Central Coast, Sydney
Chances are your tourist agent never mentioned this little gem in the Hawkesbury. This small island in the middle of the river system is home to just over 200 people and there is no motorised traffic here except for a small electric cart that helps residents get their shopping from the wharf to their homes, all of which are either set in the bush or beside the water.
There is a cafe/restaurant here which is where you'll inevitably find a tourist or two as it's the only place to eat (except for Thursday nights at the bowling club) if you're an outsider.
To reach this neck of the woods you need to get to Brooklyn or Hawkesbury River Station on the train and from here catch the ferry over. It's only a relatively short trip of around 10 minutes and it's a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.
There's a loop road around the upper part of the island or you can walk to the beach past the park. Whatever way you choose it's a pleasant stroll past quirky homes and an eclectic mix of gardens.
My friends and I recently went to Dooralong Valley Resort on Sydney's central coast. I truely recommend it for any traveller wishing to get out of Sydney and experience the meaning of Australiana. It is a little bit inland from the coast, with horseriding, target golf, tennis, bushwalking, two swimming pools. It was good at night as there is a pub on the resort as well as a fine dining restaurant with a bar so we tried one each night we were there.
Staff were really friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere was a mixture of serenity and good fun!
It is such a beautiful place, great for families, couples and groups of friends. Only 1 hour away from Sydney and 20-30 mins. away from beaches, so was very convenient as we had a car. They have animal exhibition with Emus, deer, llamas (or Alpacas), a donkey, kangaroos and all the horses were so beautiful.
I saw a newspaper article for the resort, saying it was the Central Coast's best kept secret. Well I think everyone should know about it because it was just such a great place. Check it out.
The Entrance is another of my favorite Towns not that far from Sydney.
Quite a sight to see, is the daily Pelican Feeding.
It has been happening for over 20years, starting when the staff from the nearby fish & chip shop would throw out the scraps, the Pelican's loved the "free feed!" When they were late in throwing their scraps out, the pelicans would cross the road and come up to the shop to be fed.
By feeding the Pelican's, it also is a chance to keep check on them, as they do get fishing line & hooks caught in their gullets, wings, and other parts of their bodies, it can be a slow, cruel death if left unattended.
The Entrance has now been internationally recognised as 'The Pelican Capital of Australia'
Wander down to the pelican pavilion on the foreshore, it's quite good fun to watch, we enjoyed it, I'm sure you will, there is quite a bit gathering of Pelicans and Humans!
TIME.....3.30pm daily, 365 days a year come rain, hail or shine.
Old Sydney Town is an hour's drive north of Sydney and is a re-creation
of the earliest days of the Colony of New South Wales, spanning the years 1788 to 1810. After careful research building commenced in 1972. You can step back into history wandering the streets with the townspeople garbed in the clothes of the period. You will see soldiers on parade, pistol duels, cannons firing and be part of a trial day of the convicts. There are craft stores of the period and eating places.
Unfortunately, I think the park has now closed.
Pacific Hwy, Somersby (Near Gosford)
Before you eat, you might like to partake of one of the many walks around Berowra Waters. On this short one we've crossed the small inlet next to the park and headed off on a worn trail through the bush, a stroll that affords pleasant views such as this one across the bay.
Just a short drive on the freeway or on the train from Sydney is the very picturesque Central Coast. Famous for it's lakes and surfing beaches, this is a beautiful place for either a day trip or mini break.
This area is a Sydneysiders home away from home. Some of my favourite places on the coast are Terrigal, Avoca and Toowoon Bay.
There is so much to see and do including: fishing (beach & lake), walking tracks, boating, swimming, etc. The beaches are clean and the water is sparkling blue.
The Entrance is reknowned for the daily pelican feeding.
There are also many great places to dine, especially in Terrigal and The Entrance where al fresco cafes abound.
There is a huge choice when it comes to accommodation including: resorts, motels, B & B's, apartments, cabins and caravans.
Just peeping up here in the background is Lion Island, situated in the middle of where the Hawkesbury River meets the ocean.
The beach in the foreground is Killcare and this shot is taken from a wonderful lookout.
If you leave your car at the lookout you can walk towards the ocean on the headland and then there's a boardwalk by the ocean. It's all beautiful and natural stuff and a great way to spend a couple of hours getting some exercise.
The land in the background as you go to the left is part of Pittwater which backs Palm Beach, one of Syndey's more exclusive suburbs.
In the 21st century, the Central Coast, whose major cities are Gosford and Wyong, is virtually a suburb of Sydney. Now, I don't want any of my friends down there getting upset about losing their identity, it's just that a lot of people live here but commute to Sydney for work.
If you're looking for great beaches you'd go a long way in the world to get a better selection than is available here. From Killcare to Fraser Park it has some of the best surfing beaches and spectacular seaside scenery you could wish for and, although you can catch a train to Gosford, Wyong and a few other places, your best practical option is private car to get anywhere near the coastal section.
The area also has many art galleries, heaps of shopping (Erina Fair is huge by any standards and Tuggerah not far behind) but there are lots of secluded tucked away spots if you want to get away from the crowd, such as Maitland Bay.
It features a tract of water called Brisbane Waters that are fed from the tidal influences of the sea as it is part of the Hawkesbury River basin. In places it is very shallow but there is plenty of room for boating.
Australia's last riverboat postman. So goes the spiel and you can ride on the aforementioned riverboat, for a small fee of course.
It plies its way along the picturesque Hawkesbury River, poking its nose into secluded coves and backwaters, delivering the mail and other little packages. A better way to relax would be hard to find so, if you have some spare time, this may well be an activity you may wish to indulge in.
Gosford Is 83km north of Sydney on the Pacific Highway. It is a resort and service centre of an area producing mixed farm crop, citrus and passion fruits and manufacturing building materials. With its magnificent waterways and beaches, it is a popular destination for Sydneysiders.
If you really want to get off the beaten path in Sydney, try a trip on the Hawkesbury River with the Riverboat Postman. To get there, take a train from Central Station to Hawksbury River (make sure it connects with the boat before you catch it). The picture was taken from the boat on this trip...
The Entrance north of Hawkesbury River has great beaches with huge flocks of pelicans. The Reptile Park close to Gordon has a range of native fauna that you wouldn't see that easily going walkabout (picture). Going down the south coast past Wollongong and you will find beaches and National Parks with heaps of wildlife, including kangaroos and parakeets.
Main point: Get out of the CBD and see the suburbs as they have a life of their own. Go to Leichardt, Balmain, Mosman, Newtown, Neutral Bay, Double Bay, Coogee Beach and even Parramatta.
There are also many tiny picnic spots around the harbour, like Strickland House, Steel Pt. and Vaucluse Park in Vaucluse.
On the Central coast of NSW about 1.5 hours north of Sydney is BOUDDI NATIONAL PARK. We stayed at Terrigal YHA overnight and caught a cab to the beginning of the park the next morning to start our walk. It is possible without a car but it would be easier if you had one. The park is great for a one day walk...about 10km in total. Without a car this might be best on a weekday as the buses that service the area do not run regularly. The walk is not difficult and it well signposted. A good introduction to bushwalking in Australia... you will be hooked!