COAST MAGAZINE Autumn 2023

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ECO TOURISM & THE NATURAL WONDERS OF THE CENTRAL COAST

LATEST RESTAURANTS AND CAFES

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HOLIDAY HOMES

TURTLES: THE NEW TOURISTS TO THE CENTRAL COAST

2023
AUTUMN
Killcare Beach
© MERRILLIE REDDEN

Coast VIBES

Home Style &

Weddings & EVENTS

Families ON THE COAST

CONTENTS WELCOME 6 DISCOVER THE COAST AND LAKES Map 8 Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Central Coast 9 Loving LOCAL Our picks for perfect picnics 16 The awakening of Gosford 20 COAST COMMUNITIES Coast community projects with heart 26 FEATURE Turtles are visiting Central Coast shores 28 The Coast is turning greener: Take 3 for the Sea scoops global award 30 Eat and DRINK Latest restaurants and cafes on the Coast 32
HOLIDAY LIVING The most beautiful holiday homes 40 A rammed earth house. But you’d never guess… 48 Design Matters 52 GARDENS OF THE COAST Dahlias and other delights 54 How not to break the bank on your holidays 58 Well being: BEING WELL Lifting the veil 60 How oral health affects the rest of you 64
Chasing dreams: Phil Meatchem’s journey from high-flying TV director to artist 66 Book reviews: Words on the Waves Writers’ Festival – what we’re reading 68 John Bell: What can the arts do for us? 70 Happenings for Autumn 72
How we met: Chloe & Luke, the dream team 76 THE GREAT OUTDOORS Map 80 Mooney Mooney mega cave circuit walk 81 DRIVING ESCAPES 48 Hours in Port Macquarie 84 A tyre doesn’t need to be flat to deflate your holiday 87
Fun for kids 88
PEARL MEAT & OYSTERS
12 Kowan Road, Mooney Mooney, just off the M1 north of Sydney www brokenbaypearlfarm com au | 0488 361 042
PEARL FARM TOURS
BROKEN BAY SHELLAR DOOR
PEARLS & JEWELLERY

It seems locals and visitors on the Coast are increasingly loving nature’s playground and getting back to nature-based activities. And so is this issue of COAST magazine. We can’t claim it’s due to incredible planning on our part but sometimes themes just happen because their time is right.

So, in this issue we’re proudly presenting just some of the amazing venues that have gone through the rigorous process of becoming Eco-accredited so you can enjoy them with a clear (green) conscience while loving the trees/water/hinterland/bushland environment.

The recent visit of a loggerhead turtle laying her eggs on one of our beaches led

COAST

admin@coastpublishing.com.au

admin@coastpublishing.com.au

to a story on just how many turtles are in our local waters and what that means for their well-being.

Our featured home goes to show how climate conscious you can be even under the constraints of ‘estate’ living.

Because you’ll no doubt want to be outside exploring after reading this issue, we’ve brought you the best shops to buy everything you need for a beautiful picnic. Or, if you still crave something new in restaurants and cafes on the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie, look no further!

Enjoy. c

The editorial content, photographic content, design and graphic art (including design of any advertisements by Coast Publishing) are all subject to copyright and must not be reproduced in any form without written permission from

While we strive to ensure information contained in this magazine is correct and current at the time of printing, details may be subject to change and we recommend contacting venues or event organisers before planning your visit. The information contained in this magazine has been provided by contributors, interviewees and advertisers and their sources.

No warranty is given by Coast Publishing as to the accuracy of this information nor any liability arising from any reliance upon the information contained herein.

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We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Awabakal and Darkinjung peoples and their Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land.

6 COAST
• Grace Lutwyche • Shannon Smith • Jacqui Dean Megan Arkinstall • Angela Bennetts • Denice Barnes • Glenda Barnes • Kate Carragher • Jennifer Ennion • Vanessa Green • Carla Grossetti • Helen Hayes • James Lutwyche • Philippa Macken • Catharine Retter • Luke Talbot • Paul Urquhart • Julie Wright
ON THE COVER
Mooney Mooney.
Photograph courtesy of Sydney Oyster Farm Tours,
PEFC Certified The paper this magazine is printed on is from sustainably managed forest and controlled sources. Recognised in Australia by Responsible Wood. pefc.org.au
© JENNIFER HARTICH
Welcome
Without rocky ledges for safe havens, Brisbane Water’s resident seal likes to seek refuge on boats. He’s even been known to leap on a passing heritage ferry (much to the delight of passengers).
you’vefound it! THE PERFECT SUMMER ESCAPE LUXURY TO BUDGET ACCOMMODATION SHORT & LONG TERM HOLIDAY RENTALS 02 4382 1311 I holidays@georgebrand.com.au AVOCA BEACH • COPACABANA • MACMASTERS BEACH • TERRIGAL • WAMBERAL • FORRESTERS BEACH www.holidays.georgebrand.com.au you’vefound it! THE PERFECT SUMMER ESCAPE LUXURY TO BUDGET ACCOMMODATION SHORT & LONG TERM HOLIDAY RENTALS 02 4382 1311 I holidays@georgebrand.com.au AVOCA BEACH • COPACABANA • MACMASTERS BEACH • TERRIGAL • WAMBERAL • FORRESTERS BEACH www.holidays.georgebrand.com.au

Villages & Beaches CENTRAL COAST AND LAKES

Immerse yourself in the NATURAL WONDERS of the Central Coast

Perhaps it’s a reflection on the lives we lead that we are turning more and more to nature-based holidays and activities, and seeking out cultural experiences that better connect us to Country.

The Central Coast is home to a collection of more than 20 national parks, state forests and conservation areas, more than 40 exquisite beaches and 1,800 sq km of expansive waterways, as well

charge for ecotourism, and it’s no wonder that our region has already been awarded a coveted spot in Green Destinations’ global Top 100 List two years running (the only region in Australia to achieve this!).

Most significantly, the NSW Central Coast is now officially accredited as an ECO Destination with Ecotourism Australia. This rigorous certification process was powered by Council’s (award-winning) Destination Central Coast team and a passionate community of local tourism operators.

IN AMONGST THE GUMTREES

TREETOPS ADVENTURE, Ourimbah State Forest (ECO Certified)

TreeTops Adventure’s flagship park is right here on the Coast in Ourimbah State Forest. You can hang around, swing, bounce or fly among the treetops for a few hours or all day. There are activities for kids and adults, for newbies and ninjas. Get up a gumtree with Vertical Challenge or bounce around in the netted canopy with giant beachballs in Networld.

lovecentralcoast.com/treetops-adventure-park

ROCKY TRAIL ENTERTAINMENT, Ourimbah State Forest (ECO Certified)

Feeling active and love the thrill of the climb and the rush of the descent on two wheels? One of the major mountain bike events promoters in Australia is based right here on the Coast. Yes, it’s racing but it isn’t just about how long it takes you to get from the start to the finish. It’s also about challenging yourself in nature, the adventure you have along the way, the people you meet and the unique moments you share.

You can participate in the adrenalin-flowing, family-friendly Shimano Mountain Bike Grand Prix and Fox Superflow events.

lovecentralcoast.com/rocky-trail-entertainment

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DANNY HAYES

SP LASHING, DASHING, DINING AND DISCOVERING IN AND AROUND THE WATER

TERRIGAL OCEAN TOURS (ECO Certified)

Owner and skipper, Andrew Jones is ex Royal Australian Navy and holds a Master’s degree in Coastal Biology. Guests on their high performance RIB eco-vessel cruise along the dramatic sandstone coastline of Broken Bay with its steep cliffs, sandy beaches and unspoilt national parks. On board you can’t help but learn interesting facts about the marine life you witness. In winter and spring the migrating humpback whales and their calves put on spectacular displays. In summer, the boat trips spot dolphins and explore wild seal and little penguin colonies in Broken Bay.

lovecentralcoast.com/terrigal-ocean-tours

AQUAFUN AVOCA LAKE, Avoca (ECO Certified)

You can hire from what’s reputed to be Australia’s largest selection of modern, human-powered pedalboats, single and double kayaks and SUPs to explore the beautiful expanse of one of the Coast’s tranquil waterways. The star-shaped lagoon, with a large island at its centre, is also home to an ecologically significant and picturesque wetland, and an endangered green and golden bell frog colony. It’s a habitat for diverse and rare flora, pelicans, herons, cormorants and many other birds and wildlife. Abundant fish provide excellent fishing opportunities. Enjoy nature with minimal or no impact and support this sustainable, family-run business while you’re at it.

lovecentralcoast.com/aquafun-avoca-lake

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© KATIE STOKES 8

Go eco on the Central Coast

The Central Coast is now officially a certified ECO Destination; a world class place to find sustainable, quality nature-based experiences.

When exploring our slice of paradise, we encourage you to kindly observe these simple ‘house rules’:

• Plan ahead and prepare for a safe journey

• Tread gently on Country

• Take 3 pieces of plastic off the beach or street #Take3fortheSea

• Refuse single use plastics and dispose of waste correctly

• Respect the local neighbourhood

• Camp smartly and responsibly

• Give local wildlife the grace of space

• Take local stories, wares and produce home to share

• Leave only footprints

For a unique eco experience scan here #LoveCentralCoast

CENTRAL COAST MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE, Terrigal (ECO Certified)

Since its major remodelling, the Centre has become more and more popular for its marine aquariums and educational displays (including ‘Dave’ – the resident Port Jackson shark –shark eggs, clown fish, whale jawbones and the much-loved seahorses), its theatrette and video displays (HMAS Adelaide and Gavin the leafy sea dragon), ship models, microscopes for budding scientists and lots of craft, painting and puzzles to keep the kids enthralled.

Kids can become Junior Marine Scientists, do the quiz, get a certificate and a free gift. Don’t miss a photo with the new giant glittery shell sculpture that welcomes you at the entrance!

lovecentralcoast.com/the-central-coast-marine-discovery-centre

SYDNEY OYSTER FARM TOURS, Mooney Mooney (ECO applicant)

Whenever you’ve dined on your favourite oysters, we bet you never thought of a white tablecloth dining experience right in the oysters’ own watery environment. Put on your waterproof waders (supplied) and Sydney Oyster Farm Tours will take you on an immersive culinary oyster farm tour at Mooney Mooney. You’ll get to meet second- and thirdgeneration oyster farmers, visit the oyster leases on the Hawkesbury River, and taste the famous Broken Bay Oysters in an unparalleled dining experience. (Just don’t sit down at the dining table.)

lovecentralcoast.com/sydney-oyster-farm-tours-mooney-mooney

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A TASTE OF BUSH CULTURE

JAKE CASSAR BUSHCRAFT TOURS (ECO Applicant)

Jake Cassar is a Central Coast bushcraft teacher, tour guide and youth mentor specialising in edible, introduced and medicinal wild plants. He has spent over 20 years learning from the land and undergoing annual survival missions where he lives on only what he can hunt, catch or gather for weeks at a time. This experience, mixed with his local knowledge of wild plants and their uses, are guaranteed to make his walks and immersive bushcraft courses a life-changing way to look at the Aussie bush.

lovecentralcoast.com/jake-cassar-bushcraft-tours

FACE-TO-FACE WITH WILDLIFE

REPTILE PARK, Somersby (ECO

AUSTRALIAN

Applicant)

Located in a natural bush setting, the Reptile Park is home to over 2,000 animals. It’s a hands-on, interactive zoo and has a long-running and life-saving antivenom program. Its new conservation exhibit, Conservation Ark, formed in conjunction with charity partner, Aussie Ark, is aimed at breeding and helping the survival of a number of endangered species.

The Park counts its massive alligator lagoon, giant Galapagos tortoises, cuddly koalas, Tasmanian devils and Elvis the cranky crocodile among its most popular attractions. There are also private tours and young zookeeper programs.

lovecentralcoast.com/australian-reptile-park

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HINTERLAND EXPERIENCES AND ENCOUNTERS

GLENWORTH VALLEY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES (ECO applicant)

Best known for its horse riding and the free running of hundreds of horses each evening as well as its award-winning weddings venue, Glenworth Valley is set in a beautiful bushland valley, the perfect day or weekend escape. There are unforgettable adventures on horseback or abseiling ridges, laser skirmish in the bush, kayaking in Popran National Park or glamping in the valley. Don’t miss their guided tours through rainforests, rock pools and native bushland, as well as led pony rides, gourmet picnic tours and annual festivals.

lovecentralcoast.com/glenworth-valley-outdoor-adventures

IRIS LODGE ALPACAS, Jilliby (ECO Certified)

Iris Lodge Alpacas offer visits for breakfast or afternoon tea with their resident alpacas. It’s a great opportunity to experience life on a sustainable working farm. Since obtaining the property, the owners have planted over 12,000 trees and grasses so that wildlife can flourish, including the critically endangered swift parrot. Significant resources have gone into erosion control measures and protecting Jilliby Creek, that is part of the local water catchment.

lovecentralcoast.com/iris-lodge-alpacas

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BOUTIQUE ACCOMMODATION SURROUNDED BY NATURE

NOONAWEENA, Kulnura (ECO Certified)

Inspired by the Aboriginal word for ‘resting place in the bush’, Noonaweena is a luxury nature retreat set high in the hinterland with sweeping national park views. Biram Lodge, atop the summit of the property, has magnificent views of Mt Yengo – said to be the second most sacred Aboriginal site in Australia. Guests are free to rest, reconnect with nature and to enjoy the swimming pools, outdoor jacuzzis, a fully equipped conference room, commercial kitchen, tennis court, bush walking and mountain bike riding tracks, alfresco barbecue and entertaining areas, and wheelchair-friendly accommodation.

lovecentralcoast.com/noonaweena

BELLS AT KILLCARE (ECO Applicant)

Surrounded by natural beauty, Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa on the Central Coast's Bouddi Peninsula, offers world class Hampton’sstyle accommodation and is famous for its multi-award winning bar and dining – perfect for a romantic retreat or quick city escape. It is set among bushland and manicured gardens, established native flora, running streams, a tranquil lake and small ponds. Its 25 private suites and cottages sprawl over beautiful acreage close to beaches and some of Australia’s best coastal walks.

lovecentralcoast.com/bells-at-killcare

Pretty Beach House is one of Australia’s most exclusive and secluded luxury lodges and sits high on the escarpment above Pretty Beach nestled into Bouddi National Park, a paradise of rugged bushland and unspoilt beaches. It’s one of Australia’s most prestigious, awardwinning properties, offering an unforgettable escape to nature and with conscious links to the local Aboriginal culture.

lovecentralcoast.com/pretty-beach-house

To explore more unique experiences in this certified ECO Destination, visit lovecentralcoast.com/ecotourism

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LOCAL Loving

OUR PICKS FOR PERFECT PICNICS

With the milder autumn weather comes endless opportunities to spend time outdoors exploring some of the wonderful picnic spots our beautiful slice of coastline has to offer. But before you do, pick up some new picnic supplies at these top shops.

