Gossy Good Times

GOSFORD COMES ACROSS AS A CITY ON THE GO. All around town, construction work is carrying on. There is a wealth of heritage sandstone to be sure, and a history dating back to the convict days. Nonetheless, Gosford's eyes are framed forwards, towards a glorious future.

It is true that many buildings have been lost to the wrecking ball, including the Public School I was stationed at in the very late 1970s. Many, however, still remain. Henry Kendall Cottage was assembled in present day West Gosford using convict labour between 1836 and 1840, and is now a museum open to the public. At Frederick Point you can find the graves of the pioneers hidden among the million dollar properties.

135 years of the Mann Street story.

Mann Street is the main street of Gosford, its bloodline you might say, its artery. It functions as part of the former Pacific Highway, which runs from Sydney to Brisbane. On Mann Street you will find the railway station, police station, and council chambers. Down near the waterfront it meets the Central Coast Highway, which connects Terrigal and Kariong. On the way to Terrigal you will pass East Gosford, established in 1840, and maintaining something of a village feel.

Activities

TAKE A PUNT at the Raceourse. Watch the Mariners play at the Central Coast Stadium. Usain Bolt used to run with them. Climb to the top of Rumbalara Reserve, with its panoramic views. You might well pass a scrub turkey on the way up. Ride on a junk on Brisbane Water (I did that once, many year ago!)

Bara Barang Aboriginal Centre: 3 Mann Street, Gosford. Phone: (02) 4312 5133. Website: website here.
The Central Coast was once Darkinjung turf. Their legacy survives at Bara Barang, which means "Make Tomorrow" and aims to become a tourist attraction with a planetarium and the like. It would be nice to learn the Darkinjung names for the stars, if the project ever gets off the ground. I do know that Mirrabooka is their word for the Milky Way, and Mount Yengo is their Uluru. If I could ever make pilgrimage to that place, I will.

Edogawa Commemorative Garden: 36 Webb Street, East Gosford. Phone: (02) 4304 7550. Google Streetview: here.
I have a personal bond with this garden as it was planted by the Edogawa Ward of Tokyo, where I lived for 4 years, in Shinozaki. Whoever said that sister cities were a waste of money? this place is worth every cent! The garden, which adjoins the Gosford Regional Gallery, encompasses a Koi Pavilion, Wisteria Walk, and a sukiya style teahouse.

Capturing the scene, in the Edogawa Memorial Gardens

Stroll along the meandering pathways with their cypresses and ginkgo biloba, or simply plonk yourself on a stone bench, and soak up the sculpted view.

Chilling on a park bench

Gosford Hospital: Holden Street, Gosford. Phone: (02) 4320 2111.
Gosford Hospital is a huge structure and it dominates the skyline north of the railway. It is always quite busy, like all good hospitals, and it is confusing to find your way around inside. There are a couple of cafes and cafeterias if you need to pass time waiting for a blood test, or getting your Pfizer jab.

Laycock Street Community Theatre: North Gosford.

Pulse Nightclub: 108 Mann Street, Gosford. Website: website here.
When I was working in West Gosford in 2012, just round the corner from the Henry Kendall Cottage, my telesales crew all raved about this place, which was part of the Union Hotel. It might have been seedy, but it was the place to go. Sadly, the Union Hotel is now a hole in the ground, awaiting resurrection as a pair of luxury apartment towers. When those towers are built, they will redefine the Gosford skyline, taking it to a whole new level. That's "make tomorrow", Gossy style.

The Rhythm Hut: 135 Faunce Street, Gosford.
This is an entertainment venue and hub for musicians and performers. They have open-mike nights, drumming sessions, sound baths and suchlike.

Accommodation

GOSFORD IS IN need of good centrally located accommodation. Hotel Gosford is right in the middle of things, but it is also nasty and noisy. Fortunately they are constructing something new right next door, which might well be a grand extension. It won't be as high as the original,, but it will be a little bit grander. No doubt with funk and soul on the soundsystem, that seems to be the style here.


Bella Vista Motel: 5 Central Coast Highway, Kariong.

Hotel Gosford: Corner of Erina Street and Mann Street, Gosford. Phone: (02) 4324 1634. Website: website here.
Deadset in the middle of Gosford, opposite the railway, rises this historic edifice, built in 1926. The internal lift is just as an ancient, and is said to be a museum piece. I was somewhat skeptical on my first night here (March 2021), since the hotel is a cheapie with shared bathrooms. My concerns seemed to be validated when I realized, after checking in, that there was no remote controller for the TV in my room. It was a steamy day, and my shirt clung to my back like a cheap shower curtain. I rummaged through all the drawers, peered under the bed, even teetered on a chair to examine the top of the cupboard. It was a little dusty, but there was no controller there. This could be a problem.

