Escaping Sydney for a Central Coast Getaway is the perfect way to relax and refresh. It is also so easy you will wonder why you have not done it before.
Just 80km north of Sydney’s CBD is a little piece of paradise known as the NSW Central Coast. The fact that it can be easily reached by car or train in under 1.5 hrs makes it ideal for a short getaway.
You could easily spend several weekends exploring this area. We popped in for lunch on the way home from a trip north of Sydney about three years ago and a month later had bought a lovely little villa to grow old in one day.
Why you should plan a Central Coast Getaway
- Proximity to Sydney – you don’t spend hours of your precious short break getting there
- There is plenty here to keep you busy for days, or you can just sit and watch the world go by
- It’s surrounded by national parks and pristine waterways
- There is a great range of accommodation available from caravans to resorts to vacation rentals.
We are not quite ready to retire and move to the coast just yet, but we recently returned for a weekend getaway just for practice 😉 We based ourselves in Ettalong this time and found plenty to love about the area.
Here’s how it all went down.
8 am Friday – Depart Sydney
First stop of the morning for a desperately needed coffee was at Brooklyn just opposite the Hawkesbury River Marina. Brooklyn is a favourite day trip spot and the boarding spot for the famous Riverboat Postman Tour – you can take the train from Central Station to Hawkesbury River Station.
It’s a great spot to stretch your legs and take in the views of the Hawkesbury River
After 30 mins we were back on the road headed to the Woy Woy Peninsular and Ettalong Beach
Friday Midday – Arrive at Ettalong
We decided to stay at the Mantra at Ettalong based on the photos I had seen of the generously sized balconies overlooking Brisbane Water. I could see myself sitting back in gazing out at the view for hours. The resort offers studios, one and two-bedroom apartments that you rent via Mantra, or Airbnb.
The apartments are well set up with two balconies, a living/dining room – they would be perfectly comfortable for a week stay – if only!
The sofa was not so comfy, but that was the only criticism. The small but a functional kitchen was quickly stocked up with plenty of nibbles from the local shops just a few minutes walk away.
The apartments sit on top of the Ettalong Diggers Club and feature a huge swimming pool. It was not swimming weather on our visit, but I can imagine it gets pretty busy in the height of summer.
We spent most of the day checking out the local shops and the award-winning meat pies from Bremen Patisserie in Umina – highly recommend getting yourself one of those
Ettalong is an indigenous word said to mean a place for drinking
Friday night we ended up downstairs – it was just too convenient. We spent a few hours singing along poorly to a 90s cover band 🙂
Sat morning we were up nice and early and off for a morning walk along Umina Beach
Before checking out the local favourite Jasmines in the park behind the beach.
After breakfast, we headed off for our exercise for the day – an easy stroll to the Mount Ettalong Lookout
Then it was back to the car for a short drive around to Patonga Beach where you can join the Great North Walk track. It’s only 77kms back to Sydney if you are up for it!
We spent the afternoon snoozing and enjoying our balcony and being pretty lazy before the hues of pink that were taking over the sky convinced us a sunset walk along the Esplanade at Ettalong was in order.
We cased out the local restaurants on the way back – there are several to choose from and settled on Safran a Turkish restaurant just a few minutes from our apartment. The meal was great, the photos I took not so much 😉 I decided not to post them here so as not to do a disservice to the restaurant.
Check out was at 10 am so we decided to pack up and go looking for breakfast on the way home. We had heard really good things about Killcare and Hardy’s Bay just across the other side of the water, so we headed to check it out for our next escape.
Breakfast at The Fat Goose at Killcare was delicious, and there was also a great looking cafe on the beach. It looks like we have a new spot to check out next time we head up this way.
11 More Things to do on a weekend based in Ettalong
- Visit the secret gem – Bouddi National Park, and do one of the walks there.
- Take the 30 min ride to Palm Beach on the Ettalong to Palm Beach ferry.
- Shop all things new-age at Gnostic Corner
- Eat fish and chips at the wharf at Woy Woy and watch the Pelican feeding at 3.30pm each day.
- Have breakfast at The Box at Ettalong
- Check out the view of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River from Warrah Lookout.
- Check out the Aboriginal engravings near Staples Lookout or Bulgandry Aboriginal art site.
- Rent a boat or Kayak from Anderson’s at Booker Bay and get out on the water
- Visit Somersby Falls and have a picnic at the bottom of the waterfall.
- Take the 3km hike from Pearl Beach to Patonga
- Do one of the many beautiful Central Coast walks.
Did you know?
Have you heard of Bungaree? He was a local man who became one of the most prominent people of the early settlement of New South Wales. He was one of the first Indigenous people to learn English and befriended the early governors Phillip, King and Macquarie. Macquarie later declared Bungaree “The King of the Broken Bay Tribes.”
Don’t have a car?
You can still make this trip – with a few minor adjustments. Take the train from Central Station to Woy Woy Station – jump on the bus or in a taxi to Ettalong.
You could also consider using Popcar as we did on our recent trip to Canberra.
Want to see more of the NSW Coast?
I highly recommend driving a couple of hours further north and exploring Port Stephens for a few days.
You will find more NSW Getaway inspiration on these pages
- A Weekend in Newcastle – what to see and do
- Exploring Maitland and Morpeth
- A Central Coast Getaway
- Two days in Mollymook and Milton
- Three Great Sydney Weekend Escapes
We paid all our expenses on this trip including our accommodation at The Mantra Ettalong.
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