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CONTENTS WELCOME 6 HOME STYLE House of the Year award winner: DISCOVER THE CENTRAL COAST Wagstaffe 64 Map — Villages and beaches 8 GREAT OUTDOORS Best whale watching on the Central Coast 9 Map — National Parks and State Forests 74 SHOPPING GUIDE 15 5 Lands Walk 75 MY COAST COASTING with Susan Kurosawa 80 Graeme Blundell 20 GARDENS PEOPLE OF THE COAST A garden for wildlife 82 Tim Silverwood: Take 3 for the Sea 22 DESTINATION WEDDINGS FOOD AND DINING Rikki and Adam 86 The 11 best spots to cosy up by the fire 24 Kitty and Tommy 90 Bar Botanica 30 ONCE UPON A TIME IN Yarramalong Valley 92 Lords of Pour 32 LUXURY ESCAPES The Lucky Bee Hardys Bay 34 White Haven, Wamberal 94 South Side Social 35 Kims Beachside Retreat, Toowoon Bay 96 The Bon Pavilion mural 36 Ravensdale Retreat, Yarramalong Valley 96 ON THE WATER ARTISANS OF THE COAST A grand dame at the bottom of the garden 40 Ron Gibbs: Lessons in life and woodturning 100 PEOPLE OF THE COAST HUNTER VALLEY 42

David Hook: winemaker








Bicycle routes on the Central Coast



24 HOURS IN … the Valley: Matcham, Holgate and Erina


FUN FOR KIDS on the Coast



PEOPLE OF THE COAST Grant Molony: artist


Shannon Betts: a state of the art rehab centre for horses


Virginia Matcham at Mooney Mooney



Jake Cassar: from wild child to mentor and bush man

WARM YOURSELF BY OUR BONFIRE ARTISAN ALES & HANDCRAFTED COCKTAILS Bonython Tower 159 Mann Street, Gosford @thebonpavilion

B O N F I R E | B O N P U B L I C B A R | B O N V I N P R I VAT E D I N I N G | B O N E S P R E S S O

COAST PUBLISHER Catharine Retter ART DIRECTOR Jude Rowe, Agave Creative Group


PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHERS Reed Plummer, Central Coast Drones Cassandra Ringstad, Urban Wonder Photography Lisa Haymes Photography Jacs Powell PRINCIPAL WRITERS Megan Arkinstall • Brooke Doherty • Susan Kurosawa • Yasmin Newman • Catharine Retter • Katie Stokes • Sarah Tolmie • Paul Urquhart ILLUSTRATORS Maps: Guy Holt Lauren Merrick

Welcome I

t’s winter on the Coast and we’re smugly smiling (or should that be ‘snugly smiling’)! Who would have thought the Central Coast has so many cosy cafés, snug restaurants and wonderful resort accommodation choices with open fireplaces, pot-bellied stoves, gas flame fireplaces and fire pits. You can check them out in this issue. Outdoors, there are also ways to get a warm healthy glow — try some of the 305+ kilometres of gentle cycle routes along our coastline, around the lagoons and waterways, as well as the nature bike trails through our national parks and state forests that will get your pulse racing. And of course it’s the ideal weather for bushwalking, so it’s no wonder the winter solstice is the time for the Coast’s very popular bush-andbeach walk, the 5 Lands Walk. Winter also sees the welcome return of large numbers of elegant black swans from other Central Coast waterways to feed on the sea-grasses in my particular area. And, of course, we have the annual migration of

ADVERTISING Anissa Vineburg 0408 692 129 Diane Dunlea 0425 279 707

whales all along our coastline where we are blessed with numerous great vantage points so that we can stare fixedly out to sea then shout and point excitedly as the next lumbering leap, tail slap, or plume of spray is spotted. In this issue, you can read where to see them and why whales have a special connection with the Central Coast. In our hinterland, the Harvest Festival with farmgate sales of fresh produce and farm visits is bigger than ever. Or if music and theatre is your temptation, winter also seems to be the time when our arts venues have so many great events scheduled to keep us cosy indoors. There are so many special things to see and do on the Central Coast that, for the first time, we’re including a 4-page tear-out calendar of events, compiled courtesy of the Central Coast Council. So, sit back and read all about it before getting your skates on for a little Central Coast adventure of your choosing. c

Catharine Retter, Publisher

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE OUTSTANDING ENTRIES IN OUR READER COMPETITION IN COAST’S AUTUMN ISSUE. The winner of the Broken Bay Pearl ‘soiree’ style earrings from AngelRock Jewellers is Susan Buxton for her daughter.



