The Central Coast is known for its golden-sand beaches and picturesque nature walks, but did you know it’s brimming with kid-friendly activities?
Gone are the days when a Central Coast family holiday consisted solely of board game nights in or beachside fish and chips for dinner after long days spent in the water. Nowadays, you’ll find an abundance of family-friendly options on offer. From obstacle courses set up high in towering tall gum trees to getting lost in an old-school milk factory, keep boredom in check with a handful of these promising prospects.
Embrace the carefree vibes of a beach day that’s tailored to young families. There are a number of options for those travelling with kids in tow, each offering varying degrees of facilities, cafés, playgrounds and patrolled beaches.
Avoca Beach is one of the most popular. Lifeguards operate between the flags, granting peace of mind for those with little ones. There are surf lesson opportunities, as well as rock pools, toilets and a fully-fenced playground. A collection of cafés and restaurants are within walking distance from the beach for when hunger strikes.
Terrigal Beach is another failsafe. There is a heavy lifeguard presence here as well as small rock pools for exploring and plenty of boutiques and great cafés scattered along the esplanade beside the beach.
Macmasters Beach sits at the foothills of Bouddi National Park. Soak up the sun in the surrounds of towering trees and lush fauna. Kids can swim in the ocean pool or between the flags, and retreat to one of the surrounding grass areas for a picnic.
Putty Beach is a lesser-known slice of Central Coast paradise. Clear, calm and blue waters are flanked by the natural beauty of Bouddi National Park – sans many of the crowds found at other surrounding stretches of sand. Pack snorkels and inflatables for a parenting tick of approval.
Explore the coast from the treetops
Explore the Central Coast via its towering tall gum trees, melange of bird life and leafy hinterland.
Treetop Networld provides a vast network of interconnected trampoline spaces. Kids are encouraged to discover a whole new sense of gravity while enjoying a variety of fun games with giant inflatable balls. Each adventure is two hours long and participants must wear enclosed shoes.
The adjoining Adventure Park houses rope courses for kids to scale up in the trees. There are 100 elevated obstacles to choose from, with rope ladders, wobbly bridges, tunnels, cargo-nets and zip lines set among the magnificent gum trees.
Test your strength on one of the Treetops Vertical Challenges. Anyone aged five and over is encouraged to join the climb through various challenges from the ground up. Choose from three different levels and partake in the zig zag ladder, climbing walls, polka dots and much more.
The Australian Reptile Park was first established in 1948 by the late Eric Worrell – Australia’s first naturalist. It now serves as one of the country’s main wildlife attractions, and the only zoo in Australia with a venom milking program that’s been in place for the past 50 years. Each year, the park saves over 300 lives by being the sole supplier for a variety of venoms, used for all snake and funnel-web anti-venom in Australia.
If the park’s lifesaving venom program doesn’t convince the kids, perhaps the other wildlife encounters will. They can hand-feed the kangaroos in the free-range roaming area, stop by on weekends to see the resident crocodiles, alligators, dingos and koalas get fed by the park rangers, and stroll through Tarantula-ville: home to some of the largest spiders in Australia.
Like all good contemporary zoos, The Australian Reptile Park also places important emphasis on conservation work, with their ‘Devil Ark’ program helping to repopulate the endangered Tasmanian devil.
Eleven-year-old me would have squealed with excitement at the idea of an Aqua Park like this one. Kids can spend the day navigating the inflatable obstacle course filled with endless routes of swings, slides, pyramids, monkey bars and more during the summer months. And if they fall? It’s a short drop into the splashing water below and kept buoyant by a mandatory life-jacket. The park is also fully supervised by the trained lifeguards of Brisbane Water Gosford.
Find Somersby Falls hidden away just 15 minutes’ from Gosford’s town centre. The waterfall itself is a mighty and unique feature of the secluded little hangout, trickling or gushing (depending on rainfall) down the weathered rocks that are shouldered by deep green forest. Visitors can stand under the cascading water and swim in the surrounding pools.
The neighbouring picnic area is the perfect place to enjoy an al fresco lunch. Find free barbeques and picnic tables for use. Be sure to keep a lookout for the hungry bush turkeys that might be keen on joining the picnic – uninvited.
Bike ownership on the Central Coast is higher than anywhere else in the state, and the residents regularly put them to use on the fantastic network of cycling paths that stretch and loop around the region. If two wheels are your preferred way of getting around, these adventurous cycling routes will definitely keep the kids in-check.
Kincumber to Davistown is a comfortable 2.7-kilometre ride for kids. The flat pathway and bike track has toilets, playgrounds and cafés scattered along the way. It passes over a small steel bridge with no steps.
Take in spectacular views along the Brisbane Water Cycleway riding from Gosford to Woy Woy. Start at Point Frederick’s Pioneer Park and journey through wetlands and scenic waterways. Take the train home from Woy Woy or ferry across to Saratoga and Davistown.
Chittaway to the Entrance is the perfect shared cycleway for kids. It runs around the shores of Tuggerah Lake from Chittaway Bay to The Entrance. Along the 12-kilometre journey you’ll encounter parks, picnic areas and playgrounds, including Saltwater Creek Park at Long Jetty with barbecues and a BMX track and find the 11-piece outdoor fitness station at Picnic Point.
Indoor Play Centres
A little rain needn’t put a dampener on your holiday. Head to Monkey Mania inside the Gosford League’s Club. Kids can spend the rainy day will getting lost inside this three-level utopia that features an inflatable jumping castle, dedicated toddler area, a gun/cannon foam ball arena, climbing structure, slides, and kiddies electric go-karts.
Clip ‘N Climb will garner the same level of enthusiasm. Twenty-eight uniquely-themed climbing walls are waiting to be scaled – with walls to suit all ages. Automatic belay devices will take in the slack as you climb, gently lowering you to the ground once you’re done.
KidsWorld play centre is perfect for those aged between 0-11. The multi-level indoor space is packed with climbing structures, tunnels, trampolines, a cannon ball battle zone, an inflatable slide and even a special dedicated under-fives area for little ones to explore safely.
Inflatable World in Charmhaven is another great option. It is home to the biggest indoor inflatable playground in Australia and kids will while away the hours bouncing around the obstacles. Don’t forget the socks – they’re mandatory.
A milk factory might not seem like a magnet for childlike-fun from the outset, but hear us out.
Established in 1906, the Wyong Milk Factory has been lovingly restored to its former glory, now serving as a multi-disciplinary community space. Browse tasty produce at the cheese and chocolate factories, enjoy a kayak or rowboat in the river, relax with a barbeque or watch the kids on the playground from your seat at the Milk Factory Café.
The new onsite family tavern is also open every Wednesday through Sunday. You’ll find live music most evenings and a kids’ entertainment area. The Wyong Milk Factory is free and open daily.