10 Instagram-worthy spots on the Central Coast
The Central Coast of New South Wales is becoming an increasingly popular spot for creatives to explore, many of them talented at capturing its best features 'for the Gram'. Here's their essential hit list.
The Central Coast is brimming with opportunities to photograph, some obvious, and some undiscovered gems. As a region given life by five national parks filled with indigenous carvings and paintings, waterfalls, caves, mountains, stunning lookout points and hiking trails, connecting to 87km of prime eastern coastline for surfing, paddling, fishing and boating... the Central Coast is a natural playground just one hour and a half north of the big city of Sydney.
You also have the emerging talent of makers and creators illustrated across the region's boutique businesses, from honey-makers to artisan bakers, potters and poets, to pearl shuckers and botanical distillers. Add to that a rising trend to serve paddock to plate produce, fresh from the local hinterland foodie bowl, alongside a handful of ecotourism experiences from north to south including climbing in huge eucalyptus canopies, diving to explore a shipwreck, or meeting local marine wildlife up close.
Wow. We did say there's a huge range of choices when it comes to Central Coast photography locations for Instagram!
To make your next Insta-inspired adventure more colourful - and easy to plan - we've scanned through thousands upon thousands of images to sum up the Top 10 Insta-worthy spots in our region - for your social media channel. and when you tick off each one, remember to tag #LoveCentralCoast to be featured.
1. See sunrise at Norah Head lighthouse
As one of the Central Coast’s most popular icons, the Norah Head Lighthouse is a go-to spot for a great Instagram shot. Located at the northern end of the region, the historic lighthouse offers an amazing vantage point to experience sunrise across the coastline, which is available to you on any clear day of the year.
The reserve surrounding the lighthouse also includes some of the region's most beautiful beaches including Soldiers Beach and Cabbage Tree Harbour. If you take your togs, towel and tucker for the day, the lighthouse also makes an incredible backdrop to a photo from the sandy shores below.
2. Foodie trail Insta-experience
The Coast is filled with a buffet of opportunities for foodie photography. From ice cream served in a novelty sink, to gin cocktails served in a Fragrant Garden, there is a trail of Instagrammable eateries each with something unique to devour, once you've taken the perfect photo of course.
In the south, there is The Boathouse Hotel Patonga who not only serve aesthetically beautiful meals, but their outdoor dining terrace overlooks the start of the Hawkesbury River and Palm Beach, making it one of the most Instagram worthy spots on the Central Coast. To the north, you can't go past Daily Dough Co. at Wyong Milk Factory precinct, who bake fresh doughies daily in all the colours of the rainbow.
For more inspiration, check out this itinerary on The Coast's most Instagrammable food experiences.
3. Paddle in paradise at Maitland Bay
You may have seen the stunning Maitland Bay or Tallow Beach pop up on your Insta feed before, and been mistaken that it was the Whitsundays in Queensland. But there are actually a few secluded spots within the Bouddi National Park that prove the Central Coast can also feel like paradise. The key with these two beaches is that they are accessible on foot only, cutting out all those who aren't ready to immerse themselves in nature.
The crystal-clear water and natural beauty of the marine park and surrounding bushland of the Bouddi Peninsula provides you with a breathtaking landscape to photograph. Whether you take the easy Box Head trail to see the complete panorama across to the Northern Beaches and Broken Bay, or take the trail to visit Maitland Bay and its historic shipwreck - there's a wanderlust photo waiting to be created here every minute.
For more inspiration, check out Bouddi National Park.
4. Cross the Strickland State Forest suspension bridge
Visit one of Australia’s oldest arboretums - Strickland State Forest to discover an exceptionally diverse range of forest habitats. This includes wildflowers and dry woodland in its north, tall eucalyptus trees on its slopes, and lush rainforest in its southern reaches. Combined, this is a green playground for the budding photographer! And if you have a doggo, it's also one of the most exciting dog-friendly places to explore in the region!
While the entire forest and its walking trails provide a unique hiking experience, it's the lush rainforest sections that are most Instagram worthy, with the light flooding through from the canopy. But you must seek out the famous suspension bridge. Head out along the Arboretum Loop Trail for the views, and strike your best angle and pose on that bridge.