Plain Janes, Long Jetty

Located on the main strip of Long Jetty, Plain Janes is a light-filled boutique loved by locals and visitors. The gorgeous and vibrant range of retro-inspired chairs from Salty Shadows will really lift your picnic game and are already a hot item in store. While you’re there, nab a bottle of Sipps Margaritas and acrylic cocktail glasses to take your day out to the next level.

Plain Janes owner, April Mills, says we are spoiled for choice in our corner of paradise.

‘The Central Coast is a picnic paradise with beautiful beaches, lake edges and long stretches of national parks,’ she says. ‘Our must-have items for any picnic include a lush grazing board of delicious cheese, crackers and nibbles with an icy cold Sipps Margarita in hand.’

Weekends Store, Avoca Beach

Weekends Store at Avoca Beach has become a hot-spot for tourists and Coast residents since it opened its doors 12 months ago. Store owner, Alison Daley, also happens to be a picnic queen and let us in on her top tips.

‘You need to start with the rug,’ she says. ‘In store, we have some incredible heavy weighted tapestry rugs from Hendeer.

‘We are also seeing really good insulated baskets coming out now, and ones from The Beach People also double as a table; they’re chic and practical.’

To really elevate your picnic experience, Alison also recommends getting soft scatter cushions and good serve-ware, suggesting the acrylic Champagne flutes, look-alikes for heavyweight cut crystal, and some of the stunning handmade Walter Gordon Ceylon range.4

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SIPPS MARGARITAS WORDS JULIE WRIGHT

Haven at Home, Erina Heights

Beautiful homeware for all styles and tastes is the hallmark of this Erina store. Haven at Home has a welcoming vibe that has been a beacon for locals for more than a decade. Owner, Tracey Abrahams, has an eye for quality pieces, jumping into action as you enter the store with her top three things you need for a successful picnic.

‘It starts with a nice rug, one that is washable and easy-care, as well as being a nice, big size,’ Tracey says. ‘The Wandering Folk blankets we have in store have such vibrant patterns and so much variety.

‘You also need a cooler bag; something like those from Somewhere Co. are really stylish. Finally, a really good grazing board, and we have plenty on offer.”

4Support ‘small’ with handmade market finds

From Warners Bay to Avoca Beach, our markets have everything you need for your picnic set-up. Two regulars on the market scene, popular among locals for their handmade creations, are Shelly Bay Co. and Snowflake Ceramics.

Snowflake Ceramics is run by Narara local, Mads Smith. Her small handmade bowls are essential for any grazing board, adding extra decadence and flair.

‘Not only are the mini bowls perfect for all of those "tricky to contain" items, they also have a multi-functional purpose so you will always find a reason to use them. The handcrafted nature of each piece means no two are the same and with countless colours and designs, there is something to fit everyone's taste,’ she says.

While Snowflake will set you up with the accessories, Shelly Bay Co will sort you out with its glorious picnic tables. Shelly Bay Co. owner, Nadine Huxtable, says all of the tables are constructed by hand, so they can be customised.

‘Our most popular, however, is the small picnic wine table which holds four glasses, a bottle of wine and your nibbles,’ Nadine says.

‘Although, our larger table with an ice bucket is certainly catching the eye of a lot of people. They are now equally as popular as the other.”

Markets in general on the Coast are stocked with picnic items, not to mention local produce to pop into your basket and impress your friends with.

@snowflake_ceramics

@theshellybayco

LOVING LOCAL
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THESHELLYBAYCO

Drift Home and Living, Forresters Beach

Step off the busy corner of The Entrance and Forresters Beach roads into the oasis that is Drift Home and Living. With an eclectic mix of homewares, antiques and unique pieces, the store has plenty of rustic picnic items. Owner of Drift, Kim Gray, says whether you're heading for a picnic in a national park or at her favourite spot, Lions Park on Gosford Waterfront, Drift has everything you need in store (minus the edibles).

‘Our acrylic range is definitely popular, but our baskets and the wicker beach chairs have been a top seller,’ Kim says. ‘They are super quality, comfortable and light to carry when folded.’

Habitania

Adairs – Guaranteed to bring a touch of style to any occasion. Adairs – Australia's leading specialist retailer of manchester and homewares. Shop

Seaweed

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ERINA FAIR SHOPS, Erina – offering the perfect mix of homeware and lifestyle products. Classic and unique styles and designs to suit any lifestyle and personality. Shop KM005 Bed Bath N' Table – Bed Bath N' Table is your destination to bring a touch of luxe to your picnic. From classic to elegant with price points to suit a range of budgets. Shop T235 Harris Farm – Champions of quality, value and freshness from truly seasonal products. Delivering fresh fruit and veg from the markets every day and stocking specialty products from artisan producers all over the country. Shop T323/4/5 The Source Bulkfoods – Discover over 400 products including wholefoods, health foods, grains, oils, superfoods and more. No better store to stock up a full range of picnic treats to satisfy all taste buds. Shop T347 T236 & Sand – Decor that reflects Australia's love of living by the sea. Shop for beach, coastal & bohemian style. Shop T233
3 © DRIFT HOME AND LIVING LOVING LOCAL
Open daily 6 Jusfrute Dr West Gosford PH: 4322 3222 www.chocolatefactorygosford.com.au Huge retail store • Cafe • House made ice cream • Kids chocolatier workshops • Factory tours THE SWEETEST PLACE ON THE CENTRAL COAST

THE AWAKENING of GOSFORD

Nestled between undulating bushland and Brisbane Water, Gosford’s untapped potential as a dynamic CBD has long been lamented. But with rejuvenations of the waterfront now underway, and buzzing bars and waterside eateries popping up, Gosford has come alive, beckoning locals and visitors of all ages to explore this emerging precinct.

LEFT South End Social

BELOW Tommy's

BELOW LEFT Bouffant

Start the day right

Some of the best coffee brews on the Central Coast can be found right here in the city centre.

South End Social, on the ground floor of the Department of Finance building, boasts a true city vibe, frequented by professionals, locals and visitors alike. This café-come-bar serves modern Australian cuisine with an extensive breakfast menu, perfect for people-watching and planning the day ahead. Ahead in 2023, the owners are planning a series of canape evenings, as well as premium wine dinners and long lunches that will savour a different wine region each time: from Australia, Italy, France and Argentina. It’s also a favourite venue for corporate breakfast meetings and the café is undertaking more and more corporate catering as more offices return to work in the Gosford CBD. Shop 1/32 Mann St, Gosford

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WORDS PHILIPPA MACKEN
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Loving LOCAL GOSFORD

CENTRAL COAST MOTOR GROUP

A family-owned business since 1986. We proudly represent six of the world’s top motoring brands including Mazda, Nissan, Isuzu UTE, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru. Test drive your dream car at our Gosford showroom today.

352-387 Mann Street, Gosford 2250 ccmg.com.au

HOLIDAI BEAUTY

An oasis for all things beautiful, and a home away from home. Come in, relax, chat and let our experienced team help you prepare for your special occasion. We offer the latest treatments in brows, eyelashes, facial waxing, spray tinting, and makeup and hair packages to help you look and feel perfect on that perfect occasion.

0415 130 138

1/156 Mann St Gosford, access is upstairs in The Strand Arcade studio@holidaibeauty.com.au

INTOUCH HAIR CREATIONS

Amanda and her team are dedicated, professional and highly experienced hairdressers. The pampering begins at your consultation. You share a coffee with the team, enjoy luxurious head massages and you’re made to feel like family. It’s a relaxed and comfortable environment where you walk away with exactly what you asked for. Call Amanda and the team today.

02 4322 3380

Riverside Park, 5/69 Central Coast Highway West Gosford intouchhaircreations.com.au

Our practice may look di erent but the things you love about us aren’t changing!

We are excited to announce that we have recently joined George & Matilda Eyecare, a collective of independent optometrists. G&M will provide our practice with expertise and resources, including new brands and enticing o ers, that will ultimately allow us more time to do what we do bestfocus on our patients’ eyecare and optical needs. Book your next eye test today!

We hope to see you s n. www.georgeandmatilda.com.au

30 William Street Gosford | (02) 4324 4598 86 Avoca Drive Kincumber | (02) 4363 1515 12 Bay Village Road Bateau Bay | (02) 4332 0032

For a decadent treat, make a beeline for Bouffant, located in the historic sandstone school building. The sweet aroma will draw you in from the street, but beware – you’ll struggle to pull yourself away from fluffy croissants, caramel donuts and fresh sourdough.

Escape the CBD bustle at Tommy’s, across from Gosford waterfront. Grab a table on the sheltered patio and tuck into all-day breakfast with freshly squeezed juices and impeccable coffee.

Old meets new

With heritage-listed buildings offering a delicious contrast to neighbouring contemporary architecture, Gosford is the perfect medley of yester-year, present day, and everything in between.

A short stroll along Mann Street serves up stunning examples of colonial constructions, including the Central Coast’s oldest building, the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, at No. 45, housed in the former Gosford Court and Police Station, dating back to 1849. Take a close look at the sandstone façade to spot the original plaque commemorating the naming of Mann Street after Captain Gother Kerr Mann (1808–1899), a former Gosford magistrate. The Con. has welcomed back its students into the beautifully renovated heritage buildings this year (complete with three re-awakened ghosts!) and to the 77-seat Robert Knox Hall. 45 Mann Street, Gosford

Just down the road at 37 Mann Street, construction of The Grand apartments and shops is about to get underway. It retains the historic Lyons Den building and replaces the row of shops next door that had long seen better days. Together with the new Central Coast Quarter at 32 Mann Street, they herald a complete change in the look and feel

For the kids

From playgrounds to water sports, there’s no shortage of fun to be had for children of all ages in Gosford.

Gosford Waterfront Park provides fertile fodder for imaginative play, with its green spaces, climbing pods and a super slide for brave little ones.

An innovative Tidal Terrace draws the bay into the park through a clever waterway, with the rising tide serving as a shallow play space, while low tide reveals sandstone islands in the shape of marine life.

Gosford Rotary Park, Vaughan Ave, Gosford

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Gosford Waterfront Park LEFT AND BELOW Central Coast Conservatorium
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LUKE BUTTERLY
JENNIFER ENNION
$10 glasses of premium wines from our carefully curated list. Perfect for a long lunch. 4325 5941 32 Mann Street, Gosford www.southendsocial.com.au EXPLORE OUR WINE COLLECTION THIS AUTUMN

Sail away

There’s nothing quite like sailing across glassy water on a blue-sky day, the only noise being the flap of the sail as you cruise across Brisbane Water. Gosford Sailing Club offers learn-to-sail courses for all ages, with friendly instructors sharing their knowledge of this idyllic sport. Relax over lunch or dinner at The Bistro, where spectacular water views are just as inspiring as the food on your plate.

28 Masons Parade, Gosford

Catch a game

Industree Group Stadium is an iconic Gosford landmark and the home of live sport on the Central Coast. Catch a Mariner’s game, cheer on your favourite NRL team or grab tickets to one of the major events that take place throughout the year, from Cinema Under the Stars to major musical acts.

14 Dane Dr, Gosford

Oh, what a night

As night falls, Gosford comes into its own, with lively bars, world-class restaurants and historic hotels.

Lyons Den beckons passers-by with its funky beer garden and festive lights. The safari-inspired design adds to the wild and free atmosphere, with unique ‘Den’ experiences on offer, from cocktail masterclasses to life drawing for the artist at heart. Part of the historic Creighton’s art-deco building dating back to 1938, Lyons Den is situated in the restored and adapted original double garage.

7a Mann St, Gosford

Head straight to Bay Rd Brewing for ‘Gossy Good Times’, a microbrewery and taproom serving up everything from crisp lager to punchy, hop-filled IPAs, where humans and dogs are equally welcome. Come for the beer and stay for the trivia (cheating optional).

89 Donnison St, Gosford

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TOP The spectacular Brisbane Water looking out from the Gosford Sailing Club ABOVE Bay Rd Brewing LEFT Lyons Den

Loving LOCAL

DALEYS POINT

A holistic-focused cosmetic injectables clinic – a sacred space for the skin and the soul –delivering anti-wrinkle, premium dermal filler and advanced medical-grade skin care and skin treatments that herald minimalist beauty. Complimentary in-depth facial analysis, a cold-pressed health elixir, and a safe space to unwind and rejuvenate. Make your appointment online:

Instagram @by.katiejane

katie@bykatiejane.com.au

Shop 6a, 30 Empire Bay Dr, Daleys Point 2257

DALEY’S KITCHEN

A family-owned business, located in the heart of Daleys Point. The cafe is a hidden treasure and creates everything with love. We love to support local talents through our retail display from local produce to artworks/handmade jewellery. Daley’s is open 7 days a week from 7am to 3pm.

Instagram @daleys_kitchen

daleyskitchen.com.au

30 Empire Bay Dr, Daleys Point 2257

BEAUTY AMOUR

Experience the most up -to-date technology in LED light therapy body contouring, tattoo removal, laser hair removal and laser skin rejuvenation for acne and pigmentation. We think you deserve the best, don’t you?

0411 523 173

Shop 4/30 Empire Bay Dr, Daleys Point 2257 bookings.gettimely.com/beautyamour/bb/book

DALEY’S BAR

The nightlife counterpart to Daley’s Kitchen. Enjoy delicious tapas, drinks and water views overlooking St Huberts Island. Interior inspired by Mediterranean/Moroccan style with warm colours and an earthy feel. Fully licensed and a great selection of Tamburlaine organic wines and bottled beers.

Instagram @daleysbar

daleyskitchen.com.au

30 Empire Bay Dr, Daleys Point 2257

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COAST COMMUNITY PROJECTS with a HEART

POLITICIANS CAN ALL TALK ABOUT PROGRAMS THEY HAVE SUPPORTED OR FUNDED AND, SOMETIMES, THE RESULTS REFLECT THE VERY REASON THEY ENTERED PUBLIC LIFE. WE SPOKE TO ADAM CROUCH ABOUT HIS 12-YEAR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AS STATE MEMBER FOR TERRIGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE CENTRAL COAST.

