If you’re heading to New South Wales in Australia, this is the Australia travel guide for you! In this blog post, I’m going to highlight the best things to do in NSW (specifically the best things to do on the NSW Central Coast), the best places to visit in NSW and the best adventures to go on.
This is the coastline that is so popular with tourists arriving internationally and a popular part of the country for backpackers. In this blog post you will get an idea of the must-see destinations and attractions that, in my eyes, you simply cannot head to Australia without checking off your bucket list.
Whether you’re heading over on a solo adventure to Australia, a backpacking adventure, a working holiday visa or just a holiday, you may be wondering where are the best places to visit in New South Wales… Well I’m here to help! I’d even go as far as saying that the things to do on the NSW Central Coast are some of the best things to do in Australia… whale watching, stunning beaches, mind blowing hikes, surfing and beautiful waterfalls feature on almost every Australia bucket list!
There are so many things to do in NSW that you simply cannot miss. I wonder how many of these things to do on the NSW Central Coast you could fit into a Sydney to Newcastle road trip!?
Other Australia travel guides you might find useful…
- A complete guide to solo travel in Australia
- Farm work in Australia: Finding a job, top tips and advice
- Visiting Fraser Island and The Whitsundays: Australia on a backpacker budget
- East Coast Australia: the ultimate bucket list
- Sydney: my complete travel guide
- The best things to do in Byron Bay
- A complete guide to budgeting for backpacking Australia
- 13 ways to save money whilst backpacking Australia
NSW central coast: an Australia travel guide...
Where is the NSW coast?
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales (NSW) located on the Southeastern coast of Australia and is the gateway destination for a lot of people entering Australia. The NSW Central Coast region is located approximately one hour north of Sydney and one hour south of Newcastle. It encompasses an array of little coastal towns, lush hinterlands and stunning beaches.
How to get to the NSW coast…
The central coast is easily accessible from Sydney by car, It takes about an hour to reach from the CBD via the M1. The Central Coast is also easy to get to by train, just jump on the train at central and in an hour and a half you will be sunning yourself on one of the coast’s stunning beaches. However, to get the most out of your Central Coast adventure, I would encourage travelling by car so as not to miss any of the hidden gems that it has to offer, some of which are not accessible by train or bus.
Best places to stay on the central NSW coast…
The Central Coast is pretty popular with Sydney weekenders and road-trippers but isn’t really part of the backpacker trail so there aren’t a lot of hostels on offer. If you’re looking for places to stay on the NSW coast, I would recommend renting an AirBnb by the beach.
There are plenty of options for all different budgets, and the areas on the NSW offer different vibes if you’re wondering where you’d be best staying. If you enjoy a vibrant and bustling atmosphere then I would suggest staying in Terrigal, with a multitude of quaint boutiques, amazing cafes and lively nightlife. If you prefer a more laid back atmosphere then I would recommend staying in Avoca Beach, Ettalong Beach or Toowoon Bay.
Get a discount off your first Airbnb stay here.
There are also plenty of gorgeous little campsites and caravan parks around the NSW Central Coast if you wanted to get off the beaten track and reconnect with nature. I recommend Little Beach campsite, NRMA Ocean Beach resort, Toowoon Bay holiday park and Putty Beach campground.
Find out more about renting a campervan in Australia here.
10 best things to do on the central NSW coast...
In my opinion, the Central Coast truly is an unmissable spot on the east coast of Australia. Despite its increasing popularity with holiday makers from Sydney and the surrounds, the coast is still largely missed out by overseas visitors, despite these being home to some of the best things to do in New South Wales!
1. Visit some of the beaches in NSW.
There are 41 beaches to choose from on the Central Coast spanning over 87km of coastline so you’re pretty likely to be able to find a secluded spot of sand. One of the best things to do in NSW is to kick back, relax on the sand and soak up the sun! For the perfect relaxing beach day I would recommend checking out Ocean Beach, Toowoon Bay, Killcare Beach or Spoon Bay.
