Here it is – ALL of the beaches on the Central Coast – from south to north. We’ve found an incredible 49 local beaches, and we’ve visited every single one of them for you! There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for toddler-friendly gentle waves, the perfect learn-to-surf spot, or a remote beach at the end of a windswept bush track. Plus, we’re sharing which beaches are patrolled, where the off-leash dog areas are, beaches with food (aka fish ‘n’ chips, coffee and ice-cream), the best parking spots, and where to find helpful accessibility aides such as beach wheelchairs.
Find out what makes each one special, and discover the best spots for your family to soak up the sun, surf and sand. Or why not try them all – visit a different one each weekend and it’ll take you practically ALL year!
There are so many sandy stretches on the Coast, and some have more than one name, so it can be a little tricky knowing where one beach ends and another starts. To keep it simple we’ve based our list on the records at Beachsafe, Surf Life Saving Australia’s online beach guide.
So here’s our mega list of all the beaches on the Central Coast – pack your sunnies, grab a towel and get ready to hit the sand!
1. PATONGA BEACH
Patonga Beach is a popular seaside retreat tucked away at the edge of Brisbane Water National Park. The beach curves around a sheltered bay, where ferries and fishing boats come and go. At the northern end, you’ll find the peaceful Brisk Bay and a fun wooden playground. To the south, there’s a wide stretch of sand leading to Patonga Creek and the Patonga Caravan and Camping Area.
Stroll along the sand looking for shells, see the pelicans perching on the public wharf and dip your toe in the gentle waves. At the creek, kids can dig in the mud, skim stones across the water, and enjoy splashing in the shallows. It’s a good spot to put a kayak in and explore further upstream, too.
Afterwards, hit the cafes for fish and chips and a coffee, or head to the Boathouse Hotel for a leisurely meal. To really make a day of it, try hiking along the nearby Patonga to Pearl Beach Walking Track, where you’ll find abundant native flora and fauna, and spectacular views.
Visitor information: The bay is usually calm and is good for swimming, although it’s not patrolled. The mouth of the creek can have strong tidal currents, so caution is advised there. Dogs are allowed off-leash along the Foreshore Reserve. There are bathrooms and a sheltered picnic area on Patonga Drive, at the Eve Williams Memorial Oval.
2. PEARL BEACH
Pearl Beach is a place that makes you feel a million miles from care. Even the drive in is enough to switch you straight into holiday mode. The beautiful cove gives views of bobbing boats and the uninhabited bush of Box Head in the distance. This is a perfect beach for families with young children, as it’s a really gentle break. An ocean pool lies at the southern end among the rocks and offers up some of the best rockpools on the Coast. Here you’ll find myriad sea slugs, periwinkles, crabs and more – and just inches from the sand.
Pearls on the Beach brings fine dining to the sand, while The Pearl Beach Cafe and General Store offers takeaway, ice-creams and anything you’ve forgotten to make your beach day a great one. The nearby Arboretum is a beautiful place to explore and is a perfect spot for bushwalkers with limited stamina (i.e. little legs). While the Pearl to Patonga Beach Walking Track is a stunning walk abundant with native flora and fauna, and spectacular views. Read about both in our bushwalking feature.
Visitor information: This beach is not patrolled. Public toilets and showers can be found in the beachside park at the end of Amethyst Street. There is free parking along Pearl Parade. You can take your dog for an off-leash run at the northern end of Pearl Beach (as far south as Agate Avenue).
3 & 4. UMINA BEACH AND SOUTH UMINA BEACH
These beaches are a favourite with locals and holidaymakers alike. At Umina Beach, you’ll find kids digging with buckets of sand, beginner surfers heading in to practise catching a wave, and families splashing and swimming between the flags.
At South Umina Beach, Ettalong Creek runs to meet the ocean, creating a large shallow area bordered by rocks. This is the place to take your furry friend to romp with other dogs – it’s a really popular off-leash spot and there’s always plenty of tails wagging here.
Visitor Information: Umina Beach is patrolled between mid-September and mid-April. Beach wheelchairs and beach matting are available for hire – book here. To find parking behind the beach, follow Sydney Avenue south past the Peninsula Leisure Precinct. There’s an NRMA Holiday Park here. For South Umina Beach, park in the carpark on Mount Ettalong Road (it’s on the eastern side, just before the road goes uphill), where you’ll find bathroom facilities and a quick walk down to the shore.
5. OCEAN BEACH, UMINA
If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend the day soaking up the sun, surf and sand, then you really can’t go past Ocean Beach at Umina. Littlies can splash in the shallows and build sandcastles to their heart’s content, while older kids can head in for a swim between the flags, or learn to catch a wave at the Central Coast Surf School. Feeling peckish? The Umina Beach Cafe, and nearby Jasmine Greens Kiosk, will have you sorted. And if you still have some energy left after your swim, head to the Peninsula Leisure Precinct behind the beach where slides, swings, a skate park, flying fox and huge rope climbing frames will really wear the kids out!