‘WHEN I HEAR WHAT OUR FUNDING FOR PROGRAMS HAVE ACHIEVED,’ ADAM SAYS, ‘IT BRINGS HOME HOW PERSONAL IT IS. THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE, REAL COMMUNITIES, NOT JUST DOLLARS ON A CHEQUE. FOR ME, THERE’S NOTHING MORE SATISFYING.’

SAVE OUR KIDS FROM SUICIDE (SOKS)

What can be more personal and more rewarding than being able to fund an organisation like Save Our Kids from Suicide (SOKS) Lester Pearson, chairman of the Gosford North Rotary project says they received a crucial $130,000 in State Government funding last year.

‘Lifeline helped us track 903 young people contemplating suicide through the SOKS-funded programs – young people who were directly helped. That’s 903 lives saved!’ Luke says. soks.org.au

ELSIE'S RETREAT– PALLIATIVE CARE

Of all the programs Adam has been able to achieve funding for, Elsie’s Retreat (officially called Elsie’s Project) is the most personal to him. It is named after Elsie Green, a 51-year-old nurse who had to end her days in a nursing home because there were no palliative care centres on the Central Coast. On hearing of her plight, the Wyoming, Gosford Centennial Lions Club began a 10-year project to build a palliative care unit on the Coast.

‘When Gosford Hospital was rebuilt, the old maternity ward stood empty,’ says Lions Club member, Margaret Pearce. ‘So we began the long project of getting petitions signed, raising funds and getting government approval to turn it into a home-away-from-home palliative care unit. Adam has been our guiding light in all of this and helped us secure the approvals and government funding for infrastructure.

‘When Wyong Hospital was rebuilt, so began our campaign for a much needed second palliative care unit on the Coast, says Margaret. ‘$13.6 million has been signed off by the State Government on infrastructure to make this a reality with a planned opening in 12 months’ time.’

lionsclubs.org.au/news/lions-club-project-elsies-retreat-brings-first-ever-palliative-care-unit-to-gosford/

26 COAST COAST COMMUNITIES

CENTRAL COAST AERO CLUB

Helping in the community doesn’t always mean direct funding. The Central Coast Aero Club at the Council-owned Warnervale Airport handles 300-500 aircraft movements on a busy day. But under a unique Act of Parliament, they were only permitted to conduct 88. Not only did this risk affecting emergency flights, bushfire fighting aircraft, etc. but, if the restriction had been enforced, the Club could have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.

‘Adam Crouch is a bit of an aircraft nerd,’ says Andrew Smith, General Manager of the Club. ‘He fully understood and recognised the dilemma and was very instrumental in getting the Act quashed. It was an Act that, of all the airports in Australia, only applied to Warnervale.’ And Andrew proudly adds that the Aero Club has just won the CASA Wings Award as the 2022 Aero Club of the year!

ccac.com.au/

PEAT ISLAND

The island of Kooroowall-Undi, better known as Peat Island on Deerubbin, the Hawkesbury River, was home to the Darkinjung people before it became an asylum in the early 20th century. It was later used as a facility for people with intellectual and mental disabilities before being decommissioned in 2010.

In 2022, the State Government officially transferred its freehold ownership back to the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.

‘Under Adam Crouch’s guidance we were able to get the transfer of ownership through Property NSW,’ says BJ Duncan, Chairman of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council. ‘And he also helped us secure funding to begin the reactivation of the island. It’s a gateway to the Central Coast and a significant place for Indigenous people with the area steeped in ancient history. It’s a place where all people will be able to have a full cultural experience and we can get rid of some of the bad spirits around this island.’

alc.org.au/newsroom/a-new-life-for-peat-island

27 COAST COMMUNITIES

WORDS CATHARINE RETTER

TURTLES are visiting Central Coast shores ©

Loggerhead and green turtles visiting Central Coast beaches have been in the news recently but, like any discerning tourists, they are particular about our beaches and ocean if they are to survive and return to these shores.

When Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast was notified that a female loggerhead had come ashore at Shelly Beach to lay her eggs in January it caused great excitement. Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species that, on the East Coast of Australia, prefer to lay their eggs on warm Queensland beaches and, less frequently, in northern New South Wales.

‘We know they swim in our waters,’ says Cathy Gilmore, head of the newly amalgamated Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast. ‘They’ve been seen swimming off Sydney and even as far south as Jervis Bay, but I’ve never heard of one laying eggs this far south.

‘It’s therefore important to keep a close watch on the sand temperature. So we also buried a temperature log connected to a phone app,’ says Cathy. ‘That way we can track that the eggs remain at the right temperature of around 26°.’

28 COAST FEATURE
BRYCEFORREST
©
Billie was released back into the ocean together with Ella, the green turtle rescued from certain death from plastics.
PETER HUTCHINS

The sex of turtles is determined by the temperature of the sand. The warmer the sand, the more females are born. Climate change is resulting in hotter nests and therefore fewer male hatchlings. The cooler sand on the Central Coast, compared to farther north, may see this Shelly Beach nest produce more males, which would be a good thing for the species and may even result in more welcome visits from turtles returning to their birthbeach to lay eggs in future.

Green turtle with a ‘Happy Birthday’ balloon

Green turtles are more prevalent visitors than loggerheads in our local seas but they’re also listed as vulnerable.

‘Turtles eat jellyfish so they are very susceptible to inadvertently swallowing plastics or fishing lines that can look like seaweed,’ says Cathy. ‘We monitor turtle photos posted by local scuba divers as they can include injured or distressed turtles and we can pinpoint where they were seen.’

Boat strikes are another major threat but, sadly, the survival rate for a turtle injured by a boat propeller is very low, particularly if found already floating at the surface and unable to dive.

One turtle, named Ella, was still swimming when she was rescued but was obviously very sick.

‘We put her in a warm water tank with oils and fed her oily fish in an effort to stabilise her,’ says Cathy. ‘She remained “touch-and-go”

and on the third day of her care, she pooped a bright yellow “happy birthday” helium balloon. It still had the string attached!’

Ella was fortunate that the line did not wrap around her intestines. Then two days later, she managed to poop out a plastic bag as well.

‘After that she began to eat more freely,’ says Cathy. ‘But she had contracted pneumonia as well as septicemia and had to remain in our care on medication for six months. Fortunately, we were eventually able to release her back into the ocean.

‘We’ve rescued 10 turtles from Terrigal Haven over time and each one suffered from ingesting plastic,’ says Cathy. ‘Occasionally an East Coast low will wash hatchlings onto our beaches and even at one week old we find plastic in their system.’

It’s ironic, therefore, that the trellis and fencing put around the buried loggerhead eggs on Shelly Beach had to be plastic. ‘We had no option,’ says Cathy. ‘Metals can interfere with the hatchlings’ magnetic compass. But we’ll take it away as soon as they’re hatched!’

If you see any marine wildlife in distress please call Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast on 0478 439 965. MWRCC is a recent amalgamation of members from a range of wildlife rescue groups who pooled their local knowledge (including Australian Seabirds & Turtle Rescue, ORRCA, Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, WIRES and Wildlife ARC).

If you’d like to become a member or donate to MWRCC to directly help our local marine creatures, please email marinewildlifecc@gmail.com

29 FEATURE
To a turtle, a plastic bag can look just like a tasty jellyfish, but with life-ending consequences. Help save our turtles by minimising your use of plastics and disposing of your rubbish thoughtfullly. Climate change is thought to be behind a loggerhead turtle laying her eggs on a Central Coast beach this year.

The Coast is turning greener. Take 3 for the Sea scoops global award.

Hot on the heels of the Central Coast being listed in the Top 100 Green Destinations globally, local charity Take 3 for the Sea has won a coveted sustainability award at the 23rd Energy Globe World Award in Vienna recently.

The award recognises Take 3’s commitment to collecting waste from Australia’s waterways and its focus on educating young people. Although Take 3 started in 2009 with the simple message of picking up three pieces of plastic from the beach when you visit, it has morphed into a global phenomenon with active participants in 129 countries, an initiative that local residents can be proud of.

Take 3 for the Sea Co-Founder Roberta Dixon-Valk says the award also acknowledges how plastic contributes to the wider issue of climate change.

‘Plastic is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gases … it is one of the most energy intensive materials to produce,’ says Roberta, who is also Take 3’s Head of Research Development and Innovation.

On a personal level, Roberta says she was overwhelmed to win the award.

‘It’s a really powerful message to be able to take back [to Australia], that the world is looking at us and saying “yes, what you’re doing is good”.

‘A lot of people have been putting in a lot of hours as volunteers initially and then as paid staff … you feel validated, you feel vindicated …’

Most recently, Take 3 partnered with the NSW Environment Protection Authority to spread the word about the single-use plastic ban that came into effect in November. Looking ahead, Take 3 will be moving from ‘saltwater to freshwater’, working with Indigenous communities to reduce waste. The team will also expand its involvement in the tourism industry to encourage more businesses to implement eco-measures.

Her message? ‘We don’t need everyone to be doing things perfectly, we just need everyone to be doing what they can.’

Let’s cherish the natural beauty of our region.

lovecentralcoast.com/news/green-destinations-top-100-list take3.org

30 FEATURE
Take 3 for the Sea founders receive the Energy Globe World Award.

OVER 1 MILLION CUPS RECYCLED

WITH THANKS TO THE ERINA FAIR COMMUNITY FOR HELPING US ACHIEVE THIS MILESTONE

DRINK Eat and

LATEST RESTAURANTS AND CAFES

on the Coast

FROM NORTH TO SOUTH, FROM COASTAL CHIC TO COASTAL CASUAL, THE REGION’S RESTAURANT AND CAFÉ SCENE IS BUZZING WITH NEW FACES AND LOCATIONS, AND SOMETHING TO SUIT THE TASTEBUDS AND BUDGETS OF ALMOST EVERYONE. WITH THE EMERGING TREND TO USE LOCAL PRODUCE DOMINATING MENUS, NOW IS THE SEASON TO ENJOY A MEAL OUT.

NORAH HEAD BEACH HAUS, Norah Head

In the glorious locale of Norah Head, between one of the best rock pools and lighthouse, Norah Head Beach Haus opened its doors for business just prior to summer. Previously known as The General Store, new owner Ashlea Hart has given the café a complete overhaul, resulting in a relaxed seaside vibe with a menu to match.

A good starting point is the signature dish, The Norah, consisting of two poached eggs, Tasmanian smoked salmon, Danish feta, grilled mushrooms and baby spinach served on a thick slice of sourdough with a house-made basil pesto. The menu will change seasonally to provide a wide variety of beautiful local produce.

Insta @beach_haus_norahhead_

THE LUCKY BEE, Ettalong Beach

Ettalong Beach is all abuzz after The Lucky Bee restaurant recently made the move from Hardys Bay to the Galleria. The new location is the perfect space for the fun venue with its signature pink and green colour-theme and dazzling disco balls.

While the restaurant doesn't take itself too seriously, the food – a blend of Asian flavours – is seriously good. Different to anything else on the Coast, expect a unique experience where it's all about having a great time.

theluckybee.com.au

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Fresh. Modern. Australian. e bookings@theboxonthewater.com p 4339 3369 www.theboxonthewater.com Restaurant. Bar. Beach kiosk. 02 4382 2322 www.avocabeachhotel.com.au AVOCA BEACH HOTEL EATSTAY LOVE
Ettalong Beach Waterfront Reserve

TABLE 92, Toowoon Bay

If it’s fast-paced American/Italian food you crave, look to Table 92, located in the upmarket seaside village of Toowoon Bay. Specialising in pasta, pizza, gourmet burgers and schnitzel – all made fresh to order with 100 per cent Australian ingredients – the restaurant has a relaxed, casual vibe and great service. There is $18 pizza every Wednesday and $20 pasta on Thursdays, and cocktail hour Friday to Sunday, between 4 and 6pm.

table92.com

JUSTINE’S COFFEE BAR, Wyong

Another gem to recently pop up in the increasingly gentrified Wyong CBD is Justine’s Coffee Bar, located at the front of the heritage-listed Chapman Building on Alison Road.

It might be small but the exotic décor packs a big punch, with dramatic black walls and a theme reminiscent of old-fashioned coffee plantations. This café is all about the Brazilian bean blend, freshly made local cakes and pastries. Justine’s frappes are gaining a good reputation too.

Aside from the coffee, the thing about Justine’s Coffee Bar is the amazing customer service. Justine might not always know everybody’s name, but she never forgets their order.

THREE DONKEYS HOME + CAFE BAR, Long Jetty

While the Three Donkeys café is still at its original Wamberal location, the homewares side of the business has relocated to the hip Long Jetty shopping strip, and with the extra bonus of a coffee bar that the previous incarnation didn’t have. Located next door to Plain Janes and Moxie and Muse, you can expect to find the same amazing beverages and desserts loyal customers love.

The space is large and airy, and after you browse the unique homewares you can then relax with a coffee or freshly made coldpress juice or smoothie, and enjoy something from the large range of gluten-, dairy- and refined sugar-free treats.

threedonkeys.com.au

34 COAST EAT & DRINK
8
Order online or find a stockist near you at herbies.com.au Visit our retail spicery at 4/25 Arizona Rd, Charmhaven 1800 437 243 Herbie’s experience guarantees their herbs, spices and blends are rich in flavour and quality. • No fillers • No starches • No MSG • No free-flow agents or additives Herbie’s has all the spices. Book online now at e lisledefranceterrigal.com.au \. (02) 4582 8600 9 1 Ena Street, Terrigal Find us next to the Elysium condominium.

THE DART & FEATHER, Terrigal

A move by the former Davistown favourite to the food and entertainment Mecca that is Terrigal has seen a transformation from a waterfront coastal vibe to a brooding venue complete with live entertainment, great specials and tried-and-tested cocktails delivered by experienced mixologists.

The stunning décor is the perfect backdrop for the contemporary Asian and European fusion menu. Proving popular is the bottomless lunch on Saturdays between 12 and 3pm and Yum Cha on Sundays, also between 12 and 3pm.

