10 Awesome Day Trips to Take Around Central Coast

Want to venture somewhere nearby to relax or enjoy the outdoors?

Below are 10 of the best day trips around the Central Coast, less than two hours from Sydney!

Day trips Central Coast - Terrigal Haven

If you have visited the Central Coast before, you may already know the region is popular for its beautiful beaches. But sometimes you may fancy going on a mini adventure instead of heading to the beach. 

If you want to discover places to venture for the day, check out these destinations below. 

Enjoy picnicking, eating out, walking, water activities and more in these stunning locations.  

You can access all these destinations by car and many by public transport.

So, whether you’re from Sydney or from the Central Coast, make sure to visit one of these spots! 

Here’s a list of 10 awesome day trips to take around the Central Coast.

1. Terrigal

Terrigal

Terrigal is a vibrant town in a picturesque spot and the most popular destination on the Central Coast.

There are great cafes and restaurants right next to the beach—like a micro Manly.

The headland at the southern end of the beach extends out to sea creating a protected cove and a rising bluff with magnificent lookouts.

Located 1 hr 30 min north of Sydney, Terrigal is best accessed by car.

Things to Do in Terrigal

There are two beaches, heaps of water activities and loads of cafes and restaurants.

It’s a small town and you can walk everywhere.

Lifeguards patrol the main beach in summer and the waves are small—a great beach for families!

Take surfing lessons with one of the surfing schools.

The calm beach at Terrigal Haven is popular for families with small children. It's also great for kayaking, fishing, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding.

If you enjoy walking, walk around the headland and up the Skillion and enjoy magnificent views of the coast and Terrigal.

You can walk as far as you please—the beach extends for four kilometres between Terrigal Haven and Spoon Bay.

And wherever you are in Terrigal, you can find a restaurant or a cafe nearby… you can quickly get your coffee fix!

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2. The Entrance

The Entrance NSWImage: Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock.com

Only 1 hr 30 min north of Sydney, The Entrance is a popular family destination close to the city. 

Venture to The Entrance if you’re looking to entertain small children. There are rides, playgrounds and many pelicans. You can also swim at the beach and cycle along Tuggerah Lake. 

The Entrance is also popular for its fishing and prawning. 

The best time to visit is on weekends and school holidays—the town is lively! 

To get to Entrance, follow the M1 and take the exit towards Pacific Hwy/Ourimbah/Palmdale. I don’t recommend getting there by public transport. 

Things to Do in The Entrance

The main attraction in The Entrance is Pelican Feeding... 

Pelican Feeding happens every day at 3.30 pm and you can see dozens of pelicans up close. It’s a fun show to watch. 

Small children will enjoy rides like the Ferris wheel, jumping castles, merry-go-round and the playgrounds in Memorial Park. 

If you enjoy fishing and prawning, take or hire equipment. You can fish on the edge of town in the channel or in Tuggerah lake. 

If you enjoy walking, you can walk for miles along the channel and Tuggerah Lake. 

Bring your bicycles and cycle on the 12-kilometre shared path along the lake. There are playgrounds scattered along the way and you can enjoy beautiful views. 

You’ll also cycle past Long Jetty—the super long jetty. 

Take your swimmers… swim in the Olympic-size ocean pool or at the beach. Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer. 

There’s also great surfing nearby. 

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3. Palm Beach

Palm BeachImage: RugliG/Shutterstock.com

Palm Beach is a wonderful beach town to spend the day even in winter.

Enjoy swimming, surfing, walking and taking in the spectacular views.

In this high-end beach town, you’ll see mansions dotting the hills and maybe celebrities.

I don’t recommend driving there. Parking is expensive. Better take L90 bus from Sydney or Palm Beach Ferry from Ettalong Beach. 

Things to Do in Palm Beach

There are many things you can do in and near Palm Beach, particularly water activities and walking.

First, make sure you climb the stairs to the lighthouse and enjoy the outstanding views at the top.  

Palm Beach is where they film Home and Away. Many fans travel to Palm Beach to visit the filming set locations.

Palm Beach sits on a peninsula bordered by the Pacific Ocean with fabulous surfing and a sheltered bay perfect for smaller children.

Take your children to the kiddies corner. It’s a safe swimming and surfing spot. 

The beaches are clean, and because Palm Beach is far from the centre of Sydney, Palm Beach is usually not too busy.

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4. Long Jetty

Long Jetty Central CoastImage: Leah-Anne Thompson/Shutterstock

Long Jetty is a small town on the edge of Tuggerah Lake and beside The Entrance.

