Vera’s Water Garden
NSW Central Coast's leisurely lifestyle
Georgia Burns gets back to her roots to enjoy the NSW Central Coast’s leisurely lifestyle.
With family ties to both Newcastle and Sydney, leisurely weekends cruising the cafés, beaches and markets of the Central Coast has been a part of life since I can remember. Positioned between the two cities, there’s so much here for families to explore and makes for a perfect mini getaway.
The Central Coast is home to some of the best waterways in Australia and there is a beach, lake, cove and pool to suit any family. Toowoon Bay is perfect for families with little ones, thanks to the sheltered beach which is perfect for non-confident swimmers and tots who are just starting to learn.
More capable swimmers might like to try Shelly Beach, where kids can body surf in the moderate swell, while more serious grommets can head to the northern end to catch some of the best waves in the area. Norah Head is another great spot for water-confident families where you will find interesting rock formations and pools filled with marine life to explore.
Other water-fun options include Vera’s Water Garden, found among the restaurants and cafes in The Entrance. A 20-minute stroll from the fountain, down the coast, and you will also find The Entrance Ocean Baths, which is another excellent spot for families to keep cool.
Explore the shore
There is no shortage of adventure to be had on solid ground. If you fancy a spot of shopping, Westfield Tuggerah has all the attractions of a city-sized shopping centre but in a country setting; it’s even located next to a farm. If you feel like shopping in the fresh air be sure to check out The Entrance Organic Food Markets, every Saturday in Memorial Park, or the Lions Club Market on Sundays for knick-knacks and previously loved treasures.
The Central Coast also has an abundance of bush walks. There are trails for all levels including the elementary Norah Head Light House walk which gives a combined dose of nature and history. A slightly more difficult track can be found in Wyrrabalong National Park near Norah Head, on the Tuggerah Lake Vista and Rainforest track. The turnaround point provides beautiful views of the Tuggerah Lake district, while the rainforest track surrounds you with cabbage palms. The Redgum trail offers a longer, while still moderate, walk through Wyrrabalong National Park and features viewing platforms and lots of bending and twisting red gums along the way.
For an adventurous day out, head to Ourimbah State Forest for a little Tarzan-style action at the TreeTop Adventure Park. The park offers courses for all ages (three years and over) and all fitness levels, and all children’s courses are fully supervised.
“There is a beach, lake, cove and pool to suit any family”
More than just fish and chips
The Central Coast has a lot to offer for visiting young foodies. Whether you are after a steak, salad or seafood you’ll find it at its freshest and best along this stretch of sunshine. While you’ll find excellent fish and chip shops on almost every corner, you will also find some of the best seafood restaurants, such as Latitude 33 Lobster Shack or The Waters Edge Seafood Restaurant, both in The Entrance.
Pelicans at The Entrance
Home among the gum trees
Central Coast Holiday Parks has four great locations, all within 20 minutes of The Entrance, and each offers a range of accommodation options, from powered and unpowered sites to cosy cabins.
Budgewoi Holiday Park fronts Lake Munmorah and gives kids a jumping pillow and playground to wear themselves out on. Get to you know your fellow campers in the kitchen or over a barbie; everything you need is right there and conveniently undercover.
Canton Beach Holiday Park is situated on the shores of Tuggerah Lakes and is perfectly situated for a peaceful getaway. The park boasts six cabin types, as well as a playground and jumping pillow. There’s a boat ramp and great fishing spots if you want to throw a line in.
Norah Head Holiday Park would be the park of choice for water-loving families. Located east of Norah Head Lighthouse, the park offers six cabin variations. Great surfing at Soldiers Beach is just a short walk away, while Norah Head offers rock pools and sheltered swimming spots.
A few minutes’ drive from The Entrance you will find Toowoon Bay Holiday Park. This park boasts absolute beachfront accommodation. The kids will love the playgrounds, jumping pillow, resort-like pool and amphitheatre, while parents will appreciate the excellent camp kitchen and barbecue facilities. With direct access to Shelly Beach and Little Bay, an ideal sheltered spot for little ones, it’s the perfect place for young families.
Image © Destination NSW & Wildlight Photo Agency