Woy Woy is a beautiful coastal town on Brisbane Water.
The town is part of the peninsula that also includes other lovely coastal towns such as Ettalong Beach, Umina Beach and Pearl Beach.
The peninsula is densely populated. And it attracts many holiday makers in summer. It’s for sure an ideal trip from Sydney...
Woy Woy is just over an hour from Sydney via the M1.
And the train trip is even better. It takes under an hour from Hornsby Station, and Woy Woy Station is metres away from the shopping centre and waterfront.
Enjoy scenic waterways, fresh seafood and the New Age shops at Gnostic Corner.
And if you have time (and have a car/bicycle), visit the gorgeous beaches on the peninsula and the bushland of Brisbane Water National Park.
Also, bring your bicycles. It’s a great place to cycle. The peninsula is flat and there are nice cycleways.
The name “Woy Woy” is believed to originate from the Aboriginal “Wy Wy”, which means “much water” or “big lagoon”. An appropriate name indeed since the place is enclosed by a lot of water…
The peninsula is surrounded by water inlets, beaches and stunning coastlines as far as the eyes can see.
Most first-time visitors on the peninsula are surprised to see how beautiful the beaches are. No wonder… the beaches are scenic.
The beaches are not within the town of Woy Woy itself, so you’ll need a car or at least a bicycle to get to them.
Ettalong Beach and Ocean Beach are a 10-minute drive from Woy Woy town centre. Pearl Beach is a 15-minute drive.
Ettalong Beach is a small and calm beach on the mouth of Brisbane Water to the ocean. The beach is protected from the swells.
Even though it’s unpatrolled, Ettalong Beach is considered one of the safest swimming spots on the Central Coast.
Ettalong Beach is great for small children...
Many families with toddlers & preschoolers enjoy this beach. The water is calm and shallow. And the foreshore is lovely: There are play equipment, picnic spots, a cafe and a paved walkway.
It's a great fishing spot as well.
Also, the Ettalong Markets are near the beach.
And Ettalong has a surprising array of great cafes and restaurants and international food: Turkish, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, you name it. Most of these restaurants receive great reviews.
Ocean Beach is a patrolled beach at Umina. It’s patrolled from September to April. The waves are small and crumbly, so it’s an ideal spot to learn to surf.
Beside the beach is the massive Umina Playground. There are picnic spots, a BMX track, skatepark, large climbing net, flying fox and fenced toddler play area.
If you have older children, Ocean Beach may be the best beach to go.
Have coffee and food at Jasmine Greens beside the playground.
Pearl Beach is a peaceful place set in the bushland. Pearl Beach is popular with Sydney siders. Many have weekenders there, for good reason…
The beach is lovely...
There are an ocean pool, a nice cafe and a small playground.
Pearl Beach is unpatrolled, and people swim in the calmer section at the southern end. (The northern part is unsafe for swimming.)
You can also bushwalk from Pearl Beach to Patonga via Warrah Lookout.
Gnostic Corner are 9 New Age shops situated next to each other in Woy Woy town centre.
Gnostic is defined as “relating to knowledge, especially esoteric mystical knowledge”. And New Age as “a broad movement characterised by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism”.
There’s no better way of describing Gnostic Corner.
Some of the things you find are: Yoga and meditation classes. Alternative books. Crystals. Incense. And there’s a cafe with vegan and vegetarian food as well as great coffee.
Fishermen’s Wharf is the place to go for fresh straight-off-the-boat seafood and fish n chips. There’s a seafood market and also a lovely waterfront restaurant.
Fishermen’s Wharf has been run by the Cregan-Clayton family for over 35 years.
Enjoy sitting on the verandah while overlooking peaceful Brisbane Water, or grab a take-away to enjoy at the park. Kids can entertain themselves in the playground.
Check out pelican feeding beside Fishermen’s Wharf at 3 pm.
The waterfront at Lions Park is enjoyable and peaceful. You can walk or cycle on the paved pathway along the water, or enjoy a picnic while the kids are having fun at one of the playgrounds.
