Our Guide To The Perfect Road-Trip On The NSW Central Coast
Forget the sprawling Sydney metropolis, all anyone needs for the ultimate getaway in New South Wales is located 1.5 hour’s drive from the state’s capital city.
The Central Coast region spans 566km2, catching a sprinkle of charming beach towns in its zone. The most well known of these are Terrigal and Avoca – renowned surfing haunts – while the largest is Gosford – the main economic hub of the region.
The world-class natural surrounds are the most obvious reason to travel here, with an abundance of bush walks through Bouddi National Park, and more beaches than you can count (the locals tell us Putty Beach and Spoon Bay are some of the best for a dip)!
But the most enduring reputation of the Central Coast is how overwhelmingly nice the people are. There is a thriving sense of community among the residents and small businesses here (a selection of which we’ve curated for you below) which makes this destination even more special.
So whether you’re staying for a good time or a long time, there’s plenty to keep you occupied on this heavenly stretch of coastline. It’s always sunny on the Central Coast!
Burnt Honey Bakery
Copacabana is located on a crescent-shaped beach just south of Avoca, meaning it is slightly cut-off from the rest of the Central Coast. But the lack of thoroughfare traffic makes this quaint surfy town all the more delightful!
Burnt Honey Bakery is an 18-month-old bakery that’s quickly established itself as a local pilgrimage destination. Expect glistening chocolate eclairs, neenish tarts, handmade pastries and olive sourdough focaccia on the menu, all made on site. Get in quick, they’re only open until sold out!
Shop 1/224 Del Monte Pl, Copacabana
Located at the stunning accommodation lodge, Bells at Killcare, The Wildflower is where to go if you’re after something a little bit bougie and a lot local. Headed up by renowned chef, Sean Connolly, fifteen per cent of the produce on the menu is sourced from the restaurant’s own 500m2 kitchen garden, which includes an orchard, olive trees, beehives and free range hens.
With as many regionally sourced producers, growers, winemakers and suppliers as possible, a menu highlight is the locally harvested seafood – such as the crayfish caught off nearby Macmasters Beach!
107 The Scenic Rd, Killcare Heights
The newly minted sister of Terrigal’s Caribbean rum shack, Mumbo Jumbos, Shady Palms is a local favourite in-the-making. Owners Heather, Isaac and Steve drew on the local surf culture when fitting out the space in in-land Avoca Beach, creating a breezy, tropical vibe with references to mid-century Hawaii and 80s California.
The dining, drinking and live music venue comprises a beer garden with lime washed stone booths, an island-style cocktail bar and a bungalow with a more traditional dining room with a vast selection of tap beer, wines and speciality cocktails. Serious vibes!
366 Avoca Drive, Kincumber
SEE + DO
Originally, The Savoy was built in 1956 as the Central Coast’s biggest movie theatre, until it fell out of use in the mid-70s. Now, it’s back to its former glory!
Revived two years ago by locals Ben Pearce and Guy Sullivan, The Savoy is now a pumping main attraction in the town of Long Jetty. The cinema complex has a modern bar and restaurant inside, with a program of live music events and family days changing weekly. And of course, classic films lighting up the silver screen every Thursday night!
2/391 The Entrance Rd, Long Jetty
Bouddi National Park
Bouddi National Park is one of the most significant and well-trodden sites in the Central Coast, spanning 1,532 hectares from Killcare to Macmasters Beach. Due to its ocean-front situ, it contains some of the best secluded beaches on the coast, and epic tracks and trails to get to them!
The Killcare Beach Boardwalk marks the beginning of the Bouddi Coastal Walk, halfway through the 8km walk lies Maitland Bay, a secluded sandy cove surrounded by bushland that can only be accessed by foot. Make sure to bring your swimmers!
If you’re not up for the lengthy 8km hike but still want some great views and a dip at Maitland Bay, you can drive to the corner of The Scenic Road and Maitland Bay Information Centre, where the beach can be accessed via a 15-minute walk along the Maitland Bay Track.
Close to this intersection is the Marie Byles Lookout, which offers panoramic views along the coastline back towards Killcare Beach. The Bullimah Spur Track, a 2.4km scenic loop with epic views across the national park, also starts and ends at this lookout spot.
Note that Putty Beach, Tallow Beach and Little Beach all have campground facilities for those who prefer a tent to an Airbnb!
La Boheme Lifestyle
If there’s a case to be made for making the trip to the Central Coast permanent, it’s Stephanie Davies, owner of La Boheme, who made the move from Scotland in 2014, and never looked back.
Now settled in Terrigal, Steph started La Boheme four years ago as a hub for bohemian-style homewares and fashion. The store stocks pieces from Australian designers like Sage and Clare textiles, ceramics by Rhiannon Gill, and Bonnie and Neil table linens.
For those wanting to truly embrace the Central Coast life and dress like a local, La Boheme is where to go!
1/271 Scenic Highway, Terrigal
Toowoon Beach House
Located just 100m from picturesque Toowoon Bay, Toowoon Beach House is a classic stilted holiday house fit for the whole family (plus some extras!). The accommodation sleeps 16 guests across its 7 bedrooms and has a deck for outdoor eating as well as a pool table for indoor entertainment – should the need ever arise. It’s also fully equipped for kids with a cubby house and sand-pit at the rear.
To top it all off for a holiday of family fun, surfboards and kayaks are supplied to maximise the short walk to the open ocean.
Keen to pack the car and head straight to the seaside? Us too! Find out more about the Central Coast and the surrounding areas at lovecentralcoast.com. And for more NSW travel inspiration head to VisitNSW.com.