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With beautiful lakes, unspoilt national parks and miles of beautiful coastline, the Central Coast of New South Wales is an ideal Australian holiday destination for those who enjoy nature.

While I’d passed through the Central Coast before, on my Sydney to Brisbane road trip, I didn’t have much time to look around, and after over a year of living in Sydney, I thought it was high time I returned to see what Sydney’s northern neighbour has to offer.

Choosing the coastal suburb of Umina Beach as my base, just an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney, I set off on a three-day adventure to explore the Woy Woy Peninsula and Bouddi National Park at the southern end of the Central Coast. Read on to find out what I discovered to see and do there!

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A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.

Umina Beach: Shops & Cafes

With Woolworths, Coles and Aldi supermarkets and a range of shops and cafes along West St, Umina Beach is a convenient suburb to stay in if you want to explore the Woy Woy Peninsula. The backdrop of hills and palm trees lining the street give it a very different feel from Sydney. It definitely feels like a holiday destination.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Tribe Living store on West St, Umina Beach
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Shops on West St, Umina Beach

Umina Beach

Just a five-minute walk from the shops is a beautiful long beach with a café, skate park, toilets and recreation area. The views across the water to Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Palm Beach and Lion Island are spectacular too. It was weird to feel so far away from Sydney yet still see its northern tip such a short distance away!

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Local rowing regatta at Umina Beach
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Jasmine Greens Café at Umina Beach

Umina Beach Markets

Held on the third Sunday of every month from 9am until 2pm, the Umina Beach Markets sell a variety of unique clothing, jewellery and arts and crafts. You can find the markets on the Peninsula Recreational Precinct directly behind Umina Beach. If you visit the Central Coast on the right weekend like I did (purely by chance!), I’d highly recommend a dropping by.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Beautiful beach-style clothing stall at Umina Markets

As well as clothing, the market prides itself on having a wide range of plant-based food options available.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Coffee and food stalls at Umina Beach Markets

They also have live music to keep you entertained!

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Live music and refreshments

Ettalong Beach

North-east of Umina Beach is Ettalong Beach, which also has a real holiday vibe. With a long, narrow strip of sand, very calm water and a children’s playground, it’s perfect for families. The view across to Hardy’s Bay is beautiful too. This was the first place I stopped at when I arrived at the Central Coast and I was really taken aback by how pretty it was.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Calm and shallow water at Ettalong Beach

Ettalong Beach also has a lovely foreshore with picnic tables, barbecues, toilets and beachfront Box on the Water restaurant, bar and kiosk.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Children’s playground at Ettalong Beach
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Box on the Water beachfront restaurant

The beach is only a few minutes’ walk from the main street, Ocean View Road, where you’ll find shops, cafes and an IGA supermarket. It’s a slightly smaller area than at Umina Beach, but still has all you’ll need if you stay there.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.

Ettalong Markets & Cinema Paradiso

If you visit Ettalong Beach on the weekend, be sure to check out the lovely Ettalong Markets on the corner of Ocean View Road and Schnapper Road. These indoor markets are open from 9am until 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Monday public holidays, and house a variety of quirky boutiques, cafes and stores.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.

Cinema Paradiso is also inside the same complex if you fancy watching a film, and even has a screen outdoors.


Pearl Beach

On the opposite side of Umina Beach is the much quieter Pearl Beach, my personal favourite. Less developed than Umina Beach and Ettalong, Pearl Beach has more of a natural, rugged beauty, with houses nestled into the surrounding green hills and plenty of space to stretch out on. There’s even shade from the overhanging trees, particularly in the afternoon.

The drive from Umina Beach is beautiful too, winding up over the hill through the trees. If you have time, pull over at the sign for Ettalong Lookout (just after the hairpin bend) and walk to the viewpoint.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.

If you fancy a dip, there’s a rock pool at the southern end of the beach. The sea itself is much deeper than at Ettalong and has much calmer waves than Umina, so it’s the perfect beach to swim at.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.

While it’s a very quiet area, you’ve still got toilets, barbecues, Pearl Beach Café & General Store and Pearls on the Beach restaurant close by.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Pearl Beach Café & General Store
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Pearls on the Beach restaurant

Head up towards the end of Crystal Avenue and you’ll find Crommelin Arboretum, a beautiful location for a stroll or a picnic.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Crommelin Arboretum

Patonga Beach

Less than ten minutes from Pearl Beach is the even quieter Patonga Beach. Consisting of only a few streets, the suburb is very small, but with the lovely Patonga Beach Hotel overlooking the beach, it’s a great place to come to eat. I had a lovely dinner there after an afternoon at Pearl Beach!

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Me at Patonga Beach
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Patonga Beach Hotel

Bouddi Coastal Walk: Putty Beach to Maitland Bay

If hiking is your thing, make your way to Bouddi National Park and head to the steps at the eastern end of Putty Beach, where you’ll find the start of the Bouddi Coastal Walk. The full walk to MacMasters Beach is 8km each way, but if you want a shorter walk you can go as far as Maitland Bay and back which is only 3km each way.

Passing stunning rock formations, including a tessellated pavement, beautiful beaches and lush forest, this is a beautiful coastal hike with the added bonus of a swim at the end to cool off!

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Bouddi Coastal Walk map
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
The huge and beautiful Putty Beach
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
The tessellated pavement near the start of the walk
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Bullimah Beach
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Winding through the forest on the Bouddi Coastal Walk
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
The crashing waves below the lookout at Gerrin Point
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Maitland Bay, 3km from Putty Beach

Hardys Bay

If you’re visiting Bouddi National Park and fancy a coffee or a bite to eat, Hardys Bistro is the perfect place to stop by, overlooking the water at peaceful Hardys Bay.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Hardys Bistro
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Hardys Bay

Camping in Bouddi National Park

If you’re looking for a camping spot on the Central Coast, there are three campgrounds in Bouddi National Park. Putty Beach is the largest, with toilets, showers, drinking water and barbecues, and you can park right by your tent, as you can see below. Click here to book.

There are also campgrounds at Little Beach and Tallow Beach, but you will need to walk a bit further from the carparks.

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Putty Beach campground
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.

Budget Accommodation at Umina Beach

If you’re travelling on a budget but don’t want to camp, Airbnb is probably your best option on the Central Coast as there’s no hostel until you get up to The Entrance. I stayed in a lovely apartment called the Umina Beach Shack Unit, sharing with local yoga teacher Carla and her little pooch, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach.

If you haven’t used Airbnb before, make sure your sign up with my discount link:

$55 AUD off Airbnb on your first stay

A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Umina Beach Shack Airbnb
A guide on what to see and do around Umina Beach, Central Coast NSW. Explore beautiful beaches, quirky weekend markets and Bouddi National Park camping and hiking. The perfect short trip from Sydney, Australia.
Shazza the pooch!

The Central Coast is a fantastic holiday destination, and somewhere I’ll be sure to visit again. To read about the more northern section around The Entrance, check out this post:

How to Spend a Weekend at The Entrance

For more great ideas for trips from Sydney, find out my top recommendations in these blog posts:

10 Scenic Day Trips from Sydney

10 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney

Enjoy your break!