We’ve uncovered ten of the best and most underrated experiences on the Central Coast. Get there before everyone else does!

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live, work and play. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging and recognise their continued connection to these lands and waterways. We acknowledge our shared responsibility to care for and protect our place and people.


Whether you’re looking to get out of the house on a beautiful winter day or escape the city for the weekend, the Central Coast of NSW is the perfect place for you to explore.

With so much to do and so much of it unknown it can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve put together this list of our ten favourite under-the-radar experiences to inspire you. I bet there’s something on here that you’ve never heard of!

1. Visit a Shellar Door

Location: Hawkesbury River, Mooney Mooney

If you read the title and are thinking ‘Did they spell cellar wrong?’, you’re not alone. Think less wine, more pearls and oysters.

For seafood and jewellery lovers, Broken Bay Pearl Farm is the only pearl farm in NSW. Right on the Hawkesbury River this little warehouse holds the secrets of locally grown pearls.


The riverside view from Broken Bay pearl farm

You can look through the incredible jewellery, take a tour, or enjoy some fresh local oysters outside in the sun. Right next door is the luxe Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed where you can grab a bite or drink afterwards.


Grab a drink and some seafood!

2. Kariong Brook Falls

Note: Kariong Brook waterhole and waterfall, and the trail down to it, is currently closed due to the risk of rock fall, keep an eye out for when it reopens. 

Location: Brisbane Water National Park

This stunning waterfall is best seen along the 5km return hike starting near Staples Lookout. Follow Thommos Loop, which is mostly fire trail, before turning right down the single track towards the water. Go for a little swim to freshen up before making the climb back up. In winter the freezing cold water leaves your body feeling amazing afterwards, natural ice bath anyone?

Read more: How to Leave No Trace

3. Connect to Country with Darkinjung Cultural Tours and Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences

Location: Upper Mangrove area

Listen to stories that have been passed down through generations while learning about important Aboriginal cultural sites and their history.

Darkinjung Cultural Tours offer an authentic look into the significant areas of the Central Coast, which most travellers never learn about.

Their Waraba (Ocean) tour goes to Pearl Beach and takes you along the coastline and sand dunes. The Mundoe (Footprint) Bush Tour explores ancient rock engravings and visits the stunning Girrakool waterfalls.


Girrakool waterfall


The final tour, Warre Warren Aboriginal Place, takes you to an ancient camping ground and rock art site in the Upper Mangrove area.

Girra Girra is an Aboriginal owned company that provides guided tours aimed to increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture. Their tours include Bulgandry, Bouddi, Pearl Beach, and Yengo walking tours to sites rich in cultural heritage.


Bulgandry art

Bulgandry art

4. Enjoy 360 Degree Views on a Sunrise Hike Up Mount Wondabyne

Location: Brisbane Water National Park

One benefit of winter is the late (well… later) sunrises. Take this opportunity to explore the highest point in Brisbane Water National Park at sunrise on top of Mount Wondabyne while enjoying those precious extra hours of sleep.

The trail is an 8km loop of fire trail with a bit of a rock scramble to the summit – don’t forget your head torch!

After reaching the first peak the trail is a bit hard to find, don’t miss the extra 60m along the ridge to reach the old triangulation station (that random metal post with a black circle on top of it) for panoramic views.

If you want to minimise hiking in the dark, camp at the base of the summit at Mount Wondabyne campsite the night before. The climb up to the top provides incredible views over Brisbane Water National Park, Woy Woy and the Central Coast.

Pro Tip: Aim to arrive at your sunrise spot for first light – normally around 30 minutes before what the weather apps tell you is sunrise – to catch all those morning colours!

5. Piles Creek Suspension Bridge

Location: Brisbane Water National Park

While the Piles Creek loop is a fairly popular track, the area is so beautiful and it just doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

We started hiking in the late morning and the main car park was already full so we had to park a little bit up the road.

The 4.8km loop begins at Girrakool Picnic Area in Brisbane Water National Park and winds its way down past lookouts and waterfalls to the suspension bridge spanning Piles Creek.


The suspension bridge

This is a great spot for a little picnic or a swim – the area is filled with little places to explore, including rock outcrops and river crossings. Some parts are steep, but the trail is well marked the whole way.


Piles Creek trail

There are a lot of rocks and roots along the path so be careful, oh and don’t forget water and a snack!

6. Camp in a Cave at Pindar Cave, Brisbane Water National Park

Location: Brisbane Water National Park

Pindar Cave is a large sandstone rock overhang providing a shelter for campers and a fun, unique way to experience Brisbane Water National Park.

The cave can only be accessed by foot, despite what Google Maps says. The best option is the 13km return hike from Wondabyne Station. You’ll have to get the train to the station as there’s no car access, and let them know where you’re getting off. Get ready to hail the train down on your way home too.

