It’s official. The Central Coast is now an ECO Destination. Ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June, the Central Coast celebrates as one of the first Australian destinations to achieve ECO Certification through Ecotourism Australia.
Travellers needn’t wander too far to enjoy environmentally and socially responsible travel. With the Central Coast just over an hour’s drive from Sydney.
With more than half of the Central Coast made up of natural areas, it is a true nature lovers’ playground. The region boasts 42-plus beaches with uncrowded stretches of sand and renowned surf breaks. It’s also home to several national parks, state forests, and rolling green hinterland. Plus, pockets of rainforest and rugged bushland, where exploring by foot is a feast for the eyes and soul.
With so much on offer, we’ve rounded up 12 Central Coast experiences for the eco conscious traveller.
Breakfast with alpacas
If you’re an avid traveller, you’ve likely heard of breakfast with orangutans and giraffes, but what about alpacas? This experience takes place every weekend (and every day during school holidays) at Iris Lodge Alpacas, a working farm in Jilliby in the Central Coast hinterland. Expect to be greeted by a friendly alpaca. And meet and feed other animals before enjoying your own breakfast onsite. They also offer an afternoon alpaca experience for the non-early risers.
Nature tours with a touch of luxe
Luxury travellers will love Elixir Journeys for their curated selection of tailor-made and small-group tours. All lovingly crafted to show you the best of nature and food experiences on the Central Coast. Highlights include a ‘Paddle and Pearls’ kayak tour to a pearling shed, a ‘Sailing Safari with Seafood Lunch’. Or a ‘Sundowner Stroll Nature Tour’ with a sunset picnic in the Bouddi National Park.
Explore the watery grave of the HMAS Adelaide
Scuttled in April 2011, the HMAS Adelaide is the largest and most accessible former naval dive wreck in the Southern Hemisphere. Located 1.5 kilometres off the coast of Terrigal, this 138-metre-long and 15-metre-wide wreck is a diverse dive site. Complete with an operations room, missile launcher, torpedo magazine, bridge and more to explore. It quickly became an artificial reef thriving with marine life. Toady it’s home to prawns, crabs, octopus, sponges, barnacles, giant grouper, and even turtles, dolphins, seals, and whales.
Visit NSW’s only pearl farm
Sustainably growing Akoya pearls are far rarer than diamonds. With Broken Bay Pearl Farm the only pearl farm in New South Wales located on the sparkling Lower Hawkesbury River. Visitors can join a tour of the farm to learn about the lifecycle of a pearl. Then browse the jewellery at the ‘shellar door’, and enjoy some fresh local oysters.
Experience the Australian bush from above on a Treetop Adventure Park course. Get up-close and personal with native Australian wildlife as you climb, weave and fly through the treetops on self-guided rope courses. The park features over 100 elevated obstacles with rope ladders, wobbly bridges, tunnels, cargo nets and zip lines. Each course is customised to a particular age group and designed with graded difficulty catering to adventurers of all ages.
Paddle-power on the water
There is a diverse offering of water-based sports on the Central Coast to take in the region’s plentiful waterways, including lakes and lagoons. Canton Beach Paddleshack and Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP offer SUP hire and classes to become a master of the board. Aquafun Avoca Lake is another signature water experience with its fleet of single and double kayaks, pedalboats and SUPs.
Central Coast bushcraft tours
Jake Cassar is a Central Coast Bushcraft teacher, tour guide and youth mentor. Specialising in edible, introduced and medicinal wild plants. He has over 20 years experience in survival missions. Where he lives off only what he can hunt, catch or gather for weeks at a time. Jake runs a variety of walking tours and an overnight bushcraft camp course for those that want to learn a little more about living off the land.
Walkabout Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Get up and close to Australian fauna with the free-roaming kangaroos, wallabies and emus that have made a home at Walkabout Wildlife Park in Calga. With its 180-acres of natural bushland, this wildlife sanctuary believes in conservation through education. They care for and protect hundreds of rescued, orphaned, unreleasable, disabled and retired animals every year. Located on heritage-listed Aboriginal cultural land, take part in guided bushwalks to see protected sites for our local communities.
Whale watching season is here
Terrigal Ocean Tours offers small group water tours with a marine biologist. These include whale and dolphin watching tours and seal tours. Tours are run from a high-performance Eco Tour RIB vessel taking in the region’s spectacular coastline and rich marine life.
Don waders and shuck oysters
Sydney Oyster Farm Tours at Mooney is a unique experience that will literally immerse visitors in the waters. Visitors will don waders and walk among the oyster leases in the beautiful Hawkesbury River. Learning about the evolution of oyster farming before shucking and tasting them straight from the water.
Discover important Aboriginal sites
Walk in the footsteps of the Darkinjung people with local elder Gavi Duncan of Darkinjung Cultural Tours. In turn, discover some of the Central Coast’s thousands of aboriginal sites. Choose from the Waraba (ocean) tour in Pearl Beach, where you can find Aboriginal middens along the coast. Or the Mundoe (footprint) tour in Bulgandry Aboriginal Art Site in Kariong, to see thousand-year-old rock art.
An Australiana wilderness experience
Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures offers a host of activities for nature lovers with its 3,000 acres of spectacular natural wilderness. The best way to explore the property is via horseback. They offer guided tour riding through rainforests, rock pools and native bushland. The largest horse-riding centre in the southern hemisphere, Glenworth has over 200 horses. Make a weekend of it and stay in one of their eco villas or glamping tents.
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