Visitor information: Ocean Beach is patrolled from mid-September through to mid-April. There are bathrooms and a water fountain near the cafe, and a large carpark at the end of Sydney Avenue and Ocean Beach Road. Accessible wheelchairs and beach matting are available for booking here.
6. ETTALONG BEACH, ETTALONG
At Ettalong Beach, you can grab an ice-cream or a coffee at The Box On The Water, and watch ferries cruise past in the peaceful bay. The northern end of the beach is perfect for young children – the waves are gentle here and there’s a wide stretch of level sand to explore. Follow the sand south and you can walk all the way to Umina, enjoying views across the water to Lobster Beach and Lion Island.
Visitor Information: Just behind the cafe you’ll find a fun shaded playground, a path that’s great for scooters, and bathrooms too. Dogs are welcome from the southern end of the beach. The beach is not patrolled. Read our feature to learn more about visiting this family-friendly beach!
7. LOBSTER BEACH
There’s something good for the soul about relaxing in the shade of a gum tree, watching waves lap the nearby shore. Peaceful Lobster Beach offers an uplifting nature experience for kids, and you might just find it becomes your new happy place, too! Getting to the beach is a bit of an adventure, as there’s no direct road access. Instead, families can hike in on one of two (short but steep) bush paths through Bouddi National Park. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a boat, you can cruise into the cove directly. Once you’re there, take a refreshing dip in the gentle waves, enjoy a picnic under the trees lining the sand, or explore the rocks at either end of the beach. There are views across to Ettalong, Umina and Lion Island, and lots of native wildlife to spot too.
Visitor Information: Park in High View Road, Pretty Beach and follow the trail up and over the hill. You can also start from Hawke Head Drive, Box Head, and walk the Flannel Flower Track (you can read more about both these trails in our Bushwalk feature here). The beach is not patrolled and dogs are not permitted. There is a drop toilet there, and you’ll need to take your own water in with you.
8. IRON LADDER BEACH, BOX HEAD
Iron Ladder Beach is definitely one for only the most adventurous explorers! It’s actually not one we recommend families attempt to visit on foot. Why? Well, the access trail is a little tricky to find, and although it’s an interesting walk once you’re on it, it gets harder the closer you get to the beach. Right towards the end it becomes a very narrow path right along the cliff edge. And that’s not all – when you get to the beach itself, the only way in is to wobble across a plank of wood, then climb down a tall gap between rocks to reach the shore. The cove is almost all underwater at high tide, too. But, if you have a boat or kayak and want to explore the coastline, this would be a great place to paddle across to. It makes for a secluded space from which to enjoy beautiful Bouddi National Park.
Visitor Information: Iron Ladder Beach is located in Bouddi National Park. Access is via Hawkes Head Drive, Box Head. Follow the Box Head walking trail until you see the fishing signpost, then walk on to the large boulders just past here. The path is to the right – look for white arrows painted on the rocks and follow them down the hill. There is a clearing at the bottom and some nice views across the water. The cliff edge is unfenced. The beach is not patrolled, and we don’t recommend trying to reach the sand on foot. Dogs are not permitted here.
9 & 10. TALLOW BEACH AND LITTLE TALLOW BEACH
Wild and windswept, Tallow Beach and Little Tallow Beach are tucked along the coastline between Box Head and Killcare. These are beaches for the nature-lovers – eagles glide above, smaller birds flit amongst the coastal scrub, while waves crash over rocks and wash pretty shells up along the shore. Families can bushwalk in and explore the wide stretch of sand at Tallow Beach (including a quite impressive collection of driftwood at the northern end!). There’s a small campground right behind Tallow Beach, and it’s a quiet spot for surfing and fishing, too. Or, detour to Little Tallow, where sure-footed kids can climb over wide rock platforms and find their way down to the sand.
Visitor Information: Tallow Beach and Little Tallow Beach are in Bouddi National Park. Access is via Hawke Head Drive, Box Head. This is a dirt road, and you will need a 4WD to get to the parking area. Follow the signs down the 1km steep walking trail to Tallow Beach, where you’ll find the campground and toilet facilities. Make sure you take your own water with you. The side track to Little Tallow Beach is to the right as you near the campground. The climb down into Little Tallow is steep and rocky, and best suited to older kids. The rock platforms here are unfenced and caution is advised. These beaches are not patrolled and dogs are not permitted.
11. KILLCARE BEACH
Spot dolphins playing in the surf, run along the windswept dunes and look for treasures in the sand at beautiful Killcare Beach. Stretching along the edge of Bouddi National Park, it’s an easily accessible beach with a refreshingly wild vibe. At the southern end, there’s a popular rockpool that’s perfect for kids to paddle in. Watch out for a strong rip at this end of the beach, and avoid swimming here. Take a dip between the flags instead – the beach is patrolled from mid-September through to April.
