I love Sydney, but sometimes I need to get away. And when I do I head straight for the Central Coast.
Surrounded by vast areas of exceptional beauty, including the Hawkesbury River, Watagan Mountains and the southern part of Lake Macquarie, it is a great place to get back to nature.
I can think, and breathe, when I get to the Central Coast, and it really makes me appreciate living in a country as beautiful as Australia.
If you are planning on visiting the area there are lots of great spots you can head too. Check out my list of recommendations below.
The Central Coast has around 40 beaches and while its coastline is only small – about 87km – it is absolutely beautiful.
Over the years I have spent many hours building sandcastles, fishing and going for long walks on the likes of Caves Beach, Terrigal and Umina Beach.
I have also done a fair bit of surfing at Avoca Beach, which is the hometown of surfing greats like Wade Carmichael and Adrian Buchan.
If you can find it I would also highly recommend visiting Spoon Bay or Wamberal Beach. Both of which showcase magnificent sunrises.
If you like camping then you should definitely check out The Bouddi National Park.
It is a gorgeous coastal national park, near Gosford, that spans some 1,532-hectares. And what I like about it is that it has a bit of everything – beaches, heathland, rainforest, steep cliffs, you name it!
I really like hiking around here as there is lots to see including significant Aboriginal sites, one of Australia’s first marine protected areas and even the wreck of an old paddle steamer.
There is lots of wildlife and pretty flowers and I always end up taking lots of photos from the many lookout points that can be found around the area.
If you are in to ecotourism then put the Strickland State Forest on your ‘must visit’ list.
Set withing lush rainforest, where tall eucalyptus trees, heathy woodland and stunning wildflowers co-exist harmoniously, this is a lovely place to bring the family. There are picnic facilities here, as well as a number of well-established walking trails, which will lead you past all kinds of flora and fauna.
Located in Somersby, this place was the site of the first government forest nursery in 1886. The arboretum that remains today features native and exotic trees that hark back from that period.
One for all animal lovers out there!
Walkabout Wildlife Park is a sanctuary that protects animals that come into care. They also breed endangered animals for release back into the wild. If you love animals then you will love coming here as they have over 180 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles to check out.
It a fun place to visit, and you get to cuddle a koala if you so wish. You can even choose to sleep out overnight in a safari tent and taste wild-growing bush tucker as well.
Another one for animal lovers, The Australian Reptile Park is a proper zoo which has over 2000 animals.
You’ll find it in a natural bush setting in Somersby, which is roughly 60 minutes from both Sydney and Newcastle, and what is great about it is that you can get to see everything from koalas and kangaroos to quokkas and dingoes.
They even have interactive opportunities too, where you can cuddle up to a koala or (if you have completely lost your mind) hold a massive python too!
This place is also famous for being near Australia’s first ‘Big Thing’, a huge dinosaur call Ploddy, which can be seen just before the Gosford exit, as you head north on the M1.