It’s difficult to understand why anyone would want to visit Australia and not have a day sunbathing, swimming in clear blue water or scuba diving in some of the most beautiful reefs on earth.
But, it’s fair to say the tourism industry are well aware of our bucket list wishes and can charge over $1,500 for a diving experience alone! Whilst enjoying the iconic Bondi Beach is more iconic on instagram, the reality of going to the busiest beach in Australia can be frustrating. 7,500 people flock onto 4 miles of beach each day and quite frankly, there isn’t enough space for everyone.
The Central Coast, just ninety minutes north of Sydney’s CBD, is home white sand beaches, beautiful landscapes without the crowd or the tourist tax. There’s nobody walking around trying to sell you deckchairs, no worry of having your car towed: just miles and miles of sun, sea and sand. Popular with the locals, the Central Coast serves as go-to holiday or weekend break for Aussies, often bagging cheap BnBs that are anything but commercial.
Long Jetty, The Entrance & Slade Park:
Living close to Long Jetty, its neighbour The Entrance was only a quick car journey away. Long Jetty & The Entrance offer the more ‘touristy’ side of beaches, with hotdog stands and ice cream parlours within reaching distances of the shores. From budget KFC to luxury dining, there is definitely something to cater for any needs. Though the beach is free, its parking and obligatory merchendising sets it quite high in realms of budgeting.
Luckily, for those who want a quiet and relaxed visit, with a single cafe and stretches of white sand, Budgewoi is only another ten minutes away. Personally, this was a morning stop off point when travelling to work at 6am, it was difficult not to stop to watch the sunrise here every morning (although plenty of times, the tranquility of the shores forced the car into the carpark).
The vast magnitude of the waves and the millions of grains of sand truly put everything into perspective and quiet beaches like Slade are the perfect places to get grounded.
Frazer Beach, Munmorah State Conservation Park:
A personal favourite, Frazer Beach is quite a away off the beaten track, hidden in Munmorah State Conservation Park, through windy and scarily narrow tracks. As a Conservation Park, car parking requires payment, but a mere $7 for the purity of the location is no sacrifice. Though attracting locals in peak summer seasons, there is rarely more than ten people in and out of the water here: making it the perfect place to sunbathe without fear of judgement or embarrassment. Perfection as an adjective doesn’t even come close to the view and general ambiance of the location.
Lake Macquarie Viewpoints: Summerland Point, Swansea & Murrays
Tucked away off the highway, these small communities offer incredible views of the largest lake in the Southern Hemisphere! Though not a typical beach, Summerland Point Reserve, amongst other cul-de-sacs are the perfect picnic or walking location. With Lake Macquarie on your left and community bars (Bowling Clubs) to your right, any stop around the lake will envelope you into the true Aussie way of life.
Catherine Hill Bay, Beach & Pub:
Another local hotspot, ‘Catho’ is home to a large number of beautifully graffitied pieces of artwork, contrasting and complimenting the natural backdrop respectively. With hidden coves and a pier, Catho offers a hybrid between quiet and community: with its infamous Pub sharing live music and its non-tourist consumers, the atmosphere, again is faultless.
With the exception of parking, all of these locations are completely free, and within an hour of each other. It still remains a mystery why these locations aren’t swimming with tourists, but then again, that’s the beauty of them. The sacredness of being able to walk over miles of sand alone is unfathomable. So why not reach out whilst holidaying in Sydney: with half-hourly trains, you can be on the Central Coast within 90 minutes, though make sure you have a car on the other side, taxis are hard to come by!
If you have visited the Central Coast in general before or considering a trip to Aussieland then please leave a comment with your own thoughts: I am more than happy to share any extra advise or take suggestions for my next visit!