From massive tourist magnets like Terrigal and Avoca to secluded beaches like Frazer Park and Little Beach, there’s no doubt that the Central Coast’s biggest drawcard is its miles of golden sand. Wamberal, Shelly and Soldiers beaches offer consistent swells for surfers, Toowoon Bay and Avoca are gentler for swimmers, Bateau Bay and Killcare are fishing havens. And that barely covers a fraction of all the stunning beaches this region has to offer.
Australian Reptile Park
Two of the Coast’s most famous residents live at the Australian Reptile Park: Hugo the giant Galapagos tortoise, and Elvis, dubbed the crankiest croc in the state. They live with a collection of native animals — koalas, roos, wombats, Tasmanian devils, dingos and cassowaries — in a zoo established way back in 1948 by Australia’s first naturalist, Eric Worrell. Fun fact: the park saves more than 300 lives a year through the rare snake and spider antidotes supplied by its venom-milking programme.
Lot 69 Pacific Hwy, Somersby NSW, +61 2 4340 1022
Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park
The Reptile Park isn’t your only chance to rub shoulders with native wildlife on the Central Coast, with the Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park located virtually right next door. The sanctuary contains free-roaming kangaroos, emus, and all the other animals that naturally live in the Australian bush. The park’s guides are trained by Aboriginal cultural advisers, and conduct tours through ancient Indigenous rock art sites. There’s even the chance to spend the night on a Wild Sleep Out to catch a glimpse of nocturnal animals then have breakfast with the wildlife the next morning.
1 Darkinjung Rd, Calga NSW, +61 2 4375 1100
Aqua Splash Central Coast
Smack bang in the middle of Gosford — the biggest town on the Coast — sits an inflatable obstacle course inviting you to unleash your inner child. Open every day over summer, Aqua Splash is the only outdoor water obstacle course in New South Wales, made up of obstacles like giant swings and slides.
42 Masons Parade, Gosford NSW, +61 2 4304 2300
Norah Head Lighthouse
This historic lighthouse has hardly changed since it was built in 1903, standing proudly on a headland overlooking the Pacific Ocean for miles. Neighbouring the pristine Soldiers Beach within the Wyrrabalong National Park near the town of Toukley, this iconic Central Coast landmark hosts tours every day around lunchtime and provides accommodation in some of the old lighthouse keepers quarters.
40 Bush St, Norah Head NSW, +61 452 564 102
Armstrong Tag Archery
Think paintball, medieval style. The objective is the same — hit all the targets on the opposition team before they hit you — but with more skill required to hit the mark, and less pain when you cop an arrow. Since 2013 families and friends have been living out their Robin Hood/Legolas/Katniss Everdeen fantasies in Tumbi Umbi at Armstrong Tag Archery, which also offers soft-tip arrows and ‘hover ball’ archery designed for younger kids.
22 Adelaide St, Tumbi Umbi NSW, +61 2 4389 2606
Pelican feeding at the Entrance
The Entrance is one of the Coast’s top holiday hotspots and nothing pulls a crowd quite like the pelican feeding at Memorial Park every afternoon at 3.30pm. What all began in the early 1990s with a local fish-and-chip shop just throwing out their scraps has blossomed into an Entrance institution. The event is sponsored by local businesses and the councils have even built a feeding platform dubbed ‘Pelican Plaza’.
46 Marine Parade, The Entrance NSW, +61 2 4333 5377
The Jetpack, Fly Board and ‘Jetovator’ look and sound like contraptions that Tony Stark would have dreamed up in Iron Man — but they’re absolutely real on the Central Coast. Head to Mount Penang Gardens in Kariong to fly around in these water-powered devices — choose from the classic James Bond-style backpack unit, the jet-powered board, or an invention that looks like an airborne jet ski.
Mt Penang Gardens, Parklands Road, Kariong NSW, +61 1300 538 538
Gosford Classic Car Museum
From the moment local property developer Tony Denny bought his first classic car — a 1955 Ford Zephyr — he became addicted to vintage autos. In 2015, he turned that obsession into a museum. Covering more than 11,000 square metres, the Gosford Classic Car Museum is home to 450 cars worth more than $70 million, including 35 Ferraris, 25 Soviet vehicles and the full Holden range between 1948 and ’78.
3-13 Stockyard Pl, West Gosford NSW, +61 2 4320 0000
Bouddi Coastal Walk
Starting at the gorgeous Putty Beach in Killcare and ending at popular holiday town Macmasters Beach, this seaside stroll spans 8 kilometres of stunning Pacific coastline that’s every bit as beautiful as the far more famous Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney. Stop for a dip at the hidden Little Beach, spot migrating whales from the Gerrin Point lookout and discover the PS Maitland shipwreck at the eastern end of Maitland Bay.
Killcare Heights NSW, +61 2 4320 4200