Home to 42-plus (uncrowded) beaches, dozens of pockets of rainforest ideal for hiking and countless local producers selling everything from chocolate, to cheese, to grass-fed Angus beef, the NSW’s Central Coast has long been a popular spot for a getaway.
Now, visitors have yet another reason to travel to the Central Coast: in June this year, the region became one of the only Australian destinations so far to achieve ECO Certification through Ecotourism Australia and is now listed on the Green Travel Guide. What’s ECO Certification, you ask? Essentially, it recognises the Central Coast as a destination for sustainable, natured-based tourism.
So, what to do while you’re there? You can, of course, explore its many forests or beaches at your own leisure, but if you’re looking for specific experiences you’re likely not to find anywhere else, read on for five of them. Oh, and they’re all eco-friendly, of course.
Breakfast With Alpacas
Native to Peru, alpacas are rare in Australia, but you can not only see them at Iris Lodge in suburb Jiliby, but feed them, too! The Breakfast with Alpacas experience (they have an Afternoon experience, too) will see you spending an hour-and-a-half feeding alpacas, llamas, sheep and cows before tucking into your own buffet breakfast overlooking the farm.
Pick Your Own Sunflower
While the Bloom Barn is an event-only experience on a farm in Peats Ridge that takes place a few times a year when the sunflowers are in bloom, it’s still worth a mention in case you happen to be visiting around event time — the next one is Saturday, July 23, FYI.
A ticket to it will let you pick five sunflowers from the field, and, afterwards, enjoy a BYO picnic on the farm with coffee from an on-site cart.
Tour a Pearl Farm
Pearl fan? Or just keen to head out on a boat? Book into the two-hour Discovery Experience at NSW’s only pearl farm, Broken Bay Pearl Farm in Mooney Mooney. You’ll cruise the Hawkesbury River and learn how the team farms Akoya pearls.
A guide will share with you the history of pearls, and even show you how they’re graded. At the end, you’ll be able to see the final products in jewellery, and buy any pieces you’re keen on.
Learn How to Make Soap from Wattle Leaves
With over 20 years doing annual survival missions where he lived off only what he could hunt, catch or gather for weeks at a time, Jake Cassar knows bush tucker.
On a bushland property along the Hawkesbury Track, Cassar gives one-hour bushcraft presentations and three-hour walking tours where you’ll learn all about the plants in the area, including how to make soap from wattle leaves and rope from tree bark.
Speed Date With a Snake
Spread across 180 acres of bushland in Calga, Walkabout Park Wildlife Sanctuary believes in conservation through education. They care for hundreds of rescued and unreleasable animals, from mammals, to birds and reptiles.
If you’re headed here, be sure to add a ‘Speed Date’ onto your entrance fee or overnight ‘Wild Sleep Out’ fee. The experience lets you get up close to one animal for 10 minutes, be it an echnida, bandicoot, dingo, koala or snake.