2. Go surfing in NSW.
As for surf breaks, the Central Coast definitely won’t leave you wanting. Surfing is one of the most popular things to do in New South Wales. There is a break for every ability and style as well as a variety of different surf schools if you’re giving it a crack for the first time. Toowoon Bay and Blue Bay have a beautiful longboard wave but if you’re looking for something a little more punchy then definitely check out Pelicans Beach, Forresters Beach, North Avoca Beach or the legendary Box Head, some of the best places to visit in NSW for surfing.
3. Go whale watching in NSW.
The Central Coast is the perfect place to whale watch between May and July. This is one of the top things to do on the NSW Central Coast so don’t forget to charge your camera! The best time of day for whale spotting is usually in the early morning. Thankfully watching the sunrise over the ocean is also an unmissable experience so you can kill two birds with one stone.
The best spots for whale watching on the NSW Central coast are: Crackneck point, Norah Head lighthouse, Captain Cook lookout, Gerrin Point lookout and The Skillion.
4. Choose one of many brunch spots!
One of the best things to do on the NSW Central Coast is to experiences its coffee and brunch culture. Come the weekend, Terrigal and Long Jetty are buzzing with local coasties tucking into a well-deserved brekkie by the beach.
A couple of my go-to coffee spots are:
- “Four & Co” in Toowoon Bay
- “The Laneway” in Terrigal
- “The Box on the Water” in Ettalong.
As for brunch options, you could spend a year here and not get through them all! But a few of my favourites are:
- “Green Tangerine” in Long Jetty
- “Gnostic Mana” in Woy Woy
- “Bellyfish Café” in Terrigal
5. Visit Somersby Falls.
A short drive from the beautiful beaches of the Central Coast and you’ll find yourself in an oasis in the middle of the rainforest. Only a very short hike will take you down to the waterfalls where you can swim, picnic and take pictures to your heart’s content. Part of the appeal of visiting NSW is the amount of nature you have at your fingertips, and so hiking in the are is one of the best things to do on the NSW Coast.
6. Enjoy the Bouddi Coastal Walk.
One of the best things to do on the NSW central coast is the Bouddi Coastal, walk, one of the best hikes in NSW. This is the must-do hike when visiting the Central Coast. This 8.5km hike runs from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach and boasts plenty of beaches, boardwalks and photo opportunities. From May to July you’re pretty much guaranteed to spot a whale, making this another one of the best spots for whalewatching in NSW!
7. Hike through the Strickland State Forest.
If you’re looking for another of the best hikes in NSW, this will be right up your street. This dog friendly hike will take you along creeks, past waterfalls and under cabbage tree palms. If you’re a nature lover like me then you’ll be astounded by the beauty of this lush rainforest, only a 20-minute drive from the ocean.
8. Catch a sunset on the central NSW coast!
The Central Coast boasts dozens of gorgeous spots to watch the sun go down. One of the best things to do in NSW is to grab your travel buddies and a couple of beers and head down to one of these awesome spots; Lobster Beach, The Long Jetty, Crackneck Lookout or Warrah Lookout.
9. Go snorkelling & diving.
If you’re keen to get your hair wet during your trip to the NSW Central Coast then I recommend heading down to Maitland Bay, Spoon Bay, Putty Beach or Toowoon Bay. Don’t forget your snorkel and mask! There is an abundance of marine life to be explored at these tranquil spots and one of the best things to do in NSW is to put on your snorkel and see it for yourself.
As for diving I recommend Pro Dive on the Central Coast. They have a variety of awesome offerings including some wreck dives like the HMAS Adelaide near Terrigal. If you haven’t been diving before then you can also get certified with Pro Dive!
10. Enjoy the nightlife!
The Central Coast may be made up of little towns but the coasties still know how to have a good time! One of the best things to do in NSW, particularly on the NSW Central Coast is to dance the night away. The vibe is always good in Terrigal, home to an assortment of beach bars and clubs. Head down to “The Joker and Thief” and try the “Coasties Cocktail” or “Mumbo Jumbos” for cocktails and good times. There’s also “Pocket Bar”, “Shady Palms” and “Terrigal Beach house”.
Have you been to the central NSW coast?
What are your favourite things to do on the central NSW coast? Anything you’d add?
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