Any house move can be a daunting process – there’s the packing, the removalists, the cleaning and then the unboxing at the other end. But when a relocation is also involved, there’s so much more to think about. Will there be a huge commute to work? Which schools should I consider? Are there local shops close by? What is the community like?

We appreciate how stressful and time consuming making the decision to move to a completely new area can be and so we’ve pulled together some of our key tips, resources and general information about the Central Coast that will help you make some of those major choices with confidence.

Five fantastic Central Coast suburbs for families

With Sydney’s crippling house prices, lots of young families are looking at the Central Coast as a possible place to relocate – and who can blame them? Despite enjoying all of the attractions the city has to offer, there comes a time when space, a backyard and a good choice of local parks start to take priority, especially as their family grows.

We have pulled together a ‘Top 5’ list of suburbs for you to consider when making the move to the Central Coast. These have been selected according to the key criteria that we know families focus on when deciding on where to lay their roots.

Suburbs for Sydney City Commuters

A lot of people who move to the Central Coast plan on commuting to the city for work five days a week. This can sometimes be a very daunting prospect and so we’ve recommended two great suburbs that will cut the travel time down and make the journey less painful!

Woy Woy

Lions Park Woy Woy | Image ©Playing in Puddles                    

Set right on the train line, Woy Woy is surrounded by beautiful Brisbane Water and has a really great community and restaurant hub. Popular haunts with the locals are the Fisherman’s Wharf (complete with kids playground right outside), Frankie’s, Lucky Bee, Link and Pin and Tropicana Pizza. Everything can be easily walked but if you fancy something a bit different from time to time, it’s also only a seven-minute drive to Umina and Ettalong Beach – both vibrant spots to frequent for their beaches, restaurants and community facilities.

Along the Brisbane Water foreshore runs a bike track that’s great for stroller walks or little ones practicing their scooting skills. Adjoining the path is the Lions Park – a great park with play equipment, space to kick a ball and good amenities including toilets and BBQ facilities. With a heap of little jetties, it’s also a popular spot to sit and feed the ducks or pelicans and to throw out a fishing line.

Train to city: CCN line – Woy Woy Station to Central Station.
Train journey duration: 1 hour 16 Minutes (some trains may vary).
Timetables: Visit here for full route map and timetables.

East Gosford and Point Frederick

The Japanese Gardens, East Gosford | Playing in Puddles

Whether your plan is to drive to the city or take a train, East Gosford and Point Frederick are great areas for commuters as they’re close to both Gosford train station and the entrance to the M1 freeway. The strip of shops at East Gosford has everything you need – from the basics including a chemist, local IGA supermarket and post office to the more leisurely pit stops such as cafes (check out Oomph and Fahrenheit) and some really lovely boutique stores.

Elizabath Ross park. Image ©Playing in Puddles

The Gosford Regional Gallery and Edogawa Commemorative Garden is close by and a beautiful tranquil space, with little bridges to wander over and fish and ducks to feed – plus it’s free to visit! There’s also the lovely Elizabath Ross park on Webb St, which is great for holding kids birthday parties, and The Gosford Lions Park on Gosford Waterfront – arguably one of the most picturesque parks on the Coast. Plus, there are plans for a new water park to be built later this year opposite the Brian McGowan Bridge.                    

Gosford Lions Park. Image ©Playing in Puddles 

Then there’s Brisbane Water itself. Offering a stunningly picturesque backdrop, you can walk the path that runs alongside much of its foreshore. This waterfront location is also home to some popular events such as Park Feast (a pop up food market that visits every few months), the Live Well Festival and AquaSplash – an inflatable ‘on-water’ park which is set up there each Summer.

Train to city: CCN line – Gosford Station to Central Station.
Train journey duration: 1 hour 28 Minutes (some trains may vary).
Timetables: Visit here for full route map and timetables.

FOLLOW PLAYING IN PUDDLES TO DISCOVER THE BEST OF THE CENTRAL COAST FOR KIDS

Sea-change Suburbs

For families gravitating to the coastline, we have recommended our top suburbs that tick the boxes for even the most committed of water babies! 

Avoca

Aquafun – stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and peddle boats at Avoca Lake                     

For families looking for the ultimate sea-side escape, Avoca Beach is our pick! With it’s thriving atmosphere and community feel, the beach and the surf club can easily become a second home! Behind the surf club sits a great, fully fenced playground and right next to it is the rock shelf – a fun place for kids to explore and cool off during the hotter months. The Avoca Surf House sits right on the beachfront and boasts not only a restaurant, but a space for the community to come together through taking part in craft activities, yoga workshops and kids cooking classes during the holidays. The Avoca Markets are on the fourth Sunday of each month and bring with them quality clothing, gifts, produce and coffee. Like Minds café and Ludo’s Gourmet Kitchen bakery are also fantastic family dining venues, both within walking distance and set within the heart of Avoca.                    