Locals’ night is Wednesday and includes a two-course meal for $55 or three-courses for $65, with bread and a complimentary wine, beer or soft drink.

thedartandfeather.com.au/

MARBLE BAR & GRILL, Erina

Quickly earning a reputation for serving the best steak on the Coast, this contemporary steakhouse located in the busy business hub at Karalta Road, Erina, has been open less than a year. Casual fine dining combined with quality steaks – all 10 different types from various price points – has made this restaurant a favourite with the lunchtime crowd.

Seasonal local produce is grilled with an open-flame technique, all set against a minimalist-industrial yet sophisticated backdrop. Enjoy a free house drink with every antipasto board between Wednesday and Friday, 4–6pm.

marblebarandgrill.com.au

THE CASPIAN, Davistown

A stunning, new waterfront experience incorporating Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine is the best way to describe The Caspian, a new Davistown restaurant. Opened in mid-January, The Caspian offers traditional recipes cooked on charcoal and wood fire to create a unique flavour. Located in the former Dart & Feather building, the restaurant has two settings from where you can enjoy the food – fine dining overlooking the water or seating in a cozy, casual area.

The barbecue mixed plate with a side of tabouli is proving to be a popular dish. A refreshing lemon and mint drink, a traditional Middle Eastern beverage, goes well with any of the dishes.

Insta @thecaspian.davistown 8

36 COAST EAT & DRINK
Broken Bay Shellar Door

16 SEEDS JUICE CO., Ettalong Beach

Real food, real juice and a great collaboration between local producers makes 16 Seeds Juice Co. at Ettalong Beach worth visiting. Following the juice trend of the last few years, 16 Seeds Juice Co. offers pure, organic, plant-based goodies, including cold-pressed juices, slushies, snow cones, smoothies and good coffee. Delicious toasties and burgers are also on the menu.

Live music gets the place pumping every Friday from 5pm, along with $5 tacos.

16seeds.com.au

BOATHOUSE BAR + DINING, Koolewong

Always popular with the locals is the stunning Boathouse Bar + Dining on the shores of Brisbane Water, next to the beautiful Koolewong marina. Enjoy fine dining or casual dining on the boardwalk and take advantage of the uninterrupted water views.

Lunch and dinner on a Thursday is good value, with the option of a two-course set menu for $65 or three-courses for $75. Either option includes a glass of wine or beer.

boathousekoolewong.com.au

TINTA BELMONT, Belmont

A little further to our north is stunning Lake Macquarie and sitting right on its shoreline is TINTA Belmont, a new restaurant located within the iconic Squid’s Ink Motel. Following a devastating fire some years ago, the motel and restaurant have been completely rebuilt and now have a contemporary coastal feel.

Fresh, sustainable seafood and local produce is the focus at TINTA – try the Etty Bay Barramundi served with crushed peas, herbs and lemon butter emulsion.

Situated between the lake and the Pacific Ocean, the views are next level, and the sunsets are outrageous – worth the trip north just to check it out.

tintabelmont.com.au

38 COAST EAT & DRINK
Explore the Central Coast’s beautiful Bouddi Peninsula, whilst staying at one of our various holiday homes to suit all your different needs. Choose from properties with 180 degree Ocean Views, WaterFront access with your own Private Jetty, Pet Friendly homes, direct access to Palm Beach ferries or a short stroll to cafes and shops. Visit our website to view our current special offers and deals and book your next getaway with us today. KILLCARE • PRETTY BEACH HARDYS BAY • WAGSTAFFE UMINA BEACH MACMASTERS BEACH EMPIRE BAY CONTACT US www.centralcoastholidayescapes.com.au 02 4360 2222 www.raywhitekillcare.com.au Hampton’s Retreat
Central Coast Holiday Escapes beach bay bush
Riverside Retreat Bouddi Galing Private Beachside Retreat Atlas Beach House

& HOLIDAY LIVING Home Style

The most beautiful holiday homes

These incredible holiday homes will make visitors feel like a local, and locals feel like holidaymakers.

NEST AT BLUE BAY, Blue Bay

Idyllically located within walking distance of both Blue Bay and Toowoon Bay, this light and airy guesthouse was newly built as a luxurious couples’ retreat. Designed with high ceilings, a neutral colour palette, and an eclectic blend of vintage and modern pieces, Nest at Blue Bay strikes a balance between cosy and chic.

Owner Kerry Knight collected unique art and curiosities, including antique bird cages and sculptures, to give the guesthouse character.

‘Many guests say they spend time looking at all the pieces, just like an art gallery,’ Kerry says.

Nest at Blue Bay sleeps two guests in a king bed, with an ensuite, kitchenette and living room with a fireplace for winter. The ensuite has luxurious underfloor-heating and guests can sink into the oversized terrazzo bathtub, where adjacent bi-fold windows open to a tranquil hanging garden.

Kerry understands it’s the little details that matter most: welcome drinks are chilling in the fridge upon check-in, complimentary bikes are available to explore the area, and a picnic basket and rug are provided to spend evenings watching the sun set over nearby Long Jetty.

nestatbluebay.com.au

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© MERRIN GRACE © MERRIN GRACE
8
WORDS MEGAN ARKINSTALL

Featuring: Crazy Pave Natural Stone

Style. Design. Price. West Gosford. tileandstonewarehouse.com.au

THE BARN, LOST RANCHES, Yarramalong

The romantically named Lost Ranches is a 20ha property that was once owned by saw-milling pioneers and is now home to The Barn and The Cottage, which you can book separately or together (sleeping five and seven respectively).

Described by owners Ricki-Jane and Adam Wilton as ‘cigar lounge meets hunting lodge’, The Barn is an American-style prairie barn that could easily slot into the Wild West if it weren’t for the Australian landscape. This open-plan barn/property has two fireplaces and is decked out in eclectic furniture such as leather Chesterfields, saloon bar stools, wrought-iron beds and a claw-foot bath, which has been filled with cushions and placed in front of the TV for kids to snuggle in. Guests can throw open the two roller doors for bush views and step out onto the courtyard where there’s a firepit for toasting marshmallows under a blanket of stars. Musos can create their own soundtrack with the acoustic guitar or ukulele, and families will love the board and garden games, foosball table and telescope for stargazing.

lostranches.com.au

THE COLLECTORS STUDIO, Bateau Bay

This original 1950’s seaside cottage has been lovingly restored as a retreat for couples and solo travellers by local creative Merrin Grace, who is also the face behind Honeysett House (honeysetthouse.com), a collection of sundries for makers and creators. The charming cottage is a treasure trove of art, furniture and curios, and exudes warmth, nostalgia and luxurious touches. ‘We want guests to feel relaxed and at home but also inspired,’ Merrin says.

Nailing the homely feel, a curated playlist for each guest fills the cottage on arrival, a welcome G&T and a bottle of wine are waiting, and the pantry is stocked with staples to make their stay as seamless as possible.

Located in Bateau Bay, The Collectors Studio is a year-round getaway. Summer days are spent at Blue Lagoon Beach, a short walk away; there’s an outdoor shower to rinse sandy feet, and sundrenched tropical gardens and a deck to relax on. When the cool weather sets in, nearby Wyrrabalong National Park is home to coastal walking tracks, while the old wood burner fireplace keeps the cottage toasty. Evenings can be spent soaking in the cast-iron clawfoot bath. Bliss.

instagram.com/the.collectors.studio

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© LAURA-JANE
8 HOLIDAY LIVING
© LAURA-JANE
OZ DESIGN FURNITURE GOSFORD & TUGGERAH AUSTRALIAN O WNED & OPERA TED

THE GROWERS COTTAGE, Lower Mangrove

This historic farmer’s cottage makes for a sublime country getaway for couples or solo travellers. The adults-only retreat is set on 10ha of land dotted with citrus and apple trees and a vegetable garden.

The painstaking renovation of the cottage was completed by owner Pascale Beard, with her architect daughter Indi Jones. The aim was to create a place where guests leave ‘feeling totally renewed and rejuvenated’. The interior reflects its surroundings, using a neutral palette, greens and burnt orange, and they added an internal pot-belly stove, an outdoor pizza oven, and a stone bath nestled in the garden for alfresco soaks.

Guests are treated to a bottle of wine and basket of veggies upon check-in, massages can be arranged in the garden, and there’s a tandem bike available for adventures in the paddocks.

instagram.com/thegrowerscottage

THE PALM HOUSE, Terrigal

Surrounded by a white-picket fence and lush gardens, this delightful cottage is a short drive from Terrigal, close enough for easy beach jaunts and coffee runs but secluded enough to be a calming sanctuary.

Owners Anja and Alberto recently renovated the property, which sleeps five in two bedrooms and boasts original sash windows, wooden floors and French doors. The terrace is complete with rattan furniture, a barbecue, sun lounge, yoga mats for morning stretches, and a hammock that beckons you to take an afternoon nap. Inside, the fireplace keeps things cosy in the winter months.

While Terrigal is known for its incredible dining scene, The Palm House has a fully equipped kitchen and an on-site veggie garden, with tomatoes and herbs available for guests to use when they decide to stay in for the night.

instagram.com/thepalmhouse_au

44 COAST
HOLIDAY LIVING
© PABLO VEIGA
8
© PABLO VEIGA
www.highgrovebathrooms.com.au Create Your Dream Bathroom Today Products Featured: REFLEKTA Round LED Pencil Edge Mirror 800x800mm, KIMBERLEY Curved Wall Hung Vanity 1500mm Beech Finish, OLLIE Tall Basin Mixer Chrome, FINE LINES EDEN Bench Mount Basin Gloss White HEATHERBRAE Unit 1, 8 Griffin Street, Heatherbrae, NSW 2324 NEWCASTLE Unit 1/5 - 7 Pacific Highway, Gateshead, NSW 2290 WEST GOSFORD 210 Manns Road, West Gosford, NSW 2250

BETTYS, North Avoca

Just steps from one of the Coast’s best surf beaches, this newly listed boutique stay is for ocean lovers seeking a reset.

Named after its original owner whose husband hand-built it in the ’70s, the renovated two-bedroom cottage has been given a mid-century aesthetic by host Elly Holthuis, complete with original wall panelling and retro furniture. The kitchen features a fullsized Smeg fridge, which is stocked with fresh Sonoma bread, milk and eggs. There are Australian-made Leif products in the bathroom, a Mediterranean-inspired courtyard with 30-year-old olive trees, and an outdoor shower and firepit.

Guests can start their day in the on-site infrared sauna, followed by a refreshing ocean swim or a paddle on Avoca Lake just down the road, then while away the afternoon at the cocktail-making station and playing records on the vintage radiogram. instagram.com/bettysnorthavoca

ALGARVE, Killcare Heights

This stunning holiday home captures the essence of executive living. Algarve is a contemporary retreat with sublime views across to Palm Beach and even to Sydney's North Head. The property accommodates eight and offers the ultimate getaway for both friends and family. It sits harmoniously with nature and has quality modern inclusions with an open floor plan, well-appointed entertainers' kitchen that flows onto an expansive terrace and pool area.

centralcoastholidayescapes.com.au

For other excellent holiday homes around the Central Coast, check out Central Coast Holiday Escapes (centralcoastholidayescapes. com.au), which manages properties on the idyllic Bouddi Peninsula from luxury beachfront homes to quaint cottages nestled in nature. If self-contained accommodation is ideal but you prefer to be within a resort setting, Terrigal Pacific Coastal Retreat (terrigalpacific.net.au) offers one- and two-bedroom apartments within walking distance of the town centre and beach.

46 COAST HOLIDAY LIVING

CALL 02 4385 1555

EMAIL admin@terrigalpacific.net.au

A RAMMED EARTH HOUSE. But you’d never guess from its exterior.

Nestled in the Beaches Estate with views across Munmorah State Recreation Area, the two-storey, four-bedroom home is the perfect location for Rob and Mel’s children – Maisie, 12, and Charlie, 9. The house is deceiving in how it blends into its surroundings until you step through the front door.

‘Growing up around Catherine Hill Bay, we had a deep connection and love for the environment here. It was important to us to show that you can be sustainable even within the restrictions of an estate design,’ says Rob.

Styled with unique, handmade pieces from the Cotterill’s furniture design company, Bespoq, the house’s eco-friendly features include rammed earth walls, a 13 kw solar power system, and a hydronic heating system fuelled by the fireplace.

‘Rammed earth has a high thermal mass and it’s extremely effective at regulating temperatures. We built these walls with the help of family and friends with soil from Goulburn, and it’s been worth it. It can be 40 degrees outside and it will be 20 degrees inside without the need for air conditioning,’ explains Rob.

‘We also had a huge storm hit the property while we were living in Ourimbah during the build. Many trees came down and I thought, “Well, I’m going to need to use these,” and so we changed the design to feature them.’

The Cotterills milled the blackbutt and ironbark timber themselves. It’s now used throughout the house from the front door to the beams, bookshelves, bathroom vanity and even a climbing wall.

The effect is a home that in Mel’s words makes ‘It feel peaceful. We’ve done everything we wanted. It hasn’t been about what is in fashion, it’s been about what we love and something that can last us forever.’

48 HOME STYLE WORDS
KATE CARRAGHER
8
Teachers Rob and Melissa Cotterill’s dream family home in Catherine Hill Bay is a lesson in deception as well as sustainability, innovation and handmade personal touches.
Every little detail is considered KERTA ROAD & EMPIRE BAY DRIVE, KINCUMBER • 02 4368 3866 10 Year guarantee • Now available at Kincumber Mitre10 • Arrange a FREE consultation today Contemporary Designs • Innovative storage solutions • Australian Made cabinetry • Quality European accessories Receive DOUBLE your Mighty Reward points “Having our kitchen installed by a local trade who is a Kincumber Mitre 10 trade customer gave us the confidence we would get the kitchen we wanted, and the job would reach our high standard.” Nerida, MacMasters Beach. INSPIRING SURFACES Interior Design I Tiles I Trade I Fittings From design to completion. 4341 7560 • 32 Ocean Beach Road, Woy Woy www.mytileco.com.au More than just a tile shop.
50
168 AVOCA DRIVE, AVOCA BEACH OPEN 7 DAYS 4339 0219 www weekendsstore com @weekends store HOME, FASHION, GIFT & LIFESTYLE CENTRAL COAST FLOATING FLOORS (02) 4326 1317 • www.ccff.com.au Showroom 402 The Entrance Road, Long Jetty • Family owned and operated business • Over 18 years industry experience • Quality Workmanship • Servicing all areas on the Central Coast ENGINEERED TIMBER • LAMINATE • BAMBOO • HYBRID The Number 1 Quick-Step Dealer on the Central Coast

Design mattersGLENDA BARNES

STUCK IN THE NOUGHTIES?