ADMINISTRATION COAST is published by Coast Publishing ABN 11 145 976 049 PO Box 6407 Kincumber NSW 2251 For more ‘What’s On for Kids’ information contact Katie Stokes at COPYRIGHT AND WARRANTIES 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 Coast Publishing. 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. FIND US ON Facebook Instagram @coast_publishing View COAST online and subscribe (it’s free) to avoid missing future digital issues at We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Awabal Darkinjung peoples and their Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land.

ON THE COVER A Humpback whale ‘spy-hopping’. Photograph: Craig Parry Photography

A LI FE O F LEXUS LUXU RY Our culture is based on one simple phrase: “experience amazing”. For us, it is a promise that extends far beyond the experience of driving a superior vehicle, it’s encapsulated in every element of ownership.





DISCOVER • Central Coast


The whale watching season runs from May to November, peaking in late June and early July. During that time, the whales are heading north to warmer waters to calve and mate. They return south with their calves in September to late November. So during those months you’ll see picnic rugs, fold up chairs and benches occupied by people pointing into the blue wherever there’s a vantage point and a sea view. Whales can travel at around 8 km per hour but when we see them they are more likely to be dawdling along at 2 km while they socialise and make a spectacle of themselves. Over 25,000 Humpbacks are expected to migrate past our shores this year, so the chances of seeing them are pretty good. In smaller numbers, there are Southern Right Whales, Minkies and even Orcas. Why are we all so enchanted by these gentle goliaths of the sea? Well, seeing 30 to 40 tonnes of aquatic mammal leap out of the water — breaching, spy-hopping, tail slapping or lobtailing and fin slapping — it’s a pretty special sight.



Marie Byles Lookout, Killcare This is an easily accessible lookout beside the Scenic Road at Killcare, with extensive views south to Lion Island, Broken Bay, Sydney’s northern beaches and as far as Sydney (you can see Bondi and Centrepoint on a clear day) and north along the Bouddi National Park shoreline. It has easy access if you have restricted mobility, or are short of time, but you’re back from the shore so whales will be further away.

Gerrin Point Lookout

Gerrin Point Lookout, Bouddi National Park Located along the Bouddi Coastal Walk after a 1.2 km very scenic walk from the Putty Beach carpark (National Parks parking meters in operation), Gerrin has sweeping views across Maitland Bay and across the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension, one of Australia’s earliest marine protected areas. There’s a comfy bench at the lookout platform, but it can get windy.


DISCOVER • Central Coast Bateau Bay itself is also a popular whale watching spot from a sandstone platform at beach level. There’s parking and picnic tables, or you can walk to Crackneck from the beach.

Norah Head Lighthouse, Norah Head Norah Head is one of the most easterly points on the Central Coast so the whales tend to be closer to land here. It’s also the location for the Whale Dreamers Festival on July 1, a locally inspired festival to raise awareness about whales, and to raise funds for conservation and research on these Cetaceans.

Wybung Head, Munmorah State Conservation Area, Budgewoi

Captain Cook and Winney Bay Lookouts, Copacabana

The whale watching area is a grassy knoll on the headland, a short walk from Wybung Head Road and provides sweeping views north, east and south. It’s an exposed area with no shade or wind protection, so come suitably attired. A sign provides information on whales and their migration.

Certainly one of the best vantage points on the Central Coast, and a popular stopping-point during The 5 Lands Walk, the two large viewing platform lookouts here are located on the headland between Copacabana and Avoca Beach. The Winney Bay lookout has an easterly and northerly aspect to Shelly Beach, The Entrance and Norah Head, and has picnic tables. The Captain Cook Lookout has panoramic views east, and south to Palm Beach. It’s worth the view, any time of the year. During June and July, local naturalist, Jeannie Lawson, holds whale talks here. A good spot for dolphin-watching and bird-watching too. Copacabana Beach also has an easily accessible, ‘just above beach level’ roadside viewing platform.

The Skillion, Terrigal The prominent headland at the southern end of Terrigal has a car parking area at its base and is an invigorating walk up the steep grassy slope to uninterrupted views south over North Avoca and Avoca, and north to Wamberal and Forresters Beach.

Wyrrabalong Lookout, Cromarty Hill, Forresters Beach This location is a short walk from Cromarty Hill Road to the lookout and picnic area (and a large communications tower) where there are picnic tables. When you’re not whale spotting, you can watch hang-gliders launch themselves off the cliff right beside you.

