The Central Coast is a region on the east coast of NSW, a bit north of Sydney. It has also been our home for the past 6 years.
The Central Coast is a beautiful area with plenty of things to see and do. There are beaches, lakes and other waterways, National Parks and forests, landmarks and even wildlife sanctuaries.
It would take a while to see everything the Central Coast has to offer, but here are some of our favourite things to do while you and your family are on the Central Coast (in not particular order).
Things to see and do on the Central Coast
Australian Reptile Park
Located in Somersby the Australian Reptile Park has been operating for over 70 years. You can see reptiles, mammals, spiders, amphibians and birds during a fabulous day out. Watch Elvis the crocodile being fed, see a large pond of alligators, as well as many other animals, snakes, spider and frogs.
For over 50 years one of the most important things at the Australian Reptile Park has been their venom program. The park collects venom from snakes and spiders which is then used by laboratories to make the anti-venom for terrestrial snakes and funnel-web spiders.
If you’re travelling from the south on the M1 to get to the reptile park you will also see Ploddy, their famous dinosaur sculpture, just before the exit. Ploddy is also part of our Big Things of Australia list.
Somersby Falls is a lovely waterfall located in Brisbane Water National Park. You can take the stairs down to the bottom of the falls or, if you’re not feeling that energetic, picnic by the top. With free BBQ’s and picnic tables it’s a great place to spend a few hours.
The waterways along the central coast are home to many pelicans. Every day on the waterfront at The Entrance you can see the pelicans get fed and listen to the wonderful volunteers give you a bit of information about the pelican colony in the area. Since 1996 there has been a feeding platform know as Pelican Plaza where this all happens. The feeding takes place at 3:30pm everyday.
Tree Tops has a variety of different adventures to tackle. Choose the Adventure Park for flying foxes, cargo nets, tarzan swings and more, the Vertical Challenges if you want to conquer heights, fly through the trees on the Crazy Rider or bounce and play at Networld.
You can find it in the Ourimbah State Forest at Wyong Creek.
Bouddi Coastal Walk
Located in Bouddi National Park, the 8km Bouddi coastal walk goes from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach. This relatively easy hike takes you from sweeping ocean views to shady rainforest with inviting picnic spots. A great way to spot birds in the forest and whales in the ocean. If the 8km (one way) walk is a bit far there are smaller sections you can do.
Mt Penang Gardens
Located in Kariong, the Mt Penang Gardens are full of birdlife and flora. Over 70% of the plant are native to Australia. Go for a walk or enjoy a picnic around the scenic gardens and enjoy.
Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park
This wildlife sanctuary is located in Calga and cares for a variety of rescued, orphaned, unreleasable, disabled and retired animals. The animals live on 80 acres surrounded by a fox and cat proof fence, to remove the threat of unnatural predators.
Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre
The Marine Discovery Centre serves as a research and education centre to create a greater understanding and appreciation of the different catchments, coast and oceans on the Central Coast. It has a range or innovative and interactive activities and experiences.
The Central Coast is home to some beautiful beaches. Some popular favourites on the south side of the coast include Terrigal, Avoca, Copacabana, Umina, Ettalong and Bateau Bay. On the northern end check out Pelican’s, Soldiers, Birdie or Lakes Beach.
Mount Ettalong Lookout
Enjoy spectacular views over Umina Beach, Brisbane Water, Bouddi National Park and Pearl Beach across the ocean from the Mount Ettalong Lookout.
Norah Head Lighthouse
This lighthouse has stood on Norah Head since 1903. Still working, the lighthouse is now fully automated. Tours are available to get to the top of the lighthouse for some spectacular views or explore the nearby scenery.
Ferry along Brisbane River
Take a ferry through the Brisbane River from Woy Woy to Davistown or Empire Bay. It’s a 30 min trip from the first wharf to the last.
Bike along the Entrance & lakes
Get on your bike and enjoy the 12km’s of pathway from The Entrance hugging the nearby lakes. With plenty of parks, playgrounds, picnic areas and toilets on the way it is perfect for a family friendly day.
If you like mazes and farm animals then Amazement is the place for you. With animals to see (and touch), gardens to play in and mazes to explore it is a great time for the family. There is a café on site or bring your own food to have a picnic in the grounds.
The Skillion at Terrigal
The Skillion is a large cliff formation jutting out into the ocean at Terrigal. A short hike will see you at the top of the lookout to experience it’s amazing views.
Aquafun allows you to hire a paddle boats, kayaks or stand up paddle boards and explore Avoca Lake. Take the kids for a spin around the lake in a paddle boat for some fun.
If you are into whale watching then Crackneck lookout is the place to be. With views over Shelly Beach up to The Entrance it is a beautiful spot for a picnic as well. There is also walking tracks to Bateau Bay picnic area to the north (2km), or Forresters Beach to the south(1.5km).
The Jetties at Long Jetty
Long Jetty was names for it’s 3 long jetty’s jutting out into Tuggerah Lake. Head to the corner of Archibald Rd, & Tuggerah Parade.
Catherine Hill Bay
Ok, so this one is technically in the Lake Macquarie region, not the Central Coast but it is only a short drive north and is an absolutely beautiful bay. The village is a former mining town and is the oldest continuous settlement in the Lake Macquarie region.
Bulgandry Art Site
Bulgandry Art Site in Brisbane Water National Park is rich in Aboriginal art and has a wide range of well-preserved engravings to see. Go for a walk along the boardwalk and see engravings such as fish, wallabies, a dolphin and more.
The Entrance is where Tuggerah lake meets the ocean and is a kids paradise, especially during the school holidays. On the foreshore there is Vera’s Garden, which is a wading pool and fountains as well as a carousel and other rides. During the school holidays the foreshore takes on a carnival atmosphere and you can usually find market stalls, activities and rides of all sorts.
Edogawa Commemorative Garden
The Edogawa Commemorative Garden is based on a traditional shuyu (strolling style) garden. It has meandering pathways, a koi pond, dry stone garden and traditional Japanese teahouse. You can even get a bag of fish food from the gift shop and feed the Koi.
If you’re little one’s are a bit small for a full beach, there are a number of rockpools on the Central Coast that may be more their style. Pearl Beach has an ocean pool at the southern end of the beach while Norah Head has its own rockpool to swim in and explore.
If a bit of adventure is more your style then Glenworth Valley might be for you. This 3000 acre property has a variety of activities including horseriding, quad biking, kayaking, abseiling, laser skirmish and more. You can even stay there in their accommodation or camp.
The Entrance Visitor Information Centre
If all of this is not enough, then check out the visitor information centre at The Entrance for more inspiration.