Here are the ‘Top 8’ simple design tips to update your home.

With the mid to late 1990s and noughties came an explosion of cookie cutter, yellow brick family homes. And the style of the time? Think rose coloured carpet, hunter green walls topped with floral wallpaper borders, terracotta-look tiles, corrugated iron walls, redwood or pine timber boards finished with UV sensitive varnish that yellows over time, cream window and door frames, stencilled driveways, and the list goes on …

If this sounds familiar, but you don’t want to set out on a complete renovation, here are some simple ideas to give your home a more modern look and contemporary feel.

Curb appeal

Revive your driveway and pathways, fencing, letterbox and street numbers. Consider interesting tile lay patterns such as French lay, crazy pave and basket weave. And use natural stone, wherever possible. It’s often more cost effective if you let your fingers do the searching, and natural stone is also a softer more refined look.

Transform your entry way

New front door detail: handles, hinges, doorbell and intercom technology will also go a long way. Style with large architecturalshaped pots and planting.

Walls, walls, walls

If you have a tired brick façade, apply a textured render or bring a little bit of drama and design by choosing an exterior cladding like V-joint weatherboard.

Create an interior connection by bringing this indoors to a feature wall too.

Consider dressing an interior feature wall by applying a feature finish such as v-groove panelling, a mirror or a special plaster finish.

Modern colours go a long way

Bring some colour into your interiors.

Be bold with colour, remember you can always change it. Dulux and

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HOME STYLE
Updated cladding, pendant lighting, and curtaining with a seamless flow between interior living and deck. Interiors by Barnes & Barnes.

Porters release seasonal reports where you can search which colours are trending.

Trending colours right now are soft seashell neutrals balanced by deeper moody hues like moss green, as well as dusty grey and blues to round out the palette. Instead of replacing old joinery door panels, respray.

Refinish floors

Renew yellowed timber boards with a sand and polish, ridding the old shiny polyurethane topcoat, direct fix timber laminate or engineered timber veneer board.

Replace narrow skirting boards with a more generous profile. Refresh old carpets with new in trending sandy tones and loop pile.

Joinery and door handles

Replace old, polished chrome joinery and door handles with new metal finishes and designs, such as natural living metals like brass, as well as gun metal and nickel.

Bathrooms

Swap out old bathroom fixtures and fittings for an instant refresh. Keep your existing plumbing positions and upgrade with new metal finishes. Re-grout tiles to freshen up the space.

The home of beautiful tiles & stone

Stone Arc offers a unique collaboration of tiles, stone and homewares

Husband and wife team Tony and Maree work with local designers, builders and home owners to create beautiful spaces to live in.

With more than 40 years experience in the stone and tile industry, Stone Arc has finally arrived on the Central Coast.

Stone Arc are also your local distributors for the ABI Interiors tapware and bathware range.

Lighting and windows

Where suitable, add pendant lights to areas such as above an island bench, dining table or over bedside tables. For windows, s-fold modern sheer curtains will hide outdated door or window frames.

With just a few modern touches, you can make a world of difference to your 90s or mid noughties home or even increase your home’s appeal for future buyers.

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53 HOME STYLE
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OF THE COAST

Dahlias and other delights

A lovely heritage cottage in the old precinct of Catherine Hill Bay screamed out for a garden to complement its heritage feel. 8

54 COAST
WORDS PAUL URQUHART PHOTOS SHANNON SMITH
GARDENS

The person to match this cottage with its garden was Linda Ross. Linda and her husband, Dan Wheatley, have lived in the area for 15 years. They raised two children in Catherine Hill Bay, a village with a rich history of mining, rail and shipping, and a lively, close-knit community strongly attached to its simple workers’ cottages and industrial legacy.

The garden around Linda’s cottage, ‘Frog Hollow’, has had many incarnations. Now, the rationale for the design is organic and naturebased, focusing on a mix of flowers for nectar and seed.

‘Now it’s about creating a habitat for small, nectar-loving birds, their calls, their habits, and their nesting,’ Linda says. ‘Throughout the garden, blue wrens and spinebills nest in the strobilanthes and Eremophila nivea year after year.’

The garden proper starts at the back of the block with a large bed of dahlias, a recent passion of Linda’s, flowing through to a wide winding grass path. Linda planted two significant trees in the garden that have become tokens of family life. For her 15-year-old daughter Melaleuca, known as Luca, there’s a large Melaleuca quinquenervia in the reserve beyond the boundary, and for 11-year-old Flinders, Australian teak or Flindersia australis commemorates his birth.

In between is Linda’s design and art studio (also the family music room). Looking like a genuine old country cottage, the rustic posts are festooned with stephanotis and sandpaper vine. Beds of soft perennials surround and embrace it.

The floral effect

The flower beds are filled with an eclectic mix of soft perennials and low native shrubs, using soft greys and silver foliage colours with the odd lime highlight. Iris sibirica forms dense strappy clumps and are more reliable than bearded irises here. The flowers, too, are colour coordinated in moody pastel shades of mauve, dusky pink, blue and purple, with the odd creamy leavening of the loose and lax butterfly flower, gaura. The overall effect is peaceful, calm and composed.

For an added moody vibe, Linda included the sultry tones of the almost black sweet potato, shadowy New Zealand flax with olive green to dark purple strappy leaves, bronze carex and the odd copper-toned succulent..

55 GARDENS OF THE COAST

Linda’s other favourites are agapanthus, including the deep Amethyst, Margaret Olley and two cultivars with large flower heads, Guilfoyle and pale blue and white Queen Mum.

Salvias feature strongly. Salvia Amistad, has rich purple flowers for most of the year, while Mystic Spires is shorter with intense blue flowers. Phyllis Fancy has myriad flower spikes in blue and white, not dramatic, but an excellent source of nectar for honeyeaters.

Planting with style

Linda has been immersed in gardens all her life. Her parents are media and travel personalities, Graham and Sandra Ross, so her family background meant plants, horticulture and garden travel were part of the fabric of her life. It was no surprise she became a landscape architect and horticulturalist. In her professional design work, she focuses on flowers and nature, which is certainly true of her home garden. Linda is also convenor of the Collectors’ Plant Fair, in Clarendon, NSW, every autumn.

Catho, as locals call it, has seen new development in recent years, and Linda has been in demand to help soften the intensity of all this newness. But clients come from far and wide, from Bowral and Leura to Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast. The reason for this is her point of difference, her mantra of ‘flowing, fabulous, flowery and fragrant’.

Nestled amongst beautiful angophora forests and patches of rainforest, it’s easy to see why the birdlife at Linda’s is so abundant. Recent and future housing developments may change this, but for now wildlife finds a haven in Frog Hollow.

For more information, see Linda’s website lindaross.com.au Collectors’ Plant Fair, Hawkesbury Race Club, Clarendon. (15-16 April 2023)

collectorsplantfair.com.au

LINDA’S PLANTING ADVICE

Linda’s planting theme blends contrasting foliage colour with complementary flower colour. She shares key gardening advice to COAST readers:

= When it comes to mixed planting, avoid a mish mash of different hues and forms

= Stick to a unifying theme of flower or foliage colour

= Avoid monotony with contrasting foliage shapes

= Rounded or mounding plants call for upright strappy leaves or feathery foliage of plants like bronze fennel

= Grasses are great for adding extra dimension as they wave in a light breeze

56 COAST
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How not to break the bank on your holidays

WORDS LUKE TALBOT

Whether you’re flying to distant destinations or driving somewhere closer to home, holidays should be fun, relaxing (or invigorating if that’s your thing) and with memories that will keep the dream alive at least until the next holiday. What you don’t want is the pain of overspending.

With some creativity and smart planning, you can have the trip of your dreams without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you finance your next holiday.

Set a budget

If you’re a seat-of-the-pants, go-with-the-flow traveller, this may be where you become unstuck. So it's important to determine how much you can afford to spend. Factor in a dollar amount for the odd impulse buy or for that excursion you didn’t know you wanted.

Save early

The earlier you start to save, the smaller the amounts you’ll need to put aside each week or month. Alternatively, the more you can put aside over time, the bigger your holiday budget. Either way it will give you a solid foundation for funding your trip.

Use rewards programs

Planning ahead makes it more likely that you can use your frequent flyer or reward points or even cashback offers on purchases made using a credit card. Use them for travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and activities.

Look for deals and discounts

Do your research (or ask a friend who loves doing that stuff). Take advantage of holiday packages, discount codes and special offers.

Consider alternative accommodations

Expensive hotels and luxe pampering can be a holiday dream but consider boutique hotels or bed-and-breakfast stays, farmstays, hostels, glamping or camping as great alternative experiences.

Seek funding from friends and family

No, we’re not suggesting you borrow from them. But you can pool your resources and split costs if you have a large group going on a trip together. It lets you share accommodation and car hire costs and perhaps even get group tour discounts.

Take out a loan

If your personal circumstances mean you need additional funding, you can consider taking out a personal loan or accessing equity in your home by applying for an additional home loan facility. This sets your budget but allows you to pay the loan off over a period of time with managed repayments. It's important to be mindful of the interest and repayment terms to avoid a painful debt after your holiday.

Consider a holiday credit card

There are many options and benefits to taking out a credit card for the purpose of the holiday. Some cards even offer free travel insurance, but be warned, you’ll need to manage this debt upon your return.

Happy holiday!

58 COAST
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BEING WELLWellbeing

Lifting the veil

Injectables. Fillers. Facelifts. Even the idea of going down the road of aesthetic medicine is scary for some people.

Many people are not comfortable in their own skin, have skin conditions or have a perceived imperfection they want to fix. Whatever the reason, the first step in undergoing a procedure or treatment, is to find the right person to do it.

Dr Shauna Watts and her husband Peter know medicine – they actually met at medical school – and have been doctors for 23 years.

With so many patients asking them about skincare, skin conditions, supplements are so on, they decided to educate themselves a little more about skin, ageing and skincare and, after moving into that field for a few years, they set up a purpose-designed clinic – You By Dr

‘We take our time exploring our patients’ concerns and come up

60 COAST
WORDS HELEN HAYES

with a bespoke plan taking into consideration their past history, main concerns, lifestyle and budget’, Dr Watts said. ‘We offer a full range of cosmeceutical skincare, treatments for acne, rosacea, pigmentation, melasma such as laser, skin peels, LED light therapy, SkinPEN skin needling, PDO threads for collagen and lifting, Bio-modulators, body sculpting, anti-wrinkle injections, fillers and bio-remodelling. Bio-remodelling is a new form of injectable rejuvenation and is one of the few products that naturally combines facial contouring with enhanced skin quality.’

For anyone considering trying one of these procedures, it pays to know in advance if they are intrusive or not. Dr Watts says most of the procedures they offer have little to no down-time due to the ‘industry leading technologies and the techniques of the dermal clinicians.’ If a patient is having a bigger procedure, Dr Watts explains each treatment option available and, together with the patient’s preferences, they develop a plan. They even offer a 12 week skin and body transformation program.

The natural look

Dr Watts thinks that people are much more skin-focused generally and want to have a more natural look with a glowing complexion that allows them to wear less make-up. So having natural, glowing skin is ‘in’, while dramatically big lips and cheeks are definitely not on trend.

It’s all about YOU

Various age groups seek different treatments. Kids 13 and over can have acne treatment, but everything else is for adults only. Dr Watts said the 20 to 35-year-old-age group are knowledgeable and motivated to care for their skin and bodies. ‘The 35 to 49 year olds are noticing the damage the sun has done to their skin and are becoming aware of the subtle signs that they are losing volume from their face and that the skin is becoming more lax. The over 50s have a bit more time on their hands and are ready to invest in themselves after years of putting themselves last. This group is into working on skin vascularity and pigmentation, natural looking volume replacement with injectables and skin tightening.’

It is important to remember that just because a friend or neighbour had a specific treatment that worked well does not mean that same treatment is right for someone else. Dr Watts said: ‘We are not afraid to say no to people and I believe that patients respect that. Our whole team favours a very natural looking result and we would never encourage anyone to do anything that would make them look worse. Central to everything we do is to remember the oath we took as doctors to “first do no harm”.’

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61 WELLBEING BEING WELL
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How ORAL HEALTH affects the rest of you

The impact of sugar and sugary drinks on our teeth has been drummed into us since we were children asking for more soft drinks and lollies, but research is now showing that the relationship between our diet and dental health goes far deeper.

Gum disease – the most common chronic inflammatory condition in the world – is linked to diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Gruesome images on cigarette packs have also shown us the relationship between smoking and gum disease.

The good news is that with diabetes, when you treat gum disease, your need for insulin is reduced. And vice versa: if you control your diabetes, the condition in your mouth has been shown to immediately improve.

‘But it’s far better to prevent diseases such as diabetes than to treat them once you have the problem.’ says New Leaf Dentists’ Dr Rouel Vergara. ‘Just as you would go for a regular check up with your GP as a preventative measure or to nip any problems in the bud, it is equally important to be proactive in preventing issues such as gum disease and dental decay. When you go for your six-monthly check-up, they are things we specifically look for.’

A healthy diet and good oral hygiene will do much to avoid plaque build-up and the resulting cavities, gingivitis or severe gum disease.

Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist can protect children and adults from tooth decay (cavities) – the most common chronic childhood disease – but these good habits can protect far more than cavities.

Even in healthy individuals, your diet and nutrition affect the health of all the tissues in your mouth. And, again, vice versa: the health of your mouth affects how well nutrients are absorbed.

A growing body of research – some of which is still being done with mice – has identified connections between prolonged exposure to gum bacteria and chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

‘If you’re on medication that increases “dry mouth”, you are at an increased risk of gum-related diseases,’ says Dr Rouel.

If that isn’t enough to send you off for your six-monthly dental check-up, give a thought to what poor dental health also does to your appearance or even to your speech, eroding self-esteem in social settings and in the workplace, and stopping you from smiling a big cheesy grin in photographs.

Healthy mouth; healthy, happy human … it’s not so far-fetched.

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64 COAST
WELLBEING BEING WELL

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Our fully equipped Pilates studio lets you gently re-awaken your body and helps repair the damage life does to us all. Visit us for an initial consultation.