The rocky trail will lead you to explore Pindar Lookout and Pindar Pool along the way before heading to the cave and Pindar Waterfall.

Alternatively, there’s the 20km return hike from Staples Lookout which passes by Kariong Brook Falls (Number 2 on this list), or you can hike to Patonga and catch the ferry to Palm Beach.


Piles Creek

All the cave-based adventures you could dream of

7. Have a Paddle at Block N Tackle

Location: Kincumber

Block N Tackle is so tucked away that we missed the turn for the driveway twice. It’s an absolute gem nestled in a quiet industrial unit, warehouse including the brewery, tap room, and kitchen, with a good amount of dining space to enjoy some drinks and food on your trip. 

Good vibes, pups galore, and live music on a Sunday will keep you entertained as you enjoy a tasting paddle of any of the 12 locally-brewed beers of your choice – plus a traditional English hand pump for the authentic British vibe. They have some of their own non-alcoholic drinks to try or you can get takeaways.

8. Visit the Cheese Factory

Location: Wyong

Little Creek Cheese is a tiny cheese factory within the Old Wyong Milk Factory on the Central Coast. Browse their range of delicious locally-handmade cheeses while talking with the friendly staff and sampling as many cheeses as you can (umm all of them please!).


Cheesy heaven


With flavours such as fig and walnut cheddar, chilli basil, garlic goat feta, and BBQ haloumi (to name a few) there’s something for everyone in this unassuming space.

Explore the rest of the complex including donuts, a chocolate factory and a tavern to stock up or fill up for your journey.

9. Take a Sunset Nature Tour

Location: Bouddi National Park

The beautiful Bouddi National Park is the perfect place to have a relaxing sunset picnic and stroll to an incredible lookout.


Destination Central Coast,Bouddi National Park, Bouddi

Bouddi Bouddi National Park. Image supplied by Central Coast Tourism.

Get back to nature surrounded by wildlife and Sydney Red Gum trees as you hear about the local history. Once at the viewpoint you’ll enjoy canapés and drinks as the sun sets before returning down the windy trail. Check out Elixir Journey’s Sundowner Stroll Nature Tour for details of the full experience.

You can also DIY by heading out along the Putty Beach to Gerrin Point lookout walk. This 3.2km return trail starts from Putty Beach and will take you out to the lookout where you can choose if you want to continue on to the beautiful Maitland Bay. When hiking around sunset don’t forget to bring a head torch for the walk back!

10. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping in Glenworth Valley

Location: Glenworth Valley

If adventure is what you’re after, Glenworth Valley is the place for you. The valley itself is packed full of fun activities from horseback riding and quad biking to kayaking and abseiling.

If you ever manage to get bored in Glenworth Valley (very unlikely) you can explore the surrounding area with beautiful lookouts, hikes, and waterfalls.


Nearby Somersby Falls

It’s an incredible place to base your Central Coast adventure from, or even visit just for the day. I camped at Glenworth Valley a few years ago in winter. The cold fog that hung in the valley was so magical to wake up to, completely surrounded by nature.


Misty mornings in Glenworth Valley

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the hikes mentioned?

The full list of hikes mentioned in this article as they are named in AllTrails:

  • Kariong Brook Falls via Thommos Loop (currently closed) – 5.0km out & back
  • Mount Wondabyne Loop via Tunnel Trail – 7.7km loop
  • Piles Creek Loop – 4.8km loop
  • Pindar Cave Falls from Wondabyne Station – 12.4km out & back
  • Staples Lookout to Pindar Cave and Falls – 20.3km out & back
  • Putty Beach to Gerrin Point Lookout – 3.2km out & back

Where can I camp on the Central Coast?

There are a few campsites mentioned throughout which provide a great base for your adventures:

  • Mount Wondabyne campsite – The base for a sunrise hike up Mount Wondabyne. This is a walk-in campsite and there’s no booking required. You’ll need to hike to access the camp and there aren’t any facilities here other than space for tents so come prepared.
  • Pindar Cave campsite – Similar to Mount Wondabyne Campsite, Pindar Cave is only accessed by foot and there is no booking required or designated camping spots.
  • Glenworth Valley Campsite – The camping in Glenworth Valley requires booking in advance. The area is huge, suitable for both tents and campervan camping, and has toilet and shower facilities available. There’s also a glamping option if you’re feeling a little bit fancy.

Read more: How To Poo in the Bush

From exploring local companies and their goods to uncovering local hikes featuring waterfalls, caves, sunrises and more; the Central Coast has a hidden gem for everyone. Get your mates together for a winter adventure and see how many of these experiences you can tick off!