Crackneck Lookout in Wyrrabalong National Park Near Bateau Bay, this is one of the most popular vantage points, where you can take the short drive right through the national park up to the lookout, throw a rug on the grass and enjoy a coffee from the mobile retro-van, Juwanna Coffee. There are panoramic views northward to Shelly Beach and all the way past Norah Head, Tuggerah Lake and The Entrance. A second vantage point faces east and south towards Forresters and Terrigal.


The Skillion

Norah Head Lighthouse


with Terrigal Ocean Tours


FRI + SAT + SUN + MON (1 MAY - 31 OCT)

Book your whale tour on 0449999868 or

Shelly Beach Golf Cub — Aqua Restaurant Shelly Beach Golf Club’s Aqua Restaurant provides a breathtaking 180 degree ocean view and an opportunity to glimpse our ocean’s fascinating Humpback whales on their annual migration. Sit back and relax while enjoying a fresh dining experience with a range of temptations from fresh oysters to crispy calamari and luscious salads.

in university and conservation research programs including the WWF ‘Wildcrowd’ program, a citizen science research program to gather information on species distribution for habitat protection programs; and with ‘Living Ocean’, a group that studies the migration and navigation of the Humpback whales. Getting the community involved is a key aspect of these projects. One hour tour from $40. 1 May to 31 October on Fridays, Saturdays,

Bookings 02 4332 3400. Monday to Thursday: Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm

Sundays and Mondays. Maximum of 10 passengers.

and Friday to Sunday 11.30am to 3pm. Dinner 7 days: 5.30pm to 8pm. Snack

For more information call 0449 999 868 or

menu available from 11.30 through to 8pm.

Look for the blue flags on the beach at Terrigal Haven. In the warmer months they operate a 40-minute ‘Summer Blast’ marine life

WHALE WATCHING ON THE WATER The Central Coast marine environment abounds in whales, dolphins, manta rays and seabirds. Bear in mind, it is always a little cooler on the water, so bring an extra layer of clothing.

Terrigal Ocean Tours The Coast’s first purpose-built whale watching boat, Merrow, will be launched this season at Terrigal Haven — a Rigid Hull Inflatable fitted out for whale watching with all of the latest safety gear and technology. The tours pass through the proposed Forresters Beach Marine Sanctuary and have a marine biologist on board to identify the species and answer any questions. The company also participates

and sightseeing tour, from $25.

PORT STEPHENS Moonshadow TQC Cruising Get up close and personal with the whales with a choice of two great whale watching cruises on an 18 metre or 30 metre catamaran out of Port Stephens until early November. Cruises depart 10am, 11am, 1.30pm and 2pm during peak times. Contact 02 4984 9388 or Adults $65, seniors $55, students $44 to $55, children under 15 years $29, family $159. Departs 10 am, 11am, 1.30pm daily in season.


DISCOVER • Central Coast

Heavenly Tours

Whale Watching SEASON IS HERE!

Heavenly Tours, the people who run wine tours to the Hunter Valley, also pick up from the Central Coast to take you on whale and dolphin watching tours on Nelson Bay in the Port Stephens area. Their tours cater to large and small groups. From now until November, you can enjoy a 3-hour whale watch on Imagine Cruises with Heavenly Tours picking you up at your door and dropping you back. Tours include the option of lunch at Murrays plus a whale watch tour, or just the whale watch tour. or

BOOK NOW Whale Watching Tours Nelson Bay / Port Stephens Wine Tours Hunter Valley Wine Region Customised Tours • Lunch Packages Unique, professional, fully guided tours

Imagine Cruises Imagine is a state of the art 54ft sailing catamaran — so quiet you can hear the whales breathe as they swim in the Marine Park. Also watch for dolphins, seals and marine birds. Relax on the covered foredeck or downstairs in the cabin and bar. They’ll hoist the sails whenever conditions permit. 3 hours daily until November. Or cruise on Envision on their Whale Watch Express for less travel time but more time with the whales. 1.5 hour cruises, daily at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Adults $68, children under 17 years $33, conc. $59, family $169. Eco-accredited. I 0407 217 217



15% discount* for s! all online booking 6194 Enter code: VIDA at the checkout.

