29 Nov 2022
New South Wales has incredible beaches up and down its coast.
But forget the crowds of Bondi or Bronte, why not discover serene bays with names like Mollymook, Narooma, Hyams and Toowoon.
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9 Unmissable Bays on the NSW Central and South Coast
Unwind on beaches a stone's throw from Sydney, then relax into a lifestyle centred on sun, sand, great food and loads to see and do.
1. Avoca Beach 2. Soldiers Beach 3. Pelican Beach 4. Toowoon Bay
Disconnect on endless stretches of coast that sit next to swathes of green, world-class wineries and enchanting seaside villages.
5. Hyams Beach 6. Narooma Beach 7. Murrays Beach 8. Pebbly Beach 9. Mollymook Beach
Beaches, adventure, hikes in national parks, plus a food and wine scene that's first-class. Browse NSW parks now and put these unmissable bays on your Central Coast holiday itinerary!
1. Avoca Beach
View Street, Avoca NSW 2260
Even if you're not a family of surfers, Avoca Beach is still one of the best you can visit in New South Wales.
Framed by two spectacular headlands 90-minutes north of Sydney, Avoca Beach is known for its long strip of golden yellow sand, colourful markets and authentic cafe culture.
With awesome rockpools and loads of space to play, there's plenty of adventure to be had in this thriving beachside village.
Experienced divers can even take a tour of the artificial reef created by Ex-HMAS Adelaide, which was scuttled off the coast in 2011.
HOW TO GET TO AVOCA BEACH
Avoca Beach is a 90min drive north from Sydney or an 80min drive south from Newcastle.
Alternatively, you can take a train from Central Station in Sydney to Gosford and alight for a bus to Avoca Beach.
NEED ACCOMMODATION NEAR THE CENTRAL COAST?
Stay with us. Discovery Parks - Lane Cove is still close to Sydney but a great gateway from which to explore.
2. Soldiers Beach
Soldiers Point Dr, Norah Head NSW 2263
Spot whales, relax on the sand, catch the perfect wave. Soldiers Beach is one of several natural paradises in the Norah Head region.
If pristine sand, crystal clear water and perfect waves don’t sound amazing, we don’t know what will.
Located a few kilometres south of the Norah Head Lighthouse, Soldiers Beach is part of Soldiers Point peninsula, which juts out from the southern shores of Port Stephens.
Boasting a state-of-the-art marina and a local food scene which attracts international visitors all year round, jetties on either side of the point are great for fishing and swimming.
HOW TO GET TO SOLDIERS BEACH
Norah Head is around a 1hr 30min drive north from Sydney or an hour south of Newcastle.
If you're driving from Sydney follow the M1 Pacific Motorway toward Newcastle and take exit at Warnervale / Toukley.
THINGS TO DO NEAR SOLDIERS BEACH
First of all, relax. After that, acquaint yourself with the local food and restaurant scene, where waterfront dining and casual bistro meals utilise the freshest of local produce.
3. Pelican Beach
Pelican Beach Road, Magenta, NSW 2261
Surrounded by the beautiful Wyrrabalong National Park, Pelican Beach is only accessible via Pelican Beach Road off Wilfred Barrett Drive.
As one of the more isolated beaches on the Central Coast, the beach is rarely crowded and feels like a millions miles away.
HOW TO GET TO PELICAN BEACH
Pelican Beach Road is in the northern section of Wyrrabalong National Park.
To get there you must travel north along Wilfred Barnett Drive from The Entrance. After about 8km, turn right into Pelican Beach Road and follow it to the end.
THINGS TO DO NEAR PELICAN BEACH
Apart from swim, surf, fish or snorkel, there are lookouts to explore and breathless nature walks to complete near Pelican Beach.
Nearby National Parks like Bouddi National Park are home to incredible wildlife, and whale watching opportunities are common from May til November.
4. Toowoon Bay
View Street, Toowon Bay NSW 2261
Further south from Soldiers and Pelican, Toowoon Bay is one of the most attractive bays on the NSW Central Coast.
Home to fantastic snorkelling, crystal clear water and easy-to-learn-on waves, Toowoon Bay is a favourite spot for families every summer.
HOW TO GET TO TOOWOON BAY
Located just a five minute drive south-east of The Entrance, Toowoon Bay is one of the Central Coast's best kept secrets.
A 1hr 30min drive north from Sydney and 70min south of Newcastle, you can also take a train from Sydney to Gosford or Tuggerah and then connect by bus.
THINGS TO DO NEAR TOOWOON BAY
Discover awesome snorkelling, top-notch cafes, calm water, a sparkling lake and the gorgeous Wyrrabalong National Park on your doorstep.
Add great fishing, swimming and surfing, and you have all the ingredients for a lovely beach holiday on the Central Coast of NSW.
Plan a South Coast Surf Getaway
5. Hyams Beach
Cyrus Street, Hyams Beach NSW 2540
Any list of the best beaches in NSW wouldn’t be complete without Hyams Beach, known for owning some of the whitest sand in the world.
Located near Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach gets a lot of hype, but lives up to it. Although it is popular, it’s also 2.8km long, so there’s plenty of room to stay and play.
