November marks such a fantastic time on the Central Coast. It’s a time for warmer weather, longer days and a celebration of our great outdoors with The Lakes Festival. This annual 10-day festival hosted by Central Coast Council celebrates our many lakes and waterways with free event hubs across the Coast. This year the festival is officially running from 9-18 November and bringing everything from open-air movie screenings and foreshore cycles to SUP yoga and music festivals. The Coast has so many beautiful waterfront locations and this is a great way to explore them. Come for the fun, come for the food… and enjoy the view.

We’ve scoured the program to bring you this outline of what we believe are the best of The Lakes Festival’s family activities. Click here to view the full program.

Park Feast – The Pop Up Food Event

We loved Park Feast last year and we’re excited to see that they’re returning to Gosford Waterfront this November bigger and better! With more than 20 awesome food trucks dishing out the goods, you’ll be hard pressed deciding what to order. Will you go a pesto gnocchi from Sir Knuckle&Co, arancini from Inbocca, a La Flameca paella or a full-hog burger from MR.PIG? Hankering for the sweet stuff? You’ll find Diegos Donuts, Torch Me Crème Brulee and Unicorn Bugers – a brioche bun filled with caramel popcorn, rainbow ice-cream, caramel sauce and popping candy sprinkles! Not for the faint-hearted!

They’re bringing plenty of fun too. There will be live music all evening plus rides for the tribe – a dragon roller coaster, track train, chair swings and inflatable zones.

When: Thursday 8 November and Friday 9 November (4pm-10pm).
Where: Gosford Waterfront (near the boat ramp).
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free entry. Ride tickets and food available to purchase.

Light Up the Lake

Celebrate the launch of The Lakes Festival with Light Up the Lake – a festival of live music, food stalls and fireworks.

Kids will be well entertained by roving solar bugs and jelly fish, lantern making and a walk through the Harmonic Forest. Made from cane, paper, bamboo, wire and lighting, the forest is getting a twist this year with the addition of the theme “Creatures of the Sea”. The Harmonic Forest has been a feature of Light Up the Lake for the past three years, and this year the forest’s artist, Ken O’Regan, will be inviting visitors to create their own sea creatures at Light Up the Lake to add to the installation.

Forget cooking – head here for South American street food, Hungarian cakes, yum cha, fairy floss and more. The fireworks will light up the sky at 9pm.

When: Saturday 10 November (4pm-9pm).
Where: Memorial Park, 46 Marine Parade, The Entrance.
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free! Food available to purchase.

Splash & Dash

Get set for a day of slip-sliding fun at Canton Beach’s Splash ‘n’ Dash. Their Supa Water Fun Park includes a giant water slide and giant obstacle course, which the kids are sure to love. There will also be an animal farm, Jamie the magician, the balloon fairy, face painting and Nerf Wars – imagine outdoor laser tag with plastic Nerf guns and foam darts.

When: Sunday, 11 November (10am-3pm).
Where: Canton Beach Foreshore, cnr Belbowrie St & Beach Pde, Canton Beach.
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free! Food available to purchase.

Moonlight Cinema Norah Head

Who doesn’t love an outdoor cinema? There’s something so exciting about snuggling down to watch a film under the stars, and with stunning Norah Head being this year’s location, this is one you shouldn’t miss. The beach is there for a pre-show swim and the reserve is home to a small kids playground, so children will be well entertained before the sun sets. You can bring a picnic or grab Mexican, poutine, ice cream and eclairs from the food stalls.

The films will start at sunset – approximately 8pm.

When & What films:

  • Finding Dory on Thursday, 15 November (5pm-11pm).
  • Jumanji on Friday, 16 November (5pm-11pm).

Where: Young Street Reserve, Bush St, Norah Head.
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free! Food available to purchase.
Tips: You can BYO picnic rugs and picnic chairs. No alcohol allowed. Bring blankets and warm gear, as is can get surprisingly chilly.

Paddle to Peddle

Experience Tugerah Lake by kayak and bike. Enjoy a leisurely kayak paddle to see aquatic life up close. Then, after lunch, take a bike ride along the lake’s southern shore. Along the way you’ll stop to learn from experts about the estuary’s ecology.

When: Friday 9 November (9th is sold out; waitlist only) and Sunday 18 November (8am-4pm).
Where: The Entrance. Location advised on booking confirmation.
Ages: Minimum age of 8.
Cost: Free! All equipment, instruction and lunch provided. Moderate level of fitness and cycling ability required.

SUP Yoga

Have you ever wanted to try Stand Up Yoga (SUP Yoga)? Here’s the perfect opportunity for you to give it a go! Coastal Zen Yoga are hosting free sessions across the Coast during The Lakes Festival. They provide the board and tuition; you just bring your yoga/swimming gear. Spots are booking fast, so don’t delay reserving yours.

Ages: All ages are welcome. Participants must be able to swim 50m unaided.
Cost: Free. Bookings essential: click here to book.
When & Where: 

  • Friday 9 November (5pm and 6pm sessions) at Gosford Waterfront.
  • Saturday 10 November (9am & 10am sessions) at Long Jetty Foreshore.
  • Friday 16 November (5pm session) at Picnic Point.
  • Sunday 18 November (3pm & 4pm sessions) at Long Jetty Foreshore.