We have a group studio for Reformer classes, Clinical Pilates Studio, private or small group classes and Pilates mat classes. We also offer government accredited qualifications in Pilates teacher training. Pilates is for every-body.

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VIBES Coast

CHASING DREAMS

Phil Meatchem’s journey from high-flying TV director to artist

When you come across Phil Meatchem’s rich paintings you assume he’s been honing his craft his entire life; that perhaps he studied at a prestigious Sydney academy, and that exhibiting in galleries is run-of-the-mill. But that’s far from the truth, despite the fact that art has always been his passion.

As a boy, Phil loved to draw. He recalls being excused from class to paint murals on school walls. School wasn’t for him, but art was. At age eight, he was ‘blown away’ by Disney’s The Jungle Book. Animation was his path, he told himself. He leapt onto that path at age 16 when he scored a job as an animator at a small Sydney studio. He started at the bottom and, over 40 years as the company grew, Phil worked his way up to animation director and live action director of TV commercials. At the start, it was a dream job that involved storyboarding, designing sets and outfits, and animation but, as pressure mounted and creative input dwindled, the work soured.

Around five years ago, Phil signed off on his last commercial.

‘Like every career, it starts to eat you,’ he says. ‘I wasn’t the person that I wanted to be.’

The death of his father pushed Phil to cut himself off from his ‘very Hollywood’ fast life of board meetings and travel.

‘I had no control over [quitting],’ he says. ‘I was a zombie and just went with my heart and my gut.

‘I used to go to the Archibald [Prize] every year and I wouldn’t admire anything,’ he adds. ‘I would just walk out of there angry.’ He would be left thinking: ‘I can do better than that guy.’

Eventually he did.

After leaving his job, Phil entered his first Archibald – an acrylic portrait of comedic actor Francis Greenslade – and was listed as a finalist.

‘That’s still the highlight of my painting, being hung in the Art Gallery of New South Wales,’ he says from his Tumbi Umbi home. He’s been entering the Archibald ever since, along with competitions such as the Gallipoli Art Prize, for which he was a finalist for a portrait of one of Papua New Guinea’s wartime Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. He most recently won the Fun Fakes category in Tuggerah Lakes Art Society’s 2022 Fab Fakes competition, focused on remaking classic artworks. Phil’s other work includes life-like portraits of

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©
Phil in his Long Jetty studio
NIGEL WALL_PITTWATER LIFE

famous people including David Attenborough, a ‘70s-inspired series of a surfer chick and landscapes.

Part of Phil’s transition to full-time artist was moving to the Central Coast to live a more humble existence.

‘I sold the house and started renting and painting, and keeping it real simple, living like the old masters used to live,’ he says. ‘Paint a picture to pay the rent, basically.’

As for the next stage in Phil’s journey, he says: ‘What’s happening with me lately with these art prizes is I’m stoked to be finalists but now I’m thinking, ‘okay I wanna win one’.’

You can see Phil’s art on the walls of The Glass Onion Society café at Long Jetty, as well as on Instagram @philmeatchem

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THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Fun Fakes winner remake of Gustave Courbet's The Desparate Man; David Attenborough; Surfer Girl #4; Gallipoli Art Prize, The Frontline Worker, portrait of a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel.
COAST VIBES

WORDS ON THE WAVES Writers’ Festival

WHAT WE’RE READING

Exclusive reveal for COAST! Both of these brilliant authors will appear at the 2023 Words on the Waves Writers Festival, May 31–June 5. For more information please head to www.wordsonthewaves.com.au

SONG OF THE SUN GOD

Review by Mandi

Shankari Chandran is a wonderful new voice in Australian literature. I opened 2022 with her delightful novel Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens and this new work was one of my final reads for the year. Song of the Sun God is weightier in both size and content, and it also spends more time in Sri Lanka, with more historical background into the tensions and conflicts with the Tamil Tigers.

We follow three generations of a family as they grow, marry and in many cases, flee from the terrible upheavals happening in their home cities. Nala and Rajan marry in 1946, just as Ceylon is declaring its independence from Britain, and the novel gives insight into a range of customs and traditions, stories from the Sanskrit epic – The Mahābhārata – and into the political turmoil to come.

Song of the Sun God is a family story, but it is not for the fainthearted. Like many other wonderful novels set across generations, war, violence, and bloodshed are intertwined with the romantic and familial love as well as the cultural and spiritual lives of the protagonists. As you are swept from 1930s Colombo to Sydney in the 2000s, you will fall in love with the characters created, and share in their heart ache.

Chandran’s novel is a must-read and an important addition to the fiction set in Sri Lanka, particularly for those of us mostly raised on post-colonial authors focused on the British experience. Song of the Sun God is a gripping novel I will long remember.

RATING: Powerful

Review by Angela Bennetts

Heard of cosy crime? Prepare to meet cosy anti-crime. In Clarke by musician-turnedauthor Holly Throsby, the candlestick-in-theconservatory is left deliberately off the page. In its place is a vibrant chorus of loveable characters, starting with Barney, a mourning academic, pithy Leonie and her ward Joe, as well as neighbours Dorrie, Clive, Earl and more. The imaginary small town of Clarke is also a character, continuing in the novelist’s past two outings to similarly concocted NSW South Coast burgs, Goodwood and Cedar Valley

Although the story sputters to life with a police team door-knocking for a dead body, the real mystery you are piecing together is how these characters’ lives fit together. What is the story with Barney’s wife? Where is Joe’s mother? Why is Leonie so sad? And yes, what happened to Ginny Lawson, who disappeared six years ago? Inspired by the Lynette Dawson case (made infamous by the Teacher’s Pet podcast), Throsby has said she wanted to subvert expectations – while the crime hovers as a shadow, it is not glorified. A laconic humour lightens the turn of every page and feels distinctly, although not cloyingly, Australian.

Set in 1991, timely references are painted in with a gentle hand: telephone landlines and Fosseys stores make an appearance. Similarly, the less-gentle misogyny of the time is illuminated in telling instances. Early on, Leonie suspects Ginny has met with foul play, and has damning evidence to support her argument, but she is sneeringly dismissed by a male police officer. If only he’d listened … (but then, there would be no book!)

Clarke is a vivid, incredibly charming small-town mystery bubbling with heartfelt characters and humane insights, perfect for a weekend read with a cup of tea in hand.

RATING: Book Club pick!

For a punchy questioning of perception … A Question of Age

For a fascinating literary historical fiction … Salonika Burning

For a deeply moving memoir … Tell Me Again: A Memoir

68 COAST
COAST VIBES
Providing quality eyecare, eyewear and optometric services to the Central Coast community. Formerly Carl Emerton Optometrist 4352 1298 | 70 Pacific Hwy, Wyong www.completeoptometry.com.au 4342 2482 9/327 WEST ST, UMINA BEACH www.thebookshop.info • Join our monthly book club • Books and Gifts INDEPENDENT BOOK SELLER VIEW OUR LATEST CATALOGUE ONLINE NOW read relax repeat Level 1, 7 Hudson Lane, Terrigal p:0490 061 949 w:bobbiepgallery.com Open: Tue - Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 3pm or by appointment Original fine art l Commission works l Fine art reproductions Individual art coaching l Group workshops l Gift certificates l Giftware
70 COAST
JACQUI DEAN PHOTOGRAPHY COAST VIBES
“Look around you; be inspired by the things achieved by our scientists, explorers, astronauts, athletes, artists, musicians.” John Bell
©

What can THE ARTS do for

us?

Should we spend $14 million on a piece of art?

Whenever a major Australian art gallery buys a Pollock ($1.3 million in 1973), a Hockney ($4.2 million in 1999,) a Lucian Freud ($7.9 million in 2001), a Picasso ($6.9 million in 2008), or a $14 million steel sculpture by Australian artist Lindy Lee (in 2021) there are outraged cries of ‘How can you spend this money when there are hospitals and schools that need to be built, Indigenous health issues to be addressed, housing for the homeless …’

And, of course, money should be spent on health, education, housing, etc. But does that also mean we shouldn’t spend money on exceptional works of art? Do outstanding works of art perform no worthwhile function in our lives? Is any art worthwhile?

John Bell, renowned Shakespearean actor and Founder and Chair of the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts pondered the question on what the arts can do for us as a nation and as individuals.

‘If we apply the question of spending money on the arts in a historical perspective, should the patrons of yester-year not have supported Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Bach and Beethoven?

Do we not judge civilisations and visit great cities – New York, London, Paris, Cairo, Athens, Rome – because of their artistic heritage and cultural artefacts?

Is there merit in visitors to Australia checking out not just the natural wonders of our landscape but also the Sydney Opera House, Brisbane’s Southbank Arts Complex, the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the other one in Melbourne, and the brand new Sydney Modern? Or savouring the performances of such worldrenowned companies as The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bangarra Dance, and to experience Hobart’s MONA?

Should we not be grateful to our artists for their endeavours to communicate with us, delight and surprise us, share with us their vision of reality, offer us comfort and enlightenment in times of distress and show us how to use new technologies to create new modes of expression?

Our unique Indigenous culture has put us on the map for its exotic beauty, infiltrating the fashion and music industries, as well as giving tangible evidence of the world’s oldest living civilisation.

All of this has had a tremendous impact on our tourist industry, trade and diplomatic standing. We are recognised as an energetic, original and culturally inclusive nation.

And what do the arts do for us as individuals?

I would say, “Look around you; be inspired by the things achieved by our scientists, explorers, astronauts, athletes, artists, musicians.”

Art inspires us by showing the potential of human endeavour – the engineering skill of the ancient Egyptians and Romans, the

mathematical genius of the Greeks, the invention of languages, the genius of the great painters, sculptors, playwrights and composers.

Not only can we enjoy this great universal legacy, we can each and every one of us add to it in our own small way – by expressing ourselves and honing whatever talents we have. There is enormous pleasure to be had, as well as healthy social interaction, in playing with a band, singing in a choir, joining a book club, or acting with the local drama group, just as there is in playing for the local footy or cricket team.

For many people, it can go beyond amateur social activities. They possess that extra dose of talent and passion that is the key to profound self-expression, a power to connect with others that makes us see the world differently.

This area where we live, the Central Coast of NSW, is abundant with talent, especially among young people looking for a showcase, for encouragement and support. As Chair of the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts over the last 12 years, it has been my joy and my privilege to encounter so many young people working over a wide range of artistic activities and having been able to offer them encouragement. And then to see them grow and develop into accomplished artists who contribute their perspective to our view of the world.

We give them financial assistance, professional help and mentorship in fields as diverse as opera, pop music, sculpture, puppetry, poetry, fiction, acting and film-making. Just as important as this support is the statement “We believe in you. You have the talent – something to say and something to offer.”

But I am aware of many young people whose parents will warn them – with the best of intentions – “Don’t think of being an artist or musician. It’s too risky; go for medicine, the law or a trade. Get a real job.”

We all know that a career in the arts is a risky proposition, and that it’s a good idea to cultivate other skills that can see you through lean times. But a life denied of creativity and expression is an unhappy one: better give it a good go than never dare at all.

As so often throughout history, our participation in the arts will provide solace, confidence and support for the next generation ... and maybe the next Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Bach or Beethoven to open our eyes and minds to a new perspective of our world. Tomorrow’s artists stand on the shoulders of those whose works inspire them.’

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COAST VIBES

HAPPENINGS FOR AUTUMN

WORDS MEGAN ARKINSTALL

LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVAL, Norah Head

11 March 2023

Lighthouse Festival combines chilled-out tunes with great food and wine at one of the most epic spots on the Coast, the base of the iconic Norah Head Lighthouse. Aussie favourite Pete Murray is headlining, supported by indie-folk/blues-and-roots duo Pierce Brothers, folk instrumentalist Steph Strings, former Powderfinger guitarist and songwriter Darren Middleton, and alternative pop artist D’Arcy Spiller. lighthousefest.com.au

LATE NIGHT LIT, Ettalong

13 April

Listen to writers and creatives perform poetry and book readings while savouring a glass of Italian wine and mouth-watering Sicilian antipasti and cicchetti (small Venetian snacks) at Bar Toto.

The intimate trattoria, in the Galleria Ettalong, will host Late Night Lit, an evening of the spoken word organised by the literary lovers at Words on the Waves Writers’ Festival. The night will also feature an open mic session where locals are invited to share their creativity. wordsonthewaves.com.au

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© SYL MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY © SYL MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY © I FLY HIGH PHOTOGRAPHY 8 COAST VIBES
BOOK A TERM CLASS, PRIVATE PARTY OR ONE DAY WORKSHOP! centeredceramics.com.au @centeredceramics 246 West St, Umina Beach, 02 4346 4459 Pottery tools, glazes, take home kits and handmade tableware in store. Serving dine-in Coffee & Chai to our potters and community Wed-Sat 9am-2pm. CREATIVITY • COMMUNITY • CLAY Art Gallery Check website for upcoming shows! thepublic.art CELEBRATING CREATIVITY PROMOTING CULTURE ENGAGING COMMUNITY Free Entry / Open Daily 9.30am - 4:00pm 36 Webb Street, East Gosford New South Wales, 2250 02 4304 7550 gallery@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au Gosford Regional Gallery & Edogawa Commemorative Garden @gosfordgallery

WORDS ON THE WAVES, the Peninsula 18 MARCH

Back for its third year, Words on the Waves is the Central Coast’s first writers’ festival and aims to foster literacy and creativity. Words at Wagstaffe (18 March), held in partnership with The Bouddi Society, is a one-day event where speakers including Ian Kemish (The Consul) and reporter and historical non-fiction writer Mike Carlton (The Scrap Iron Flotilla) will lead an intimate series of conversations around the theme ‘on the frontline’. Over the first weekend of June, the festival program brings together authors, journalists and artists spanning a plethora of genres, from politics to literature, historical fiction to memoir. There will be author talks and panels, workshops, book launches, literary cruises, cinema screenings and more. wordsonthewaves.com.au

ARCHIBALD PRIZE AT MAC, Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie

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April–21 May

This autumn, lay eyes on the 2022 Archibald Prize at Lake Macquarie’s Museum of Art and Culture. The winning portrait, Moby Dickens by Blak Douglas, depicts Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens and is the first portrait of an Aboriginal woman to win the prize in its 101 years and just the second time an Aboriginal artist has won. You can see this portrait and all 52 finalists during this exciting touring exhibition. mac.lakemac.com.au

ROCK AT THE RACES, The Entertainment Grounds, Gosford 18 March 2023

A concert doesn’t get much more Australian than one featuring Daryl Braithwaite, unless you add in the likes of Richard Clapton, Russell Morris, the Eurogliders and Wendy Matthews. Take a trip down memory lane and sing along to homegrown music from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s at Rock at the Races, held at the Entertainment Grounds (Gosford Showground).

theentertainmentgrounds.com.au

74 COAST COAST VIBES
© CAROL GIBBONS Moby Dickens by Blak Douglas Mike Carlton Ian Kemish

WINE MACHINE, Hunter Valley

18

March 2023

This roving food, wine and music festival – that transforms from daytime garden party to night-time fiesta – is landing in the Hunter Valley this autumn. Wine Machine will be held in the picturesque riverside grounds of Dalwood Estate, known as the birthplace of Hunter Valley wines. Sip on delicious drops from the oldest vineyard in Australia, alongside an epic music line-up including Hot Dub Time Machine, Bliss N Eso and Lime Cordiale. wine-machine.com

OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL AND BANFF MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL, Avoca Beach Theatre

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March and 20 May

From the deep ethereal ocean to wild and remote mountains, these two festivals at Avoca Beach Picture Theatre showcase the beauty of our natural world. Ocean Film Festival (18 March) is a collection of short films about the beauty and power of the ocean, adventure and exploration, the marine environment and wildlife, sport and coastal cultures.

