February 24, 2019 / By Nicole West
Heading out of Sydney on the weekend is a must regardless of whether you're a city-dweller or visitor, and if you’re a beach baby (like most of us), the Central Coast is an obvious destination. Yet, knowing the best beaches to go to can seem challenging, especially when there are so many to choose from. So here's my guide to some of the best to make your weekend getaway a guaranteed success.
Avoca Beach (above)
You’ll find everything you want in a beach holiday at glittering Avoca Beach. Characterised by towering Norfolk Pines, beachside boutiques and a relaxed beachside vibe, this is a place of natural beauty with a touch of glamour. Scuba divers are in for a treat with the Ex-HMAS Adelaide resting approx 1.8km from the beach. Be as lazy as you like as you enjoy the golden sands, take advantage of good swells for a surf or kayak, or hire a pedal boat. For the kids, you’ll find a playground, an ocean rock pool and a sheltered lagoon for a splash. With picnic tables, barbecue facilities and nearby restaurants, you won’t have far to go when hunger strikes.
Top place to stay: Avoca Beachfront Bliss
Macmasters and Copacabana Beach
Escape the noise and traffic, and enjoy romantic sunrises and sunsets in the tranquil surrounds of Macmasters and Copacabana Beach. Situated at the northern and southern ends of a long stretch of sand, this beach is perfect for surfing, also sheltered enough for comfortable swimming. There's a picturesque ocean rock pool to entertain the kids and a dog exercise area between both beaches. If you visit from May to August, pop up to the platform to spot Humpback Whales.
A coastal paradise with a cosmopolitan vibe, Terrigal Beach puts you in the holiday mood the minute your toes hit the soft sand. With a backdrop of pine trees and dramatic headland, it’s both family-friendly and romantic, and has a vibrant cafe strip that’s perfect for eating out with friends. The patrolled beach makes swimming with the kids a breeze and there’s an ocean rock pool at the southern end. Terrigal Haven is just steps away, with a boat harbour, fishing and scuba diving charters, and electric barbecues. For a trip further afield, Wamberal Beach is nearby, bordered by the Wamberal Lagoon nature reserve.
Bateau Bay (above)
One of the best things about charming Bateau Bay is that it's a top spot for whale watching at Crackneck Point lookout between May and November. Located in the southern part of Wyrrabalong National Park, this picturesque slice of coast is understandably popular, however, it never feels crowded. Swimming here is a joy, as it’s protected from the wind and big swells by two headlands. The kids will love climbing over flat rocks by the water and there’s a shady picnic area complete with tables, toilets and plenty of space to run around. Don’t forget your snorkelling gear and a rod for rock fishing.
A favourite holiday retreat for celebrities, Pearl Beach makes the most of its stunning natural surrounds, and houses blend into the lush scenery instead of conquering it. Take leisurely strolls through the village to admire the unique architecture, cool off in the ocean pool or simply relax beneath Norfolk Pines with views of the Mount Ettalong headland. A visit to Pearls on the Beach is also a must! This award-winning restaurant is just steps from the sand and is located in an stylish beach house where you can sit sipping wine and sampling an innovative menu while looking at the waves.
Markets and water sports create a bustling vibe in Ettalong Beach, though serenity is still yours for the taking. To start your holiday before you arrive, take a scenic, 30 minute ferry ride from Palm Beach across the Hawkesbury River. Family-friendly action takes place along the foreshore, with a cycling and walking path, a playground and barbecues. Outdoor adventure is the name of the game, so you can kayak, paddle board and swim to your heart’s content in tranquil waters.
Umina Beach (above)
Just south of Ettalong is Umina Beach, which borders Brisbane Waters National Park. If you’re feeling waterlogged, spend some time on land here exploring Aboriginal engravings and bushwalking tracks alive with wildflowers and native animals. Back to the water and Umina Beach is a top spot for teaching the little ones how to surf, as well as thrilling the pros. Nearby Ocean Beach offers an inland waterway, with picnic tables, barbecues and a children’s playground.
The Entrance Beach
Daily pelican feeding in Memorial Park is just one of the charming attractions of The Entrance, with its waterfront promenade, alfresco cafes and regular, free family entertainment. The Entrance Beach is a hub of activity, lined as it is with a children’s playground, barbecues, sea baths, restaurants and colourful weekend markets.
Top places to stay: Waves at Blue Bay
As you can see, it’s possible to become quickly addicted to discovering new, sun-drenched stretches of sand on the Central Coast. The good news is you can keep the adventure going with many other spots to explore including Killcare Beach, Little Beach, Shelly Beach, Patonga Beach, Toowoon Bay and Frazer Park. Happy holidays!