The Central Coast may be known for its beautiful beaches and scenic coastline, but with gourmet foodie jaunts around every corner, quaint hinterland villages and endless things to keep you entertained, it really is the ultimate year-round getaway destination.
Nestled just a 90-minute car ride from Sydney, I decided to check out the coastal offering for myself on a sunny winter weekend as a guest of Destination Central Coast, and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s everything you need to know if you’ve got 48 hours to relax, unwind and refresh on the Central Coast.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for relaxation with a dollop of luxury, the Pullman Magenta Shores resort hands it out in buckets. With only a limited time to take in the sights, it’s in the perfect location, nestled just above The Entrance and hugging the beautiful Magenta Beach coastline.
The sprawling resort offers studio rooms and fully self-contained open-plan villas; the latter being an excellent option for us, as we were travelling with an 18-month-old. A cot and high chair were already set up for us on arrival, meaning not only did we get some extra space back in the car but we could immediately relax into the holiday as soon as we stepped inside the door.
Golf enthusiasts (like my husband) will be delighted with the resort’s 18-hole golf course, while sunseekers (like me) will be able to chill out at one of the many outdoor lagoons. There’s even a pool bar that serves cocktails, snacks and ice cream and the kids will love splashing about in the shallow rock pools. If it’s raining, or you decide to visit in the colder months, the indoor 20-metre heated lap pool is open year-round.
If the beach is more your thing, there is direct access down to the white sands of Magenta Beach from the resort and fitness fanatics aren’t forgotten either, with an outdoor tennis court and fully equipped gym.
Where to eat
Head straight to Long Jetty for breakfast, where I was surprised to find a number of trendy cafes and vintage shops. You can’t look past Green Tangerine, a food and art lover’s dream dining jaunt, where the focus is on seasonal produce, art, culture, coffee and living a self-sustaining lifestyle. If you like the sounds of their ethos, you’ll be glad to hear the food here lives up to the hype, with an on-site bakery serving up the goods.
If you’re after some fresh pastries, sourdough bread and delectable treats, Burnt Honey is a no-brainer. Regularly attracting a long queue, the artisan bakery opened up its first store in Copacabana in 2019 and quickly expanded to Long Jetty due to demand. Get your hands on a chocolate croissant before they run out and your day will be off to a very good start indeed.
On a sunny day, there’s nowhere else you’d be better off than at The Beachcomber Hotel & Resort, or as the locals call it ‘The Beachie’. The Hamptons-inspired iconic resort is located in Toukley and overlooks Budgewoi Lake. The Bistro menu features a range of pub classics such as Beachie burgers, fish and chips and chicken wings while the soon-to-be-opened Pelicans restaurant will offer semi-fine dining with a range of seafood creations.
One place I know we’ll be revisiting wherever we’re on the Central Coast is Motel Mezza. Inspired by the lobby of a 1930s motel, Motel Mezza offers a seriously impressive Middle-Eastern menu, a range of cocktails and a buzzing atmosphere that draws people here for all occasions. The chilli prawns are the stuff of a seafood fan’s dreams, served alongside the sumptuous zaatar pesto cauliflower and grilled beef skewers.
What to do
A trip to the Central Coast (especially with a kid) wouldn't be complete without a visit to Iris Lodge Alpacas. This working grazing property lets you live out your farm life dream for a few hours, with alpacas, wiltipoll sheep, horses and cows all happily wandering around. If you're looking to get up close with the alpacas, you can visit the farm every day at 3pm for a visit or they hold 'Breakfast with Alpacas' every Saturday and Sunday morning from 8:30am.
Norah Head Lighthouse is the perfect location on a Sunday morning to chill out and take in the 360 degrees with a coffee in hand. Volunteers also run 30-minute tours of the active lighthouse and take you up the 96 stairs, all whilst explaining the rich history of the area. You can take a short walk down to the beach to marvel at the massive rock platform below. And at the end of winter, don't forget to bring along your binoculars as it's the perfect location to spot migrating whales.
After all that exploring, you might be wondering if there's any chance for some rest and relaxation. Vie Spa at the Pullman Magenta Shores has an extensive spa menu that will leave you feeling like you're walking on a cloud. I was lucky enough to experience the de-stress and mind balance massage and I think I'll be dreaming about that experience until I return.
This journalist was a guest of Destination Central Coast
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