The most popular attraction is the famous and picturesque long jetty on Tuggerah Lake.

The town is also popular for its hipster cafes and vintage shops.

Long Jetty is located 1 hr 30 min from Sydney and 1 hr 15 min from Newcastle. Best getting there by car. From Sydney, follow the M1 and take the exit towards Pacific Hwy/Ourimbah/Palmdale. From Newcastle, follow Pacific Hwy.

Things to Do in Long Jetty

Bring your bicycles and cycle along Tuggerah Lake past playgrounds and picnic spots and enjoy the vibrant shopping strip.

The cycle path is great for kids—it’s flat and several playgrounds are scattered along the way. The cycle path begins at The Entrance and follows Tuggerah Lake for 12 kilometres. The views of the lake are stunning!

Along the shared path is the famous long jetty which is worth visiting… the longest jetty in NSW and you can walk on it! Try to get there just before sunset—it’s picturesque (photo above).

Long Jetty is also great for its hipster vibe. Enjoy fabulous cafes and attractive vintage shops.

Throughout the past few years we’ve seen Long Jetty develop from an ugly town to a trendy town. People now call it the ‘Newtown of the Central Coast’. 

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5. Brooklyn

Brooklyn NSW

Brooklyn is a tranquil village on the Hawkesbury River. It makes for a relaxing day out!

There are restaurants, a picnic area and a protected pool.

Brooklyn is part of Sydney, but it’s a short train trip from the Central Coast or Sydney.

The best way to get to Brooklyn is by train. Take the Newcastle-Sydney train and alight at Hawkesbury River Station.

You can also drive to Brooklyn.

Things to Do in Brooklyn

Walk along the waterfront and around the streets and enjoy peaceful water views and quaint cottages.

Stop for a picnic on the edge of the Hawkesbury River or get delicious takeaway fish and chips.

Kids have fun swimming in the protected swimming area and play in the playground.

Or venture out on Hawkesbury River aboard Riverboat Postman. They deliver mail to the nearby islands and tell you interesting stories about the area.

Or hop on the ferry and head over to Dangar Island—enjoy visiting two destinations in one day!

For the adventurous kinds: Hire a houseboat and fish on the Hawkesbury River. Hire a kayak and kayak on the Hawkesbury River and around Dangar Island. Or bush walk on a popular section of the Great North Walk toward Cowan.

If you prefer eating, enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many great restaurants. 

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6. Dangar Island

Dangar Island

Located a short ferry trip from Brooklyn is the laid-back community of Dangar Island.

Dangar Island is an amazing island—there are no cars whatsoever!

Dangar Island is part of Sydney but it’s easily accessible from the Central Coast and Sydney.

To get there, catch the Newcastle-Sydney train and alight at Hawkesbury River Station. Then take the ferry beside the train station to Dangar Island. The train and ferry times are well coordinated.

Things to Do on Dangar Island

Nothing exciting here, so best for those wanting to chill and unwind.

The best thing to do on Dangar Island is to walk around the island and enjoy the great views of the Hawkesbury River and the charming houses. The walk around the island is 4.3 km. It’s very relaxing.

The walk leads to Bradleys Beach where you can have a swim.

Before or after the walk, enjoy food, coffee and lovely views of the Hawkesbury River at Dangar Island Cafe. The cafe is right on the edge of the Hawkesbury River beside the ferry wharf. So peaceful!

You can also get a beer at the bowling club which opens on weekends.

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7. Ettalong Beach

Ettalong Beach

Situated on Brisbane water’s edge is the coastal town of Ettalong Beach—a favourite fishing and swimming spot for families.

The favourite way to get here is on a 30-minute ferry ride from Palm Beach.

Getting to Ettalong by car from Sydney or Newcastle takes 1 hr 30 min. Follow the M1 and take the exit towards Gosford/Woy Woy/Terrigal.

Or take the train on the Central Coast & Newcastle railway line, alight at Woy Woy Station and catch a bus.

Things to Do in Ettalong Beach

Ettalong Beach makes for a great family outing…

You and your children can swim in the shallow water at the beach. And your children will enjoy the small playgrounds on the water’s edge.

Have a picnic on the grassy area or eat at The Box on the Water and enjoy the magnificent water views.

And bring your fishing rods!

If you like markets, the eclectic Ettalong Markets are a popular attraction here. The markets open every weekend.

You can also enjoy a movie and the stunning Italian decor at Cinema Paradiso.

