Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to one side and Brisbane Waters to the other, the Central Coast, in all its natural beauty, is packed full of things to do. Secluded bays, beachside towns, meandering countryside, and national parks aplenty – it's easy to lose yourself in this outdoor wonderland.
A short 90-minute drive from Sydney City, the Central Coast is as much a weekend getaway as it is a place to call home. And it's easy to see why, with four national parks (that's right, four!), and a string of surfing beaches, bays and lakes – so the chances of finding a quiet spot away from the crowds is all but guaranteed.
From Patonga to Budgewoi, the Central Coast is packed full of attractions – and what a choice you have! Whether you're looking for family-friendly fun, heart-thumping activities, foodie delights or places to retreat to for rest and relaxation, the Central Coast has it all. And trust us, you're going to need more than a weekend to explore this gem because the list of things to do on the Central Coast is endless.
Bouddi National Park
Topping the list of every Central Coast travel guide, is Bouddi National Park. Sitting along the coastline between Killcare and Macmasters Beach, this stunning wilderness is an outdoor lover's dream; hiking trails that lead to jaw-dropping views and whale watching vantage points, secluded beaches, mountain bike trails, fishing spots and camping grounds.
Hands down, the coastline is the Central Coast's biggest drawcard. The golden-hued sand and crashing swells of the popular surfing beaches and the calmness of hidden bays are mesmerising, while the stunning headlands offer incredible views up and down the coast. Avoca Beach and Killcare Beach are just some of our top picks with their rockpools, swells, and dog-friendly areas. But if you're after something that's a little more off the beaten path, you can't go past Maitland Bay in Bouddi National Park.
In the northern parts of the Central Coast, the list of things to do just keeps on growing. Head to The Entrance for a daily pelican feeding show, Tuggerah Lake is a go-to for sailing, kayaking and fishing, and the beaches of Wyrrabalong National Park are pure bliss.
Surrounded by native bushland, Brisbane Waters National Park can be explored on or off the land. Forming part of the Great North Walk, there are plenty of walking trails that lead to bays and hidden beaches, sail your way through the serene surrounds or paddle to places larger vessels can't roam in kayaks, canoes or SUP boards. Adding to the list of things to do on the Central Coast are all the fishing and camping spots.
When it comes to things do, the Central Coast has a whole lot of heart-thumping activities; sky diving, treetop climbing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, big game fishing, and mountain biking to name a few. But head inland a little, and you'll discover another side to the Central Coast. Lush hinterland and roaming countryside seem worlds away from the string of beaches. Horse ride at Glenworth Valley, get up close and personal with some of Australia's most elusive wildlife at The Australian Reptile Park, or walk the many trails.
The great outdoors aside, the local foodie scene keeps on outdoing itself. Ocean fresh seafood is a staple in every beachside town, and you can even try Broken Bay oysters straight from the water with Sydney Oyster Farm Tours. Or try your luck with big game fishing at one of the many fishing charters, or for homegrown goodness, head to the local farmers' markets.
When it comes to eating out, Terrigal and Ettalong are dining hotspots. Peppered throughout the Central Coast, there are must-book foodie destinations, such as The Wild Flower Bar & Dining in Killcare, The Boathouse Hotel in Patonga, and The Bon Pavilion in Gosford. They're not only some of the best places to eat, but they're one of the best things to do on the Central Coast.
And while beachside cafes are in abundance, making waves on the Central Coast foodie scene are Bar Botanica in Erina, Ludo's at Avoca Beach, and The Glass Onion Society at Long Jetty. As for the nightlife? Terrigal is a mainstay with its line-up of pubs and wine bars while Gosford and Erina have a few surprises up their sleeve.
Add to all of this a line-up of accommodation along the beaches and in the hinterland, from couples-only retreats and luxurious getaways to family-friendly resorts and insta-worthy holiday properties that boast sweeping ocean views. And they're all within easy reach to everything that the Central Coast has to offer.