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Photo Galleries

Budgewoi and Buff Point
Budgewoi and Buff Point, in Wyong Shire
Our Ourimbah, in the bush, on the old Pacific Highway, at San Remo.
Our Ourimbah
Tuggerah Super Centre
Tuggerah
Wyong, Then and Now
Wyong, Then and Now
Wyee Photos
Wyee, on the Way to Morriset



Recommended Websites & Weblogs

» Coastal Chic
» Cultural Experiences (Darkinjung People)
» Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences
» Greenie's Gone Bush
» Rain Radar
» Water Research Labatory (Beach Stats)

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WELCOME TO THE CENTRAL COAST :: NEW SOUTH WALES
THE CENTRAL COAST OF NSW IS A PLACE OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY, BUT IT DOESN'T QUITE GET THE RESPECT THAT IT DESERVES...
It is true: many tourists zoom right past the place, on their way to more enticing attractions to the north. It is true: when I lived here as a child, I couldn't wait to get out. Some people call the Central Coast "Mt Druitt by the sea", perhaps with good reason. Many refugee from western Sydney have moved up here over the years, to escape the high costs and multiculturalizaton of their city.

Legendary British comedian Spike Milligan, whose mother lived in Woy Woy, once described this as "the only graveyard in the world where the dead live above ground". Well, haters are going to hate, and nobody used to hate the Central Coast, more than myself. This page here is an attempt of contrition...

My own parents used to just down the road at Umina Beach looking across the bay to Lion Island and Palm Beach, the habitat of reclusive Sydney movie stars. I used to think it was as boring as hell neighbourhood but I try to stay here at least once a year. I have lived at the other end of the coast too, up in the wild Wyong Shire, near the infamous caravan park at Tuggerawong. My parents at the time were running the discount grocery store there, and they had their fare share of run-ins with murders and other nefarious crimes. Here we go, from south to north, following the caravans of summer:



PEARL BEACH | 33 ° 54' S 151 ° 30' E
LET"S IMAGINE WE ARE TRAVELLING FROM THE SOUTH TO THE NORTH, THE WAY A VISITOR FROM SYDNEY MIGHT MOVE. This is also bound to the direction I take, when the Escape from Oz finally begins. It is worth pointing out again: my parents lived near Woy Woy at Umina Beach at the southernmost threshold of the Central Coast, just across the bay from Sydney's Palm Beach.

Photo anticopyright RJ Sullivan

While Umina is low-income, if you head south over the headland with its numerous strewn boulders, you enter a completely new domain.

Photo anticopyright RJ Sullivan

Pearl Beach, a few kilometres south of Umina, is quite wealthy -- on the Central Coast it seems generally the more southerly you live, the wealthier (and more socially sophisticated you are). Check out these million dollar houses on Coral Crescent.



UMINA | 33 ° 51' S 151 ° 31' E
Crossing Spike's Bridge, in 2012



ERINA HEIGHTS |
EAST OF GOSFORD past the Terrigal turnoff, on The Entrance Road, one passes through the suburb of Erina Heights. The land originally belonged to William Bean in 1824, who had been granted this stretch of paradise after his arrival in the colony of New South Wales. According to notes from the period, the land here was heavily timbered with "trees of gigantic height", such as blue gums, blackbutts, and so on. The area became an important source of hardwood once the Sydney building boom began.

These days, Erina Heights offers visitors an old-world village atmosphere. Beyond the village, you will find remnants of the great hardwood forest that brought prosperity to the place a century ago. Here, among the shadows, is tranquility -- and a reminder of what once was.

Neale Joseph Fine Art Gallery: 1 Old Tuggerah Beach Road, Erina Heights. Phone: 02/4367 3777.

Wildflower Place: 453 The Entrance Rd, Erina Heights. Phone: 02/4365 5510
I drove past this place the last time I was in Australia, coming back from an oral examination -- it looked kind of mysterious and natural in this obscenely natural land. It might be worth a look inside if you have time or are in the area.