Visitor Information: Beach wheelchairs are available for hire here. You’ll find the Killcare Beach Kiosk on the ground floor of the nearby Surf Club, and there’s plenty of parking on Beach Drive. Your furry friends will love it here too – dog walking is permitted in the Putty Beach Road Reserve, which is located on the northern end of the beach.
12. PUTTY BEACH, KILLCARE
At Putty Beach, think nature escape! Families can stroll down a wide stretch of sand, climb a hill to discover the scenic Bouddi Coastal Walk or take the kids for a splash in the calm bay. You can even pitch a tent at the nearby Putty Beach Campground. There’s plenty of wildlife to spot, from eagles to pods of playful dolphins. It’s all part of Bouddi National Park, and the perfect place to take a break, pause for a while and enjoy the great outdoors.
Visitor Information: This beach is not patrolled. Dogs are not allowed, although you can walk them along the nearby Putty Beach Road Reserve (find it at the southern end of the beach). The campground has toilet facilities, barbecues and picnic tables. You need to pay to park on Putty Beach Road – it’s currently $8 per vehicle per day.
13. BULLIMAH BEACH, KILLCARE HEIGHTS
If you like outdoor adventures that feel wild, rugged and remote, head to Bullimah Beach! It’s a small cove at the end of a spectacular clifftop walk. Park at Putty Beach and follow the Bouddi Coastal Walk for around 700m, until you reach a wooden staircase down to the shore. Here kids can dig in the sand, discover a mysterious cave at the water’s edge and listen for frogs in the tranquil creek running down towards the waves. Although you can paddle at the shore, the waves are usually too rough to go further out and it does get deep quickly. This means it’s not suitable for swimming, but the beautiful natural environment (and the views!) make this a place we think you’ll love.
Visitor information: Bullimah Beach is not patrolled. There’s paid parking at Putty Beach Road, and camping is available at the nearby Putty Beach campground. You’ll also find toilets, picnic tables and bbq facilities there. This beach is part of the beautiful Bouddi National Park, which means pets are not allowed, and you need to leave any beach treasures where you find them.
14. MAITLAND BAY BEACH
It’s a bit of a hike to get to Maitland Bay Beach, but it’s oh so worth it! The beach is at the end of a steep 1km walk down through Bouddi National Park. Once you get to the bay there’s rock pools and sand dunes to explore, and even a shipwreck for little adventurers to find! The SS Maitland sank off the shore at the northern end of the bay back in 1898, and its boiler is still sometimes visible at low tide. The beach is wide and flat, with shallow waves for little feet to paddle in. The Bouddi Coastal Walk passed through here, with hikers following the trail to McMasters Beach in the north and Putty Beach in the south.
Visitor Information: There’s a parking area on The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights. There are bathrooms available here. Dogs are not allowed on the bush track or down on the beach. The beach is not patrolled. The path is steep, so make sure you save some energy for the walk back up to the top!
15. LITTLE BEACH
Follow a bush trail down to Little Beach and you’ll be rewarded with a lush campground, rocks to clamber over and a shallow stream to leap across. Plus there’s plenty of sand to dig in, driftwood to collect and expansive views out to the Tasman Sea. It’s not the best spot for swimming as the waves can get a little rough, but the stream is great for even the youngest explorers to paddle in. You can fish here and surfing is popular, too.
Visitor Information: Park on Grahame Drive, McMasters Beach, and choose between the fire trail at the end of the street, or the bush path a little further back. Both are around 750m long and suitable for little legs. Little Beach is in Bouddi National Park, so any beach treasures do need to be left where you find them. Dogs are not permitted and the beach is not patrolled. There are picnic tables, free barbecues and no-flush toilets at the campground. If you like the idea of pitching a tent to stay the night, make sure you book in with NSW National Parks here.
16. MACMASTERS BEACH
Macmasters Beach, or Macs as it’s locally known, is fantastic for families. This patrolled beach has a kid-friendly ocean pool and large pine trees that cast shade across the sand – bringing a welcome reprieve from the scorching sun in the peak of summer. The point break is popular with surfers, and there are a heap of rocks at the southern end for clambering over and crab explorations.
If you’re after eats with a view, Macs is one of our favourite places to head: it’s home to the Barefoot Café which serves coffee, ice-creams and an all-day breakfast menu from 8am-4.30pm daily and dinner – Thai – on Fridays and Sundays (5.30pm-9pm). Plus, the Surf Club bar is open through the festive season (Fridays from 5pm; Sundays from 4pm). There’s also a fabulous playground (built mid-2019) directly opposite the beach.
Visitor information: Macmasters beach is patrolled from mid-September to mid-April. Beach wheelchairs are available on request. Toilets can be found at the park on Marine Parade and also behind Barefoot Cafe. Free barbecue facilities and a little grassy patch for picnic rugs can be found next to Barefoot Cafe. There’s lots of parking on Marine Parade – right at the beach. Dogs are permitted on the beach north of Gerda Road right up to southern Copa.
