3 Reasons to Drive to the Central Coast

Ironically, one of my favourite things about Sydney is how many great weekend destinations there are right outside it. Among them, you’ll find remote stays in nature, chilled-out coastal towns and bustling cities still small enough to call Sydney ‘the Big Smoke’.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Central Coast, which has all of those spots within it. It’s just 90 minutes drive north of Sydney but stretches long enough to encompass 41 beaches. While I’d been to the region more than 30 times in my 12 years living in Sydney (I have family there) and so consider myself relatively familiar with it, this weekend stay saw me doing and seeing things I’d never even heard about — which just goes to show you how much there is to do up there.

I based myself at The Quarters at Forresters Beach, which was across from Forresters Beach, but also had its own pool, café (called The Pantry) and lunch and dinner restaurant (The Gilded Anchor) so you didn’t even need to leave it if you didn’t want to.

That said, I did and had the best weekend that was equal parts relaxing and stimulating. I bushwalked at the Coast Walking Track in Wyrrabalong National Park. I strolled the peaceful Long Jetty at sunset for a sky show of reds and yellows. And I did the below three activities I’d say are each alone reason enough to visit the NSW Central Coast.

Have breakfast with llamas

It’s rare to see llamas and alpacas in Australia, so being able to have pet and feed them is a real treat. Iris Lodge Alpacas in Central Coast village Jilliby is home to around 78 alpacas and seven llamas, as well as a heap of sheep, cows and horses. At their Breakfast with Alpacas session (they have an afternoon experience, too), you can spend 90 minutes petting and feeding the animals before sitting down to eat your own buffet breakfast.

Pick your own flowers

The Bloom Barn in Peats Ridge will really have you appreciating nature as you wander through its fields. The flowers and weekend flower-picking events differ throughout the year, but flower-wise, expect the likes of Sweet William flowers or sunflowers, with activities like face painting, flower crown-making and vase painting. Once you’ve finished picking your flowers, sit down and relax with a coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Check online for the full event calendar.

See how pearls are made

The only pearl farm in New South Wales is located on the Central Coast. Established in 2003, Broken Bay Pearl Farm in Mooney Mooney has a ‘Shellar Door’ along the Hawkesbury River where it hosts four different kinds of tours. Its two-hour group tour Discovery Experience and Private Discovery Experience will give you a history of pearling in Australia, explain how it farms its Akoya pearls and see you visiting its pearl oyster lease. Don’t have two hours to spare? Book the one-hour Snapshot Experience. Keen to learn a bit more? Book the four-hour Ultimate Experience.

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