Central Coast Towns & Villages

Boatsheds are a local icon across the Central Coast shoreline
  • Boatsheds are a local icon across the Central Coast shoreline
  • Central Coast has twice the amount of shoreline than Sydney Harbour
  • Take the time to absorb the Coastal Way of life

The Central Coast is made up of a myriad of towns and villages. Following is a brief description of key towns.

Brooklyn  - Gateway Cities

Brooklyn, known as the gateway to the Hawkesbury River, is located on the southern part of the Central Coast. Brooklyn provides a great opportunity to take in some of the stunning sights of the Hawkesbury, enjoy a picnic with some fish and chips, or throw in a line and see if the fish are biting.  From Brooklyn, take the ferry to Dangar Island to visit the car-free riverside island community.

Patonga & Pearl Beach - The Peninsula

Patonga and Pearl Beach make up two of the most southern coastal points of the Central Coast. This area has the potential to evoke feelings of isolation, yet is only a scenic 20 minute drive from Gosford. Great for families where the young ones can swim at beaches that provide little swell, as well as in an ocean rock pool at the southern end of Pearl Beach. Patonga and Pearl Beach offer many picnicking and fishing opportunities, while enjoying the views of the picturesque surrounding Brisbane Water National Park. These quaint communities are very popular for house rentals, but get in early for Christmas and summer bookings and make a reservation at the divine Pearl's on the Beach Restaurant.

Ettalong - The Peninsula

Ettalong is nestled between Woy Woy and Umina on what is known as the peninsula of the coast. Ettalong has developed into a very popular destination for visitors to the region, yet still holds its quiet and calming appeal. Ettalong is surrounded by water, with so much to see and do. The sheltered beaches provide safe and calm water, which is great for swimming or to cast a line from the shore. There are a number of boat charters that operate from here including fishing, whale watching and scenic cruises. There is also a regular ferry service to Palm Beach from the wharf. Ettalong Beach Seaside Markets are open every weekend and the Arts & Crafts market runs on the first Saturday of the month. The Ettalong Beach Club is a good all-round option for dining and entertainment, with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the beach.

Woy Woy - The Peninsula

Being surrounded by water, Woy Woy is great for those who love the water. There are countless places to throw in a line from the shore or from the boat to see what fish are nibbling. Take advantage of the abundance of water and choose your place to go swimming, explore the waterways by kayak or get out on to Brisbane Water for some of the best waterskiing conditions the region has to offer. Woy Woy wharf is also the starting point for the Central Coast Ferries scenic boat trips to Davistown, Empire Bay and Saratoga. During peak holiday periods the Cockatoo Ferry departs from Woy Woy for a scenic 2 hour round trip to Ettalong. Just off Woy Woy Road is the Bulgandry Aboriginal carvings site and Staples Lookout which are both worth a visit.

Gosford - Gateway Cities

Gosford is the organizational centre of the region. Bordered by the hills of Rumbalara Reserve on one side and the most northern part of Brisbane Water on the other, there is a great deal to see and do. Enjoy a picnic or take a stroll on one of the bush walks through Rumbalara Reserve, while taking in spectacular views from the mountaintop. Relax and sit by the Gosford waterfront, watching the activity on the water, or ride a bike along the cycleway that extends all the way to Woy Woy. Head to Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium and watch the Central Coast Mariners take on their opponents in the National A-League Soccer competition, dine at the Central Coast Leagues Club, one of the largest recreational clubs on the Central Coast, and have a bet on the horses at Gosford Racecourse.

Erina - Beach Villages

Erina is the unofficial heart of the Coast, located conveniently near all major urban centres, including Terrigal and Gosford, and with many bus routes operating through the area. While you’re here it’ll be hard to miss Erina Fair, the largest shopping complex on the Coast with over 300 stores, an array of restaurants, cinemas, an ice skating rink and an outdoor playground for the kids. Just down the road at Erina Heights is the new and spectacular Ken Duncan Photographic Gallery. Nearby are the two hidden gems of Firescreek Fruit Wines in Holgate and St Fiacre Distillery in Erina, where visitors can sample award winning fruit wines and Australian native flavour liqueurs, and gain an insight into how these are made.

Hardys Bay & Killcare Peninsula - Beach Villages

Hardys Bay and Killcare are located at the south eastern part of the Central Coast and straddle both beach and bay and are surrounded by Bouddi National Park. The area boasts a vibrant bayside village atmosphere with numerous eateries and galleries, and is a good base for sailing. Hardys Bay Yacht Charters offer skippered charters and berth and breakfast packages on their 38ft yacht. There are six secluded beaches to choose from including those for surfing, a kids rock pool, a patrolled beach and numerous coastal walking trails and boardwalks in the Bouddi National Park. For those who would just like to relax and take it all in, the shores of Hardys Bay and neighbouring Wagstaff are great places to unwind and rest.

Avoca Beach - Beach Villages

Avoca Beach is one of the finest surfing beaches the Central Coast has to offer. However, there is a lot to do other than swim and surf at the beach. Hire a surf ski or canoe, or have limitless fun on a paddle boat from Aquafun Aquatic Hire, and explore the lagoon and all of its little hideaways. Take an easy walk around the rock platform of the southern headland and see a different aspect of Avoca. Enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes around the area or catch a movie at the historic Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, with its vintage atmosphere and classic set up.

Terrigal - Beach Villages

Terrigal is one of the most well known areas of the Central Coast and is very popular with visitors. With its famous beach, fabulous shopping, range of restaurants and cafes and variety of places to stay, Terrigal is a must when visiting the Central Coast. Be sure to make your way around to The Haven at the southern end of Terrigal. Here you can swim in the sheltered water, go snorkelling and take in some marine life, explore the rock platform from one side to the other, or absorb the magnificent views from the top of the well-known headland, known as the Skillion. The Haven is also a base for fishing charters and diving. A collection of restaurants adorn the best locations in Terrigal offering spectacular views and award-winning food.

