50 New places to eat, drink, play and stay on the Central Coast
Enjoy 50 reasons to have a good time this season with many shiny, new and revamped venues, menus and experiences to love on the NSW Central Coast.
Make a plan to explore what’s new in NSW’s only region on the Green Destination Top 100 List! From meeting meerkats and alpacas, to dining in a roaring 20s inspired pub, we’ve summed up the newest things to try in 2022…
The Central Coast is seriously stepping up its game this summer, with many exciting culinary, creative and immersive experiences launching across the region. With 41 beaches to choose from, a network of lakes, lagoons and waterways for the aqua-enthusiast, 5 national parks and several state forests with walking trails and cycle tracks, seaside villages dotted with casually-cool dining and al fresco bars, a produce-rich hinterland and variety of accommodation styles from holiday properties, hotel resorts and boutique stays – there is just SO MUCH to do when exploring the Central Coast this year!
Simply take your pick of what’s new below and dot your calendar with the best spots to find fun in our region...
First, an exciting new accolade
Central Coast named in the ‘Green Destinations Top 100 List’
On October 6, 2021, the Central Coast was successfully named in the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories list. The Top 100 is an international competition run by Green Destinations, with the Central Coast the only NSW destination, and only one of five Australian destinations included in the 2021 list. All destinations competing for a spot were required to meet a minimum level of compliance (60%) for certain core criteria of the international Green Destinations Standard, which the Central Coast is currently completing as part of its ECO Destination Certification journey in partnership with Ecotourism Australia and WWF-Australia.
New immersive experiences
There’s a new seaside icon in Terrigal - an immaculately crafted, accessible wooden boardwalk connecting Terrigal’s main high street shops, bars and beachside promenade directly over the crashing waves to The Haven and its surrounding parkland and The Skillion. Whether you approach the new Terrigal Boardwalk at sunrise, sunset or high tide, one thing is certain – you will feel closer to the ocean than ever, with some impressive photo opportunities to prove it.
The Australian Reptile Park in Somersby has welcomed two new bundles of joy – twin brother Tasmanian devils. The young joeys were born at Aussie Ark as part of the organisation’s insurance population for the endangered Tasmanian devil. Look out for their handsome little faces from early 2022 when they will be on display for visitors to meet.
Firescreek Botanical Winery in Holgate is offering a series of sensory workshops this season. Sip a selection of botanical fruit and flower wines, savour a perfectly paired tasting of locally handcrafted Luka Chocolates, forage the gorgeous vineyard grounds to create a luxurious cocktail, or book a rewarding hands on experience learning about the land from a local Darkinjung elder.
A new interactive experience at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park in Calga has emerged during 2021 and it involves several cute, naturally curious African animals climbing all over you. Visitors can prebook a personal encounter with their new residents meerkats, headed up by bold father figure Xhosa, introduced to the park as Lockdown 2.0 commenced. Pick from the 10-minute ‘Meerkat Speed Date’ ($48), a 20-minute ‘Meet the Meerkats’ ($72) or a 30-minute ‘Meerkat Magic’ encounter ($96). Make a night of it and book one of Walkabout’s onsite cabins or safari tents, plus an evening Spotlight Tour to spot local wombats, possums, Bilby and quoll.
A new luxury charter boat experience has launched on the Central Coast with private tours from Broken Bay available exploring the secluded bays of our region. Whether you are looking to hold a corporate event, party, or just want to spend time with your close family and friends their MV Highlander - a 46ft luxury motor yacht vessel - will adapt to your style serving up to 18 guests.
Starting 7 years ago as a farm with just two alpacas, the ECO-Certified Iris Lodge Alpacas have grown it to be an eco-friendly experience with 72 alpacas, 4 llamas, plus sheep, cows and horses. Located in Jilliby, the Central Coast’s hinterland, Iris Lodge offer a great opportunity for guests to experience real life on a working farm. You can choose to have either a breakfast or afternoon tea with alpacas and engage with day-to-day farm activities, or opt for their overnight farm stay accommodation for the full country life experience.
There is a new safari adventure in Wyong Creek, as Amazement Farm and Fun Park launches its new ‘Central Coast Zoo’ experience. Taking centre stage is the pride of lions, a family of six that formerly toured with Stardust Circus but have recently retired to their new Central Coast home. Wildlife conservation education is the zoo’s focus, with the team’s zoo veterinarian ‘Dr Katie’ overseeing the animals to ensure they receive the best care. New zoofari friends include marmosets, a capybara, an African serval wild cat, a red-tailed boa constrictor and more, with live talks and educational programs throughout the year.