Banff Mountain Film Festival (20 May) is a prestigious international film competition of short films and documentaries about mountain culture and adventure. Expect thought-provoking stories, adrenaline-inducing action and breathtaking scenery. avocabeachtheatre.com.au

CENTRAL COAST CHILLI FESTIVAL, The Entrance 21 May

This one-day event is for those who like it hot! If you’re inclined to dial up your spice, head to The Entrance Memorial Park for the Central Coast Chilli Festival, where you can pick up all kinds of chilli products, from jams and spices to beers and liqueurs. There will also be food trucks where you can grab a fiery feast (or something milder if you’re not a chilli fan), a chilli eating contest for those who have cast iron stomachs, as well as live music and a kids’ zone. facebook.com/centralcoastchillifestival

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© PATRICK STEVENSON © PATRICK STEVENSON
COAST VIBES
© JAKE WILTON

Weddings & EVENTS

CHLOE AND LUKE

The dream team.

Married at Bimbadgen, Pokolbin

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Unbeknown to either of them, Chloe and Luke ‘stalked’ each other through a Contiki Tours Facebook group before they even met on the other side of the world. They’d both booked a three week tour, starting in London.

‘I remember saying to my best friend who was also going on the trip, “Wow look at this girl.” The night before the tour started, I can still see Chloe as she walked through the door of the pub. I was blown away.’

Chloe laughs and admits she ‘stalked’ Luke many weeks before the trip began. ‘Admittedly, I was on the hunt for the best-looking guy on the tour. There were 30+ women and 10 men (half of whom were with their partners) and he was the one. I remember being so nervous saying hello on that first day.’

‘Chloe played hard to get, she was trying to be so cool,’ says Luke. ‘Until the first night in Paris where she had one too many champagnes and kissed me.’

‘I think the unexpected thing about it was that we fell so deeply for one another in such a short timeframe.’ says Chloe. ‘I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight – I don’t think that’s a thing. But absolutely, we wanted to be in each other’s lives.’

Luke’s original plan was to stay in the UK for a year or two after the tour. ‘When she went back to Australia, I knew something was missing. We Skyped every day for three months but knowing that someone who made me so happy was on the other side of the world made me realise I needed to come home.

‘I always wanted a partner who was active and into similar things to me,’ says Luke. ‘She used to own a motorcycle, which I thought was pretty cool until I found out she rode less than 50 km on it before selling it a year later!’

‘I love Luke’s ability to love deeply, forgive easily, and bring out the best in all those around him. I always imaged someone who was tall,

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WEDDINGS & EVENTS

handsome and with dark hair – someone who supported me,’ says Chloe. ‘I won the lotto; Luke fits all those – except he is losing his hair; that could be a deal breaker.’

Their love was put to the test a year into their relationship when Chloe’s dad passed away and then her grandparents and her brother all in a short space of time.

‘I went into depression and developed severe anxiety,’ Chloe admits. ‘I left it undiagnosed for almost three years before I sought help. I relied on Luke to be my punching bag, an unfair expectation of anyone, most of all the person you love most in the world.

‘I was drinking excessively and as a result we had many arguments. Luke always stood by me, even when I had nothing to give. It would have been easier to give up and go our separate ways but something in each of us just didn’t want that to happen.

‘In a way I’m deeply grateful for those experiences. It’s allowed us to build a solid foundation of trust, honesty and support and now it feels like every day is so easy with one another. Sure, we have tiffs (usually because Luke washes my white clothes with red towels) but we like to call ourselves the dream team. I don’t think anything could phase us quite as much compared to those early years.’

‘I knew we were going to be together forever,’ says Luke. ‘I just didn’t realise how special the wedding day would be to me. Best day of my life.’

Luke proposed to Chloe in their small apartment during a Covid lockdown.

‘I started setting up the living room at 5 am and she woke up to strewn rose petals, candles and our favourite song playing. I was down on one knee in the living room.

‘Marriage was a way for us to celebrate this incredible love that we have formed over the last eight years,’ says Chloe. ‘We wanted to scream from the rooftops and share this day with all those most important to us.

‘Luke and I both had goosebumps when we first visited Bimbadgen Palmers Lane. We didn’t even have to discuss it, we just both knew: incredible backdrop, vineyard, good wine and space for outdoor canapes.’

‘The happiest, most in love, special and everything-you-can-imagine day together was our wedding day,’ says Luke. ‘I will remember the love, special moments and memories of our perfect day for the rest of our lives.’

Chloe’s vow to Luke: ‘Today, I join my life with yours. Where you go, I will go. Whatever you face, I will face. If you have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, I’ll be standing their shoulder-toshoulder with you.’

Coordinator Bimbadgen Palmers Lane

Celebrant Lauren Elle Celebrant

Photographer Matt Ashton

Videographer GMTMT Films

Makeup Make-up by Candice

Hair Hair by Aleica Pace

Florist Bloom Folk

Musician Ben Fox Band

Cake Flourish Custom Cakes

Car hire Classic Limousines Newcastle

Photobooth audio book The Photo Booth Guys

Furniture Everlong Events

Signage Locale Print Co

Wedding dress Brides of Beecroft, Anna Sposa

Earrings & veil Amelie George

Jacket Unreal Fur

Shoes Mi Piaci

Reception dress Katie May

Groom suits Ferrari Formal

Bridesmaid dresses Chancery

78 COAST WEDDINGS & EVENTS

The Guide by Central Coast Weddings

Your personal, virtual wedding planner

Celebrant

LAUREN ELLE CELEBRANT

Do you want a ceremony that reflects you? Delivered by someone that feels like an old friend? Lauren balances romance with fun, while making you and your guests

laurenellecelebrant.com

lauren@laurenellecelebrant.com

0400 808 510

Chapel & Wedding Venue

THIS GUIDE HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO GIVE COUPLES AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE WHILE PLANNING THEIR DREAM WEDDING DAY. A FREE TO USE, VIRTUAL WORLD OF CAREFULLY CURATED VENDORS, ALLOWS YOU TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING FROM END TO END centralcoastweddings.com.au

Photographer

Florist

OH DAHLIA FLORALS

Oh Dahlia is a Central Coast based wedding florist, specialising in the wildly romantic, and a lover of all native blooms. ohdahliaflorals.com.au

ohdahliaflorals@gmail.com

Event Styling & Hire

Kantara House and its gorgeous (non-denominational)

Charlotte Chapel is the ultimate ‘One Stop Shop’ for weddings. Nestled in 4.5 acres, the venue is a mixture of natural rainforest, a rural rustic paddock and a vineyard. At Kantara House, your Wedding World is waiting. kantarahouse.net.au

info@kantarahouse.net.au

(02) 4369 1528

Your wedding photos should not only capture those honest exquisite moments but exude a beautiful fine art quality Sam and Ali have had the privilege and joy of photographing and filming weddings for the last 10 years. ‘People choose us when they want something a bit different. We'd love to connect with you!’ whitelanestudio.com

@whitelanestudio hello@whitelanestudio.com

Everlong Events is an award winning, bespoke wedding and event styling company that prides itself on creating unique events. Their extensive range of decor is also available for DIY hire. everlongevents.com.au

hello@everlongevents.com.au

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WHITE LANE STUDIO

National Parks & State Forests CENTRAL COAST

Mooney Mooney Mega Cave Circuit

If we did not get your attention by the name alone, this short walk takes in one of the oldest art galleries on the Central Coast, a waterfall, rare native plants and a massive cave large enough for your whole mob to stay in.

This is a great little punchy walk that covers 6.5 km, following access trails, rock cairns and little pieces of coloured ribbon. It’s a good cardio workout and could also be done as a short overnight hike with the cave a great spot to roll out a groundsheet and jump straight into a sleeping bag, no tent required!

The start of this hike is hard to locate, which adds to its uniqueness. It is not signposted and is found along an unnamed road.

To locate it, follow the Old Pacific Highway approximately 1 km south of the Australian Reptile Park entrance. On the right there is a trail, turn here and park on the side of the track. To the left is a small locked gated that signifies the start of today’s hike.

The first impressions are a little urban, you can hear the M1 motorway, there are powerlines crisscrossing the trail, and you’ll pass over the Newcastle gas line and its infrastructure.

But on the flipside, it is close, short, challenging and can be done with little ones, if they are adventurous and reasonably fit.

Walk around the gate, follow the trail beneath the small power lines until it intersects with the more established powerline trail. Turn left and follow for another 200 metres. At this point we are taking a little detour.

This is where the walk starts becoming worthy of leaving the café early this morning. Take the trail to the left, again it is not signposted, but if you follow along for about 50 metres, you’ll stumble across an abandoned sandstone quarry. Some of the quarried stone pools look like ancient roman baths and you can see evidence of where and how large sandstone blocks were extracted using drill holes and dynamite.

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WORDS JAMES LUTWYCHE PHOTOS GRACE LUTWYCHE
8
The mega cave at Mooney Mooney.

If you like Indigenous petroglyphs (rock engravings), follow the trail for a further 50 metres to a site signposted as ‘Mooney Mooney Aboriginal Area’. It has 45 registered rock engravings spread over a wide area and is reputed to be ‘one of the most extensive art galleries in the Sydney–Hawkesbury district’. The site includes engravings of intriguing bulbous-headed anthropomorphic figures (one of only four recorded in the Sydney area). The quality I like best in these figures is that they are holding hands. Other petroglyphs include fish, bandicoots, eels and a huntsman equipped with a boomerang.

It is great to imagine the corroborees held here, the gatherings of the locals, the First Nations peoples, perhaps to sing and dance, pass on traditions and history, perhaps to teach or trade goods.

I love sharing these moments with my kids. Spots like these are our history, to be respected, protected and most importantly recognised for what they are. We have mixed feelings about the fact that they are not well signposted, not overly visited, but perhaps this is why they are still here.

Backtrack to the last intersection and turn left again to resume the walk. You will soon arrive at another junction marked by a gas line sign. Turn left again, follow this trail down the hill, passing beneath the small power poles.

Along this section of trail there are many fascinating native plants, including a small endemic pink flowering spider grevillea, from which either the National Parks & Wildlife or the Royal Botanic Gardens are currently collecting seed. There are great little terrestrial orchids, native heaths and groundcovers, so be careful where you step. A little hanging swamp off to the left hides a natural spring.

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TOP An abandoned sandstone quarry has aged to resemble ancient roman baths. BOTTOM There are over 45 petroglyphs here in magnificent condition; hard to find but well worth the effort. Please help preserve the engravings by not walking on them.

Soon you will descend down past a gas monitoring station, and just past this on the right our little adventure gets a little more challenging. Marking the start of The Mega cave Trail is a small rock cairn. From here on in the track gets harder to follow, and some navigational skills are required.

Every five metres or so you will see a ribbon marker tied in the trees, these are now our friends and help us navigate our way along the overgrown and seldomly used trail. It is good for the leader to sight the next ribbon before moving along the track, this will save the backtracking if you lose the trail.

My son was using the All-trails App, it has waypoints and directions for those that are savvy with devices or a little unsure of using a map and compass.

It does not take long to come across the first of the caves, we called this one the mini mega cave. It is a fairly long but not very deep overhang. It’s a little hard to scramble in and out of, but well worth the look, we were there early in the morning, and the little trails left by bandicoots, reptiles and the easily recognised ‘S’ shape trail of a snake were still visible in the sand floor of the cave.

Another 50 metres along the trail, you’ll finally arrive at the Mega Cave. It is more of a giant overhang but is regarded as one of the best on the Central Coast. If you are looking for a short overnight stay in the wilderness this would be my pick. We passed no one or saw any evidence of walkers, so it’s relatively private and an amazing place to roll out a groundsheet and sleep in the open air.

We are light impact walkers, we travel light and adhere to the carryin-carry-out philosophy. A small gas stove ensures a warm hearty meal and a cup of tea without leaving any trace of a campfire or the risk of starting a bushfire. The cave is highlighted by a small waterfall, large enough to stand under on the hotter days and cool off.

To complete the walk, continue past the cave, putting your trust in the small ribbons again. After a fairly arduous, but short uphill trek you will emerge on another powerline trail. Turn right and ascend a short spur. Taking a break on a little sandstone outcrop, you can catch your breath and view the huge Mooney Mooney M1 Bridge and the river below.

From here it’s an easier stroll back along the service trail, passing the gas line trail, and the turnoff to the rock engravings along the way.

This walk, like many others in the area is a great way to explore and appreciate our rich and diverse history. Please tread lightly, leave no trace and help to preserve our heritage and environments for future generations. This walk took us just over three hours with plenty of rests along the way, and an elevation gain of 156 metres.

GRADE: difficult

LENGTH: 6.5km

TIME: 3 hours

LOCATION: Brisbane Water National Park, Old Pacific Highway Somersby. Darkinjung Land.

James Lutwyche is a horticulturalist, and a local and experienced bushwalker who has led or been part of expeditions in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Kosciusko, Tasmania, New Zealand and Mongolia. He lives and works in Yarramalong and is married with four children. James is also the local Scout leader at Peats Ridge Scout Group and spends his time between work at Paradise Botanical Gardens and exploring and enjoying the great outdoors.

