Let us take you through our pick of the top accommodation options on the Central Coast.
The Central Coast makes a great destination for a weekender or a summer holiday thanks to its proximity to both Newcastle and Sydney. From beach-chic Airbnbs and boutique retreats to over-the-top abodes by Belle Escapes to homespun holiday parks, hotels and resorts, we’ve rounded up the best accommodation on the Central Coast to suit a range of budgets.
Luxury stays on the Central Coast
Killcare Beach House, Killcare
Watching the waves explode on the rocks below is a luxury in itself at this Helmsworth-worthy house that hugs in tight to a nearby headland and offers access to the beach via a gate in the garden. There are also three separate al fresco entertaining areas and a lap pool that takes advantage of the sun-drenched northerly aspect.
Kill your cares enjoying ocean views from every bedroom in Killcare Beach House, which includes thoughtful touches such as luxe linen, a games area and bunk beds for kids, a gourmet kitchen and carefully curated spaces that feature arty flotsam and jetsam that may well have washed up on the sand below. Of interest to surfers will be the view of the line-up from the freestanding bath. Sleeps 8.
Pretty Beach House
Pretty Beach House is located in Bouddi National Park, on the traditional lands of the Darkinjung people. All up, there are about 100 artworks dotted around the park, three of which are located on the property and introduced each night by a local Aboriginal elder. The artworks are estimated to be between 8,000 and 10,000 years old and the nightly Welcome to Country smoking ceremony is part of what makes a stay at Pretty Beach House so special.
Artworks by Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan and John Olsen are also dotted around the contemporary retreat, which made Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List in 2015. Constructed, in part, from decommissioned railway timber pylons, sandstone and mud bricks, the house is heavily influenced by nature’s tones, with hand-loomed linens, and muted tones a celebration of its location. Ambient noise courtesy of the ocean.
Bella’s at The Cottage Garden Studio, Terrigal
This charming old farmer’s cottage feels more like the Hamptons in Long Island than Central Coast Terrigal. Bella’s, which is more than 100 years old, has developed a loyal coterie of followers thanks to the fact it hosts regular Nirvana Wellness Retreats.
The humble home, which had fallen into disrepair, was faithfully restored by its new style-savvy owner with a little help from interior designer Michelle Leslie, who used vintage timbers and antiques and mixed them with modern hand-crafted elements such as soft linens and textural throws in a happy mix of old and new.
Fling open the French doors and bring the outdoors in, whip up a feast in the newly renovated kitchen or enjoy an infrared sauna from the comfort of your designer bathroom. Sleeps 6.
Best for a romantic stay on the Central Coast
Amani Luxury Eco Lodge, Terrigal
There are holiday houses and then there are holiday houses. One of the main selling points of Amani Luxury Eco Lodge – and there are many – is the absolute privacy and seclusion on offer. The luxury retreat nods to the owners’ South African heritage, and it’s as if you’re on an Australian-style safari here watching kangaroos lurch around the khaki-clad landscape.
Despite the luxury Out of Africa vibes, and textures of wood, linen and leather, Amani is at one with its Aussie bush setting with reclaimed vintage beams from Balmain’s wharfs and solar-powered skylights so you can see the Milky Way winking down. Best of all: there’s a wood-fired hot tub and fire pit, with the upside being you don’t have to worry about lions lunging across the lawn. Sleeps 4.
Ocean View Apartment, Umina Beach
This fully renovated Scandi-chic apartment is the perfect couple’s retreat and well-located for exploring the Central Coast, with surf beaches and bush walks all within walking distance of the property.
The one-bedroom Ocean View Apartment, located within a retro block of apartments a pebble’s throw from Umina Beach, has a fully equipped kitchen, a Smart TV and wi-fi. But it’s highly likely you will want to switch off and enjoy the sound of waves crashing on the shore and views that stretch from Ettalong Point to Umina. There is also a shared rooftop terrace decked out with table and chairs where you can enjoy sea and sunset views.
The Finnicky Guest House, Forresters Beach
This cute cottage is located just 700 metres from Forresters Beach, which is perfect for couples who like bushwalking or who want to get to grips with surfing. The location is enough to sell this Airbnb cottage on the Central Coast, as it’s a comfortable hideaway in a beautiful spot.
Inside, you’ll find cosy furnishings and great attention to detail in this cosy bolthole, which includes a breakfast bar, and a paved undercover courtyard area with a BBQ and lounge area to enjoy outdoor dining. The dainty cottage is the perfect Airbnb for a romantic break on the Central Coast. There is a popular café located next door and Forresters boats more than its fair share of foodie spots.
Best hotels on the Central Coast
Bells at Killcare, Killcare
Bells at Killcare is located on the Bouddi Peninsula and bedding down here for the night is a thrill. The five-star cottages, suites and villas dotted around the property all echo a Hamptons kind of homeliness. From the duck-egg blue wood panelling in the bathrooms to the layering of natural materials and opulent fixtures and fittings, to the wonderful art that surrounds you during your stay, the quiet house in the Hamptons vibes hits perfectly.
Of course, one of the hotel’s main selling points is having executive chef Sean Connolly overseeing the adjoining restaurant, which is one of the best places to wine and dine on the Central Coast. Enjoy an exemplary breakfast in bed or on the patio, under the blue-and-white striped awnings.
Kim’s Beachside Retreat, Toowoon Bay
Kicking back in a beachside bungalow at Kim’s Beachside Retreat is pretty soothing. Located a stone’s throw from the sands of Toowoon Bay, edged with clumps of native grasses, Kim’s has been an escape for Sydneysiders for some 134 years.