You can see heaps of seagulls and Pelican Island across the channel with beautiful mangrove vegetation.
If you have a bicycle, ride to Gosford on the bicycle path. It’s one of the best bicycle rides on the Central Coast.
The pathway follows the edge of Brisbane Water, so the ride is scenic.
And it’s a nice ride for kids. The pathway is flat and away from traffic and you’ll pass a couple of playgrounds.
You can also swim a few laps at Gosford Olympic Pool near the end of the path.
Head to Saratoga (10 minutes) or Davistown (20 minutes) over scenic waterways aboard Central Coast Ferries. It’s only a short trip.
Davistown is the best place to go in my opinion…
Have lunch and a cold beer at Davistown RSL Club. It’s a great family-friendly pub. There’s a large grassy area with a playground outside. You can also walk the Illoura walk along the waterfront at Davistown.
The ferry leaves Woy Woy several times a day.
Enjoy a short walk in the bush and see Aboriginal engravings. The engravings are very clear and you can read descriptions of what they are. It’s an interesting experience particularly for kids.
The Bulgandry Aboriginal Art site is in Brisbane Water National Park, a short drive from Woy Woy.
The walk to the Aboriginal engravings is suitable for an all-terrain pram or wheel chair (keep in mind there’s loose gravel on the track. But the boardwalk at the engraving site is suitable).
Parking – Small carpark on Woy Woy Road, 2 km north of Staples Lookout. The road is sealed.
The Tommos loop trail in Brisbane Water National Park is great for mountain biking.
Tommos loop is about 6 km. But you can combine Tommos loop with Rocky Ponds loop. Both trails add up to 20 km.
Take a detour to Kariong Brook Falls. Kariong Brook Falls is a beautiful waterfall in a valley. To get there follow the track “Girrakool” off Tommos loop. the track descends over boulders for 300 m.
Also, take a detour to Mt Wondabyne. Mt Wondabyne is the highest peak in Brisbane Water National Park. You’ll get 360° views from the top.
Parking – Small carpark on Woy Woy Rd, 350 m south of Staples Lookout.
Staples Lookout is a lookout in Brisbane Water National Park.
The lookout is on the same road as Bulgandry Aboriginal Site and Tommos loop trail. So you can stop over at the lookout on your way to one of these places.
From Staples Lookout, you can see a vast expense of bush and Brisbane Water.
Have a picnic there. There’s a picnic table.
Parking – The carpark is on Woy Woy Road. Check the location on the map above.
These popular events attract a crowd…
Oyster Festival on the second Sunday of November - Eat fresh local oysters and other nice food, and taste wine from the Hunter Valley. There are 100+ stalls, a kids zone and live entertainment. It’s a nice day out at Ettalong on the beachfront.
Italian Festival in April – Taste, see and hear everything Italian… Italian beverages, cuisine, coffee, music. There’s a kids zone with Italian theme arts and crafts and other amusements. You can learn to cook Italian food. Held at the Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort.
Bay to Bay Running Festival in June – Run alongside thousands of other participants along beautiful waterways from Woy Woy to Gosford. There’s a half-marathon, a fun run and a kids run.
Umina Beach Markets on the 3rd Sunday of each month – Enjoy 75+ stalls with art, fruits and vegetables, clothes, ready-to-eat-food, jewellery and heaps of other things. There's also live music. The vibe is great. Held at Umina Surf Lifesaving Club.
By car – 1 hr 20 min north of Sydney or 1 hr 25 min south of Newcastle on the M1 Motorway. Take the Central Coast Highway/A49 exit. Follow the directions on Google Map.
By train – It’s easy to get here by train from Sydney. Take the train on the Central Coast & Newcastle line and alight at Woy Woy Station. The station is right beside the town centre and waterfront.
By ferry – Get to Ettalong on the Palm Beach Ferry. The ferry leaves Palm Beach several times a day. From Ettalong, cycle to Woy Woy or catch a bus.
All the attractions I’ve talked about above are shown on this map…