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An ocean lover’s guide to the Central Coast

The abundance of beaches, lakes, and lagoons, are what make the Central Coast heaven on earth for those who love the water. 

By Nancy Chan

Only a short drive up the coast from Sydney lies the Central Coast of New South Wales. Here you’ll find many magnificent beaches, lakes and national parks. Listed below are some of my favourite places in the region. 

Norah Head

Norah Head, New South Wales

Home to the last significant lighthouse built in New South Wales, Norah Head is an iconic landmark in the Central Coast. It's a headland that boasts spectacular views of the Tasman Sea and the ocean waves crashing into the rocks below.

Norah Head Light, is the name of the lighthouse, which was officially lit on November 15, 1903 and is still active today. The quarters built for the lighthouse keepers and their families are no longer occupied and have been turned into accommodation for visitors.

I’d recommend taking on the 2.2-kilometre scenic walk, named the Norah Head Nature Trail. It starts at the Norah Head Carpark and ends up at the Lighthouse Point Lookout.

Tuggerah Lake

Tuggerah Lake, Central Coast, New South Wales

Tuggerah Lake is a vast coastal lagoon with beautiful calm water and an abundance of wildlife. The lake's wetland provides a highly inhabitable environment for both hunters and prey alike, which is what draws in the huge bird population. This a popular place to observe many of Australia's interesting bird species, including the Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots.

Tuggerah Lake makes a wonderful place for an early morning or late afternoon lakeside walk.

Long Jetty

Long Jetty, New South Wales

Long Jetty is the longest jetty in New South Wales, stretching 351 metres over the shallow water of Tuggerah Lake. Constructed in 1915, the jetty has since been an integral part of the local landscape. It’s so iconic that an entire suburb was named after it.

This was my favourite part of the trip, an incredibly beautiful location where sky and water become one. You can walk or ride a bike along the jetty and feel the sea breeze cool your skin. Lean on the handrail and pose for a photo, or simply just enjoy the view resting on the deck.

The Entrance

The Entrance, New South Wales

The Entrance is where Tuggerah Lake meets the Tasman Sea. Due to the abundance of fish attracting thousands of pelicans to the area, The Entrance is also known as, The Pelican Capital of Australia. You can feed the pelicans on a dedicated platform called Pelican Plaza, which is run by charities to help protect the birds. By attracting all the pelicans to one area, avian specialists are able to identify and help any injured birds.

Toowoon Bay Beach

Toowoon Bay Beach, New South Wales

Awarded as the cleanest beach in Australia in 2007, Toowoon Bay Beach continues to be a picturesque place to swim and sunbake. The water is calm and the surf is gentle, thanks to natural surrounds acting as break walls. It’s also a great spot to watch migrating whales and feeding dolphins.

Terrigal Beach

Terrigal Beach, New South Wales

Terrigal Beach is one of the most popular locations on the Central Coast. The great thing about this beach is its proximity to other venues and facilities such as surf clubs, picnic areas, electric barbeques, and the cafes along the esplanade. There is also a small ocean pool just minutes away, at the base of a cliff on the southern end of the beach.

Avoca Beach

Avoca Beach, New South Wales

Avoca Beach is famous for its long stretch of golden sand and grassy foreshore lined with majestic Norfolk Pines. The beach is a popular swimming and surfing spot, usually crowded in the afternoon by both visitors and locals. If you want to get away from the beach crowds just head over to the nearby Avoca Lake and Bulbararing Lagoon.