Central Coast, NSW

Three scenic drives out of Sydney NSW

By Laura Pattara

September 5, 2020 | 3 minute read

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

The Grand Pacific Drive to Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is known for its white sandy beaches, and this certainly awaits at the end of your drive south from Sydney. But there's even more to see along the way, including Nan Tien Temple outside Wollongong. It's the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. There's also Kiama Blowhole with large spurts of water out of the rocks when there's a big swell.

There are plenty to spots to shop all along the coast and for coffee and cake try Perfect Break Cafe and Hyper Hyper Coffee in Gerringong,  or Sourdough Cafe, The Garden Berry,  and Milkwood Bakery in Berry. For to-die-for freshly baked scones with raspberry jam and thick, dollopy cream head for the Berry Tea Shop

Restaurants to check out include Wharf Rd Restaurant and Bar in Nowra, located in a historic Harbour Master's residence on the Shoalhaven River, The Butterfactory restaurant at Pyree and World Famous Fish N Chips in Huskisson. The wait is long, but the steak fries and large fried flounder fillets make up for it. 

To the Entrance, Central Coast

Unlike the Grand Pacific Drive, the coastal road north to The Entrance is seen by many as means to an end. In under two hours of driving on a relatively unexciting highway, you can go from the city centre to the chilled-out beach at The Entrance.  

However, if you’re up for a unique road-trip then ditch the highway crowds at Kariong, follow the winding Woy Woy Road down to the coast and let your coastal adventures begin. You’ll have plenty of places to visit, like Pearl, Copacabana and Avoca Beach, not to mention Terrigal and Toowoon Bay (a favourite among dog owners), before reaching the vibrant hub of The Entrance.

Top spots for coffee and food along the way include Three Donkeys Wholefood Cafe, Wamberal Beach, The Boy and the Rose Cafe, North Avoca, This Little Piggy, Point Clare and Pearl Beach Cafe, Pearl Beach.    

Northern Beaches to Palm Beach 

Palm Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Sydney, sittings at the tip of the exceptionally picturesque northern peninsula, and only takes an hour and a half to reach from Sydney. Needless to say, many drivers just make a beeline for the finish line without bothering to check out the other absolutely stunning beaches along this stretch of coastline. 

Sydney’s Northern Beaches are D.I.V.I.N.E. and well worth a visit on your way to Palm Beach. Why not stop for a creamy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Manly Beach, a visit the striking Baha’i Temple and its beautiful gardens in Mona Vale, or take a short but resplendent coastal walk from Newport to the idyllic Bilgola Beach? 

The Northern Beaches are awash with fantastic walking tracks, offering a ton of options for visitors who wish to mix it up a bit. 

When you arrive there you'll find some incredible places to eat including The Boathouse, Jonah's, Dunes, and Newport. Be sure to book ahead as these spots are popular!

We think you should know

The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.