Best Things to Do on the Central Coast, NSW – Ultimate Guide

New South Wales’ Central Coast is filled with beautiful beaches, coastal walks and good food with a view. Here’s your ultimate guide, with all the best things to do on the Central Coast, plus all the best spots to eat, drink and stay.

I want to start this by saying that I’ve had this travel blog for a good year now, and I’m only just getting around to writing about my hometown. Which is kind of sad really. Because I love my home. I love the beaches, the vibe and all the amazing spots for a feed or a cocktail. I love being close enough to Sydney that I don’t miss anything, but far enough away that I get some peace and quiet. I’ve lived on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, since I was 10 years old, after my family moved from Sydney. And boy, am I glad we did.

Just an hour and a half North of the Sydney, the Central Coast is the perfect place for not only a staycation for locals, but also for a road trip up the coast, and a must visit on any Australian travel adventure. If you are a beach person you will be sold straight away, with endless beaches and coastal walks to choose from. Fantastic sunsets and even better sunrises, plus a whole bunch of cool spots to grab a bite to eat or have a cocktail (or 5).

Anyways, let’s get in to this Central Coast, NSW travel guide, with all the best spots to eat, drink and stay, and of course, the best things to do on the Central Coast!

27 Top Central Coast Attractions

Terrigal Beach

1. Terrigal Beach

Terrigal Beach is a hot spot here on the Central Coast, and is popular for many reasons. Not only is the beach beautiful and lined with an amazing range of bars, restaurants and shops to explore, but it’s also home to The Skillion, an epic look out at the top of what is definitely classified as a steep hill. During the winter, you might be lucky enough to spot a few whales from the view point.

You can easily spend the whole day at Terrigal. Start with a morning walk or run (or a hard training session, if you are like me!), around the Terrigal Haven, and make sure you head up the Skillion to take in the views. If you are an early bird, the sunset at Terrigal is amazing.

You can spend the day relaxing on the beach or grabbing a coffee at one of the many cafes before browsing the shops. Stop for gelato and have lunch and a few drinks at one of the many cool spots lining the beach (more on this below!).

2. Bouddi Coastal Walk

Easily one of the most beautiful walks that the coast has to offer, this 8km track runs from Putty or Mcmasters Beach and features beautiful views and beautiful beaches.

The walk is relatively easy, and along the way you will find some pretty epic spots for a picnic, so pack some food and a picnic rug to make the most of the day.  You can also opt to do a smaller section of the walk if you prefer.

Entry to the Australian Reptile Park
by Nadia308 from Sydney, Australia

3. Australian Reptile Park

Easily one of the most popular attractions on the Central Coast, The Australian Reptile Park is in a class of it’s own. Located at Somersby, just off the M1 headed from Sydney, the park features over 50 species of reptile, plus some warm blooded mammals. Crocodiles and snakes, turtles and a whole lot of lizard. You’ll also get up close with koalas, emus and kangaroos. The park is also renowned for it’s funnel web spider milking program, an important initiative in coming up with the vital antidote.

Entry to the park is $39 for adults and $21 for children, and there is also a cafe on site, or you can opt to bring a packed picnic lunch.

4. Long Jetty

A gorgeous small town located near The Entrance, Long Jetty is well known for its picturesque ‘long’ jetty which makes for a beautiful photo opportunity.

The jetty is the longest in NSW, at 351m long, and it’s a worth a walk and is even more beautiful at sunrise and sunset. You can also walk the popular coast to lake walk, shop in the small vintage stores, and stopping for coffee and brunch at the popular Glass Onion Society Cafe.

Avoca Beach

5. Avoca Beach

Another popular and must-see Central Coast beach, there’s great surfing and also great spots for swimming and fishing. Head to Captain Cook Lookout for some epic views and catch a film at the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre.

You can also grab a coffee at one of the many cute cafes, or an ice-cream. On the 4th Sunday of each month, you can visit the Avoca beachside markets to catch live music, good food and explore the market stalls filled with local gems.

The Best Places to Eat and Drink on the Central Coast

Places to Eat and Drink on the Central Coast

The Beery

The Beery, or Florida Beach Bar is the place to be on the Central Coast. Located on the bottom floor of the Terrigal Crowne Plaza Hotel, the venue overlooks the beach. Head in for lunch and drink on the deck, with a great range of pub style meals on offer, as well as delicious pizzas.

Sit back and relax with a drink as you watch the beach on the horizon. The Beery comes alive on the weekend, with live music and is particularly popular with a young crowd on a Sunday afternoon.

Margarita Daze

Located beach front over looking Ocean Beach and Umina Beach, Margarita Daze is a picturesque setting and the perfect weekend lunch, or dinner with drinks. There’s an impressive cocktail menu and a huge range of delicious meals. It’s popular for events, so make sure to book in advance.

304 on West

Located in the heart of West Street, Umina, 304 is the perfect spot for a quick breakfast or coffee before heading to the beach. You can’t go past the big breakfast or the eggs Benedict!

Mumbo Jumbos

Located in the heart of Terrigal, Mumbo Jumbos Beachhouse offers a Caribbean vibe and the ultimate spot for some cocktails with a view. The roof top venue often features live music and has a huge range of cool cocktails to choose from. The menu is influenced by Jamaican flavors, and the wings are a popular choice.

Frankies Rooftop

Located on the top floor of the Bayview Hotel in Woy Woy and conveniently located across the road from the train station, Frankie’s Rooftop is the go-to spot for cocktails on this part of the coast. Head during happy hour for some great deals, and you can opt for some food from the Mexican menu if you are hungry. As the venue is on the smaller side, bookings are recommended.

Joker and the Thief

Terrigal’s newest hot spot, Joker and the Thief is a funky venue overlooking Terrigal Beach. There’s an impressive range of different cocktails, and lots of good food on the menu for brunch, lunch or dinner. Even better, it’s definitely an Instagram worthy spot!

Where to Stay on the Central Coast

Mantra Ettalong Beach
by Bouddi Photos Past and Present 

Mantra Ettalong Beach

Located in prime location in Ettalong Beach overlooking the water, all rooms come with a balcony and have access to the large pool and spa area. There’s also a restaurant on the ground floor, and the rooms are spacious. It’s a great option for mid-range accomodation on the Central Coast.

Crowne Plaza Terrigal

Easily one of the best spots on the Coast, the Crowne Plaza at Terrigal overlooks the beach and is close to all of the action. With 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a pool, gym and spa, you can’t really go wrong. Not to mention, you are walking distance to Terrigal Beach, The Skillion, plus lots of shops, restaurants and bars.

Avoca Beach Hotel

Avoca Beach hotel is located just 2km from the popular Avoca Beach, in serene bushland. The hotel offers self-contained and hotel style rooms, and has a restaurant, a pool and bbq areas. It’s a great budget friendly option in a great location!

Trip planning resources

Planning or booking a trip? Here are some of my favourite sites and resources!

  • My favourite for booking hotels!
  • Skyscanner: Find all the best flight deals!
  • TripAdvisor: Read reviews for just about anything.
  • Get Your Guide: The best place for booking day trips, tours and tickets.
  • Tour Radar: If group tours are more your thing, search tours here!
  • Travel Insurance: Never travel without insurance, you never know when you might need it! I recommend Travelex Travel Insurance.

I really am so lucky to call this beautiful place home, and whether it’s for a road trip or part of a big international trip to Australia, make sure you visit the Central Coast!

Happy travelling,