All 34 of the original cabins have undergone a makeover at the boutique adults-only hotel, which now includes a brand-new self-contained cottage. There are heated Jacuzzis, on-site massages available, indoor spa baths and private plunge pools on the property, which is located within a grove of Norfolk Island pines.
Beachcomber Hotel, Toukley
The Beachcomber Hotel & Resort, affectionately known as ‘the Beachie’, is located in the heart of Toukley. The hotel, with its sweeping waterfront views and numerous dining options, is a top spot for a weekend away on the Central Coast. Choose from the chalked-up specials such as Taco and Tequila Twos-day at the Beachie, or new fine diner, Pelicans, before heading to the back room, where a band is playing. Wander back to your Water View Deluxe suite when you’re ready to rest your head on pillows that are as soft as clouds. Enjoy vivid water views as the sun climbs the next day.
Best family-friendly stays on the Central Coast
Eau de Vie, Killcare Heights
Floor-to-ceiling glass doors wrap around Eau de Vie @ Killcare Heights, which, as the name suggests, is just minutes away from the waterways that wind their way around the Central Coast.
The architecturally designed house invites visitors to go on a journey when they first step foot inside the front door. Two levels of living space is what defines this property, which means parents can have their own space for a bit of quiet time before joining the kids dunking in and out of the pool.
Eau de Vie has all the sophisticated touches you’d expect from a luxury family rental and more. We love the sun-drenched dream kitchen and extra-luxe (and ginormous) leather lounge. Forget Spotify: tune into the chorus of insects buzzing in unison in the surrounding bushland. Sleeps 8.
Algarve, Killcare Heights
Algarve is just a five-minute drive from Killcare and, while it has a huge choice of bush walks on its doorstep, many visitors are content to just enjoy the amenity of having a heated pool, indoor-outdoor entertaining areas and inviting dual living spaces.
In addition to the sea views, this new property is decked out in natural earthy tones and the high ceilings and the outlook makes for a light-filled space purpose-built for relaxation. The cottage proximity to the beach also means this pretty two-storey home is one of the best accommodation options for families visiting the Central Coast. Sleeps 8.
Ocean Breeze, Killcare
Belle Escapes pretty much has the luxury holiday rental market on the Central Coast sewn up and Ocean Breeze is a great example of the level of style on offer. It would be hard to find a better antidote to your busy life than by sitting on the Ocean Breeze balcony, which is exactly where you will want to be after a day on the beach.
Take advantage of the laid-back seaside atmosphere by curling up around the fireplace with a good book. Use the gourmet kitchen, BBQ and entertaining area of the two-level home to impress the in-laws with a seafood feast. Raid the stash of boogie boards and stroll three minutes to the beach and the Bouddi Coastal Walk. In addition to the saltwater pool, there is a music room replete with piano and guitar. Sleeps 8.
Copa Sands, Copacabana
You can taste the salt in the air from the balcony at Copa Sands which looks out over a beach local surfers prefer to keep a secret. Copa Point is mere moments away, as is a patrolled beach, rock pool, skate park and playgrounds which you will have to yourself once the day-trippers have left.
Of course, if you want to be a couch potato you can – as the home, which is kitted out in a fresh, contemporary style, includes lots of comfy zones for lounging around in and a dedicated arcade games room which includes Pacman and a pool table. Keen cooks will love the fully equipped kitchen and the entertaining area, which includes an outdoor zone perfect for aperitivos. Sleeps 14.
Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific, Terrigal
When you have kids in tow, finding accommodation by the sea is everything. Stay in a family room at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific close to beautiful white sandy beaches and order breakfast in the hotel before strolling up the beach for a session with the Central Coast Surf Academy, one of the best things to do with kids on the Central Coast.
This IHG hotel is one of the best places to stay on the Central Coast with markets held here on the first Saturday of the month and lots of fun to be had on kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on Avoca Lake. The rooms are light and bright and there is a pool and restaurant on the ground floor that is a buzzy place to chill.
Best holiday parks on the Central Coast
Lakeview Tourist Park, Long Jetty
Lakeview Tourist Park is just minutes from Long Jetty, one of the liveliest places to eat, drink and shop on the Central Coast. The park is popular with families as there is affordable accommodation on offer, from powered tent sites to caravan sites and very well kitted-out cabins. But it’s the water views that tie it all together. The park is located near to Crack Neck, one of the best places to spot whales on the Central Coast, and is a top spot for prawning in the mouth of the channel. Bring the kids’ scooters and travel along the coastal path to The Entrance to see the pelicans being fed.
Two Shores Holiday Village, Tuggerah
It’s the absolute waterfront location that distinguishes Two Shores Holiday Village, which offers cabin and caravan accommodation and picturesque sites for camping. Located on the shores of Tuggerah Lake, and surrounded by beaches good for surfing and bucket-and-spade play, you can self-cater here in the camp kitchen, which includes a full-size fridge, or go for great-value pub meals or fish and chips nearby. What it lacks in luxury, this friendly campground makes up for in its waterfront location just a short drive from Sydney. There is a swimming pool onsite at the pet-friendly holiday park.
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort, Umina Beach
The NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort accommodates the activities of everyone from small children to teens thanks to its kids’ club, resort-style pools and waterpark. Accommodation ranges from three-bedroom spa villas overlooking the ocean to glamping tents, and caravan and camping sites.
Build dams out of sand to catch the incoming tide, picnic along the banks of nearby Mt Ettalong Creek and, when the tide starts to ebb, walk around one of the nearby headlands from Umina to Patonga through Pearl Beach. Prefer your creature comforts? Check out the Ocean Beach Glamtainer, a new luxury-style shipping container converted into a rustic cabin.