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The mega cave is great for more adventurous kids to explore. Grevillea Speciosa, red spider flower, abundant along the trail throughout the warmer months.

48 hours in... PORT MACQUARIE

With more than its fair share of sunshine, windswept beaches, great bars and restaurants, plus top-notch spots to scoff oysters, Port Macquarie is the perfect location for a weekend away.

Day One

12.30pm

Arrive at Twotriplefour at Cassegrain Wines on a Friday and you'll find the rustic restaurant packed with locals starting their weekend early. The eatery, which has views of the surrounding vineyards, serves up estate wines with dishes designed around local, seasonal produce. Gather at Twotriplefour to graze on plates of Burrawong Gaian duck and pistachio terrine, plus sautéed Mother Fungus mushrooms with confit garlic and porcini butter. twotriplefour.com

2pm

It’s time for a tour and wine tasting at Cassegrain Wines

The Cassegrain family began winemaking in 1643 in France and they lean into that heritage by combining age-old French grapegrowing traditions with new world technology and technique. Enjoy a tutored tasting of wines that run the gamut from sparkling to white, rosé, red, fortified and single serve. Senior winemaker Alex Cassegrain is Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology’s (ASVO) 2021 Winemaker of the Year and he uses fruit sourced from established and emerging regions around NSW to produce a range of elegant wines. cassegrainwines.com.au

6pm

Port Macquarie has its own brand of coastal cool. It's a city that knows how to have a good time and that is obvious after a few fish tacos and margaritas at Little Shack. The people of Port Mac love Little Shack and if you get talking to them here you’ll learn about brilliant council initiatives such as the Wakulda immersive sound and light show projected onto Port Macquarie Historic Courthouse. The 10-minute projection is a profound, progressive and moving tribute to the Traditional Owners of the land, the Birpai people. littleshack.com.au; portmacquarieinfo.com.au

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WORDS CARLA GROSSETTI © LINDSAY MOLLER © LINDSAY MOLLER © REMY BRAND

7pm

The dining scene has been steadily growing over the past decade in Port Macquarie and Zebu Bar and Restaurant is one of the best examples of the new culinary landscape. The restaurant has a kind of retro-glam vibe with rose-gold and brass accents, pink and navy velvet chairs and walls of glass inviting views over the waterways that snake around Port Macquarie. Order a variety of dishes to share, such as barbecued prawns and tomato and pesto arancini, or stop for happy hour cocktails and some cheeky bar bites.

zebu.com.au

Day Two

8am

Let the sunlight wake you up so you’re feeling zen ahead of your early-morning yoga class at Sails Port Macquarie, which is the ultimate coastal retreat. Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges had an extensive refresh a few years ago and, post-lockdown, we can better appreciate what has been on our doorstep all along. Sails is a hotspot for yoga tourists who like to unfurl their mats and get their downward dogs on at different destinations.

9.30am Owner Yesha Avsar will welcome you like Little Turkey. Kick off the day with some Turkish coffee before digging into a traditional breakfast made up of many small plates accompanied by pillowy soft rounds of Turkish flatbread. Sit cross-legged on colourful cushions around low tables to indulge in this extravagant banquet, which is like a magic carpet ride around the Ottoman Empire.

11am Guulabaa – Place of Koala is a new, world-first tourism experience located in Cowarra State Forest that, as well as showcasing local Biripi culture, will provide key facilities for the rehabilitation and breeding of wild koalas. The revitalised precinct, which will also include a cafe, elevated boardwalk and Australia's newest big thing, a 2.5-metre-tall Big Koala, will form part of Port Macquarie's hugely popular Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail. Australia's largest suspension playground, Wildnets, will also draw visitors to the precinct, with part-proceeds going toward conservation of the endangered marsupial.

wildnets.com.au 8

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Noon Australia is currently in the middle of a bagel boom, which the team at Black Market Bagels has helped drive since opening in 2015. This burgeoning business pumps out some of the finest sweet and savoury New York-style bagels on offer. While the traditional Everything Bagel topped with poppy and sesame seeds, onion, salt, pepper and garlic is its bestseller, the BMB team also innovates with flavours: choose between savoury (jalapeno and cheese) and sweet (French Toast). Holy moly.

blackmarketbagels.com.au

2pm Enjoy a ceramics class with Aleisa Byfield, an artist specialising in ceramic jewellery, tableware, bowls, cups and bespoke pieces. Those keen to learn how to create homemade wares can come to grips with shaping, moulding and adding texture to clay to create organic pieces that are wonderful even when a bit wabi-sabi wonky. Artwork crafted during the session will be glazed for you in the studio. aleisabyfieldartisan.com

5pm You’ll get a different perspective on Port Macquarie when you see it on horseback. The few people you pass on your tour tend to be fishermen and the further along the beautiful beaches you get the more secluded it feels. You’ll be in the capable hands of Hastings River Horse Riding, which also leads scenic rides along the banks of Wauchope’s Hastings River and around Queens Lake.

hastingsriverhorseriding.com.au

6pm Walking along the breakwall makes for an enjoyable afternoon in town; it’s where to see and be seen. Continue your stroll into the city to Stick Bar, a rustic izakaya-style bar hidden down an inner-city laneway where you can get killer yakitori and cocktails, both of which are kissed with charcoal.

stick.bar

7pm

Hello Sailor is a sprawling venue that fills up quickly. Housed in an old, unused boat mechanic’s shed at Port Macquarie Marina, Hello Sailor brings a party vibe to the Hastings region. It’s cosy and warm with fire pits and foliage, offering bar food such as po’ boys, “Hello-Peno” poppers and prawn buckets that pair perfectly with house-made cocktails and craft beer.

hellosailor2444.com.au

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portmacquarieinfo.com.au to curate your weekend itinerary. ©
Visit
REMYBRAND

I hate putting air in my tyres. My fingers get rubber and road dirt on them. I have to squat to tyre level without putting my knees in the dirt in order to find the pesky tyre cap that rolled beneath the car. And did I miss the beep telling me the machine had reached optimum tyre pressure or will my tyre suddenly explode in my face? (I have a vivid imagination at times like this.)

A flat tyre coming back from my last road trip meant I was stuck using the skinny, bright yellow tyre of shame that is laughingly referred

to as the spare. It meant I could only do 80 km on the motorway. Do you know how much ire this causes other motorists?

Blain, the nice Tyrepower man who I managed to find (they have 270 stores so they were my first choice to Google) told me in the nicest way that I was lucky the tyre hadn’t blown. My other tyres can’t keep a secret it seems and betrayed me by telling him they were underinflated too.

Here’s what I now know from him and what has made me a (better late than never) convert to regularly putting air in my tyres. If your tyres look a bit flat, it means they are very deflated. So what?

• Low pressure means your tyres can overheat, which can lead to tyre failure

• Low pressure decreases the longevity of your tyres

• Low pressure affects your braking

• Low pressure affects your cornering

• Low pressure affects your acceleration out of danger

If you’re heading off for an Easter getaway, checking your tyres for pressure, tread depth and damage from those pot holes we love to hate is even more important than making sure you have something to distract the kids from asking ‘are we there yet’ every 15 minutes. The latter may save your sanity but the former is the only thing that connects your car to the road surface.

As they say, that’s ‘where the rubber meets the road’ and that is what’s crucial to you and your family’s safety on the road.

CHECK YOUR TYRES BEFORE YOUR DRIVING TRIP AT TYREPOWER.COM.AU/STORES

ERINA, KINCUMBER, WOY WOY, LISAROW, TOUKLEY, WYONG

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A TYRE DOESN’T NEED TO BE FLAT TO DEFLATE YOUR HOLIDAY

ON THE COAST Families FUN FOR KIDS

YOU DON’T NEED TO SPLASH YOUR CASH TO HAVE A GREAT TIME ON THE COAST WITH THE KIDS. FOLLOW OUR HANDY GUIDE TO SOME OF THE BEST FREE AND AFFORDABLE ACTIVITIES ACROSS THE CENTRAL COAST.

WALKING AND CYCLE TRACKS

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to walking and cycle tracks across the Coast. We have the Gosford Waterfront, Long Jetty cycleway and Terilbah Reserve at The Entrance, to name a few. All have big open spaces and playgrounds along the way to keep the kids entertained for hours. One of our favourite spots, however, is the Kincumber to Davistown foreshore walk. It has the flavour of a bush and foreshore walk, is relatively flat and there are plenty of spots to stop and play (or rest).

Wet weather hint: When rainy days ruin your fun, check out whether your local primary school is open to the community. Most have covered outdoor learning areas (COLAs) where the kids can practice skateboarding or bike riding, and they ensure no-one gets wet-weather cabin fever.

WORDS JULIE WRIGHT
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JUMP ON A FERRY

Central Coast Ferries, which run from Woy Woy to Empire Bay via Saratoga and Davistown, is an affordable option for local sightseeing (and for boat-obsessed kids). There is a park opposite the wharf on arrival in Woy Woy, not to mention beautiful scenery as you travel along the water. Our suggestion is to jump on the ferry at Woy Woy and travel up to Davistown for a quick bite to eat at Davistown RSL (the playground there is legendary), before heading back down.

You could also consider getting the ‘Ferry to the Footy’. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for services to NRL and Central Coast Mariners games. Tickets: $18 adults, $9.40 per child (return).

www.facebook.com/centralcoastferries

PLAY IN THE AUTUMN LEAVES

Why not take the kids to watch the seasons change by visiting local autumnal spots in Matcham or Glenworth Valley, where the Liquidambar trees drop their vibrant orange and red leaves? It’s an experience to remember with the kids in awe of the magic of nature, and the trees are a beautiful backdrop for lovely family photos.

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© BRETT BAYLISS 8 FAMILIES ON THE COAST

GET INTO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Children of all ages love the library – what’s not to love? You can borrow as many books as you like (technically up to 20) and they have a ton of free activities for children of all ages. For those up to two years of age, ‘Babytime’ is a fun session of songs, rhymes and a chance to read with your little one. For those aged 2-3 years, ‘Toddlertime’ helps parents engage with their children through songs, stories and activities, while ‘Storytime’ encourages a love of reading and creativity for preschool children using stories, songs and a fun craft activity. Did you know many of our Central Coast Libraries also run a LEGO club after school, and it’s free? It's a really great way for youngsters to come and connect with others who have similar interests. Check out the Central Coast Council website to see what other special activities they hold throughout the year (most are free or with a small fee).

centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/libraries/services/children-programs-and-events

KIDS EAT FREE DEALS ACROSS THE COAST

Eating out with kids can be costly, so local Kids Eat Free deals are a great way for the family to enjoy a special meal without breaking the bank. There are plenty of venues across the region that offer free meals for children, with each paying adult.

The Sunken Monkey Hotel at Erina has a Kids Eat Free offer every day, while Bateau Bay Hotel, Norah Head Sporties Bowling & Sports Club and Wyong Rugby Leagues Club are just a few venues that offer the deal on a Sunday afternoon.

90 COAST FAMILIES ON THE COAST
©
JAC POWELL
shine A community fo cused on happiness , education and belongin g. Celebrating TWO YEARS OF SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY it list open call us on 384 9000 k a tour A community fo on happiness , education and belongin g. A place to shine Limited places available Call us on 4384 9000 to book a tour A place happiness and 1 Reads Road, W www.alkiraelc.com.au Alkira_elc shine /alkiraearlylearningcentrewamberal www.alkiraelc.com.au /alkiraearlylearningcentrewamberal www.alkiraelc.com.au A place to shine A community fo cused on happiness , education and belongin g. 1 Reads Road, Wamberal /alkiraearlylearningcentrewamberal Celebrating TWO YEARS OF SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY Wait list open call us on 4384 9000 to book a tour A community fo cused on happiness , education and belonging. A place to shine Limited places available Call us on 4384 9000 to book a tour Open from 6:30am to 6pm Monday to Friday Catering for Children aged 0–6 www.alkiraelc.com.au Lakes Grammar — March information evenings KINDERGARTEN and YEAR 7 2024 Register at www.lakes.nsw.edu.au/school-tours Building Better Futures

MADE FOR SEASON CHANGES

SHOP AUTUMN/WINTER FASHION AT ERINA FAIR

Articles inside

ON THE COAST Families FUN FOR KIDS

2min
pages 88-91

48 hours in... PORT MACQUARIE

5min
pages 84-87

Mooney Mooney Mega Cave Circuit

5min
pages 81-83

Your personal, virtual wedding planner

1min
page 79

Weddings & EVENTS

3min
pages 76-78

HAPPENINGS FOR AUTUMN

2min
pages 72-75

What can THE ARTS do for

3min
page 71

WORDS ON THE WAVES Writers’ Festival WHAT WE’RE READING

2min
pages 68-70

VIBES Coast CHASING DREAMS

2min
pages 66-67

How ORAL HEALTH affects the rest of you

2min
pages 64-65

It’s all about YOU

1min
pages 61, 63

BEING WELLWellbeing

1min
pages 60-61

How not to break the bank on your holidays

1min
pages 58-59

OF THE COAST Dahlias and other delights

3min
pages 54-57

Design mattersGLENDA BARNES

2min
pages 52-53

A RAMMED EARTH HOUSE. But you’d never guess from its exterior.

1min
pages 48-51

& HOLIDAY LIVING Home Style

4min
pages 40-44, 46-47

on the Coast

4min
pages 32-39

The Coast is turning greener. Take 3 for the Sea scoops global award.

1min
page 30

TURTLES are visiting Central Coast shores ©

2min
pages 28-29

COAST COMMUNITY PROJECTS with a HEART

2min
pages 26-28

Loving LOCAL

1min
page 25

Loving LOCAL GOSFORD

3min
pages 21-24

THE AWAKENING of GOSFORD

1min
page 20

LOCAL Loving

3min
pages 16-19

BOUTIQUE ACCOMMODATION SURROUNDED BY NATURE

1min
page 15

HINTERLAND EXPERIENCES AND ENCOUNTERS

1min
page 14

A TASTE OF BUSH CULTURE

1min
page 13

Go eco on the Central Coast

1min
pages 11-12

SP LASHING, DASHING, DINING AND DISCOVERING IN AND AROUND THE WATER

1min
page 10

Immerse yourself in the NATURAL WONDERS of the Central Coast

1min
page 9

COAST

1min
pages 6-7
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