I rode the rickety lift two floors down to reception, where I reported my plight. A lot hung in the balance: this was my recon mission, and if the Hotel Gosford failed this first test, I would have to upgrade into something more expensive for the coming longstay. Thankfully, the lady at reception provided me another device, which she assured me would do the trick. I returned to my room via the stairs, traversing some office space between the saloon and the accommodation. Back in my room, I aimed the remote squarely at my TV, and squeezed the on button. Nothing happened. Damn, I thought. I am not normally a complainer, but this was important.

The second cheapest hotel in Gosford (the Ibis) cost at least $100 a night, or $3600 per month, I could go without a TV for one night, of course, but how about the longstay (or the even longer stays which loomed beyond?) If the TV didn't work this time, what else might not work in the future? This was a dry run of the Escape from Oz which is due to begin in a matter of months. It was a critical battle, one worth fighting for... (For the complete story of my first night at Hotel Gosford, )

Gosford Palms Motel: 7 Moore Street, West Gosford. Phone: (02) 4323 1211. Website: website here.
Features a swimming pool and outdoor barbecue.

Ibis Budget Hotel: 63 Central Coast Highway, West Gosford.
Hidden behind McDonald's near the showground can be found this hotel. While I have never been inside, reception reportedly features a hot drink corner with vending machines and snacks.

Cafes & Restaurants

GRAB A CHIPOTLE Philly steak steak sandwich at Gloria Jeans, on Mann Street. There is, in fact, no shortage of cafes in Gosford. On the first Friday night of the month, Aussie Night Markets is held with food trucks in West Gosford. Guzzle Gozleme and Pupusa from Central America...

Hot Dogs of the World foodtruck in Gosford

Bay Road Brewing: 89 Donnison Street, Gosford. Website: website here.
This might be new place to hang out in 2022. Like the Bon Pavilion, my hang for 2021, it is only open from Wednesday to Sunday. They concoct their own brews on site, including

Bon Pavilion: 159 Mann Street, Gosford. Phone: (02) 4302 1593. Website: website here.
The Bon Pavilion is an attempt to introduce a bit of class to the Central Coast. John Singleton is a backer, and he has long been an exponent of development in Gosford. On weekends it might cost $14 for a pitcher of Asahi beer, which my brother might consider "Sydney prices". They have some regular events like barbecues and all-you-can-eat brunch.

Chicken V: Imperial Centre, Shop 128/171 Mann Street, Gosford.
I ate Ddukbokki and cheese, at Chicken V

Many Japanese restaurants in Australia are in fact owned and operated by Koreans and Taiwanese, which makes them inauthentic is my opinion. Better options are the Korean restaurants, which are not so appreciated by the Australian public. Some day soon Korean food is going to trend in Australia, and Gosford has a good selection of grocery stores, grills and specializing in this cuisine. At Chicken V, you can order such strange sounding but delicious dishes as japchae, gamjatang, and ddukbokki. Spicy chicken is the big draw, however. I took on their Crazy Hot Chicken one evening and was defeated. Leeson learned: never ask Koreans for extra spicy.

Joe's Pizza Parlour: 207 Mann Street, Gosford.
Just a few hundred metres from Gosford station and the centre of town can be found this local institution.

Lyon's Den: Mann Street, Gosford.

Mapo Galbi: 154 Mann Street, Gosford. Website: website here.
Authentic Korean barbecue that you grill at your table. The grilled selection includes marinated lamb chops, wagyu beef, pork belly and ox tongue. You can also order a range of spicy soups and kimchi pancakes.

Pinocchio's: 32 William Street, Gosford (near the southern entrance to the Imperial Centre). Photo: (02) 4346 4721. Website: website here.
There are few things in the world better than pizza and red wine, and this place dishes up both. This popular Gosford restaurant has its own app, which is availble here, and its always busy whenever I pass by. I'd like to try the Pomodoro Verde pizza, featuring pickled green tomatoes. The Verdure pizza looks good too.

Zaytouna: . Website: website here.
Hot and cold mezza, which is Arabic for side dishes.

Shopping

A LOT OF THE youth in Gosford seem to like the Gothic look. Perhaps they buy their clothes at Twisted Vixen (on Donnison Street), which is not just a store, but a community. Goths aside, there are quite a few clothes outlets along Mann Street, and in the Imperial Centre. For a wider choice, you need to go to Erina.

