Slow travel guide: Re-awaken to the Central Coast

People on a clifftop overlooking Bouddi
People on a clifftop overlooking Bouddi
Take a moment to find out what slow travel on the NSW Central Coast has to offer the soul
Peel away the layers holding you back on your next Central Coast journey...

Slow down to experience the Central Coast’s unique way of life, and leave with a thumbprint on your soul. This slow travel guide is all about helping you be present in your moments on the Coast, like a big hug you’re fully embracing.

Let nature, and the people living and breathing it, set the tempo for your slow travel experience. Ease into this slow travel guide seeking out slow, sustainable ways for you to travel purposefully.

Brisbane Water National Park
What is slow travel?

Slow travel is an approach to travel that emphasises connection: to local people, cultures, food and music. It relies on the idea that a trip is meant to educate and have an emotional impact, in the present moment and for the future, while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.

Break away from the glitter, glamour, and selfies of touristy bucket lists and instead 'go your own way' on your next visit to the Coast. Get to know the locals and what nature has to offer with a refreshing adventure on the NSW Central Coast.

The natural beauty of the Central Coast, its close proximity to Sydney and Newcastle, and the region’s passion and dedication to slow, sustainable travel plug right into the zeitgeist.

To fully embrace the slow travel movement, why not gently take a conscious step in the right direction, right now? Whether you're a local or guest to our ECO Destination, we invite you to take our Sustainability Pledge to get the full experience.

Central Coast Surfers
Forresters Beach
Macmasters Beach
Macmasters Beach
Cave sites
Ancient caves
The Coast’s natural abundance sets the tempo

More than half of our region is abundant with nature, while twenty five percent is protected national park making the Coast the ultimate destination where you can deviate from the popular path and discover something special.

As we all look for ways to recalibrate how we travel – ways to slow down and truly soak in and safeguard our environment in favour of buzzing here, there, and everywhere in the name of box ticking – it's easy to realise the Central Coast has been doing many things right all along.

Diverse dining, stay, and adventure opportunities as unique as their surroundings provide all the inspiration needed in an unhurried itinerary. The main objective? To slowdown, reconnect and escape reality for a little while.

Find a beach for every mood with 41 to choose from, lining the coast: surf a break to lose yourself in a wave, or laze like a starfish in a rock pool watching the clouds go by. And when you’re feeling energised from your slow high, you can hike your choice of trails in five national park that lead to clifftop vistas and hidden waterfalls.

Learn what all these natural elements mean to locals, and connect with them the way locals do. Your experience is also supported by a network of cultural experiences driven by a community of makers and creators all sharing and inspiring that creative spirit which makes our region so vibrant!

Eco-friendly ethos
One of only four Australian ECO Destinations

It’s no surprise that tourism is evolving in harmony with the environment. In 2021, the Central Coast was the only New South Wales finalist to feature on the global stage in the 2021 Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories list. And in 2022, we have officially achieved international ECO Destination Certification with Ecotourism Australia, recognising  the Central Coast as a world-class destination for sustainable, nature-based tourism. This is our destination-wide commitment to nurturing local stories, the environment and culture with sustainable choices and respecting cultural authenticity now and for generations after us.

Glamping with Simple Pleasures
Glenworth Valley glamping.
Tiny Home
Tiny home in Matcham.
Engaging the senses
Slow stays

Many local businesses have embraced sustainable and responsible practices, creating more conscious ways to explore the region. Whether it’s a luxe glamping spot, chic farm stay, tiny house or architecturally designed cabin you’ve got in mind, you’ll find slow and unique stay options on the Central Coast for you to experience slow living, if only for a weekend. 

Bells at Killcare farm to table
Bells at Killcare.
Slow food

Slow travel originates from the slow food movement. We are what we eat, right? Our slow food guide showcases local restaurants that are passionate about their menu items and regionally sourced ingredients, taking advantage of the Coast’s rich soils and ocean to feature organic and free-range produce and quality seafood.

There are also plenty of culinary education experiences available in our slow food guide, to learn about local produce, farming techniques and ancestral cooking methods.

Kayaking on the Central Coast
Kayaking in Popran National Park.
Make your journey matter
Slow experiences

Broaden your horizons, get lost and find yourself again through a unique experience – we guarantee you’ll find a deeper cultural exchange when you explore your surroundings through a local’s eye.

Pick a few slow travel-based things to do in line with your own interests and values, and find connection to the local community and culture through personal first-hand information.

Open yourself up to new cultural experiences, like a guided walking tour or workshop with Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences, or a guided cultural tour on Darkinjung Country by a local Elder. Learn the ancient craft of Blacksmithing in the hinterland and home your creation from the Artisan Estate workshop. Experience the Central Coast’s vibrant art gallery trail. Explore local art destinations, and marvel at magnificent original pieces, or even purchase your own artwork to take home and add to your curated collection; a lifetime of travel memories and holiday feels.

The Central Coast’s ECO certified and inspired experiences will also have you exploring spectacular waterways and wildlife with businesses who have a commitment to sustainable practices. Each ECO operator provides a high-quality, nature-based tourism experience that will help you to learn more about yourself and the world around you - with minimal impact on it.

Markets by the waters edge
Seaside markets run weekly.
Cultural experiences

The Central Coast's network of makers and creators includes a vibrant live music scene that regularly gathers at some of the biggest annual events on the calendar - check out the annual calendar of Harvest Festival, Lakes Festival, ChromeFest, Relish on the Coast, and Flavours by the Sea.

For your monthly opportunity to meet our makers and creators and enjoy local vocal talent you can also pencil in Avoca Beach Markets for a visit on the fourth Sunday of each month. These markets are run by passionate locals who champion sustainability, local produce, wares and promote love and connection with each thoughtfully planned event.  

Slow travel can be beneficial to adopting a more open mind. To help you choose your experiences wisely, simply do your research. Live like a local through any one of our all-inspiring Local Guides and who knows, you might just run into one of them.

Whether a hinterland or a coastal experience is in order, enjoying the slow travel movement on the Central Coast will help you take a step back, connect, and embrace our destination wholeheartedly. Check out our Sustainability Pledge to get the full experience.

We’re looking forward to your next visit when you leave a seasoned traveller, rather than a tourist.

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Do you have a fresh suggestion we’ve missed, or want to see your local business featured? We'd love to hear it – simply get in touch here with a few lines about your idea, or jump on our radar by creating a free Central Coast business or event listing here.


Don't forget – when sharing your love for local on the Central Coast, tag #LoveCentralCoast and mention us on Instagram and Facebook.