Seaside towns and lush national parks make NSW’s Central Coast the perfect getaway.
Stretching north of Sydney toward Newcastle, the Central Coast of New South Wales is a favourite, and easily accessible, getaway for both Sydneysiders and visitors from farther afield. Ideal for outdoor adventures for all kinds of travellers, from surfers to equestrians, the region is home to national parks, untouched bushland, beaches, bays, pristine lakes, and charming towns. The area is especially rewarding for campers, who can take their pick from beachside RV parks to forest camps—from basic campsites to sprawling holiday parks.
Quiet Patonga sits on the edge of the secluded Brisk Bay about an hour and a half north of Sydney by road. You can set up camp around Brisk Bay and Brisbane Water National Park, where surrounding campgrounds offer powered and unpowered sites with access to electric BBQs, showers, and laundry facilities. Camp here to be perfectly positioned for beginning the 3-kilometre Patonga to Pearl Beach walking track, which takes you through the national park and ends on a beach.
Wake up to the sounds of waves and wildlife in Bouddi National Park by staying at Tallow Beach, Putty Beach, or Little Beach campgrounds. Putty Beach has showers, smaller Little Beach has sheltered barbecues, and the remote, hike-in Tallow Beach is fairly basic, with just toilets. Each is just steps from the shoreline and well placed for swimming, surfing, fishing, and embarking on the park’s walking tracks, including the 8-kilometre Bouddi Coastal Walk, which runs through bush and along dramatic cliffs. Look out for migrating whales between May and November.
The coastal town of Terrigal is known for its long stretch of white-sand beach—a major draw for surfers and fishers—while the neighbouring town of Avoca Beach is a favourite of families and the gateway to the surfing beaches of Macmasters and Copacabana. To the west, Ettalong Beach, Woy Woy, and Gosford are on the calmer waters of the barrier estuary of Brisbane Water. After enjoying all the coast has to offer, head inland for unspoilt bush camping spots.
To the north, you’ll find more beaches and watersports at The Entrance, perhaps best-known for the spectacle of its daily pelican feeding. Minutes from The Entrance, a handful of holiday parks offer powered camping sites, wifi, and cabins. Head an hour northwest into the hinterland to Olney State Forest for its walking trails through lush native forest: Casuarina, Pines, Olney, and Turpertine sites all offer sheltered camping areas with access to barbecues, picnic areas, and toilets.