Immerse yourself in an incredibly nourishing environment with this boutique 1-day mental wellbeing retreat hosted in the green rainforest sanctuary on the Central Coast. Perhaps just the remedy you need right now to release accumulated stress, build mental resilience, tap into lost creativity, and find those meaningful conversations you’ve been missing. Perfect for any busy professional or parent, single or couple.
Hop on over to Kincumber’s brewery, Block N Tackle, to get in touch with your creative side as Rosé & Renoir are now hosting exclusive Beers N Brushes evenings. Tickets for their 3 February class are now available online.
The Central Coast’s first and only interactive Smash & Splatter rooms have opened at Erina, offering adults (18+) an exceptional reason to make a mess and release some stress! Their rooms are purpose-built for safety and entertainment, allowing raging guests to smash everything from guitars to TVs, colour bombs to hair dryers, while friends or family watch and record the antics from the viewing window. Children 8+ are welcome to have fun in the Splatter Rooms with pinatas, paint balloon dartboards, paint pots and more to throw on the walls.
New & revamped Central Coast cafes
Studio Lane is Erina's new specialty coffee hub with a workshop and events space for kindred creatives to connect. Check out their monthly ring making workshops with Tommy, founder of The Fifth Lane hand-crafted jewellery brand for men and women. On the cars for 2022, the team plan to host pop-up dinners, art galleries and shows including live acoustic sessions and private functions. So if you're planning your own special event - anyone can enquire to hire this stunningly modern creative space.
Motel Mezza has a new sibling launched by two hospitality magicians Tara and her best mate Nick, and it’s just launched at Forrester’s Beach! Introducing The Pantry, the Central Coast's newest mecca for all day brunch lovers who also appreciate specialty coffee and a captivating wine list for those long lunches. Try The Pantry's iconic Balmain Bug slider, or Avo Smash with cashew cheese, pomegranate, chilli and mint dukka.
The Entrance Road of Bateau Bay needed this dot on the Central Coast coffee map! Local Hero is a super modern coffee house perfect to pull into pre or post beach/work/exercise for a top notch cup of joe. Headed up by passionate barista Els and partner Caleb, the pair are committed to connecting with the local community about all things coffee by serving rotating brews described as ‘mild’ or ‘wild’ in profile. Don’t miss the Spaghetti Bolognese Toastie and top up on freshly roasted single origin beans while you visit.
Bringing quality coffee to scenic Picnic Point at a perfect lakeside location in The Entrance, is the stylishly fresh Albie’s Coffee Bar. The family-run café (the name is a namesake of the owners’ young son), opened their doors in late 2021 with an aim to bring good coffee and good people together in the heart of the Central Coast. And it really is that simple according to passionate coffee afficionado and owner, Jason.
Expect more than your average lamington at new Central Coast pastry powerhouse, Bouffant. Row upon row of pastries greet you and prove hard to resist, making Bouffant the perfect pastry wonderland to pick up sweet treats the classic croissant, plus house-made breads and pies. The Bouffant concept was introduced locally in 2020 in East Gosford, with additional locations at central Gosford, Terrigal and now Umina Beach.
Margarita Daze is the beachside break at Umina Beach with an impressive waterfront outdoor deck offering views across to Lion Island, Barrenjoey lighthouse and beyond! New to the mainstay venue is their beachside kiosk, open seven days from 6am to 2pm. Favourite dishes on the casual menu include Szechuan Squid, the Korean-Fried Chicken Burger and Haloumi Tacos.
Give a warm, hearty welcome to this brand new bakery in Ettalong’s Galleria precinct, specialising in sourdough bread and pastries, with gluten-free versions available too. Next time you visit the Ettalong Beach esplanade, drop by to support this fresh local foodie and skip away with a delicious box of takeaway pastries.
Venture to Trafalgar Avenue's new gourmet toastie hub, The Cnr. for a specialty coffee fix. While you’re visiting, jump on a ferry ride with Central Coast Ferries, touring the waterways daily from the newly built wharf, an exciting addition to Woy Woy’s waterfront scene.
Spot the cute little coffee van of Blackfinn Espresso on the Main Road of Toukley, open as early as 5am on weekdays for all your pick me up needs. The business has recently expanded to offer Blackfinn grazing boxes too, so if you are staying in the north of the Central Coast and need an easy breakfast spread for your crew, simply message the team to order ahead.
Lou’s Café joins Toukley’s foodie cohort
Joining the Toukley Main Road action in late 2021 is the new Lou's Café for a cut above your average brunch spot. The team serve fresh breakfasts, brunches and burgers with spacious outdoor seating. Plus there's a stylish barbers on site too for ultimate convenience if someone in your crew needs a fresh hairdo.