TERRIGAL |
TERRIGAL IS PROBABLY the closest thing there is to "Gosford's beach". The sand here is an orange-golden hue, which changes to a greyish colour further north. I have no idea why that happens. The local landmark, the Skillion headland, is a geological marvel dating back to the Triassic Era... (For my complete guide to Terrigal, click here!)

The Esplanade, at Terrigal



LISAROW
There is a road cutting across these hills, called the Ridgeway. Tall trees, some possibly dating from the days of William Bean, explode from every bend. and... There is a McDonald's and a Coles. is this old township of Ourimbah. Intersected as it is with roads and railways, it seems a bit like a byways, rather than an authentic v

OURIMBAH | 33 ° 22' S 151 ° 22' E
HALFWAY BETWEEN Gosford and Wyong is the old township of Ourimbah. Intersected as it is with roads and railways, it seems a bit like a byways, rather than an authentic village. Which is a pity, but there are still some relics of the settler days if you look hard enough. There is a TAFE college, and a campus of Newcastle University. There is a cemetery nearby, where some of my ancestors lie in peace.

See Off Campus for some ideas on student accommodation in Ourimbah. The Lodge is a long-running share house... it even has its own website!

Lee Rowan's Gardenworld: Website: website here.
Lee Rowan's Nursery, at Ourimbah

My brother used to work here back in the day, when they had a different name. Now part of Lee Rowan's empire, it is close to Big Flower, another nursery. Plants is what they do. … There is a showroom selling synthetic grass, whoopy cushions, and even socks, and a a café where you can get the usual Aussie café fare, such as Smartie cookies. The staff are friendly enough, and there the last time I visited, a charming sparrow helped me complete my cookie. My brother told me that they frequently hold wakes here for mourners from Palmdale Cemetery...

Photo anticopyright RJ Sullivan

In the "Rose Garden" section lies my grandfather Herb, my grandmother Ivy, and her sister "Aunty" Olive.



BERKELY VALE
Kids playing in the constructed wetland, in Berkeley Vale

FOLLOWING ENTERPRISE Drive from Ourimbah, you will eventually reach Berkeley Vale, on the southern shore of Tuggerah Lake. Every month or two I have been visiting Dr Goripati to receive his wisdom, at the private hospital here. is area was called Galgabba. It was said to be an ideal place to live with plenty of sea and fresh water fish, birds and animals to sustain upon.

When the white fellas came they called the areaimagine why?)

Chittaway Bay Tavern: 100 Chittaway Rd, Chittaway Bay. website here.

Oktoberfest, at Chittaway Bay Tavern: RJ Sullivan

There is a reconstructed wetland, and restoration works on the foreshore. Driving east, Lakedge Avenue will eventually take you to Tumbi Umbi, a light industrial precinct. On the other side of Wyong Road lies the Mingara Recreation Club.

Mingara Recreation Club: website here.
Dr Stern has his practice opposite the club.



There is a road cutting across these hills, called the Ridgeway. Tall trees, some possibly dating from the days of William Bean, explode from every bend. and...

THE ENTRANCE | 33 ° 20' S 151 ° 29' E
SITUATED ON the mouth of Tuggerah Lake north of Terrigal, The Entrance is one of the classic seaside towns that you can find in this part of the world. It is called The Entrance, presumably, because it sits astride the outlet of Tuggerah Lake, where the lake enters the ocean (or vice versa). Domestic tourists abound, many from Sydney; Lebanese and Koreans are common in the summer months, and you can buy their food in the local Coles... (For the full guide to The Entrance, ).



TUGGERAH | 33 ° 30' S 151 ° 41' E
TUGGERAH IS one of the retail hubs of the Central Coast, with a Westfield and cinema, railway station, business parks...

Tuggerah Super Centre



WYONG | 33 ° 51' S 151 ° 31' E
WYONG IS built on the banks of the languid Wyong River, which flows from the hills to the lakes. Like Ourimbah and Gosford, Wyong dates back to the settler days. This town is proud of its history and is trying to bring it back to life. Gentrification is the latest fad: old banks are being converted into cafes or gourmet pizzerias. There is a courthouse, a railway station, and a couple of pubs.

