsing with holiday-makers eager to feel the sand between their toes and the salty ocean waters wash over them. For those who love to bring their pooch with them, there is a dog off-leash area.