Central Coast joy

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, there’s much joy in the Central Coast of NSW

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Less than 90 minutes from Sydney, the Central Coast is a paradise awaiting those who want to take a step back from the daily grind of the big city.

It provides a leisurely escape into the lap of unspoilt nature, offering delight as well as relaxation.

North from Sydney, the Pacific Motorway edging the ocean presents many spectacular beaches, national parks and semi-urban water-fronted townships dotted with cafes and restaurants serving the best of local produce.

Well-connected also by rail from Sydney’s Central train station, Gosford, a modern hideout on the Brisbane Water, is the hub of the region. It lies within close proximity of the magnificent Brisbane Water National Park and not far from the turquoise blue Tuggerah Lake.

The Australian Reptile Park nearby is a great venue for the family. Home to exotic reptiles from Australia and around the world, this renowned hands-on zoo boasts loads of animal interaction and exciting wildlife shows to amuse people of all ages.

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The Central Coast is a beach lover’s paradise featuring many sandy patches, from quiet and secluded stretches through to those where big waves are the drawcard. All are panoramically stunning – but day-trippers prefer Avoca Beach, Copacabana Beach, Shelly Beach, Ettalong Beach, Umina Beach and the Entrance. One way of going past all of the beaches is by cruising the edging waters on a high-speed boat, a rejuvenating adrenaline-rushing tour offered by Terrigal Ocean Tours from Terrigal, another beautiful and popular beachside haven.

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It’s interesting to know that three Central Coast towns – Wyong, Woy Woy and Long Jetty – are finalists for the NSW Top Tourism Town Awards this year. Each can be explored as a day trip from Sydney.

Wyong is currently embracing its role as the region’s low-key creative township. It boasts its own performing arts theatre, modern cafés and restaurants, racecourse, golf course and series of artfully restored buildings from the yesteryear.

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A key attraction of Wyong, connected by rail as well from Sydney’s Central station, is biking along the Tuggerah Lakes Cycleway – an off-road, scenic 12km shared pathway lined with parklands, playgrounds, toilets, picnic and barbecue, making it a family friendly excursion. The route is mostly flat and suits a range of fitness levels.

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From Wyong it’s close enough to visit the century-old Norah Head Lighthouse, the Yarramalong Valley and the six state forests that make up The Watagans – an ideal location for mountain biking, bushwalking, horse riding and 4WD touring.

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Woy Woy offers a wave of old-world charm, from its classically styled pub to the wharf and fishing boats bobbing in the water. In recent years, the town centre has started attracting modern dining and café options launched by young entrepreneurs. Set between the expansive Brisbane Water National Park on one side and Brisbane Waters on the other, its location is ideal for wellness experiences, fishing, marine sports, wildlife watching, seafood dining and waterfront living. Also connected by rail from Sydney’s Central station, a lure of Woy Woy for Sydneysiders is to grab a seat on the deck at the stylish Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf and savour a local seafood feast and stunning views over the water to Pelican Island. Another dining spot with sweeping water views is the nearby Boathouse Bar and Dining, an elegant restaurant at Koolewong Marina.

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Home to the state’s longest jetty, Long Jetty is a small town where visitors look for attractive vintage and second-hand goods in boutique shops that share space with trendy cafes, one old school pub, a WWII cinema, and some quirky businesses.

The Central Coast can be a joyous day out to escape from the big smoke.

For more information www.visitnsw.com/feelnsw

READ ALSO: Port Stephens for thrill seekers

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