Your guide to a winter weekend on the NSW Central Coast

Read on for the downlow on this underrated getaway spot just 90 minutes from Sydney.
terrigal headland view at sunsetMatt Lauder via Getty.

More than just a summer destination, the Central Coast boasts a trove of delights ideal for a winter weekend away. Just over an hour north from Sydney’s CBD, this pocket of New South Wales is teeming with dramatic coastlines, green hinterland, delectable eateries and the warmth of small-town sensibility.

As someone who’s lived in Sydney for most of their life, I’ve been to the Central Coast several times but admittedly haven’t spend much time there as an adult. So, I was excited to go away with Destination Central Coast recently and reacquaint myself with this special pocket of New South Wales over a wintry weekend.

If you’ve been craving a moment away from home, read on for our tips of where to stay, where to eat and what to do in the Central Coast for a low stakes, easy-to-organise winter getaway.

two side by side images: a modern hotel room with two double beds, and a resort garden and pool
Our double room in the Quarters, and the view from our balcony. Images: supplied.

Where to stay in Central Coast

We stayed at the Quarters Forrester Beach which is primely positioned for exploring the best beaches and attractions on the Central Coast – and would be perfect accommodation for smaller families or a lowkey couple getaway. Each of the 34 Hamptons-inspired rooms feature soft and inviting interiors, and views of the tropical gardens and resort-style pool. It’s worth noting that I had one of the best sleeps of this year in the cloud-like double bed.

Reasons to stay:

  • Prime location that’s just a 10-minute walk from the beach
  • Outdoor spa and swimming pool with waterfall
  • Smart TV with Netflix in all rooms
  • Two onsite restaurants

If you’re wanting somewhere even more private than a motel or hotel situation, Airbnb also offers many great stays all across the region with particularly standout ones in North Avoca, Copacabana and Patonga.

Refuel at the likes of Mumbo Jumbo’s, Drifter’s Wharf and Arc Est. Images: Love Central Coast NSW.

Where to eat in Central Coast

When it comes to dining on the Central Coast, you’re irrevocably spoilt rotten for choice. These are a few of the haunts we refuelled at:

For rooftop beach views and cruisy vibes: Head to the Caribbean-inspired Mumbo Jumbo’s in Terrigal offering a Jamaican-influenced menu, eclectic interiors and live bands and DJ sets. Would highly recommend the fish tacos paired with a Piña colada.

For a relaxed bite right on the water: Check out Drifter’s Wharf on the cove of Brisbane Water that offers elevated pub food in its boathouse-esque haunt and champions live music and entertainment.

For modern Australian fine dining: Arc Est. in Terrigal offers a casual take on fine dining with its buzzy setting and thoughtful menu. I will note…the tuna sashimi followed by a prawn hotpot has been my favourite meal of the year thus far.

An espresso martini made in the cocktail making class at Distillery Botanica.
An espresso martini made in the cocktail making class at Distillery Botanica.

What to do in the Central Coast in winter

While surfing and hiking around the Central Coast make for great holidaying activities any time of year, there’s no denying that these activities particularly shine in the summertime. Our wintry weekend away also happened to be a very rainy weekend away.

So, in between reading, pottering about, and checking out the local culinary offerings, we braved the weather with a walk around Wamberal Lagoon (nearby to Forresters Beach), stopped for coffee and a stroll around Avoca Beach, and participated in a fantastic cocktail making class at Distillery Botanica – the home of the IWSC Gold-winning Moore’s Dry Gin. (I would also highly recommend the exclusive guided tour with esteemed herbalist Master Distiller Phillip Moore who is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable and passionate people about distilling with botanicals you’ll ever meet.)

Plus, below is a few other activities to inspire the itinerary of your Central Coast weekend away:

Now you’re all equipped with the where and what of the Central Coast in the winter, all that’s left to do is to carve out a weekend in the calendar!

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