17. COPACABANA BEACH
Copa is a favourite spot for fur friends as the southern end of the beach is an off-leash dog area. It’s also home to Burnt Honey Bakery – the Coast’s best patisserie for almond croissants, cinnamon buns, Portuguese tarts, Boston baked beans pies and, well, just about anything involving flour and butter! (Check out our sweet treats feature for more on them). The northern point has a small rockpool and is also the place to paddle out if you’re after some waves.
The Shaun Brinklow Park on Pampas Avenue is a fantastic fully fenced, inclusive playground and there’s a skatepark opposite too. Not too far down the road, you’ll also find the wonderful Susan Fahey park, which is one of the Coast’s best for adventurous climbers. Copa SLSC’s bar, Week Enders, is open during the surf lifesaving season from 5pm to 9pm Friday nights.
Visitor information: Copa is patrolled from mid-September to mid-April (see here for more info). Beach wheelchairs are available on request. Toilets and showers can be found at the Copa SLSC. There’s lots of parking on Del Monte Place- right at the beach. Dogs are permitted on the southern end of the beach.
18 & 19. AVOCA BEACH AND NORTH AVOCA BEACH
If you like your beach trips sandy with a side of surfable swells, then Avoca is the place for you. Plus, there are village cafes, plenty of space for everyone and loads of activities for families to choose from. Kids can learn to catch a wave, go paddleboarding, make sandcastles, play in the park, or enjoy fresh fish and chips on the beach.
At the southern end, there’s the surf club, Point Cafe and a beach kiosk. Down on the shore, kids can splash in a large protected area with gentle waves. Take the time to explore and look for sea creatures in the shallow water – we’ve seen fish, crabs and even an octopus curling around the rocks here! There’s an awesome park behind the surf club here too, where kids can climb, swing and slide to their heart’s content.
For swimming, you can’t beat the main stretch of sand between the flags. It’s a popular surfing spot, too, with conditions suitable for beginners and experts alike.
At North Avoca, there’s an off-leash dog area bordering the scenic Avoca Lake. If you would like to explore the lake, head to Heazlett Park to hire peddle boats, kayaks and paddleboards. The Avoca Beach Picture Theatre is nearby, and on the fourth Sunday of each month, make your way to Avoca Beachside Markets to get your fill of local produce and handmade treasures!
Visitor information: Avoca Beach is patrolled from mid-September to mid-April. Beach wheelchairs are available on request. The main beach has a water fountain, toilets, barbeque facilities, and picnic tables in the shade. There’s plenty of parking on Vale Avenue, Burns Street and along Avoca Drive. To access North Avoca Beach, park on Ficus Avenue, where you’ll find bathroom facilities and a path down to the sand. Dogs are permitted on North Avoca Beach, between Ficus Avenue and View Street.
20. TERRIGAL HAVEN
When scuba divers and pelicans frequent a beach you know you’ve found a gentle shoreline, and many a babe has taken their first ocean dip at Terrigal Haven. The barbecues and picnic tables are popular with kids parties and family gatherings on weekends, but mid-week during the shoulder seasons, you’ll find lots of fishermen and dog walkers. Reef is wonderful for special occasion feasting and The Cove Café is a popular spot for brunch, but we recommend you grab a coffee and wagyu brisket burger from their kiosk and take to the sand.
The Skillion offers great views of the Coastline and there’s a huge off-leash dog park behind the carpark at Broken Head. And, with the erection of the new boardwalk, it’s now a super easy cruise into Terrigal.
Visitor Information: Public toilets are located under the Trojan’s Restaurant and Sports Bar – at the oval. There are lots of picnic tables along the shoreline as well as free barbecue facilities. There’s lots of free parking in the dedicated car parks.
21. TERRIGAL BEACH
As you come down the hill and into Terrigal, you’ll immediately spot its beautiful patrolled beach. If you’re looking to surf and don’t have your own gear, head to Terrigal Surf Life Saving Club where Rabbit’s Surf Hire is located. This is an automated surfboard system (think vending machine for surfboards). You can hire a surfboard for as little as $10/hour, or you can grab a bodyboard for $5/hour.
Central Coast Surf School also offers surfing lessons at Terrigal Beach and has been teaching newcomers to surf for more than 20 years. Prices start at $50pp for a group lesson.
After you’ve had a dip in the ocean, take a stroll along the esplanade. If it’s the first Saturday of the month, Terrigal Markets will be on and you can snap up some gorgeous oceanic prints from local artist Mango Sea, handmade bibs from Made with Grammy Love, delicious raw treats from Soul Food, jewellery, homewares, succulents and more.
Click here for our feature revealing “The Best things to do in Terrigal” – including the places to grab loaded doughnuts, New York-style cookies and other special treats.
Visitor information: Terrigal Beach is patrolled from the start of the September school holidays through to the ANZAC Day holiday. Beach wheelchairs and beach matting are available on request.