Budgewoi Festival

The ever popular Budgewoi Festival is bringing a heap of fun to the park. Stilt lifesavers will be roving the park and musicians such as Reece Mastin will entertain from the lake’s floating stage. Market stallholders will be selling clothing, jewellery, beauty products and more for early Christmas shoppers. You won’t be short of lunch or dinner options: Turkish, Greek, Italian and Japanese will be available, plus gelato, churros and mini Dutch pancakes for dessert.

There will be a host of free activities available for kids:

  • Want to get the festival look? The ladies from Peachies Hair will be twirling buns and sprinkling glitter to give kids – and adults – Festival Hair.
  • Get your zen on with a free Stand Up Yoga session. Sessions will be run by Coastal Zen Yoga every half hour from 11am-2pm. You can register on the day.
  • At the Star 104.5 tent, kids will love getting wet with the water table activation – a water wall with pipes. Plus they’ll have a lake-themed craft table where kids can make animal-shaped headbands.
  • Make a puppet at the puppet workshop and learn about endangered species.
  • The Fun Engine will be there to clamber over and provide fire-safety advice.
  • There will be free craft activities available at the Miss Kizzy stand and at the local libraries stand you can pick up a copy of the children’s book “Parker goes to Childcare”.

When: Saturday 17 November (10am–4pm).
Where: Mackenzie Reserve, Weemala Street, Budgewoi.
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free! Food available to purchase.

Story-telling By The Lake and Lakeside Unity mandala creations

Come to sit, enjoy some quiet time and let your imagination be entertained by professional storytellers on the Long Jetty foreshore. Under the trees special domed story pods are being set up as spaces for tales to be shared. There’s no set time and no stories planned – the storytellers from Heart to Heart Storytelling and MusicCrazy will choose and modify their tales according to their audience. Some tales will be vocal only while others will be told with the aid of  musical instruments and puppets, while others will invite listeners to share in the creation of the tale together.

Create a mandala on the grass of Long Jetty’s foreshore. Everyone is invited to find natural elements to create this community art installation, which is being facilitated by Kylie Cook of CreativeK.

Free Stand Up Yoga sessions (see details above), a fair trade stall and an environmental info table will also available for people to explore on the day.

When: Saturday 10 November (9am–1pm).
Where: Long Jetty Foreshore, Corner of Archbold Road and Tuggerah Parade
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free!


Foreshore Fiesta

Get to Long Jetty for a Spring feast picnic by the lake. There will be live music – courtesy of Eliza and the Delusionals, Asha, Elaskia and more – food trucks, and free face painting and lawns games to entertain the tribe.

One of the highlights of the Fiesta is sure to be the Sensory Dome – a hidden world of colour, texture and multi-sensory delights designed by sensory artist Bliss Cavanagh. Bliss says it takes her about 12 hours to set up her special sensory domes, which are spaces designed with inclusion and accessibility front of mind. The dome will be about 7m x7m in size and decorated in LED lighting and fibre optics, illuminated floating jellyfish and giant pompom flowers. Everyone is invited to explore the space through touch – there will smooth objects of clay and ceramic, furry pillows and fluffy pom poms. Bliss of Happy Senses describes it as a “magical, welcoming experience that engages your senses in a fun way.”

You won’t be short on food options with a heap of flavours to choose from: Vietnamese, Jamaican, Mexican, Turkish and vegan options will be available. Plus sweet tooths are well catered for with gelato, churros and dumplings.

When: Sunday, 18 November (3pm-8pm)
Where: Long Jetty Foreshore, between Toowoon Bay Rd & Thompson St, Long Jetty.
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free. Food available to purchase.

Welcome to Long Jetty

Hosted by the Long Jetty Hotel, and proudly supported by Central Coast Council, Long Jetty Locals Committee and Kingdom Sounds, comes a celebration of music and artists for the local community. You’ll find live music from the likes of Bootleg Rascal and Cabtalk, food stalls and a licensed bar at this all ages event.  Combine a visit here with the Foreshore Fiesta for a top day in the Jetty.

When: Sunday 18 November (12pm-6pm).
Where: Long Jetty Hotel, 405 The Entrance Rd, Long Jetty.
Ages: All ages.
Cost: Free. Food available to purchase.

Scavenger Hunt

Explore the beautiful foreshore of our waterways for your chance to win two bikes! The Rocky Trail crew has mapped out some of the Coast’s most popular cycle routes and are hosting a Bike Scavenger Hunt. You cycle around the Coast and collect answers at cycle hot spots, which could include bicycle-friendly cafes, lookouts, playgrounds and The Lakes Festival venues and events. Register for the Scavenger Hunt online and then record your visited spots and answers via the online portal. Each recorded position along the route with a correct answer gets you one entry into the prize pool – the more hot spots you visit, the more entries you get and the better your chance to win!

There are two bikes up for grabs: One adult bicycle (RRP $2,000) and one kids bicycle (RRP $500) from Bicycle Tech Bar in Tuggerah. Entries can start being collected from now until November 21. Visit for more information.

Weather information

In the event of wet weather, check The Lakes Festival’s Facebook feed or Festival website for updates.

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