The NSW Central Coast selected in Green Destinations Top 100 List

Central Coast Brand Ambassador Nicole Berlach in nature
Central Coast Brand Ambassador Nicole Berlach in nature
The Central Coast represents New South Wales on the global stage in the 2021 Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories list.
Local stories showcasing our destination's natural beauty capture hearts, minds and a winning spot at respected international sustainability competition...

Every year the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories competition, led by Green Destinations, collects outstanding, innovative Good Practice Stories from destinations worldwide to inspire tomorrow's travellers and today's tourism professionals. The list of Sustainable Top 100 Destinations of 2021 were unveiled on the 5 October 2021 in the Global Green Destinations Days 2021 event.

A total of five Australian destinations were selected in the Top 100 List, the largest cohort to date. We’re extremely proud to announce the 2021 Top 100 List includes the Central Coast – the only New South Wales destination to be awarded a finalist position in the international competition!

Our region's winning story focused on the Central Coast’s refreshed approach to tourism, led by our new ‘Love Central Coast’ campaign that recognises the intrinsic value of our region's natural and cultural assets, sharing the inspiring stories of local Brand Ambassadors in their natural environment.

This incredible achievement for our slice of NSW coastline adds to the Central Coast’s growing list of accolades, including winning ‘Most Compelling Itinerary’ for Ettalong in the NSW Top Tourism Town Awards 2021, and The Entrance crowned in the Top 10 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Awards 2021.

A Love Story: Reshaping the NSW Central Coast

The announcement confirms the NSW Central Coast has now officially joined the global list of respected locations leading the way for sustainable tourism. This places our region alongside other leading Top 100 destinations such as Brazil, Chile, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Germany, Japan, Peru, Portugal, Spain and of course the leader of green standards - Slovenia. 

Top 100 Competition evaluators praised the Central Coast's winning Good Practice Story under the ‘Tourism Reset & Recovery’ category, titled: ‘A Love Story: Reshaping the NSW Central Coast’ ​​​​​:

"NSW's Central Coast had to face and recover not only from the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the terrible bushfires that ripped across the region, and other environmental adversities that affected the region. In a little more than a year, they have made an effort to change their tourism industry's values and reimagine their future, focusing on their strengths: the locals and their natural value." 

"This Good Practice Story stands out because, the campaign features Brand Ambassadors in their natural environment such as organic farm producers, world-class surfers, environmentalists, indigenous and botanical artists."

Central Coast Brand Ambassadors

Following the 2019-2020 bushfires that ripped across regional NSW, decimating an estimated one billion wildlife nationally and biting at the heels of the Central Coast’s hinterland community, our region needed to promptly rebuild itself as a vibrant, resilient and sustainable tourism destination. Before we could take a breather, the global pandemic reached our shores, borders closed to international tourists, and the regional tourism industry suffered a massive blow. 

The clear path to recovery is to support our community from within; from its heart. By placing nature at the heart of our destination, we're shaping Love Central Coast into a space to celebrate the incredible natural environment we call home, led by a collective of Brand Ambassadors.

Central Coast Brand Ambassadors include Ace Buchan, a world-class professional surfer and environmental activist, alongside Kyal & Kara, professional renovators and designers. Both are also ambassadors for Take 3 for the Sea, a global ocean conservation movement based locally in Long Jetty. There’s talented native flora illustrator, Nicole Berlach, and diverse mural artist Grant Molony, both producing art inspired by the Central Coast’s pristine natural environment and abundance of wildlife. Representing growing local entrepreneurial spirit is the market savvy sister-team of Plain Janes, and capturing the hidden magic of the Coast firsthand is filmmaker Adam Marshal. Weaving in the region's hinterland is Eden & Louise of Fanelli Organics, an organic farm adapting to COVID-19 by developing their sustainable agri-tourism product through farm tours and farm stay accommodation.

The Central Coast's ecotourism journey

The opportunity to enter the Top 100 was made possible through a partnership with Destination Central Coast and Ecotourism Australia, as part of the ECO Destination Certification program, fully funded by WWF-Australia.

Ecotourism Australia’s Chief Executive Rod Hillman said he was delighted to hear the Central Coast was selected as a destination in this year’s Top 100 List:

“We are working tirelessly to support our tourism industry that has been hit hard in 2020 by bushfires and COVID-19, so it’s great to see tangible benefits coming from our support of regional tourism destinations like the Central Coast,” Mr Hillman said.

“As the Central Coast offers a high number of existing ecotourism operators alongside a high proportion of national parks and protected natural spaces – it’s inspiring to see their refreshed approach to tourism that focuses on respecting and protecting the natural beauty of their destination.”

When you love something, you naturally want to share it with everyone... but you also want to protect it. That's why the Central Coast is on its journey to achieve ECO Destination Certification by June 2022.

bushwalking the maitland bay track
The Central Coast has 5 national parks and 5 state forests.
surfing or loading the barrel at avoca beach
The Central Coast boasts 87km of coastline, perfect for surfing.
What is the Green Destinations Top 100 List?

For the 7th year, Green Destinations spotlights 100 regional destinations around the world making promising progress toward a more sustainable tourism industry, while creating a more attractive experience for their local community and travellers.

All destinations competing for a spot in the annual Top 100 are required to meet a minimum level of compliance (60%) with certain core criteria of the Green Destinations Standard, which the Central Coast is currently completing as part of its ECO Destination Certification program with Ecotourism Australia. The Top 100 Committee emphasises selection to the Top 100 list does not mean the destination is sustainable, but was pre-selected based on meeting that minimum level of compliance and the merit of their Good Practice Story - both of which the Central Coast successfully achieved.

The international competition is held under the auspices of the Top 100 Partnership, with special contributions by Green Destinations, QualityCoast, Travelife, ITB Berlin, Asian Ecotourism Network, Ecotourism Australia, Global Ecotourism Network, Sustainable First and GLP Films.


Share the love

When exploring our Top 100 destination we’d love to see your story! Share your best photos and videos by tagging #LoveCentralCoast on Instagram and Facebook.


To explore ecotourism experiences on the Central Coast visit our dedicated Ecotourism hub.