The stunning NSW Central Coast, just a 90-minute drive north of Sydney, isn't just a paradise for humans—it's a haven for your furry companions too. With a coastline dotted with beautiful beaches, welcoming parks, and pet-friendly accommodations, this region offers endless opportunities for unforgettable adventures with your dogs. In this guide, we'll explore the best places to go, stay, eat, and enjoy quality time with your four-legged family members

Where to Go Walkies:

The Central Coast is known for its dog-friendly attitude, allowing your beach-loving hound to frolic on a long list of parks, reserves, and sandy shores. 

"As a dog lover, my personal favourite is the southern end of Umina Beach, where there's plenty of space for our four-legged friends to run, play, and splash in the waves." - Amanda Smith, Accom Holidays.

Start your journey at the southerly end with secluded Patonga, offering calm waters perfect for a dip. Continue to Pearl Beach, a charming village with pristine sands for your pups to leave their pawprints. Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach provide off-leash areas where your dogs can enjoy the sand and surf. For a more adventurous experience, head towards Hardys Bay, where Putty and Killcare beaches await with thrilling waves (please note that Putty Beach is near Bouddi National Park, where dogs are not allowed). Further north, North Avoca Beach near Terrigal offers another splendid dog-friendly destination.

If you prefer bushland to the beach, visit Strickland State Forest, a pet-friendly haven rich in wildflowers, eucalypts, and rainforest. Explore the Arboretum Track, cross a picturesque suspension bridge, and let your dogs enjoy a refreshing swim in the creeks.

Raine & Horne Blog Headers - Instagram Credit: Barrington Coast
Raine & Horne Blog Headers - Instagram Credit: Barrington Coast

Where to Eat & Drink:

Central Coast boasts an array of pet-welcoming dining options. The Boathouse Patonga, with its coastal chic ambience and waterfront deck, welcomes dogs and offers a menu featuring seafood platters, delicious pizzas, and more. The Box on the Water in Ettalong Beach provides takeaway options, including seafood, burgers, and tacos, perfect for a quick meal on the go.

For music-loving dogs and their owners, Link and Pin Cafe in Woy Woy is a treat, offering live music in the rear courtyard. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with an impressive range of drinks.

If you find yourself near Terrigal, don't miss Terrigal Beach House at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific. Enjoy the outdoor terrace with beach views, live music, and a menu filled with seaside delights. Finally, Impact Plants and Cafe at Empire Bay offers delicious fare and a plant nursery, with your well-behaved dog welcome to join you in the garden courtyard.

Where to Stay:

Accom Holidays offers a range of pet-friendly properties, ensuring both you and your furry companions have a delightful stay. From beachside escapes in Ettalong to stunning bush retreats in Pearl Beach, there's a perfect place for every pet-loving family.

The NSW Central Coast is more than just a beautiful destination; it's a pet-friendly paradise where your furry friends can share in the joy of your adventures. So, pack your bags, bring your pups, and embark on an unforgettable journey with Accom Holidays.

Image Credit _walterthegolden on Instagram

Embarking on a car journey with children, especially during the warm summer months, can certainly be an adventure. However, with some clever preparation and engaging activities, this trip can easily turn into a delightful and exciting start to your coastal holiday. Embrace the journey as part of the fun, creating unforgettable memories with your family before you even reach the beach.

Preparation is Key: Vehicle Readiness!

Before you set out, ensure your vehicle is up to the task. It’s important to check your air conditioning, coolant levels, fuel and tire pressure at least a few days before your trip. The last thing you want is a breakdown with kids in the backseat!


Packing Essentials

Pack light but smart. Essentials include:

  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hats, and window shades will protect your little ones from the Sun.
  • Hydration: Bring plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated.
  • Snacks: Opt for healthy, non-messy snacks like cut-up fruits, cheese cubes, and rice cakes.
  • First-Aid Kit: Always have a first-aid kit on hand for any unexpected scrapes or bites.
  • Entertainment: Books, favourite toys, and electronic devices with headphones can be lifesavers.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Wet wipes, a small trash bag, and hand sanitiser are must-haves wherever you go.
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Safety First

Ensure that child seats are properly installed and that all children are securely fastened in before departing. Brush up on the NSW child restraint laws to ensure you’re in compliance.

Dress Appropriately

Dress your children in loose, light-coloured clothing. Opt for layers that can be easily adjusted with the changing temperatures throughout the day and into the evening.

On the Road: Entertainment and Games

Long drives can be challenging for kids, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can keep boredom at bay:

  • Traditional Car Games: Old-fashioned car games are perfect for keeping kids engaged. "I Spy," "20 Questions," and "The Number Plate Game" are great starters. You could also tailor games to the Aussie landscape — counting birds or other wildlife you might spot along the way.
  • Tech to the Rescue: Tablets and portable gaming devices can be a huge help on long drives. Before you leave, download a few child-friendly apps, games, and videos. Both iOS and Android operating systems have child-friendly settings and parental control options. Don't forget to charge the devices and consider bringing a car charger or power bank!

Audiobooks and Music: Create a family-friendly playlist with songs everyone can sing along to. Audiobooks are also fantastic for passing the time and come in handy if reading in the car causes motion sickness.

How to Get to NSW Central Coast

Getting to NSW's Central Coast by road is a scenic and straightforward drive. 

If you're starting in Sydney, you'll take the M1 Pacific Motorway and head North. The trip usually takes around an hour and a half, depending on traffic. Families may also benefit from using NorthConnex, which links the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills with the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga.

From Newcastle, take the Pacific Highway south towards Sydney, with the journey to the Central Coast taking approximately one hour. 

Signage is clear and plentiful, making the drive to the Central Coast an easy and enjoyable part of your getaway.

Plan your Stops

Whilst 60-90 minutes from Newcastle or Sydney doesn’t sound demanding, it's important to take regular breaks on any road trip, especially with children. 

Consider stopping at Mt Penang Gardens, Brisbane Water National Park, The Bulgandry Aboriginal Engravings or Gosford Edogawa Commemorative Garden to stretch your legs, use restrooms, and burn off some energy. 

Important Tip: Never leave children unattended in a car, especially in the Summer. Even with the window down, car temperatures can soar to dangerous levels quickly.

Arriving at Your Destination

Upon reaching the Central Coast, take a moment to freshen up and unwind from the drive. Acknowledge the children’s good behaviour and patience during the trip. 

Visit our Accom office relevant to your property either in Ettalong, Pearl Beach, Terrigal or Avoca. Check-in time for all our properties is at 2pm. We will try to accommodate an earlier check-in if your property is ready, give our team a call on the day of your arrival.

It's now time to indulge in the natural beauty and activities the coast offers — from sparkling beaches dotted along the coast, lush hinterlands to family-friendly attractions. Congratulations you’ve found your perfect escape!

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