From caves to cottages, these are the NSW Central Coast’s unique stays that we’re dreaming of this winter.


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.

At We Are Explorers we love the rough and the rustic when it comes to accommodation. You’ll usually find us with our fire pits raging and our Jetboils… well boiling. But, be it an eco-retreat or a night glamping (while pretending we’re fancy), it’s not that hard to twist our arm when it comes to the country’s more unique stays. 

Cave camping, cute cottage stays, eco-cabins, and rustic tiny homes – we did a little research and found the cosiest and most unique stays on the Central Coast, just over an hour north of Sydney. 

Pack the marshmallows and get booking! 

1. Sleep in a Lighthouse  

Have you ever, ever felt like this?

Bring all your Round the Twist fantasies to life (minus all the strange things, of course) with a stay in Norah Head Lighthouse. The heritage-listed lighthouse offers two sleeping quarters previously reserved for the Lighthouse keeper. Now, they’ve been fully restored with all the creature comforts. 

Located on the headland near Wyrrabalong National Park and Munmorah State Recreation Park, you’re in prime position for hiking, swimming, and exploring the stretches of secluded enclaves around you. 

Even better, during winter, you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the glorious whale migration and if you’re lucky, you may even hear them before you spy them.

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Norah Head Lighthouse

Norah Head Lighthouse | Photo supplied by Destination Central Coast

2. Pindar Creek Cave

The We Are Explorers team (myself included), can 100% confirm that camping in a cave is a unique and pretty awe-inspiring experience, and Pindar Cave is no exception. 

This unique stay is not for the faint-hearted as it’s only accessible on foot via Wondabyne Station. Fun fact: this is the only train station in Australia that doesn’t have road access, so you need to request to stop there, otherwise you’ll fly right on through to Woy Woy. 

The trail to the cave itself takes about three hours (give or take photo stops, which there are plenty of), and it isn’t signposted. Get your adventure panties on, this isn’t for everyone – but boy, is it worth it. 

Read more: How to leave no trace

Sleeping under an impressive overhang you’re somewhat protected by the elements which makes it a great winter camping option, and better yet, the climb to the top of the cave offers incredible stargazing across Brisbane National Water Park. 

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3. Simple Pleasures Camping

Ok, we know ‘We Are Explorers’ and we’re usually more at home roughing it in a cave, but every so often it’s ok to treat yourself (or perhaps the partner who’s not so fond of roughing it), and this is exactly what we’re talking about.

With budget tents and more luxury glamping options available, you can tailor your stay to be as rustic or as fancy as you like – all set amongst the lush backdrop and views across Glenworth Valley, a prime base for adventure for hikers, mountain bikers, kayakers, abseilers… you name it really. 

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Note: they are currently closed until September 1st (until the weather is a touch warmer). 


Glenworth Valley River Camp

Glenworth Valley River Camp | Photo supplied by Destination Central Coast

4. Little Beach Camping

A secluded cove surrounded by the splendour of Bouddi National Park – need I say more? 

If I haven’t sold you already, the campground is located almost directly on the beachfront, so you’ll wake up to the sound of nothing but crashing waves. Little Beach also offers prime surfing, and of course, incredible hikes through the national park. 

With barbeques and toilets on site, all you need to pack is the surfboard.

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Little Beach campground, Bouddi National Park John Spencer DPE

Little Beach campground | Photo By John Spencer

5. Deck and Spa Tiny House

With a fire pit, loft bed, beautiful wooden deck, and outdoor spa bath, we might genuinely never leave this place – did we mention it’s nestled amongst native bushland home to a host of furry critters (the good ones, not the drop bear kind). 

For the adventurous, the creek has a log bridge that accesses the far side to explore a wild and luscious rainforest area that’s still somewhat unexplored. Grab ya marshmallows and your hiking gear, this Tiny Home is calling your name.

Hot tip: Weekends are competitive but take some leave and you’ll get a midweek booking no sweat.

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Deck and Spa Tiny House Matcham

Deck and Spa Tiny House Matcham | Photo supplied by Destination Central Coast

6. Waterfall Springs Retreat and Wildlife Sanctuary

This glamping option is one for the nature enthusiasts, with the wildlife sanctuary onsite dedicated to the conservation of endangered species like the Brush-Tailed rock wallaby and Yellow-Footed rock wallaby. They also support the rehabilitation of other species, including the Eastern Grey and Red kangaroo, and Swamp and Red-Necked wallabies (who roam the ground for guests to interact with – always avoid petting and feeding, but feel free to take photos of these cute guests). 

This property is also a perfect gateway to the Hunter Valley, with the nearest winery a little over half an hour’s drive away. 

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Waterfall Springs Glamping

Waterfall Springs Glamping | Photo supplied by Destination Central Coast

7. Grower’s Cottage, Lower Mangrove

Overlooking the mountainous Dharug National Park, Lower Mangrove’s Grower’s Cottage is an original farmer’s cottage on 25 acres of land that’s been restored to offer exactly the R&R you’re needing. If you’re thinking; mountain views, reading, red wine, a wood-fired pizza oven, and a log fire then you’re on the right track. 

Aptly named the Grower’s Cottage, you’ll be surrounded by fruit trees and vegetable gardens that you’re welcome to during your stay. Days spent eating fruit in an orchard, and nights spent roasting marshmallows by the fire – count us in. 

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Grower's Cottage, Lower Mangrove, Central Coast

Grower’s Cottage | Photo supplied by Destination Central Coast

8. Glenworth Valley Eco Cabins

The best of both adventure and relaxation, Glenworth Valley is surrounded by lush rainforests and national parks – for long lazy strolls or river paddles, or adrenaline-filled days of scenic hiking or mountain biking.

With huge wooden decks and freestanding baths, both overlooking the mountains, a nearby creek to meander beside, and lush rainforests with hidden waterfalls on your doorstep, Glenworth Valley Eco Cabins are the picture of countryside living just a hop, skip, and jump from Sydney.  

Glenworth Valley also offers plenty of camping and glamping options, still perfectly located for adventures. 

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Glenworth Valley Eco Cabin

Glenworth Valley Eco Cabin | Photo supplied by Destination Central Coast

9. Tiny Robinson

Located in Wyee (about 90 minutes north of Sydney), Tiny Robinson is named after Robinson Crusoe, and if that’s not enough to get your adventure taste buds swirling then perhaps its secluded, entirely tree-covered location will whet your appetite. 

With loft-style beds and huge windows looking into the thick surrounding bushland, Tiny Robinson is the rewilded cabin porn you’ve been dreaming of. Sleeping up to three people, with all of the essentials (including a fire pit), this little gem is both a bushland retreat and less than 20 minutes from the beach. 

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Tiny Robinson, Into the Wild, campsite, tiny home

Tiny Robinson | Photo supplied by Into the Wild Escapes

With epic coastal hikes and a hinterland brimming with cosy stays, trails, waterfalls, and national parks to explore, the Central Coast is far more than just a summer escape.

We recently sent an Explorer to check out the region’s lesser-known experiences and best stops within the region, so it’s safe to say we’ve got plenty of activities to match any of these epic stays.