Wamberal - Beach Villages

Just a stone’s throw away from Terrigal, you will find Wamberal. Wamberal has a great patrolled beach with an appealing lagoon just next to it, making it a great stop for all. Explore the sand dunes and the nature reserve around the lagoon and take note of the array of bird life that call this area home.

Forresters Beach - The Entrance

Forresters Beach is located about halfway between Terrigal and The Entrance. This area has a number of impressive cliffs, which can be viewed from a number of platforms along walking trails throughout the Wyrrabalong National Park. Be sure to make your way to the highest coastal peak between Newcastle and Sydney at the Wyrrabalong Lookout, which is great for whale watching, or to just take in the beauty of the Central Coast and the beaches on either side.

Shelly Beach - The Entrance

Shelly Beach is located just south of The Entrance, offering a great patrolled surfing beach, with picnic tables and barbeques only metres off the sand. When in the area, Crackneck Lookout is worthy of a stop off, where you can see Norah Head and its infamous lighthouse to the north and the lakes to west. This is a very popular launch spot for hang gliders who take advantage of the wind off the point, and is a prime viewing area during whale watching season. Take the kids to Bateau Bay Ten Pin Bowl for a bit of family fun where everyone can get involved.

The Entrance & Long Jetty - The Entrance

The Entrance is one of the most well known areas of the Coast, servicing the northern area. With so many restaurants, cafes and shops there is plenty to keep all ages entertained. Take a leisurely stroll along the waters edge and witness the daily pelican feeding at 3:30 in Memorial Park – which is free and a spectacle not to be missed. The aquatic playground on the foreshore is a hit with the little ones.  Just down the road you will find yourself at Long Jetty. Make the most of this area by cycling along the flat and welcoming cycleway that stretches the length of the waters edge of Tuggerah Lake. For bicycle hire, head to Tour de Long Jetty Cycle Hire, and Long Jetty Catamaran & Boat Hire offers a range of watercraft for getting out on the lake. At nearby Toowoon Bay drop in to the delightful Two Birds Gallery which showcases a range of local artists work.

Wyong - Gateway Cities

Wyong is the central business hub of the northern end of the Central Coast region. Wyong has a deep history, which can be seen at Alison Homestead. Take the chance to see the way Wyong once was with one of the first, yet final remaining buildings from the early settlers of 1800’s. If you fancy a spot of fishing or a relaxing time by the water, then make your way to the Wyong River, where there are picnic tables and barbeques waiting for you.  There is a public 18-hole championship golf course located here, at the Mantra Kooindah Waters Golf & Spa Resort.

Tuggerah - Gateway Cities

Located just next to Wyong is Tuggerah. Westfield Tuggerah is bound to feature on a visit to this area as it has a good range of stores including the region’s only David Jones store and provides school holiday events and entertainment. Adding to this, Westfield Tuggerah possesses a great restaurant precinct and a multi-screen cinema. A short drive away in Tumbi Umbi is the Mingara Recreation Club, where you can take your pick at a place to dine, with Italian, Chinese and Seafood on offer. Alternatively, go for a swim in the aquatic centre, making sure not to miss out on the whirlpool.

Yarramalong Valley - The Hinterland

In the Hinterlands of the coast, take a scenic drive to Yarramalong Valley. This area is truly one of the best kept secrets of the Central Coast, with lush green fields and charming mountains, the valley views are inviting. Lose yourself at Amazement for a family day out with mazes and puzzles, a petting zoo, picnic cafe, mini cars and a playground. Next stop is at Treetop Adventure Park, where visitors are challenged on rope bridges, flying foxes and trapezes high up in the Ourimbah State Forest. 

Norah Head - Northern Lakes

Norah Head is home to one of the most iconic structures of the Central Coast, the heritage listed Norah Head Lighthouse. Built in 1903, it has become a significant part of the entire area's coastline. Sitting atop an extensive rock platform, Norah Head Lighthouse is a must see. Tour the lighthouse, climb the 96 steps to the top to gain panoramic views of the ocean and, at the right time of year, spot whales frolicking off the coastline. Visitors can also stay in the restored historic lighthouse keepers cottages. With places to sit, relax, walk and have a picnic and swim, this area is definitely worthy of some time to explore. 

Toukley - Northern Lakes

Toukley is located to the north of the coast, on a thin stretch of land between Tuggerah Lake and Budgewoi Lake. Offering superb water views,  this area has an array of parks and picnic areas along both of the lakes edges, with a number of water activities available. Fishing, boating and swimming are very popular, as well as prawning when in season. Find out more about the Greater Toukley area.

Budgewoi - Northern Lakes

Visitors to Budgewoi are spoilt for views and places to swim. Parks and barbeque facilities are available for use, with the range of parks offering views in all directions.  There is safe swimming in the lakes, and surf beaches where Terry McDermott Surf Coaching will help you get to your feet while riding the waves in no time.

Wisemans Ferry & St Albans

Surrounded by national parks, this area is great for those seeking a lovely scenic drive. Make your way along the winding road until you reach the renowned Wisemans Ferry Vehicle Ferry. Cross the river on the oldest, still functioning punt in NSW, and possibly Australia.  Opposite the ferry you will find Dharug National Park and the start of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Great North Road.  A moderately easy two hour round trip walk.  Travel a further 20km north to reach St. Albans on the Macdonald River, which is best described as a historic remnant of the European settlers of the 1800’s.