For the more adventurous: Andersons Boatshed hires out kayaks, stand up paddleboards and boats. And the nearby national parks offer great bushwalking opportunities.

Enjoy your morning coffee at Coast 175. And finish your day with a delicious meal at one of the multicultural restaurants. 

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8. Wisemans Ferry

Image: Travelfoodie123/Shutterstock.com

Wisemans Ferry is a country town on the edge of the Hawkesbury River and next to national parks.

It’s a perfect family getaway from Sydney and Central Coast.

Wisemans Ferry is located 1 hr 50 min from the Central Coast and 1 hr 15 min from Sydney.

From the Central Coast, follow Wisemans Ferry Road until you get to the ferry. Then cross the Hawkesbury River on the ferry—It’s free! From Sydney, follow the Old Northern Road all the way to Wisemans Ferry.

Things to Do in Wisemans Ferry

Have a picnic and let the children run wild at Wisemans Ferry Park. The park is in a beautifully landscaped area beside the Hawkesbury River and the ferry wharf. 

Kids will have fun in the playground which has a fun climbing rope and a slide, swings and a small merry-go-round. 

Enjoy pub food at the family-friendly Wisemans Inn. Sit on the verandah and appreciate the views. Kids can play in the fenced lawn area. 

There are many other things you can do in Wisemans Ferry…

Pick mandarins in one of the local fruit farms. Admire art made by local artists at The Ferry Artists Gallery. Stop at Hawkins Lookout for the stunning view of the Hawkesbury River. And hike the Convict Trail. 

Wisemans Ferry takes its name from the ex-convict Solomon Wiseman. He started the ferry service across the Hawkesbury River in 1827. You can still today cross the river on the cable-crossing… it’s opened 24 hours a day!

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9. Patonga Beach

Patonga Beach

Patonga Beach is a charming village beside the Hawkesbury River and Brisbane Water National Park. It’s the most isolated beach town on the Central Coast.

Patonga Beach makes for a great day out… you can get there by ferry from Palm Beach! The ferry ride takes 30 minutes.

The car trip takes 1 hr 30 min from Sydney and 1 hr 40 from Newcastle. Follow the M1 and take exit Gosford/Woy Woy/Terrigal.

Things to Do in Patonga

Enjoy water activities, bushwalking and eating at the pub... 

Swim in the calm water near the jetty, fish in the creek and kayak up into Brisbane Water National Park. 

Bush walk to Pearl Beach and back—this trail is one of the best on the Central Coast. You’ll walk past Warrah Lookout which offers epic views of the Hawkesbury River. 

Or bring your mountain bikes and hit a trail in the national park.

Most visitors to Patonga head to The Boathouse Hotel, which is a popular place to enjoy a meal and a beer while admiring the views of the Hawkesbury River. 

And if you can stay overnight, pitch a tent at the popular camping ground next to the creek. 

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10. Norah Head

Norah Head LighthouseImage: Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock.com

If you want to relax in a quiet beach town and swim or surf, head to Norah Head.

Well known for its lighthouse and pristine beach with white sand, Norah Head is one of the northernmost towns on the Central Coast and a few minutes’ drive from The Entrance.

Located 1 hr 30 min from Sydney and 1 hr from Newcastle. From Sydney, follow the M1 and take exit Warnervale. From Newcastle, follow Pacific Hwy.

Things to Do in Norah Head

Norah Head is great for visiting the lighthouse, sauntering around the lighthouse and on the large rock platform and swimming or surfing at Soldiers Beach. Norah Head is also popular for fishing.

It’s worth visiting the lighthouse. It costs only a few dollars and no need to book ahead. You’ll learn about the history of the lighthouse and walk up the stairs to the top of it. The views are obviously incredible.

Have a stroll around the lighthouse and down the shore on the rock platform. If you enjoy fishing the rock platform is quite a popular spot.

You can then walk along the beach to The Ark Cafe and the rockpool for toddlers.

Then enjoy the rest of your day at pristine Soldiers Beach—take in the view from the top of the hill, lie on the sand, swim or surf. 

If it’s too cold for swimming, why not head to The Entrance and visit another great destination!

More on Norah Head...

Central Coast Day Trips - Map

› Day trips around Central Coast

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Hi! I'm Christine.

When we moved to the Central Coast from Sydney 15 years ago, we struggled to find thorough information about the beaches, bushwalks and hidden gems, so we set out to explore as best as we could. Now that we have visited every town, beach and secret spot, I'll help you discover this stunning region! 

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