For more information, visit the Forestry Corporation website.
5. The 'Welcome to Long Jetty' wall mural
The suburb of Long Jetty showcases everything to love about the Central Coast lifestyle – beach and lake, art and fashion, bakeries and bars, cafes and culture. This is probably why it's now got an attractive Newtown-by-the-Sea feel, helped along by a series of colourful street art.
The ‘Welcome to Long Jetty’ mural located on Thompson Street is an essential part of the Long Jetty experience. The vibrant, triple swirl ice-cream toned artwork is extremely Insta-worthy, collectively created by artists Dan Coy, Brent Smith and Nathan Pickering. Make sure you grab a mate to take the best photo of you and the mural, capturing the whole scene from the roadside.
Explore the top things to do in the Long Jetty neighbourhood.
6. Soak up the serenity of Lobster Beach
One of the most perfect spots on the Central Coast to escape from the daily grind is Lobster Beach. This super-secluded, picturesque bay is located on the Bouddi Peninsula, and is a great spot for swimming, fishing, boating... and capturing great Instagram photography of the Broken Bay panorama.
Once you reach Lobster Beach, set up a towel, picnic and admire the view, choose which beach to feature. There's Umina, Ettalong, Ocean Beach, Pearl Beach and even Lion Island. And guess what? You can see - and snap - them all!
7. Selfie with a free-range Kangaroo
It's amazing that just north of Sydney there are several opportunities to meet native wild animals on the Central Coast. Without meaning any offence to Koalas, which are also super cute and amazing at selfies, Kangaroos are also a great child-friendly option for a meet, greet and pose.
There are two places on the Central Coast to meet local Kangaroos and safely snap a cheeky selfie. The Australian Reptile Park at Somersby, just off the M1, offers a picnic area for visitors shared with the residents free-range macropods. The animals here are very relaxed and friendly, with a designated 'human-free zone' to retire to if they've had enough photo shoots for the day.
Alternatively, the Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park at Calga offers 80 acres of bushland filled with free-roaming Kangaroo, Wallaby, Emu and even Turkeys. The best time to visit is morning or late afternoon, when the roos get their daily feeds from a ranger, who is often happy to help you arrange a photo with the wild animals.
8. Visit a waterfall after the rain
The Central Coast has a handful of incredible waterfalls hiding in its lush national parks and forests. One of the best and most convenient to visit for some beautiful landscape photography is Somersby Falls. This rainforest has a short but steep 500m walking track down to the bottom of the falls, where locals will often swim in warm weather.
If you arrive on the weekend and find the parking lot is already quite busy, you can easily move on to visit nearby Girrakool picnic area and walking track, which also offers a stunning waterfall with viewing points and stepping stones that are super photogenic.
9. Secret lookout on the Pearl Beach to Patonga track
Both Pearl Beach and Patonga feature a joint walking trail that connects the two southern suburbs of the Coast, following the Great North Walk through the beautiful red gums of Brisbane Water National Park. Almost perfectly between these two worlds sits an epic lookout across the Hawkesbury known as Warrah Lookout, near the trig point.
An extra tip for this Instagrammable location is to visit during winter, when the stunning late-winter bloom of the Waratah flower will be on display, and this walk is one of the best places in the national park to see these fiery-red flowers come to life each year.
10. Snap a magical sunset across Tuggerah Lakes
No visit to Long Jetty is complete without experiencing the breathtaking sunset views of Tuggerah Lakes and The Long Jetty. Head to the foreshore before dusk with your picnic blanket and bask in the late afternoon sun. Walk the entire 351 metres (a 700m round trip!) of The Long Jetty, stretching right out into Tuggerah Lake, and spot wetland wildlife along the way.
The Tuggerah Lakes foreshore picnic tables and BBQ areas are most popular at sunset. Whether you're enjoying an outdoor get together with the family or an Instagram influencer aiming to get the best pic possible, those magical pink, purple and apricot hues of a Central Coast sunset create one of the most beautiful photo opportunities in the entire region.
Top 10 Insta-worthy spots