We spent around 10 days in the Central Coast region and while we didn’t do too much sightseeing because we were busy with various jobs, we did manage to visit all the breweries in the region and a few markets. The Central Coast is only an hour away from Sydney and covers a variety of landscapes from golden beaches and vast lakes to forests and rolling hills.
Things to See and Do
The main city of the region is Gosford, which sits on the edge of Brisbane Water. There isn’t a whole lot to see and do in Gosford city other than doing your banking and shopping, so we spent most of our time exploring the other regions.
The beach villages of Terrigal and Avoca Beach were bustling with activity. Think cute little cafes, seaside restaurants, shopping and beautiful coastlines and beaches where the locals spend half of their time. The Skillion in Terrigal is a popular spot, with lookouts on the headland that are perfect for whale watching.
Avoca Beach gets busy on the fourth Sunday of every month for the Avoca Beachside Markets. Listen to live music, grab a feed from the food stalls, taste local produce, or buy some fresh fruit and vegetables. Just off the coast at Avoca Beach is the HMAS Adelaide, an ex-naval warship that was purposely sunk, or scuttled, in 2011 to create an artificial reef. The site is open for diving and is located 1.8km from Avoca Beach.
We were on the Central Coast during the school holidays and the waterfront park at the Entrance was bustling with carnival rides and activities for the school holidays. We rocked up at 3:30pm just in time for the daily Pelican Feeding, when the resident pelicans come to a specially made feeding area for a fish or two. It’s strange to watch the pelican’s enormous bills move in unison.
North of the Entrance is the Norah Heads lighthouse, which offers fantastic views of the ocean and rocky plateaus below. On the other side of Lake Tuggerah is the gateway city of Wyong, where you can get some award winning cheese from Little Creek Cheese. They even do körözött, a kind of Hungarian spreadable cheese. We walked away with a jar of marinated salad cheese which is like a feta but milder in flavour.
We made time to drive through the Peninsula region and marvelled at the beautiful scenery around the lakes and lagoons. We even popped in at the peculiar Ettalong Markets, a long-running undercover market set in a Mediterranean piazza style building.
Block N Tackle Brewery
While they’ve been brewing for over 10 years, the Block N Tackle outlet has only been open since April 2015. They do small batch craft beers and also offer snacks like pies and crisps. We loved the Rip Bridge Golden Ale (5.9%) – it was a delight, with citrus and tropical fruit flavours balanced well with malt, hops and a yeasty finish. They also brew the Rip Channel Golden Ale, a smoother version of the Rip Bridge that is just as fruity and sweet, and a Coffee Porter that needed just a little more coffee, but it still smelt fantastic. If you love their beers, grab yourself a cool stainless steel growler that looks like a mini keg, and fill it with your favourite brew.
Six String Brewing Co.
This brewery was hidden away in a windowless shed but once inside, the atmosphere is rocking! Near the bar are tables to sit down and enjoy a drink or a pizza from the kitchen, and in front of the fermenting tanks is a little stage for live music. All of their beers were well balanced and delicious. Juz favoured the Coastie Lager – yeasty and sweet with hints of grapefruit and bread with a crisp and refreshing finish, while Dave really enjoyed the Dark Red IPA because despite prominent hops, it was balanced with creamy caramel flavours.
Central Coast Brewery
We had never come across a brewery where you can brew your own beer! They have a menu of over 160 varieties of beer, and you spend a day at the brewery doing the cook before your brew goes into the fermenting tanks for around 10-12 days. The full process takes about 2 weeks and you end up with about 6 cartons of beer. They also have a fridge full of their own brews that have been compared to some well known beers. They sell three long necks for $13.50, which is a bargain, and all the boys in the shed seem like seasoned brewers.
Philip is the man behind Distillery Botanica – he found that he couldn’t drink wine or beer for medical reasons so he began to distil pure sprits. All of his products start out as vodka and he uses plants to add flavour and colour. All of his spirits are smooth and he has won a few awards. Our favourites were the Raspberry Liqueur and the Mr Black Cold Drop Coffee Liqueur.