Firescreek Fruit Wines
Nadia and Francis O’Connell own Firescreek, a boutique cellar door and 1-hectare property in Holgate where they grow and tend to fig trees, rose bushes and myriad other botanicals that go into their wines. From the beekeeping to the mulberry picking, everything here is done by hand, and their limited-edition bottlings change with the season. They may have coffee and blackcurrant for you to taste one visit, and fig, date and raisin the next.
Firescreek Fruit Wines, 192 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate.
Bulgandry Art Site Aboriginal Place
In Brisbane Water National Park you’ll find the Bulgandry Art Site Aboriginal Place, a special landscape of well-preserved Aboriginal engravings. A raised boardwalk surrounds the site and offers walkers a good vantage from which to view the centuries-old rock art. The engravings are of fish, wallabies, a dolphin and a man said by the local Darkinjung people to represent Baiyami, the creator.
Brisbane Water National Park, Woy Woy Road, near Kariong
The rainforest surrounds and free barbecue facilities make Somersby Falls picnic area a popular lunch spot, but it’s the waterfalls themselves that make this a must-visit location. There are two waterfalls and they’re both accessed via the steep (and often slippery) 500 m-return Somersby Falls Walking Track. Best viewed after rain when water cascades down the falls creating pools of water and much laughter from children splashing and dancing beneath.
Picnic area, end of Somersby Falls Road, Somersby
Distillery Botanica, Fragrant Gardens
Set among three acres of gardens in Erina is Distillery Botanica where you can wander the gardens that supply herbs for the distillery’s gins. There are interesting mud-brick buildings to see, say hello to the blue tongue lizards, take a peek at the copper pot stills, and taste some of the gins for free. Distillery Botanica, 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina
Ken Duncan Gallery
Ken Duncan, a resident of Wamberal and one Australia’s most acclaimed landscape photographers, has his eponymous gallery at Erina Heights. The gallery walls are lined with Ken’s panoramic images of locations far and near, and might include Iguazu Falls in Brazil, giraffes in Africa, twilight at Avoca or dawn at Wamberal. This purpose-built facility, with its gumtree-lined backdrop, is one of the largest privately owned photographic galleries in Australia, and entry is free.
Ken Duncan Gallery, 414 The Entrance Road, Erina Heights
Edogawa Commemorative Garden and Gosford Regional Gallery
This 4,000 square metre public garden of wooden bridges, Japanese maples, resident ducks and manicured azaleas, is known locally as the Japanese Gardens. A gift to Gosford City from Edogawa City in Japan, the garden was designed in accordance with the original principles of the Japanese Heian period (700AD). With its raked dry-stone garden, Japanese-style tea house and koi-filled ponds, it’s a peaceful oasis. The adjoining Gosford Regional Gallery features local artists’ works as well as touring exhibitions such as the upcoming Midawarr | Harvest exhibit (May to July), a collaborative body of artworks by Yolngu elder Mulkun Wirrpanda and renowned landscape painter John Wolseley.
Japanese Gardens, 36 Webb Street, East Gosford
Glenworth Valley Running of the Horses
Each day at Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures some 200 horses are mustered out of the riding yards and across the river to their night pastures. The Running Of The Horses occurs at about 4-4.30 pm each day (call first to confirm), and people are invited to visit the Valley to watch this iconic event for free.
Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, 69 Cooks Road Glenworth Valley
The Coast’s Beaches
The Central Coast’s 87 km coastline is home to 41 stunning beaches. Some have awesome surf breaks, some are frequented by fishermen and some are beautifully isolated and unpatrolled. Umina’s long rolling wave makes it an ideal stretch for long-boarders while Pelican Beach’s punchy beach break is better suited to bodyboarders. Lobster Beach in Bouddi National Park is so remote most think it’s only accessible by boat, but a set of little-known stairs in Wagstaffe also provides access. Avoca Beach is patrolled and fantastically kid-friendly: the rockpool provides a safe place to splash and there’s a fully fenced playground just behind the surf club. For something far more secluded, seek out Little Beach. This 100 m cove is located at the end of a 10-minute bushwalk past ferns and gums and is one of the Coast’s best-kept secrets.
Central Coast Council
The Bouddi National Park is home to countless bushwalks, but the most popular and arguably most stunning is the 8 km Bouddi Coastal Walk from Putty Beach (Killcare) to MacMasters. The first 3 km stretch to Maitland Bay offers walkers the most reward, as the boardwalk hugs the coastline and offers uninterrupted views of the ocean. The Coast walking track through Wyrrabalong National Park also offers spectacular ocean views as it traverses the cliff tops between Bateau Bay Beach and Crackneck Lookout.
Central Coast Bushwalks
Pelican Feeding, The Entrance
Watch the pelicans soar, swim or waddle in for a feed at The Entrance Foreshore’s Pelican Plaza. The feeding frenzy takes place every day at 3.30 pm.
Pelican Feeding, Marine Parade, Memorial Park, The Entrance
WORDS BY KATIE STOKES