Into the deep blue: Exploring the Coast

Terrigal, Photo Credit: @girlthatfreedives

Terrigal, Photo Credit: @girlthatfreedives

Into the Deep Blue: exploring the Coast.
From paddling out at Avoca to watching a whale breach off the bow and diving a world-class wreck, the Central Coast has an incredible range of Ocean Adventures to embark on.

With over 80 kilometres of coastline, the Central Coast shares an intimate relationship with the Pacific Ocean. Beyond being an incredible source of sustenance and income for the region, it’s also an incredible conduit for adventure: here, there are over forty beaches where you can stay, play, surf and swim, an entire underwater world filled with shipwrecks, sunken reefs and sea life to explore, and a curious cohort of marine life who call it home.

Broken Bay fur seals sunning themselves Central Coast terrigal Ocean Tours
Broken Bay Fur Seals
Photo Credit: @scoutpr_aus
breeching whale terrigal Central Coast NSW Australia
breeching whale
Photo Credit: @angela.rm.fontaine

Whale watching

When the weather cools down and the ocean gets a little chillier, the whales begin their slow migration North from Antarctica, passing along the cliffs, beaches and headlands of the Central Coast. They head North in May and return south by the end of November.

Of course, the best way to see the whales is from the water. Operators including Terrigal Ocean Tours head out from both the Entrance and Ettalong during the season from May to November. While operators are legally required to stay a certain distance from the whales, no one seems to inform the whales of the requirement, who often come right up to “mug” the boat, flipper slapping or swimming underneath, and often breach into the air just metres from the boat.

Marine Encounters

During summer, however, there are other playful aquatic creatures who make the Coast their home, including both bottlenose and common dolphins, seals and penguins, who are drawn to the abundant food and easy sanctuary of many of the Coast’s waterways, estuaries, inlets and islands.

While seals were hunted almost to extinction here during the 1950s, parts of the Central Coast are becoming popular again, with many creatures hauling out in regular spots. Head out from Hardys Bay with Terrigal Ocean Tours in search of these seal and penguin colonies.

Diving on Central Coast HMAS Adelaide
HMAS Adelaide
Photo Credit: Sydney Dive Charters
Diving on the Central Coast Photo Credit: @girlthatfreedives
Diving on the Central Coast
Photo Credit: @girlthatfreedives

Set Sail

If a few hours out on the water just isn’t enough, let yourself fall asleep to the gentle lap of the water on a luxury 38 foot sailing yacht. Help hoist the mainsail and trim the sheets with the guidance of your skipper, before spending the night moored offshore alone on the yacht.

If you’re keen to get in the water, there are ample opportunities. Pick up a board and paddle out at some of the Central Coast’s best beach breaks. Experienced surfers can try the reef at Forrester’s or Crackneck, while those wanting to give surfing a go for the first time can dip their toe in the waves on the beach breaks at Umina or Avoca Beach, arguably one of the most popular surf spots on the Central Coast. Try it out with one of the many surf schools, including Central Coast Surf School or Central Coast Surf Academy.

Dive in

Ocean swimming is also becoming popular, but if you’d like to see under the sea there are an abundance of reef and wreck dives along the coast, with around 429 dive sites available. The best known is the scuttled wreck of the ex-HMAS Adelaide, which lies at a depth of 35m off the coast of Terrigal and was sunk in 2011 to form an artificial reef.

Go Deeper

If diving isn’t your thing, there’s still a chance to dive the wreck at the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, located in Terrigal. The not-for-profit education centre includes a Virtual Reality Dive of the ex-HMAS Adelaide Artificial Reef, as well as an introduction to the temperate marine environment, the coastal landforms and tanks full of fish you’ll find on the Coast.

Hardy's Bay Yacht Charters
Hardy's Bay Yacht Charters, Hardy's Bay

This article was originally authored by Shaney Hudson, as part of a Love Central Coast grant project brought to you by Destination Central Coast, jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. To maintain accuracy, some editorial changes may have been made since publication.


Author Shaney Hudson grew up paddling in the waves around Woy Woy and paddling out at Copacabana Beach each summer.

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