Aquatic adventures on the Central Coast
Just 90 minutes’ drive north of Sydney, the Central Coast is blessed with spectacular waterways, from beautiful beaches to tranquil lakes and lagoons. The region also boasts an array of activities on and under the water — here are just a few ways to have fun on the water.
Splash out with the family
In the warmer months, people of all ages descend on Central Coast Aqua Park in Gosford, the gateway to the Central Coast, to take on its inflatable water obstacles. The young, and young at heart, can slide, climb, swing and jump in the ultimate aquatic playground under the supervision of trained lifeguards. Sessions should be booked ahead, and the minimum age is five years.
For all kinds of paddling fun, visit Aquafun on Avoca Lake, which hires out a range of pedal-boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, all perfect for exploring this lovely lagoon in the heart of beachside Avoca village. Groups can even tackle the new giant stand-up paddleboard. The lagoon is overflowing with fish and birdlife, as well as a colony of endangered frogs.
Seek out some adventure
In 2011, the decommissioned navy frigate HMAS Adelaide was scuttled not far off the beach at Terrigal, forming an artificial reef. A decade on, the wreck is home to an extensive amount of marine life. Pro Dive Central Coast conducts dives here — it’s just one of 429 dive sites the company can take you to.
At Mt Penang Gardens, just west of Gosford, you can reach for the stars, courtesy of Jetpack Adventures. You can fly a jetpack or a flyboard — or both — and take off from Jetpack Lake. Even kids over 10 years and over 35 kilograms can have a go. Afterwards, browse around the beautiful gardens and refuel at the Waterfall Cafe.
Terrigal Ocean Tours runs a range of summer ecotour experiences with trips into the spectacular waterways of Broken Bay. They offer sightseeing tours, twilight tours and a 3 hour trip that includes a picnic and a swim / SUP at a secluded beach.
“We see dolphins and seals on most trips and occasionally spot Little Penguins near Lion Island” says tour guide Sharyn Jones. Summer Tours depart from Hardys Bay Public Wharf or Ettalong Ferry Wharf. Whale watching will again be based from Terrigal from May to November.
Get in the swim
Any Central Coast holiday should include a beach visit — and there are more than 40 to choose from, with 15 of them patrolled, so there’s a perfect spot to suit everyone. Families will seek out Copacabana, Avoca, Ettalong or Toowoon Bay, while surfers will wax lyrical about Tallow, Terrigal, Soldiers and Pelican beaches. Sign up for surf coaching with Central Coast Surf Academy, which takes kids and women’s groups as well as giving tips to advanced surfers.
If ocean pools are more your style, head for The Entrance at the northern end of the Central Coast. The Grant McBride Baths (formerly known as Entrance Ocean Baths) are heritage-listed, with the 50m lap pool, 22m pool and children’s wading pool all built between 1938 and 1965. You’ll find smaller pools at Pearl Beach and Macmasters Beach.
Hidden Gems on the Coast
Sitting on the deck of a beautiful yacht at sunset, wine in hand, is hard to top. That’s just one of the options available via Hardy’s Bay Yacht Charters at Killcare bordering Bouddi National Park at the southern end of the Central Coast. Charter the luxury 11m Bavaria cruising yacht, or the bigger 14m catamaran, for a range of packages that cater for everyone from beginners to experienced sailors. Choose a sunset cruise, a Sail, Bush Walk and Lunch day trip or a romantic overnight package for one or two nights. With a professional skipper on board, your job is simply to relax and enjoy the ride. Optional water transfers are available to Killcare from Ettalong, Woy Woy, Saratoga and Gosford.