22. WAMBERAL BEACH
Wamberal Beach is just to the north of Terrigal, and it’s definitely the quieter of the two. It’s a large beach with a number of rips, so make sure you stay between the flags if you’re going in for a swim! It’s a good fishing and surfing spot, and it’s also popular for long walks, with around 3.8km of sand stretching from the northern end of the beach down to the boardwalk at Terrigal. It’s great for dog walking too – your four-legged friends can catch a tennis ball or chase some waves in the off-leash area between Surfers Road and Pacific Street.
Behind the sand you’ll find Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve, which has a large tranquil lagoon surrounded by protected coastal bushland.
Visitor Information: The beach is patrolled from mid September to mid April. There’s plenty of parking, bathrooms and a water fountain at the Surf Club on Wiles Avenue. For access to the lagoon, park here or in Remembrance Drive. You can hire beach wheelchairs to use at Wamberal Beach. And you can swim in the lagoon, but be aware that the water quality can vary, particularly after rain.
23. SPOON BAY
Spoon Bay is a bit of a secret favourite with locals and we can see why! Grab your beach gear, head down a short path through the Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve, then hop across the sand to the waves. At the northern end, rocks form a peaceful semi-enclosed bay where you can float away your worries in the gentle waves, go snorkelling or enjoy a relaxed swim with the kids. Further south there are rock pools to explore and plenty of space to spread out a towel. There’s not much shade, so make sure you pack a beach shelter if you’re planning on staying for the day.
Visitor Information: Facilities are limited here, with no bathrooms or cafes at the beach. Although, if you’re feeling energetic, you can actually walk all the way along the sand to the cafes at Wamberal or Terrigal from here! There is a beach shower on Spoon Bay Road. You can park here or in one of the nearby cross streets. It does get really busy at peak times so take care when parking, as there are often kids about. The beach is not patrolled.
24. FORRESTERS BEACH
With some of the best waves on the Central Coast, Forresters Beach is a firm favourite with local surfers. There’s loads of rocks and a reef offshore, which means you’ll find long breaks around 600m out to sea. The shore is gentler with lower waves, and the beach itself is fairly quiet, too. It’s backed by dunes and there are some nice views nearby – check out the Wyrrabalong Lookout just to the north, on Cromarty Hill Road.
Visitor Information: Park on Kalakau Avenue. There are bathrooms here. Dogs are allowed between the Crystal and Henry Street access paths, and this beach is not patrolled.
25. BATEAU BAY BEACH
Bateau Bay Beach is great for little explorers! Rockpools to the north of the sand are teeming with marine life at low tide, while the southern end of the beach has a large shallow area that’s perfect for paddling without getting pummelled by the waves. The beach is a popular swimming and snorkelling spot for local families, while the southern section, where you can walk right around under the rocky headland, is lots of fun to explore.
Above the beach, you’ll find a shady picnic area, with tables, lookouts and bathrooms available. From here you can venture south into Wyrrabalong National Park, following a bush trail to Crackneck Lookout. If you’re feeling energetic, keep walking along the Coastal Track to Wyrrabalong Lookout, enjoying the knock-out views along the way.
Visitor Information: Access to Bateau Bay Beach is via a steep concrete ramp at the southern end, or a wooden staircase at the northern end. The beach is not patrolled and dogs are not permitted. There’s plenty of parking along Reserve Drive, and nearby cafes make a great pit stop after you’ve taken a dip.
26, 27 & 28. SHELLY BEACH, BLUE LAGOON AND NORTH SHELLY BEACH
With sand dunes behind you and the sparkling Pacific Ocean out in front, Shelly and North Shelly Beaches make the perfect spot for the whole family to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors. Together these beaches stretch for 1.5km, with plenty on offer.
Down on Shelly Beach, kids can climb the steep sand dunes, make sandcastles, grab an ice-cream from the cafe or head in for a swim between the flags. If surfing’s your thing, the main beach is popular with locals while the southern end is a great spot for beginners. Plus, at the southern end of the sand, you’ll find Blue Lagoon, a gorgeous protected spot to enjoy a paddle.
Take your four-legged friend to the off-leash space at North Shelly Beach, where they can run to their heart’s content, jump in the surf for a dip and chase tennis balls along the sand. There’s a large flat stretch of rock pools here too, perfect for dogs who like to splash but don’t love the waves.
Shelly Beach Holiday Park is just around the corner too, if you’re in the mood for a longer stay. Find out more here.
Visitor Information: Above the main beach you’ll find bathrooms, a water station, Muncha’s Cafe and the Shelly Beach Surf Club. The beach is patrolled from mid-September to mid-April. Parking is available on Shelly Beach Road. Beach wheelchairs are available for bookings. To Visit North Shelly Beach, park in Bombora View, where you’ll find a lookout and a grassy area with bathrooms, covered picnic tables and BBQ facilities.