Duck Duck Moose gets a new look in Wyong
Located in the arcade of the Gallery Precinct in Wyong’s town centre, check out this friendly, sustainably-minded cafés stunning refurb – bright, fresh, floral and airy with an equally fresh brunch menu and specialty coffee.
New & revamped restaurants, bars and venues
December marked the official opening of an exciting new beachside destination on the Central Coast – The Quarters at Forries. The hub not only features 34 'Hamptons' inspired rooms offering uninterrupted views of their tropical gardens and resort pool, but also The Pantry café and The Gilded Anchor restaurant and bar on site. Spend a long lunch, evening, or stay overnight and include visits to cosmetic and wellness centre You By Dr Shauna Watts, and boutique hairdresser salon Something by Grace, both located in The Quarters too.
The Heritage-listed Hotel Gosford is a now classic 1920s pub completely revamped on the corner of Gosford's high street. Its social bar and restaurant are stylishly reimagined with a nod to the past. Enjoy Earl's Kitchen cuisine crafted by Chef Mark Wisemen among the contemporary dining space and sleek, open air appeal. The restaurant serves a selection of Argentinian rolls, rotisserie meats, salads, seafood and all the pub classics (fancy schnitty anyone?).
For tasty food with a breathtaking view of Brisbane Water – dinner at the new Drifter's Wharf takes the trophy. Launched by the founders of Mumbo Jumbos Terrigal and Shady Palms of Avoca, this newly renovated venue is perched atop the water with floor to ceiling glass windows looking out across The Broadwater. Serving fresh seafood, unique cocktails and 50 taps of beer, arrive in style by boat, jetski, seaplane, train, shuttle bus, car, bike - or the old fashioned on foot.
The Beachcomber Hotel and Resort, fondly referred to as ‘The Beachie’, revealed its multi-million-dollar overhaul in early 2021 with its re-opening under new ownership. With a classy Hamptons-inspired look, the waterfront property now offers a variety of all-day dining, bar and lounging spaces. This spring, Pelican’s Restaurant – a former iconic seafood restaurant in the region - will return to The Beachie as the property’s semi fine-dining offering with a seafood-inspired menu.
Grab a table, a cocktail, and order a slice of tropical life in Woy Woy's Trafalgar Avenue social hub. Set within a calypso kitsch decor, your evening wraps up at Tropicana Social Club, a lively pizza bar with a selection of craft beers, ciders, sours, cocktails and boutique Australian sustainable wines. In the mood for takeaway? Order ahead and they can just as easily box up their specialty pizzas for you too.
Have you enjoyed the wonderfully fresh refurb ‘The Beery’ at Terrigal experienced in 2021 yet? Terrigal Beach House is now a more attractive destination than ever to enjoy a casual long lunch on its outdoor terrace. The food is wonderfully simple - expect woodfired pizzas, fresh fish tacos, seafood, cocktails and local beers on tap. Catch live music in their beachside beer garden to fully embrace the atmosphere of Terrigal on the weekend, with bands playing most Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evenings.
The Entrance Social Club, formerly The Entrance Hotel, has just launched its brand new Taffy’s Sports-Bar – and it’s a real statement space created by Pony Design Co. Owner Andrew Thomas, known as Taffy by his nearest, established the original Taffy’s Bar at his iconic North Shore pub The Oaks at Neutral Bay. Taffy’s offers an electric atmosphere with walls adorned in eclectic vintage images of yesteryear sports heroes. A great spot to watch all major sporting events including both national and international sport; NBA, NFL- Super Bowl, Golf, UFC and more. Grab a spot in one of Taffy’s low-level lounge-style seats, saddle seats, or booths complete with personal screens.
Pearls on the Beach officially moved from the 19-year stewardship of dedicated Scott and Melissa Fox to new management in December 2021. The exciting new incarnation is made up of past staff, including head chef Byron Namenyi, sous chef at Pearls for 6 years, and his new sous chef, Awhe Pahau, also serving at Pearls for 5 years. Headed up by experienced restaurant manager Dan McKinnon, returning to Pearls with 25 years of experience at Cottage Point Inn, Pearls and Safran of Ettalong, this memorable beachfront dining experience is ready to welcome new and loyal guests with its refreshed white-wash interior and summer menu.
Bringing a little slice of Mexico to Ettalong with authentic flavours descried as ‘fresh, fast and packed with a punch’, served up in their pop-up cantina at the Galleria precinct. Since launching in May 2021, LA Taco has quickly developed a reputation for its flavoursome dishes, delicious margheritas and high-energy, party-like vibe. With experienced people heading up LA Taco including Saddles Mt White owners Cameron & Hayley, plus Liam of Johnny Tapas fame, your experience here is sure to reinvigorate your love of dining out.
