Head to the Central Coast for an arts and nature reset

Thinking about a mid-year reset? The Central Coast has plenty to offer, from curated arts itineraries to the best of ecotourism.

Make the NSW Central Coast your newest art destination with the breadth of cultural experiences on offer in an adventurous landscape. 

Art trails, creative spaces, exhibitions and theatre spaces are nestled in a region with more than 40 beaches and lush native bushland. The Central Coast is a land with Traditional Custodians that have ancestral connections to Country spanning back thousands of years, evident in the vast landscape and cultural sites across the region. This includes the Darkinjung, Guringai and Awabakal Aboriginal peoples.

Today, the Central Coast is home to thousands of First Nations people from across Australia, who continue to care for country and community. There are thousands of registered sites of cultural significance on the Central Coast, and the local Aboriginal community itself is celebrated with many inspiring young people, high achievers and respected Elders all calling the Central Coast home.

Enjoy a Darkinjung Cultural Tour and experience the Bulgandry Aboriginal Place Rock Engraving Site
and Girrakool waterfalls, or join the Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences in Bouddi National Park with
Tim Selwyn to explore ancient storylines.

For those who would like to immerse themselves in the arts scene, there is plenty on at the Gosford Regional Gallery, with Art Gallery of NSW travelling exhibition William Kentridge: I Am Not Me, The Horse Is Not Mine from 17 June to 27 August, as well as the Gosford Art Prize on view from 9 September.

Also be sure to drop by Ken Duncan Gallery (Erina Heights), Glenn McKimmin’s Gallery (Long Jetty), The Public Art Gallery (Umina), Bouddi Gallery (Killcare) and the inaugural Creative Space showcase featuring the region’s leading makers and creators.

The Entrance Art Gallery will showcase works by Dharawal, Bidjigal and Dhungutti artist Garry Purchase from 29 May to 11 June. A former musician and recent finalist in the Gosford Art Prize, Purchase says, ‘Moving to the Central Coast was the best decision; it allowed me to hit the “reset button” with life.’ 

He continues: ‘Everything’s on your doorstep. You can surround yourself with the peacefulness of nature and even have the whole beach to yourself. You wouldn’t get that with the hustle and bustle of Sydney.’

Bulgandry Art Site Aboriginal Place. Photo: James Horan.

The arts scene in Central Coast has grown tremendously in recent years, with a significant creative community in the region. 

Naughty Noodle Fun Haus is a multi-arts and culture organisation based at Ettalong Beach. Creative Director Glitta Supernova says: ‘Three years ago, if someone said people would travel to the Central Coast for cutting edge contemporary entertainment, it would have been considered an impossible idea. Today we have up to 33% of visitors to the region, enabled volunteers with paid work and [are] supporting local businesses through a new unique identity and product for the region.’

There is also plenty for theatre lovers, with Katie Pollock’s hilarious but poignant story, Rough Trade at Peninsula Theatre (23-24 June) and the one-night-only Unprecedented by Campion Decent at Laycock Theatre on 30 August. 

If you’re looking for a more leisurely wander, let the Central Coast Makers Trail guide you on a journey to discover hidden food gems, behind-the-scenes experiences and gourmet tastings. The region has established itself as an outstanding culinary destination, and is home to a variety of pubs and restaurants to suit every appetite. 

In addition to being a tourism hotspot, the Central Coast is one of Australia’s first certified ECO Destinations with Ecotourism Australia, recognised for its sustainable practices.  

Be sure to discover recommendations from the local makers and creatives for their favourite coffee spot, the best beaches and most energising bush walks. There are also curated itineraries by region to help you gear up for a relaxing and culturally-rich vacation.

Ready for your next adventure? Check out what’s on at Central Coast.

This Love Central Coast project has been jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.

Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_