10 Top Things to Do in Copacabana

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Copacabana on the NSW Central Coast is a well-loved surfing beach.

It's a small town away from noise and traffic. It's also one of the most relaxing holiday spots on the Central Coast.

Copacabana Beach NSW sunrise

Here you find only one hotel and a handful of shops and restaurants. It takes about 30 seconds to walk down the main street.

Since it's hilly, most houses sit on the hills and face the beach - the beach rules in Copacabana.

Maybe that's why developers named Copacabana after the beach in Rio de Janeiro.

Mind you, this beach looks nothing like the one in Brazil. It's smaller and you won't sight any high-rises.

Things to Do in Copacabana

1. Catch a Few Waves

Copacabana Beach NSW

Copacabana attracts many surfers.

The pro surfer Matt Wilkinson (who won the 2016 Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro and the 2016 Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro) has grown up surfing in Copacabana.

If you'd like to learn to surf, check out Central Coast Surf Academy

2. Swim Between the Flags

swimming at the beach

Lifeguards patrol the water between September and April. Swim between the flags to be safe.

Copacabana is more comfortable than its famous neighbour Avoca Beach in summer. The beach is sheltered from the north-easterly winds that can blow strong in the afternoons.  

3. Entertain the Kids

Copacabana rockpool and beach

Small children enjoy swimming in the rockpool at the northern end of the beach. The flags are also located a few metres away.

You can take the kids to the lagoon too. The water is shallow in many places and children adore splashing about.

A new playground near the beach is underway, which I hope will be ready by the summer.

If your child likes skateboarding, there's a small but popular skate park beside the beach. 

4. Exercise Your Dog

Dog-friendly beach - Copacabana

This beach is fantastic for dogs. Dogs can run off the leash for about 400 metres along the stretch of sand beside the lagoon.

It's a pleasant walk for owners too because of the beautiful views. If you prefer, sit on the sand and let the kids and the dog run free while you revel in the views of the ocean.

5. Chill at Cockrone Lagoon

Cockrone Lagoon

Kayak or splash with the kids in Cockrone Lagoon.

But be careful because it's susceptible to pollution. It's also a popular dog off-leash area. Avoid it after rainfall.

Mind you, many people swim there anyway. 

6. Take in the Views at Captain Cook Lookout

Captain Cook Lookout

Visit Captain Cook Lookout for superb views of the ocean.

Watch humpback whales migrating between the end of May and early August.

If it's not too hot, have a picnic there.  

Drive on Del Monte Place to the top of the hill. Follow the directions to the Lookout. 

7. Hire Kayaks and Pedal Boats at Aquafun

Aquafun on Avoca Lake.

Have fun on pedal-boats, kayaks and stand up paddleboards on Avoca Lake.

The area is perfect for a picnic as well. 

Read more on Aquafun

8. Watch an Independent Movie at Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre is one of the few remaining single-screen cinemas in Australia.

The cinema is located just across the beach in Avoca.

They screen quality movies (but they don't screen kid movies. For that you'll have to go to Erina Fair or Ettalong).

9. Enjoy the Atmosphere at Avoca Beachside Markets

These locals' favourite markets happen on the fourth Sunday of every month.

You find quality things: home furniture and decoration, clothes, jewellery, locally produced food. 

Located at Heazlett Park in Avoca Beach.

Get there early to find parking close to the markets. 

Find out more about Avoca Beachside Markets

10. Bushwalk in Bouddi National Park

Bouddi National Park is a 15-minute drive away.

If you like bushwalking, there are plenty of great walks and hidden beaches.

The 8-kilometre Coastal Walk is a famous bushwalk in Bouddi. The track begins at Macmasters Beach. You can walk to Macmasters Beach from Copacabana along the beach. 

Click here to discover the top ten bushwalks in Bouddi National Park. 

Click here to find out about the Coastal Walk. 

Where to Eat

Copacabana has some great food options and a few places that serve delicious coffee. Here are some of the local favourite places:

  • You're lucky to be staying in Copacabana right now because the best bakery is right here. Sip on a fantastic coffee and savour amazing baked goodies at Burnt Honey Bakery. Fabulous!
  • Relish a delicious breakfast or brunch at Cabana Cafe and Bar. Sit indoors, outdoors or on a beanbag. This cafe serves yummy food, including burgers and great coffee. And the staff is friendly.
  • Taste scrumptious rustic wood-fired Italian pizzas at Lady Copa Pizzeria e Birra. They also serve vegetarian and vegan options! Drink some wine or craft beer on tap with your pizza for a perfect evening.
  • Savour tasty tapas at Ocean Bar Cantina. Try prawn twisters, chorizo croquettes, salt and pepper squid, baby octopus, baked Camembert. Accompany your meal with a delightful cocktail like a mojito or a margarita.
View from holiday home in Copacabana

Where to Stay in Copacabana 

Most visitors in Copacabana stay in a holiday rental. You can search on a site like Stayz or Airbnb.

Haven't used Airbnb before? Use our unique Airbnb referral link and receive from $20 to $70 discount on your first stay.

These are wonderful holiday rentals:

(As an Airbnb Associate, I earn when you book through one of these links, at no cost to you.)

  • Catch the Seabreeze - You'll appreciate the excellent location of this home right next to the beach and cafes. And waking up to the sound of the waves. The outside shower is fantastic, and your kids will enjoy running in the backyard. The house comfortably fits two families.
  • Copa Capri-Architecturally Designed Home, By the Beach - This home is wonderful and beautifully designed, and you can bring your pet! The place can accommodate 11 people and suits everyone. Your kids will love running around in the large yard, and the open spaces will delight you. It's also a short walk to the beach.
  • Copacabana Beach House - You'll admire this super stylish and stunningly designed home. The house sits on a cliff and the views are outstanding. You'll also relish the indoor and outdoor fireplaces. The home is a short walk to the beach and shops. It can accommodate six guests, but it's not suitable for kids under 12. 
beach view from the hill

Where is Copacabana 

Located 1 hr 30 min north of Sydney or 1 hr 50 min south of Newcastle via the M1 Freeway. 

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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 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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