Toukley welcomes a new Irish inspired café by day and cocktail bar by night to its increasingly impressive social scene. Created by the same guys behind trendy Hearts & Minds Barber Emporium in Wyong, this speakeasy bar will greet you with instant ambience and keep you with its soulful live music. Book ahead to celebrate St Paddy’s day here!
More new places to dine on your fave cuisine:
Bao Brothers @ Terrigal – for contemporary Asian flavours and the signature street food culture of Gua Bao via its exceptional bao buns
Chica Chica @ Ettalong – for a taste-bud tingling menu inspired by South American flavours complemented with killer Margaritas.
Fedele's @ East Gosford – for the region’s newest Italian pizzeria and café-wine bar experience.
Six String Brewing welcomes Moobi Valley @ Erina – for the incredible slow-cooked meaty menu by the pros at Moobi Valley based in Berkeley Vale, now serving fresh feeds alongside craft beer on weekends from your local brewery.
Sorrisos @ Toukley - for authentic Italian stone-baked pizzas with new restaurant Sorrisos led by the local team of popular coastal restaurant Dunes by Dish.
Swells @ Terrigal - for modern Australian cuisine with amazing seaside views in this newly opened Terrigal restaurant, with indoor and outdoor dining for lunch and dinner and walk ins welcome.
Table 92 @ Toowoon Bay – for gourmet burgers, pizza, pasta and a gelato bar in this seaside hamlet, perfect for refuelling during on a classic summer beach day.
Tango Restaurant @ The Entrance – for authentic Italian pizza & Spanish tapas from the passionate South American owners.
New boutique spots to shop
The perfect combination of art, colour, flowers, pretty pieces and rumour has it soon there will be kids parties and interactive workshops too! Central Coast artist Grant Molony, the talent behind many wildlife, marine and portrait wall murals across the region runs a limited edition print company, General Admission. His partner launched a floral fun house store in Long Jetty last year and are bringing their glowing creativity to The Entrance scene.
Partners in wine Michelle and Dave opened a walk-in boutique bottle shop in Long Jetty, selling a hand curated selection of small batch, minimal intervention wines, beers and spirits. Drop in to explore their international and local range with free, vino-snob-free advice on the best tipples for your tastebuds. Keep an eye out in 2022 for their weekly taster events and winemaker guests.
Le Pont Wine Store opens in Terrigal
Le Pont is another new local fine wine emporium making its mark on the Central Coast beachside town of Terrigal in 2022. With exquisite wines from the finest appellations, artisanal spirits and craft beers, you'll find everything you're looking for to complement your summer.
We’re excited to share that all the curated fine food items you could dream of filling your pantry or gifting to loved ones in hampers will now be available at this new deli store. Salt Pig owners have carved up a fresh space to create their epic grazing boards and sell greater range of premium gourmet items from around the world.
Launching their shopfront on the main Terrigal Esplanade in 2021, this Australian label offers an edited collection of effortless, modern pieces that make great everyday wardrobe staples with accessories to match. Following a sustainable design philosophy of ‘less is more', their limited collections are lovingly made from natural materials in pastel tones that can be styled through all seasons.
A wonderful new place for women to shop during a seaside visit to the charming Ettalong Beach. Browse coastal lifestyle fashion, homewares, items for little ones, thoughtful books and heartwarming gifts inspired by life by the sea and curated by local owner, Jane.
New places to stay on the Central Coast
This stunningly refurbished accommodation at Forresters Beach, now known fondly as ‘The Quarters’, offers a beautiful seaside resort-style place to stay on your visit to the Central Coast. You are just minutes from some of the region’s best beaches (Shelly, Bateau Bay, Wamberal and of course Forries!), plus easy short drives to key sights and attractions. There are 34 rooms available catering to couples, families and corporates, with a café, restaurant, bar, pool and wellbeing businesses available on site.
The Greenhouse Retreats is a collection of luxurious holiday retreats in Green Point and Pearl Beach on the Central Coast. This spring, they will open their third property ‘The One Pearl’, a four-bedroom property. Each of their properties welcomes friends and families seeking out a private, luxurious getaway. All are beautifully styled with high-grade linens and furnishings along with health, wellness and spa inclusions like aromatherapy, organic herbal teas and organic bathroom and spa products from Ikou.
Wake up to the mist rising through the valley and up over the mountains from Karinya Farmstay, a four-bedroom holiday property in Dooralong in the Central Coast hinterland. Spend the days lazing by the pool or try your hand at farming and enjoy grooming the horses or feeding the sheep and cows. A stay where you can do as little, or as much as you’d like.
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