The Central Coast of New South Wales is a coastal region located immediately to the north of the state capital of Sydney and south of the state's second largest city Newcastle. It markets itself as the playground of two cities.
- 1 Brooklyn - Fishing village and recreational water sports
- 2 Gosford - is both a suburb and commercial centre of the Central Coast, and a city and local government area stretching as far south as Sydney. The central area itself is located at the head of a large convoluted inlet of Broken Bay known as Brisbane Water. The surrounding municipality comprises a large number of suburbs and communities around Brisbane Water, along the Pacific coast and in the hills to the west.
- 3 The Entrance - Popular vacation area
- 4 Wisemans Ferry - Away from the coast, a tranquil town on the Hawkesbury River
- 5 Woy Woy
- 6 Wyong - north of Gosford City focused on Tuggerah Lake
A quiet semi-rural region between the cities of Sydney and Newcastle, it represents a great way to get away from the busy Sydney life without having to journey very far. It takes about 90 minutes to drive through when there is no traffic. It is divided between two municipalities — Gosford in the south and Wyong in the north — and contains many suburban areas as well as numerous reserves and national parks.
The area's traditional owners were the Aboriginal people for many thousands of years, and in fact the Guringai and Darkinjung people were among the first encountered by the British settlers. The area only had small settlements in the early colony, until the establishment of the Sydney to Newcastle railway opened the area to tourism.
You can take the Pacific Motorway (F3) from Sydney, and exit at Gosford, Ourimbah, Tuggerah or Toukley exits depending on what part of the Central Coast you wish to go to. The trip from the start of the freeway at the north of Sydney will take around half an hour to the start of the central coast.
The coastal areas of the Central Coast are well served by the Sydney train network, and is a very economical way to visit the area. Trains from the Central station in Sydney direct to the Central Coast departing approximately every 30 minutes. The main stations are Woy Woy, Gosford, Tuggerah and Wyong. Journeys are on the Sydney Opal card and cost between $5 and $8 one way. The journey can take anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours.
Ettalong is accessible by ferry from Palm Beach, with the passenger ferry crossing the Hawkesbury every hour or so. Buses run from the Wynyard and Manly to Palm Beach. Bikes are allowed on the ferry. The enthusiastic travel-planner can do a round trip back by bus and train.
As you head out of Sydney into the surrounding bushland, you may have think you have left the city behind for the country roads, however the Central Coast can have traffic and be just as busy as Sydney and Newcastle. Major roads criss-cross the area.
Buses on the Central Coast are privately run under contract, and are integrated into the Sydney ticketing and information system. You can get timetable information from Google Maps, or Transport NSW [dead link].
There are some areas with well developed bicycle facilities, particularly between Woy Woy and Gosford, but some roads are busy multi-lane roads only for road warriors. Check out the normal bicycle maps sources (Local Council websites, Open Cycle Map, Google Maps) to plan your route.
The coastal train stops at most major settlements along the Central Coast, and runs frequently throughout the day.
- The Great North Road — built by convicts through rough terrain. Today it's one of eleven sites making up the UNESCO World Heritage listing "Australian Convict Sites".