Long Jetty and Toowoon Bay

Toowoon Bay. Image ©Playing in Puddles

If you’re looking for a sea-change, then Long Jetty and Toowoon Bay are other spots worth investigating! With only four blocks separating the lake from the ocean, residents get the best of both worlds – fishing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding on the lake, then swimming and surfing at the beach! A bike/stroller path also circumnavigates the lake and has a number of playgrounds along the way. Long Jetty shops is a fun, eclectic space home to The Glass Onion, The Green Tangerine and new café cum movie-theatre, The Savoy. This fun bar screens kids movies throughout the school holidays so parents can have a cocktail while the kids enjoy a pizza and kid flick!                    

Ettalong

Ettalong Foreshore | Image ©Playing in Puddles

Last but not least is Ettalong. Also on the water, Ettalong is a beach without waves so it’s perfect for young children and those partial to a spot of kayaking! Just a stone’s throw away is Umina Beach where you’ll find the Peninsula Recreation Precinct – a hive of fantastic playgrounds, a tennis court, scooter tack and a dirt bike track. They’ll soon be upgrading the facility to include a skate park too – perfect for parents with tweens and teens! There’s some great cafes in the area such as The Box on the Water, Helado, and Lords of Pour, plus The Galleria is always putting on markets and festivals such as the Italian Festival and the Oyster Festival. For other popular suburbs with beach culture at the heart, check out our ‘Best Family Beaches’ feature here. In a place like the Central Coast, you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to making a home by the water.

Schools on the Central Coast 

Choosing the right school for your children is a very personal decision and what’s important to one family, may not be important to another. To help you with finding the right school to send your children to, we have compiled a list of useful links and resources that will assist your research.

NSW Government Public School Finder – This website is really handy if public school catchment areas are likely to influence your decision on which suburb you choose to live in. Simply type in your address and find out which primary or secondary public school your kids would be allocated to.

Private Schools Guide – Here you can search private school options nationally and drill down into locations. You can then filter according to personal preferences such as independent, religious, boys/girls and special needs to find the right school options for you. This website also has information on upcoming open days and events.

My School – My School is a website run by ACARA, an independent statutory authority responsible for collecting and reporting data on Australia’s schools, along with running NAPLAN (and other assessments) and developing the Australian Curriculum. My School is a resource for parents, educators and the community to find information about Australia’s schools. Data available includes student profile, NAPLAN performance, funding levels and sources, enrolment numbers and attendance rates.

Looking for Work

As well as the popular job seeker websites such as Seek and Indeed, there are lots of local Facebook groups and pages you can join to help with your search for work on the Central Coast. Some key pages you can check out are Central Coast Jobs, Positions Vacant and Wanted and Jobs on the Coast.

Real Estate

If you are buying a house on the Central Coast or selling one with a view to moving to a new suburb, Rate my Agent is an excellent resource that lists over 800 agents in the local area, along with reviews on their service and performance.

When looking for real estate online, Homely.com.au is a great website that allows you to check out suburb reviews. Simply add your location of interest and see what the locals say about the area!

Whether your plan is to buy straight away or rent somewhere first, the most popular websites for searching property on the Central Coast are the big players realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. Open houses for buyers are often held on the weekend and many real estate agents will do viewings on a Sunday too. So if you’re planning to drive up from Sydney to spend your Saturday viewing property, it might be a good excuse to stay the night in a hotel so you can visit a few more on Sunday too. Plus if you do put in an offer and are accepted, you’ll be around to sign the paperwork!

Things to do with Kids on the Central Coast

These parks haven’t yet been designed but this is what we’re HOPING will be built. Monstrum playground in China. Image ©Monstrum. 

20 NEW playgrounds are being built on the Central Coast over the next 10 months! And, doubly exciting, a new HUGE “regional playground” is being built in Green Point. Check out our feature – it’s packed with details:

+ Click here to see which suburbs will get the 20 new parks!
PLUS 18 NEW parks have been built this past year. Check out their addresses and Playing in Puddles’ reviews.

The Central Coast is home to 41 beaches. Some have awesome surf breaks, some are secluded and unpatrolled, some are beautifully isolated and require a 20-minute hike from car park to sand: we love these spaces, but they’re not always great for families with tiny tots. We’ve rambled the coastline to bring you this little list of beaches that we believe are some of the best on the Central Coast for families – for their ease, their beauty… and their coffee! .