Erina Fair: Karalta Road, Erina. Website: website here.
Erina Fair is like yin to Tuggerah Westfield's yang. Instead of David Jones, they have Myer. While Westfield is long and straight, Erina Fair is segmented. It can be easy to get lost inside. The food court is a huge dome, ringed with historical photos.

The food court at Erina Fair

On the food tip, Shawarma Margherita is a Lebanese takeaway joint with quite an extensive menu such as kofta and sujok pizza. Yes, pizza is supposed to be big in Lebanon. Zaatar is a more traditional wrap, employing mincd lamb. Elsewhere in the mall you can find Athlete's Foot with its rare Hokas, which I am hoping to scoop up next visit. There is a Hoyts cinema, an ice skating rink, and also a rink for roller skating.

Imperial Centre: 171 Mann Street, Gosford. Website: website here.
Back in the days before the mega mall, there was the Imperial Centre, right in the heart of town. With its regal crown logo, it is probably as old as the Empire itself. I remember shopping there with my Mum and aunties, some od them now dead, way back in the 1980s. While the Imperial Centre is not so big or fancy as Erina Fair, it is a popular place for teenagers to hang out after school, no doubt due to its proximity to the railway and the bus station. It features the usual fast food options like gozleme and kebabs, a few cafes, an outlet of EB Games, a Woolworths and bottleshop, a chemist and the like. Cops wait in line with skateboarders for their burgers at McDonalds.

Magick Corner: 103c Donnison St, Gosford. Phone: 0432 450 929.
Right next door to Twisted Vixen, this shop has a sign proclaiming "the world between worlds". It offers psychic readings, natural healings, and sells mystical goods like crystals.

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 Skilion headland, is a geological marvel dating back to the Triassic Era. In the modern town, there is a popular Mexican restaurant, a few French bistros, the inevitable Crowne Plaza Resort. The last time I visited, at least one crane was in evidence, doing its work transforming the skyline.

Buses #67/68 service Terrigal from Gosford. Going to the Avocas, you can catch bus #66 which stops at Kincumber. Numbers #64 and #65 stop at Kincumber on the way to Woy Woy.

Milky Lane: 78 Terrigal Esplanade, Terrigal. Phone: (0451) 645591. Website: website here.
A curious mix of hamburgers, milkshakes and Hip Hop aesthetic, on the beachfront. They do cocktails too which are supposed to be something else. On another level, as my brother's wife enthused.

Milky Lane in Terrigal

Mumbo Jumbo's: 92 Terrigal Esplanade, Terrigal. Website: website here.
In the hipster heart of Terrigal, opposite the Surf Club, you can find this place. It features tropical cocktails, jerk chicken, and live reggae. I came here for my 46th birthday, with my Mum and Dad, and Michael's family. We made a booking for 8 people but there must have been a mix-up, as we were only allocated a 3-person table. It was hard getting my Dad up the stairs to the restaurant in the first floor, he was on his last legs you could say. I heard that they spin a lot of Reggae records here but tonight, the vibe was Motown. They have a lot of Jamaican drinks here too but I stuck to the Tecate beer from Mexico, largely because I liked the design of the cans.

Terrigal Beach House: 40 The Esplanade, Terrigal.

Woy Woy

BRITISH COMEDIAN Spike Milligan once called Woy Woy the most boring place on Earth, or words to that effect. I used to agree with him, but now I disagree. What began as a fishing village in the mangroves of the Brisbane Water has now matured into a fashionable resort with murals painted on the walls, and its own Gnostic Corner selling crystals and Kombucha tea. It has developed a vibe, which cannot be denied. Its proximity to Sydney makes it a magnet for future developmnt.

Between Woy Woy and Copacabana stretches Bouddi National Park, with many significant Aboriginal sites. You probably need a car to get around, and at least be prepared to hike.

Bouddi Gallery: 5/1 Kilcare Road, Kilcare. Mobile: 0419 287994. Website: website here.
Indigenous artworks in a wide variety of forms, from cushion covers and throw rugs. Each art work is accompanied by the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) story behind it.

Fisherman's Wharf: The Boulevard, Woy Woy. Phone: (02) 4341 1171. Website: website here.

Young Barons: Woy Woy. Website: website here.
As recommended by Not Quite Nigella. Savour the burrata cheese and the gnocchi.

Do you have any other places to suggest, or any questions regarding Gosford, Woy Woy and Terrigal? I am not a total expert, but I still try to keep up with developments there.



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