Our journey between the popular tourist regions of the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley, took us through the lesser known Central Coast region. While we knew very little of the area beforehand, we still found plenty to do, with yet more small towns and beaches to explore.
Arriving in early afternoon, our first stop was the secluded Pearl Beach, where we spent some time relaxing on the sheltered beach. We then headed to Ettalong, and walked around the foreshore of the small but popular town.
As we made our way to another motorway rest stop for the night, we managed to catch the sunset in the brilliantly named Woy Woy Bay, which looks out onto Brisbane Water. We walked along the public boat ramp, where you could admire the surrounding houses, each with large gardens and their own private jetty.
We started the next day with a very early visit to Shelley Beach, where we made use of the free (but ice cold) beach showers, before enjoying breakfast on the beach. Our next stop was the Entrance, a popular holiday destination, which is surrounded by both the Pacific Ocean and Tuggerah Lake.
After a quick visit to the tourist information, we walked around the edge of the beautiful clear blue lake, before enjoying a coffee at the Waterfront, which as the name suggests had a brilliant location, as well as outdoor seating so we could sit and enjoy the sun.
Our next stop was at nearby Norah Head. After parking up on the headland, we walked around the lighthouse complex before taking the steps down to the beach below. With a ring of rocks forming a large pool in the ocean, it looked like the perfect spot to go for a swim, especially in the summer months.
As we made our way along the coast, we drove through the very secluded Munmorah State Conservation Area. We stopped to visit several of its attractions including the Snapper Point lookout and Frazer Beach, with both providing great views of the exposed coastline and stunning beaches.
We made time for another BBQ lunch at the vast and unspoilt Catherine Hill Bay, where there was plenty of surfers to keep us entertained as we waited for our burgers to cook.
Our favourite beach in Central Coast was Caves Beach, situated on the Swansea peninsula. We were fortunate enough to time our visit with low tide, meaning we could explore the complex of caves hidden within the cliffs. We walked along the beach before climbing across the rocks and into the caves, making sure we were back safely on the beach before the tide came in.
We made shorter visits to Belmont and Charlestown, before making our way inland towards Hunter Valley. We enjoyed our day in Central Coast, and it was definitely worth spending some time there, rather than driving straight through, as I expect many people do, on their way to or from Sydney.