29. TOOWOON BAY
A wide stretch of sand greets visitors to Toowoon Bay, before sweeping down to two curved bays. There’s plenty of room to throw a ball around or build an epic sandcastle, and the waves are gentle enough to enjoy a relaxed swim with the kids or to try some surf lessons. Rock platforms line the southern and middle sections of the beach, and you can often spot huge ships far out to sea. Grab a coffee from the Surf Club Cafe, or pack a picnic – there are tables and plenty of grass up at the nearby Swadling Reserve. Toowoon Bay is a popular spot for holidaymakers, with the Toowoon Bay Holiday Park just up the road, or for a more luxurious getaway, you’ll find Kims Beachside Retreat right behind the sand.
Visitor Information: The beach is patrolled from mid-September through to mid-April. Dogs are not allowed. The closest carpark to the beach is on Bay Road (drive through Swadling Reserve and follow the road downhill to the beach). There’s a water fountain near the carpark, and bathrooms available at the surf club. Accessible beach equipment is available for hire, including wheelchairs and beach matting.
30. BLUE BAY
Blue Bay gets its name from – you guessed it – the glorious colour of the water in this peaceful cove. Just north of Toowoon Bay, the waves are gentle and shallow, making it a great spot for littlies to find their sea legs. There’s a rock platform to explore at the northern end, seagulls swooping by and plenty of sand to dig in. It’s less crowded than other nearby beaches, making it a good pick if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter.
Visitor Information: Parking is available on Werrina Parade and Blue Street, or you can park at Toowoon Bay Beach and walk the 400 m or so up to the bay. There are bathrooms and a water station at the Toowoon Bay Surf Club, and a public bathroom on Blue Street. Dogs are not allowed, and the beach is not patrolled.
31. THE ENTRANCE BEACH AND GRANT MCBRIDE BATHS
Visitors to The Entrance are really spoilt for choice when it comes to sea, surf and sand! First, there’s the sandy beach off the main promenade, where you’ll find plenty of pelicans, Vera’s Water Garden and an awesome playground. It’s a great place to grab a snack or settle in for a fish ’n’ chips feast.
Then, there’s the sand curving around The Entrance Channel, which is where Tuggerah Lake meets the ocean. This creates a large calm lagoon that’s great for swimming, fishing, paddle boarding and birdwatching.
Head south to find the patrolled beach, a wide and rocky shore where littlies can dig, paddle and splash. You’ll find the iconic Grant McBride baths here too – take a dip in the ocean pool, splash in the children’s wading pool or enjoy the views from the deck.
Visitor Information: There’s plenty of car parking around The Entrance. Try the parking station on Coral Street for the promenade, Marine Parade for the patrolled beach, and Ocean Parade to access the Grant McBride Baths. There are bathrooms at the parking station, at Memorial Park on the foreshore, at the surf club and at the baths. Beach wheelchairs are available for booking here.
32. THE ENTRANCE NORTH BEACH
At North Entrance Beach families can enjoy a walk along the dunes, stunning views out to sea or head in for a swim between the flags. It’s a fairly narrow beach, with some erosion in the high dunes lining the shore. Up top, there are pathways lined with coastal flowers, with some pretty lookouts along the way.
Drive a few minutes south to find Karagi Reserve, which is a haven for holiday-makers. There’s shallow water in the channel here, plenty of sand to dig in, good fishing and a small playground. Bathrooms are up on the hill to the left as you drive into the carpark, and the Dunleith Tourist Park has cabins right on the water, perfect for a relaxed beach holiday.
Visitor information: To access North Entrance Beach, park on Marine Parade. At the surf club, you’ll find bathrooms and picnic tables. The beach is patrolled, and dogs are not allowed. Karagi Reserve is on Hutton Road, The Entrance.
33. TUGGERAH BEACH
There are a few ways to reach Tuggerah Beach – one path starts with a climb up some very steep sand dunes. When you reach the top, the views are amazing! Out to the west, you can see across the lakes, while to the east, the Tasman Sea shimmers. The other way in is via short bush tracks behind the Pullman Magenta Shores Resort. Down at the beach, there’s a wide stretch of sand to explore, and it’s perfect for a long, quiet beach walk. The sandy coastline here runs for almost 8km, from Pelican Point down to The Entrance.
Visitor Information: There are no facilities here and the beach is not patrolled. Dogs are not allowed. Park either in the Old Tip carpark off Wilfred Barrett Drive to walk in over the dunes, or in the carpark at the end of Magenta Drive to use the bush pathways there.
34. PELICAN BEACH
At Pelican Beach (known as “Pelo’s” to the locals!) two pathways lead down the dunes to the shore. The beach is part of Wyrrabalong National Park, which means there’s plenty of coastal wilderness to enjoy. It’s a favourite of keen local surfers, and fishing is popular here too.
Visitor Information: Pelican Beach is not patrolled and dogs are not permitted. There are no facilities here – just the sand and the surf! You can park in the carpark at the end of Pelican Beach Road. Here you’ll find a viewing platform with a wooden bench, where you can sit and watch the waves before hitting the sand.