Rub old make new

There used to be a council here, but that has been disbanded in the pursuit of progress.

Wyong Bowling Club: 3 Panonia Road, Wyong. Phone: (02) 4356 2260. Website: website here.
Part of the Wyong Rugby League Club Group, this venue has possibly the cheapest beer on the coast. As of September 2020, a schooner of Victoria Bitter went for $3.50. There are discounted meals most nights of the week, including beef rendang, and lamb korma.



KANWAL VILLAGE
wikimap here
TYPICAL MODERN Australian suburban shopping centre built on the road to Toukley. There is a fish and chips shop there which seems to do a decent trade. The last time I visited with my parents just before Christmas we did pies instead. As is typical in Australia these days, they stuff a lot of things into pies. Even kangaroo meat if you are lucky.



GOROKAN | 33 ° 25' S 151 ° 51' E
Photo anticopyright RJ Sullivan



WARNERVALE
streetmap here
IF YOU TRAVELED AROUND THE NORTHERN REACHES OF THE WYONG SHIRE BEFORE 2017, YOU WOULD HAVE SURELY NOTICED THE TWIN TOWERS OF THE LAKE MUNMORAH POWER STATION, WHICH RISE GREY OVER THE GREYGREEN SCRUB. They were a local landmark, until their demolition.



LAKE MUNMORAH
Photo anticopyright RJ Sullivan

streetmap here
IF YOU TRAVELED AROUND THE NORTHERN REACHES OF THE WYONG SHIRE BEFORE 2017, YOU WOULD HAVE SURELY NOTICED THE TWIN TOWERS OF THE LAKE MUNMORAH POWER STATION, WHICH RISE GREY OVER THE GREYGREEN SCRUB. They were a local landmark, until their demolition.



GOSFORD


Glenning Valley: http://www.incacoffee.com.au/ F THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND WILD AND PHOTOGENIC PARTS OF THE CENTRAL COAST, BUT ITHE WORKING CLASS HISTORY TOUKLEY
TOUKLEY IS A PLACE THAT I USED TO WORK, WALK, DREAM, & CONTEMPLATE FOR MYSELF A LIFE IN DISTANT REALMS. Working at the Wyong Shire Advocate Having now reached the distant realms, it is always interesting for me to go back there, and recall past days. As places go, it is a nice place to base yourself, other worlds.

Beachcomber Resort: 200 Main Road, Toukley. Phone: (02) 4397 1300. Website: website here.
At one point in the 10s, this was ranked the second-most violent venue in New South Wales. A nightclub with sand on the floor, topless hostesess on a Friday... who would ask for more?

Kaibigan Emporium: 319 Main Road, Toukley. Phone: (02) 4397 3042.
There seems to be a micro Filipino community in Toukley, and this emporium is one of their shopping haunts. It is like a little piece of south east Asia, stacked with strange and colourful products.... (For my full WOMO review, click here.)

Trinhy's Vietnamese: 266 Main Road, Toukley. Website: website here.
Trinhys, at Toukley

Trinhy's started as a foodtruck in Sydney... A newcomer to Toukley (as of 2019). You can drink Bia Saigon, or oldstyle Viet coffee, with the condensed milk shit and all. I had that, and spring rolls..



YARRAMALONG | 33 ° 22' S 151 ° 28'
Past Tree Tops, towards Yarramalong

YARRAMALONG VALLEY cracks like a fractal through the north-west reaches of the Central Coast, following the course of Wyong River. It is genteel country, dotted with horses, turf farms, home of TreeTops Adventure Park, which is located in the Ourimbah State Forest. It is just across the road from the Yarramalong Valley Horse Farm Stay, a popular wedding venue. While kids might be inclined to dangle from the trees, adults are drawn to the bushwalking and camping opportunities in the area: it took Marek Blas one hour and 37 minutes to complete the Ourimbah State Forest Loop. This is the original "Happy Valley" territory, and one might stumble upon a possible illegal Rave party while wandering around. is is just one festival oany. For a more comprehensive list of Australian festivals and events, Yarramalong Road finally splits into two options, Brush Creek Road, and Ravensdale Road. Whichever way you choose, you will find another valley to explore.