Macmasters Beach. Image ©Playing in Puddles.

Macmasters Beach Playground. Image ©Playing in Puddles.

Playing in Puddles loves playgrounds! We visit parks across the Central Coast – from Kilcare to Lake Munmorah – so that you know what to expect before getting the kids in the car. Check out our reviews on the Central Coast’s fully fenced parks (perfect for toddlers), more challenging playgrounds for older kids, and parks with barbecues, picnic tables and toilets that make them perfect for kids birthday parties. Happy playing!

Narara Sensory Park. Image ©Playing in Puddles.

The Central Coast has lots of wonderful bike paths and scooter tracks for families. We know that little legs can’t go very far, and when you have a toddler on a scooter or a preschooler on training wheels, it’s important to find a bike path that they can complete happily. We’ve cycled across the Coast to bring you our favourite bike and scooter paths for young kids, so that you know where to head for a ride – and, importantly, where you can break for toilets, park plays and coffee along the way.

Terilbah Reserve. Image ©Playing in Puddles.

We’ve stomped the pavement to bring you the Central Coast’s most pram-friendly walks. Grab your bub, throw on your joggers and enjoy these gorgeous walking tracks. We’ve found lake-side paths at Chittaway Bay, ocean-fronted esplanades on the Peninsula and over-water pathways at Gosford. These are walks you’ll love doing with your babies – they’re flat, picturesque, wide enough for strollers and many have coffee along the way.

Need to get the tribe out of the house to burn off some energy? We’ve got you covered! Check out six of our favourite Central Coast activities for active and adventurous kids and teenagers.

Quad biking at Glenworth Valley. Image ©Glenworth Valley

Kids Classes

There are a huge variety of kids classes available on the Coast, including those who accept the Government’s Creative Kids and Active Kids vouchers. From art classes and dance lessons to soccer training and cooking workshops, you will find a huge list of options available on the Playing in Puddles kids classes directory.

Events and happenings on the Central Coast

Looking for live shows, fairs, festivals, regular markets or school holiday activities, visit Playing in Puddles events calendar to keep up to date with what is happening in your local area every single day.

There are a whole host of big events happening on the Central Coast throughout the year. You can read more about some of our favourites below!

Harvest Festival

An opportunity to check out the Coast’s rural areas. Shake pecans from the trees, pick oranges from the orchards, take a ride on a tractor, cuddle chicks and pet calves.
+ Next event Saturday 6 June to Sunday 7 June 2020. 

Read Playing in Puddles’ feature here 

5 lands walk

The 5 Lands Walk is a day-long festival along 10 kms of spectacular coastline. Experience 5 different cultures at 5 of the Coast’s amazing beaches.
+ Next event June 2020 – official date TBC.

Halloween

The Central Coast is home to some of the best dressed Halloween homes and streets as well as some spooktacular events!
+ Next event Halloween events take place throughout late October and early November.

Read Playing in Puddles’ feature here.

Kids Day Out

Kids Day Out has long been the Central Coast’s largest and most popular kids-focused festival. Expect carnival attractions, pony rides and roving entertainment plus much more! 
+ Next event November 2020 – official date TBC.

Read Playing in Puddles’ feature here.

Brisbane Water Oyster Festival

The day includes fine wine from the Hunter Valley, craft beer from local Six String Brewery,  food from around the world, 50 retail stalls, live entertanment and of course the iconic oyster eating competition!
+ Next event November 2020 – official date TBC.

The Lakes Festival

This annual 10-day festival hosted by Central Coast Council brings everything from open-air movie screenings and foreshore cycles to SUP yoga and music festivals.
+ Next event Friday 8 to Sunday 17 November 2019.

Read Playing in Puddles’ feature here.

If you love the merriment and festivity of the silly season, Playing in Puddles has you covered. There are so many fantastic Christmas events to partake in across the Central Coast – from Santa meets to carol evenings.
Read Playing in Puddles’ “Top Christmas Events” feature here.

Central Coast Map

At Playing in Puddles we understand what’s important to parents and families.  Check out our Playing in Puddles map below to find all things family friendly on the Central Coast! Simply select what you’re looking for in the drop-down list and it’ll show you all the places we’ve reviewed. You can also limit your search to attractions, to mothers-group hotspots, scooter paths, child-friendly cafes and more. You can even select how far from home you’re prepared to travel, and find directions on how to get there. 

Happy exploring!

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