35. SOLDIERS BEACH
At Soldiers Beach, take the time to enjoy the stunning views from the headland before diving in for a swim or a surf. The beach is patrolled, and although it is a popular spot, there are some permanent rip currents, so it’s important to stick between the flags. When you’re done, grab a snack from the beach kiosks or enjoy a stroll along the sheltered stretch of sand.
Visitor information: Soldiers Beach is patrolled from mid September to mid April. Park in the carpark at the end of Soldiers Point Drive, where you’ll find a picnic area on the headland. Or, turn right as you drive in to find the surf club carpark. Both carparks are close to bathrooms, picnic tables and there’s a kiosk at each one too. Beach wheelchairs are available – make a booking here. Dogs are not allowed at this beach.
36. PEBBLY BEACH
Pebbly Beach, also known as Gravelly Beach, is nestled between Soldiers Point and Norah Head. It’s a small stretch of sand with tall dunes behind it. Enjoy the expansive views from Soldiers Point, then find the sandy track to the north of the carpark (it starts just behind the picnic table at the fenced lookout). The climb down the dunes is steep but not too long. When you reach the shore, spend some time exploring the rocks, or walk north around the headland to visit Norah Head.
Visitor Information: This beach is not patrolled. Dogs are not allowed. Parking is available in the carpark on Soldiers Point Dr, Norah Head, where you’ll also find a beach cafe, bathrooms and picnic tables.
37. NORAH HEAD
At Norah Head, sand and rock pools wrap around the headland, providing a haven for marine life and a wonderful place for families to enjoy! Ooh and aah at the huge variety of ocean critters sheltering in the rock pools, climb the stairs to the lighthouse, or dip your toes in the sheltered Cabbage Tree Harbour. It’s a great spot for whale watching, too! Read more about visiting Norah Head in our feature here.
Visitor Information: Park on Young Street, where you’ll find the awesome General Store cafe and a playground too. Bathrooms and picnic tables are available here. Head down the stairs past the cafe to access Cabbage Tree Harbour. You can walk around the headland from here. Alternatively, you can park further up on Bush Street to visit the lighthouse and access the rock platforms below.
38. JENNY DIXON BEACH
Jenny Dixon Beach lies in a gorgeous cove, tucked away between two rocky outcrops just north of Norah Head. And it has its very own urban legend – some say the beach is haunted by the ghost of a young woman from the 1800s! It’s actually a stunning spot for families to visit, despite the spooky stories. Access is via a steep concrete staircase that leads down to a sheltered stretch of sand. Enjoy the views, explore the rock pools or simply relax on the shore.
Visitor Information: This beach is not patrolled. Parking is available at Toukley Lions Park on Bungary Road, Noraville, where you’ll also find plenty of shade, bathrooms, water, bbq facilities and covered picnic tables.
39. HARGRAVES BEACH
If long walks along the shore are your thing, head to Hargraves Beach! It marks the start of a 9km stretch of sand that reaches all the way up to Wybung Head. It’s a quiet spot, with cliffs to the south and great views to the north. It’s a fairly sheltered beach with low waves and a relaxed, local vibe.
Visitor Information: The beach is unpatrolled, and dogs are not allowed. Access is via two paths between houses on Elizabeth Drive. There’s no bathroom or picnic facilities here – it’s really just a quiet stretch of sand.
40 & 41. LAKES BEACH AND NORTH LAKES/BUDGEWOI BEACH
Lakes Beach has plenty of space for kids to run off all their energy! Backed by wide sand dunes, it’s a great spot for a family day at the beach. It’s popular for swimming and surfing, and it has some helpful accessibility features – wooden ramps lead up to a viewing platform and down to the sand, and there are beach wheelchairs for hire as well.
Further north, dogs can run off all their excess energy too! There’s an off-leash section at North Lakes Beach (also known as Budgewoi Beach), from Ocean Street up to the northern carpark.
Visitor Information: Lakes Beach is patrolled from mid-September to mid-April. There’s bathrooms, picnic tables and a kiosk near the surf club carpark, and a water station too. Make a booking for a beach wheelchair here.
42. BIRDIE BEACH
Part of Munmorah State Conservation Area, this beach is windy, wild and free. Backed by a creek and rolling dunes, the views are amazing. Bird Island lies just off the coast, and Wybung Head is to the north. You can walk for miles here – the sand stretches an incredible 9km down towards Norah Head. There’s so much space, making it the perfect spot to get away from it all. Surfing is popular, too. At the northern end (also known as Red Ochre Beach) is the Coast’s only designated nudist beach.
Visitor Information: There’s parking and bathrooms on Birdie Beach Drive. You can camp in the nearby Freemans Campground. Visit the Tea Tree Picnic Area for picnic facilities, a viewing platform and a wooden path down to the beach. Parking in Munmorah State Conservation Area is $8 per vehicle per day.
