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  • Coastline Bushland, beaches and boats
  • Coast Life Strolling, swimming and sailing

Once a sleepy backwater, New South Wales’ Central Coast is a burgeoning hot getaway for weekending Sydneysiders, with top tip the Bouddi Peninsula, a boho cousin to the more familiar glam Northern Beaches across the water.

Only two hours’ drive north of Sydney, the archly dubbed ‘Costa Centrale’ is luring early adopters – and savvy commuters – with its simple fibro shacks, serene surf beaches, tranquil lakes and beautiful native bushland. Edit out local towns such as Woy Woy, Terrigal and Gosford, and chill out in pretty villages by the sea, explore the coastal Bouddi National Park, sail on Brisbane Waters or walk along pristine bush tracks to find your own strip of sand. What’s more, with award-winning chefs cutting a slice of the action at the area’s best hotels and restaurants, you won’t have to make do with fish and chips.

Do go/Don’t go

Even midwinter is temperate on the New South Wales coastline, although it may be a little cool to swim. High summer – December and January – sees the tiny towns and normally quiet beaches filled with holidaying families.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport (www.sydneyairport.com.au), 10 kilometres south of the city, is well served with international and domestic flights, and is the handiest hopping-off point if you’re heading for the Central Coast.
  • Trains CityRail (www.cityrail.info) trains run from Sydney to area hubs such as Woy Woy and Gosford, as well as other Central Coast destinations.
  • Automobiles The Central Coast is a two-hour drive north of Sydney, via the Sydney–Newcastle Freeway.
  • Taxis Central Coast Taxis (131 008) operates out of Gosford, or ask at your accommodation about transfers to and from local restaurants and bars.