The NSW Central Coast is an easy day trip from Sydney, but it's far better to spend a few days there. There's plenty of accommodation and very many cafes, restaurants shops and even large shopping malls in Erina, Bateau Bay and Tuggerah.
It's an area of beautiful bays & beaches and hinterland with some breathtaking views. Terrigal and The Entrance are the two main holiday destinations - Terrigal is my home town and I have a separate page on it here on VT with more info and photos. It's HERE
You can catch a train to Gosford and use buses but my advice is to hire a car (from somewhere north of the Harbour Bridge such as Budget in North Sydney) and you can be in Terrigal in just over an hour. You can then explore the whole of the Central Coast, the small seaside towns such as Terrigal, Avoca, Forresters Beach, The Entrance - including Tuggerah Lake - and inland villages such as my favourite Hardy's Bay. You can also drive around the inland areas including places such as Matcham.
The Entrance has an amazing pelican feeding attraction every afternoon in the town centre, which is of course right on the ocean.
Being an avid birder, I always have my binoculars at hand in case something interesting pops up. Here, we were enjoying the sight of these Pelicans at The Entrance. On a sad note, I always remember that it was here, while watching these birds, that we heard on our car radio that Lord Louis Mountbatten had been killed off the Irish coast when his yacht had been blown up by the IRA. A tragic end to an old hero of the Second World War.
I had some work to do in Erina and decided to take the train instead of driving.
It really is a spectacular journey.
CENTRAL STATION to GOSFORD is AUD$12 return.
A good part of the train journey travels through the Hawkesbury River. The train tracks are literally meters away from the waters edge.
The journey takes about 1hr 45min each way.
There are toilets on board and the trains are fairly comfortable.
There is not a great deal to do in Gosford city.
It really is a case of the journey rather than the destination.
Day trips to the Central Coast (north of Sydney) are not uncommon for many Sydneysiders and, in fact, many have weekenders in the area. Some of the more popular haunts are Terrigal (nice beach, fashion shops & cafes), The Entrance (popular with families - pelicans get fed daily) and Pearl Beach (secluded, surrounded by National Park). These are but a few of them. There are some great beaches that you hardly ever hear of, McMasters, Copacobana, Killcare and Maitland Bay just to name a few and some wonderful national parks such as Bouddi.
To get there though you have to navigate one of the worst bits of urban planning in Australia. There's no rail anywhere near the coast, the roads are totally inadequate for the amount of traffic they try to hold and there's shops everywhere along many of the main routes so expect stop-start situations continually.
It's roughly an hour from Sydney but can be 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on where you're coming from or going to.
The key city is Gosford which has excellent rail and public transport but also suffers from bad planning. It's located inland on the shores of Brisbane Water, a lake-like body that is an extension of the Hawkesbury River mouth.
Positioned between Newcastle and Sydney and only an hours drive from either, it is that perfect destination for relaxation and enjoyment and you can do as little or as much as you like, the choice is yours.
The layout of the town lends itself beautifully for family strolls and with a string of wonderful alfresco cafes and restaurants, parks and entertainment.
The pelican feeding at The Entrance has become world famous and is the most popular tourist attraction on The Central Coast of NSW.The pelicans are fed daily at 3.30pm, rain, hail or shine, throughout the whole year. They are fed at the aptly named "Pelican Plaza" right on the waterfront at Memorial Park.
The Hawkesbury as it is commonly known refers to a body of water called the Hawkesbury River that mostly flows down through ancient sandstone into a delta where the area that people call the Hawkesbury exists.
It features cliffs with trees desperately clinging to any available crack in the rocks and wide reaches of the river that have considerable tidal influence so that oysters can be grown there in considerable numbers.
It's a place where many choose to spend their weekends, either boating, fishing or just al fresco dining and watching it all happen.
Should you choose to travel north to Newcastle or beyond, this is the view a lot of you will see. It's taken from adjacent to the road bridge looking downstream to the rail bridge.
The Central Coast has some of the best beaches in and around Sydney. It is a great holiday destination and great place to find some neat surf waves.
If you are interested, I have some more tips and pix on my Avoca page.
Munmorah State Conservation Area:
"12 km of rugged coastline makes a fine site for water sports, coastal walks with magnificent ocean views and wildflower displays in spring."
Walk into bushland taking in the sights and sounds of the '"unique local "nightlife". Enjoy spotlighting marsupial mammals, listening for birds and frogs. Experience the stillness and darkness of the night - gaze at the stars away from the city lights.
Campsites are suitable for: caravans; camper trailers; camping beside your vehicle.
DONT LEAVE WITHOUT WALKING ALONG BIRDIE BEACH. WIth its untouched never ending beach and crystal blue waters.....no commercialism, litter and barely a soul in sight.
Warning: There are no lifeguards on this beach. There is normally a rip running South to North, which sometimes can have very strong undertows. Best advice, stay in shallow waters!
This beach is only one and a half hours drive from Sydney. On a small area in the northern end of the beach you will see a nudist section of people.
Birdie Beach can be reached by travelling along the expressway from Sydney and taking the Newcastle exit. Follow the Pacific Highway through Doyalson to Lake Munmorah. At Lake Munmorah, take Elizabeth Bay Road at the traffic lights. Drive until you see the entrance to the Munmorah State Recreational Area on the left. Turn into the park and follow the signs to the Birdie Beach car park.
Situated in a National Park a fee of $7.50 per vehicle is charged to enter the park. There is a nice camping area just off the beach with cooking facilities.
Hang gliding on the Birdie Beach Dunes:
Quite steep, these dunes offer an enjoyable dune flight hard to beat. Dune hopping, Top-Landing , can all be practiced with ease, and relative safety.
With temperatures in August being on the chilly side for those from down under, the beach was ours to enjoy for miles in each direction! It was very refreshing and nice to have it to ourselves, and the temperature was not all that bad for a crazy Canuck!
Just north of Gosford and south of Newcastle is a very nice coastal area, known as The Entrance. It has absolutely beautiful beaches with huge waves rolling in from the Pacific Ocean! Now we were starting to come alive!
Travelling an hour North will take you to Gosford. From here there are many great beach communities to visit such as Avoca and Terrigal
Visit the Australian Reptile Park In Somersby near Gosford.
Lots of reptiles! Picture is of one of Australia's best looking biawaks (goannas or monitor lizards)