Located on the southern aspect of the Jervis Bay Marine Park, if you and your family love water sports, this is the place to be. Perfect for swimming, snorkelling, fishing and paddle boarding, depending on how far you're prepared to paddle out, you may well spot a few dolphins!
HOW TO GET TO HYAMS BEACH
From Jervis Bay Airport, Hyams Beach is approximately 25 minutes away by car.
You can also reach it from Sydney International Airport via the Princes Hwy (185 km), or from the Hume Motorway (195 km).
Note that there is limited parking in the village and as a result this is often parked out in busy periods. Consider Greenfield Beach as an alternative.
THINGS TO DO NEAR HYAMS BEACH
Scenic bush and coastal walks allow you to take in the bay and surrounding Booderee National Park. Views of nearby Point Perpendicular and Bowen Island make the walk worthwhile.
Hyams Beach Trail is a must-do, while Chinaman's Beach is popular with wedding parties for its turqouise waters and clean white sand.
NEED ACCOMMODATION ON THE SOUTH COAST?
Stay with us. Discovery Parks - Narooma Beach is nestled among eucalyptus forest metres from the sand.
6. Narooma Beach
Handkerchief Beach, Narooma NSW 2546
Surrounded by ocean, lakes and rivers, Narooma is what you might call blue water dreaming.
Take the chance to dive with seals, paddle glassy bays and pluck oysters from the shallows. Also developing a reputation as one of the South Coast’s most fashionable foodie destinations, there's so much to do in Narooma.
And, 9km offshore is the spectacular Montague Island. Long-held as a sacred place for the local Yuin Aboriginal people, who call it Barunguba, it remains one of the South Coast’s most remarkable pieces of wildlife.
HOW TO GET TO NAROOMA
The drive from Sydney to Narooma takes five hours and from Canberra, it’s three.
You can also fly from Sydney to Moruya Airport and rent a car to make the 45-minute drive south.
THINGS TO DO NEAR NAROOMA
Among many things, just 9km offshore is the spectacular Montague Island. Montague Island is home to a colony of fur seals, thousands of penguins and over 90 different bird species.
Catch a wave at Narooma Surf Beach or sit back on the sand and admire the ancient rock formations of Glasshouse Rocks and Pillow Lava.
On the southern side of town, Handkerchief Beach is a secluded oasis known for its powerful surf.
7. Murrays Beach
Jervis Bay Road, Jervis Bay NSW 2540
Murrays Beach is another one of the best beaches on the NSW South Coast, and it’s not too far from Hyams.
Located inside the Booderee National Park (fees apply), Murrays Beach boasts pure white sand and water that’s perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
A favourite holiday spot for families, the beach sits in a protected bay sheltered by Bowen Island.
HOW TO GET TO MURRAYS BEACH
Murrays Beach is only a short drive south of Hyam's Beach. See above.
THINGS TO DO NEAR MURRAYS BEACH
From the Munyunga waraga dhugan (Loop walk) to the various low tide walks, breathtaking views await.
Directly behind Murrays Beach there is a trail that leads to the Governor Head lookout. There you’ll find information about Bowen Island and its thriving penguin population.
Stay with us. Discovery Parks - Burrill Lake, Ulladulla is in the heart of the Shoalhaven region and a mecca for nature lovers.
8. Pebbly Beach
Pebbly Beach Road, Pebbly Beach NSW 2536
Not to be confused with Pebbly Beach on the Central Coast, Pebbly Beach down south is one of the best beaches in NSW.
Located in the Murramarang National Park, Pebbly Beach is a popular spot for families because of its beautiful sand, great surfing and access to bushwalks.
HOW TO GET TO PEBBLY BEACH
Pebbly Beach is inside the Murramarang National Park. Follow the signs from the Princes Highway to Pebbly Beach or Mount Agony Roads.
The Pebbly Beach turn-off is about 10 kilometres south of Termeil and about eight kilometres over a gravel road to Pebbly itself.
THINGS TO DO NEAR PEBBLY BEACH
Pebbly Beach is a popular camping area with a great surf beach and bush walks within Murramarang National Park.
Look out for sea eagles soaring above the water and dolphins riding waves out to sea.
9. Mollymook Beach
2 Mitchell Parade, Mollymook Beach NSW 2539
Finally, Mollymook Beach is not only one of the best beaches on the NSW South Coast, it’s also one of the best family-friendly beaches in Australia.
Patrolled year-round, Mollymook is another gem south of Jervis Bay that boasts clear water, surf lessons, local markets and families of dolphins.
If you’re staying in Ulladulla, Mollymook Beach is a five-minute drive away, making it rude not to come and visit!
HOW TO GET TO MOLLYMOOK
Mollymook Beach is approximately three hours' drive south of Sydney, or just over an hour once you reach Jervis Bay. If you're coming from Canberra allow about 2.5 hours.
The beach itself sweeps for two kilometres between Bannister Point and the southern headland where Mollymook Golf Club is.
NEED ACCOMMODATION ON THE SOUTH COAST?
Stay with us. Discovery Parks - Gerroa is the ideal blend of family-friendly fun and outdoor adventure.