Autumn colours, 2020.

Thrusday-Sunday, from 5pm. The goods here are ma, jewellery and leather.
++-+ NIGHTLIFE. The daylife ind the beach, as it rightly shoref="http://homeay2.htm">Brit Downunder hinted at the problem when he wrote:


, Malta, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland,, Taiwan, Cyprus, Italy, Belgium and France. Only applicants from these countries who are aged between 18 and 30 years and withougible to apply for a Working Holiday visa.
--+- If you have a working holTax Office'sdu28 days to provide it to your employer. When you stop work, ask your employer for a payment summary showing yme and ths you will need available in Australiag in restaurants and bars, labouring and building work, shop assistant and retail jobs, nursing,fruit picking, and Woongarrah Waters: I had a panic attack here walking through the dam here, on my way to Starrett Lodge.



LAKE HAVEN
There seems to be a few suburbs up here with "haven" in the name (Charmhaven, Blue Haven, etc.) Coles and Woolworths, and also an Aldi.

Buses with a "90" number go north, while those from 70 to 80 go south. Busways #95 goes to Morisset, via Lake Munmorah, and also visits Gwandalan and Summerland Point on the way... an epic two-hour journey. I tried to take the trip in early 2020 but was defeated by my anxiety. . .

Bus #281 connects Wangi Wangi to Lake Haven.

Kanwal Villpie shop...



WYEE |

The Wyee Nursery is said to be a good place to relax. They have conifers and talking cockatoos.



CATHERINE HILL BAY
THIS IS NOT ONLY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND WILD AND PHOTOGENIC PARTS OF THE CENTRAL COAST, BUT IT IS ALSO A PLACE STEEPED IN THE WORKING CLASS HISTORY OF THE 19th CENTURY. The village is named after the Catherine Hill, a schooner wrecked here in 1867. Coal was discovered and mined by the New Wallsend Company which bought up the land, built a jetty and opened the mine in 1873. Back in those glory days about 1000 tons of coal a week were taken by horse-drawn skips from the mine to a loading chute on the jetty. That has all faded today -- but to my mind, there is nothing more enchanting than ghostruins from the past. Especially anywhere near the coast with its frequent salty gusts, any ruin is priceless. And Catherine Hill Bay is a ruin. Of a very friendly kind.

(Body of murdered Chinese student found in blowhole in Munmorah National Park...)

The last time I was there I took this photo from the nearby Munmorah National Park, which is a fabulous place with a retro Aussie beach holiday vibe. While we were there, watching the crows battle eagles in the sky, we were treated to an inpromptu flyover by Australian Air Force jets from the nearby air base. It seemed to be a particularly popular place for fishermen of all nationalities, and the seas off the rocks looked lethally strong and dangerous. Container ships sat patiently off the shore, waiting for their turn to fill up on minerals at the port north at Newcastle.

The Sydney Morning Herald said thus about Catherine Hill Bay: "Catherine Hill Bay is a quiet old mining village within the City of Lake Macquarie, 119 km north of Sydney via the Newcastle Freeway and the Pacific Highway. Despite the beauty of the bay and its attractive situation in a valley surrounded by high hills and bushland the presence of the rusty iron and lifeless machinery inevitably colours the visitor's perspective of the bay. Certainly Catherine Hill Bay has a very different feel to the gay, busy tourism-based towns of the Central Coast.

"The village is named after the Catherine Hill, a schooner wrecked here in 1867. Coal was discovered and mined by the New Wallsend Company which bought up the land, built a jetty and opened the mine in 1873. The coastal location facilitated shipment and avoided the bar at the entrance to Lake Macquarie. The enterprise employed 70-100 men, whose cottages, still lining the roadside, formed the nascent township."
CAVES BEACH OzViews.



 

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