43. LITTLE BIRDIE BEACH
If you really want to get away from it all, this is the beach for you. It’s remote, it’s windswept and we can almost guarantee you’ll have the place to yourself! Little Birdie Beach, sometimes known as Waterfall Beach, is a tiny cove in the Munmorah State Recreation Area. To be honest, it’s not one we recommend for family visits. Why? Well, it’s quite hard to get to, not great for swimming and not patrolled. One for the wilderness seekers only!
Visitor Information: There’s two ways to get there – one is via the exposed rock platforms around from Birdie Beach, and the other is via a bush trail from Wybung Road. Either way, caution is advised as there are slippery rocks and the wind can get pretty strong here. Dogs are not allowed.
44. GRAVELLY BEACH
This is a beach for the explorers – hidden away in Munmorah State Recreation Area, it can only be reached by a steep bush track. Also known as Deadmans Beach, it’s just to the north of the rugged Wybung Head, where the views are dramatic and the wind super strong! Down on the beach, there’s dark sand and wide rock platforms, which are mostly covered at high tide. It’s a bit of a climb down to the beach, and not recommended for small children.
Visitor Information: Reach the beach via the track around the headland, that starts at the end of Wybung Road. This is a rugged area with steep cliffs, and caution is advised. There are no facilities here, and the beach is not patrolled.
45 & 46. FRAZER BEACH AND NORTH FRAZER BEACH
Frazer Beach is within the Munmorah State Conservation Area, a protected wilderness area right at the northern end of the Central Coast. It’s a really rugged place, with sweeping views, strong winds and large swells. The beach itself is known for its rip currents, and caution is advised if you head in for a dip. It’s a great place to explore though, with plenty of bushwalks and wildlife to enjoy. Keep an eye out for the sea eagles!
North Frazer Beach (also known as Bongon Beach) is a small and narrow cove just around the rocks towards Snapper Point. You can access it via the rock shelf from Frazer Beach, or park at Snapper Point Road and walk down. While you’re there, take a look at the huge sea cave and mini blowhole to the left of Snapper Point. Be careful exploring up here – the wind and waves are strong, and people regularly need rescuing from the ocean. Stick to the paths though, and you’ll be able to enjoy the striking landscape in safety.
To really get the most out of your wilderness retreat, try camping overnight at the nearby Frazer Campground.
Visitor Information: Frazer Beach is at the end of Frazer Beach Road, Frazer Park. To park at North Frazer Beach, head to the end of Snapper Point Road. These beaches are not patrolled, and dogs are not allowed. The Frazer Beach campground has bathrooms available. Parking in Munmorah State Conservation Area is $8 per vehicle per day.
47. TIMBER BEACH
This is a bit of a hidden beach, and a good one to visit if you’re up for an adventurous bushwalk with older kids. To find it, you need to follow a steep and narrow path through the bush, watching your step as you navigate slippery rocks and uneven ground. Keep an eye out for snakes too! You’ll reach an unfenced clearing with incredible views towards Ghosties Beach. From here, there’s a small path a little way back up the hill, which takes you down to the rocks above the secluded beach. There’s a small creek here, and if you want to reach the sand you’ll need to carefully clamber down the steep rocks. At high tide, the beach is completely covered by the waves, and at low tide, there’s rocks to explore and even a sea cave to find. We recommend this one for experienced bushwalkers and beachgoers only, as we think it’s one of the more risky places to visit on the Coast!
Visitor information: Park in the Timber Beach lookout carpark, on Snapper Point Road. There are rips at the beach and it’s unpatrolled, making it unsuitable for a family swim. The bushwalk is short, but not suitable for small kids. Dogs are not allowed. Parking in Munmorah State Conservation Area is $8 per vehicle per day.
48 & 49. MOONEE BEACH AND GHOSTIES BEACH
A visit to Moonee Beach and Ghosties Beach starts with a bushwalk – follow the trail down from Snapper Point Road to reach the sand. Then, explore the sand dunes and walk south, where you’ll find extensive rock pools and a huge collection of shells to admire. Over the dunes here is Ghosties Beach, known for its network of stunning sea caves. They are a little tricky to visit – you need to be there at low tide when there’s also a low swell, otherwise it’s too risky to venture in.
Visitor Information: Park at the first small carpark on Snapper Point Road. There’s a metal gate here, with the track starting on the other side of it. There’s no facilities here – you’ll need to head to the Frazer Campground to find bathrooms and fresh water. Parking in Munmorah State Conservation Area is $8 per vehicle per day.
Want even more beach inspo? Well, there is one extra place we’d love to recommend, but we’ve had to leave it off this list because it’s not actually on the Central Coast! Much as we’d like to claim it as our own, the stunning Caves Beach is actually in the Lake Macquarie region. We think it’s a great place to head for a memorable family day out – read our feature here to plan your visit.
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Written By: ALISON MCCANN
Alison is a busy local mum who enjoys exploring the Coast’s spectacular natural spaces. You’ll often find her out on a bush trail with her husband and three kids. With a background in media production, communication and marketing, she loves sharing stories about the wonderful region we get to call home. Follow her on Instagram @CentralCoastNatureKids.