Our extensive fleet offers the region’s largest vessels, with a cruise experience never to be forgotten. WHALE WATCH – Includes bonus dolphin watch and outer island cruise. • Experience the ultimate wildlife adventure, as 30,000 whales pass close to Port Stephens on their annual migration • Two levels of outside viewing from the regions LARGEST whale watch vessels plus comfortable all weather inside areas • Live, informative, fun Captain’s commentary • Chance to see huge pods of oceanic dolphins, penguins, sea birds, seals, orcas and more... • Visit spectacular Murphy’s Gap • Complimentary coffee and tea • Licensed bar and snack food available WHAT TO BRING Warm clothes | Sunglasses | Camera Hat and sunscreen | Motion sickness preventative WHEN May to November. Departs daily at 10am, 11am & 1.30pm. Additional cruises scheduled during peak whale periods. DURATION 2½ – 3 hours *Terms and conditions apply. VIDA6194

experience is the difference | 4984 9388

OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA Majestic Whale Encounters — swim with the whales This is a Forresters Beach, family-run eco tour company which designs inclusive, privately run small group tours to amazing destinations where you swim with Humpbacks and dolphins in Tonga and Tahiti; and even to the fjords of northern Norway to swim with Humpbacks and the ‘pandas of the sea’, the Orcas. These tours are renowned for creating a new appreciation and respect for the whales and our oceans. Email or Telephone 02 4385 5454 or 0405 594 253.









S T A R R A T E D 




Gather family and friends and holiday in heritage listed Light Keepers Quarters or learn a tale

or two as you uncover culture and stories during our Daily Light Tower Tours, 10am - 1.30pm. Book a Night tour under starlit skies, call 0452 564 102. Visit our website for specific dates. DISCOVER





Bull & China, Erina Heights Relaxed, coastal, with a hint of fun … if this describes your style then be sure to stop by Bull & China, a women’s fashion boutique located in the set of shops on The Entrance Road at Erina Heights (across from IGA). Christie Short opened this gorgeous store in August last year and stocks quality pieces from labels such as Elm Lifestyle, Betty Basics, Refuge Denim and Little Lies. There’s also footwear from uber cool Rollie Nation Shoes and Australianowned Human Premium Shoes – including some fabulous winter boots – and a selection of gorgeous accessories to peruse while you’re there. Shop 4/372 The Entrance Rd, Erina Heights

Interiorwise, East Gosford Tucked away in a side street of East Gosford, Interiorwise is a delightful cavern of French, vintage and coastal style furniture and homewares. The store was opened in 2014 by husband-andwife team, Daniel and Sandra Burckhardt, after they spent a year living in France restoring and painting furniture in a 15th-century watermill. They were inspired to bring the trend of restoring and upcycling furniture to the Central Coast and so created this eclectic store where old meets new. The stock is always changing with unique one-off pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. They also offer a custom painting service for customers who want to give their timber furniture a new lease on life. 61B Webb Street, East Gosford

Blackbird, Bateau Bay Opening this gorgeous lifestyle store in Bateau Bay five years ago was an easy decision for owner Michelle Botham, who describes this beachside suburb as a hidden gem, but we think her store is an even lovelier surprise. Located at Bateau Bay Road shops, Blackbird is the place to shop for all things premium and chic for you and your home. Stocking a wide range of Australian and local products, you will find everything from leather clutches to classic Levi jeans, from toxin-free sunscreen to organic loose-leaf tea, from natural rattan light pendants to lush indoor plants … you can even purchase local Bateau Bay honey, straight from the hive! 101A Bateau Bay Rd, Bateau Bay



Flowerseekers in Bloom, Wamberal Brighten up your home on grey winter days with a gorgeous bunch of flowers from the Flowerseekers in Bloom located at the set of shops across from Wamberal Beach. Opened earlier this year, this is the bricks and mortar store to quarterly magazine The Flowerseekers, created for florists, growers and everyday people who simply love beautiful blooms. Owner Sonya Gardiner wanted a space to physically showcase the concept behind the magazine and not only to sell flowers, plants and botanic gifts (vases, books, candles, soaps, local honey) but also to host workshops such as floral arrangement, embroidery, photography, styling and business. Watch throughout the year as the store’s façade changes colour and look depending on the season. Shop 3/82 Ocean View Drive, Wamberal

Byvonne, Wyong Housed in the old manager’s cottage of the historic Wyong Milk Factory, Byvonne is a sweet little shop owned by Yvonne and Ross Welsh. Here you can pick up unique gifts, handmade jewellery, outdoor decorative items, as well as antiques and collectibles. Each of the five rooms of the quaint cottage is styled differently with relaxing music playing overhead and the scent of Yvonne’s handmade candles creating a serene environment for shoppers. Some of the more eclectic pieces include traditional Terramundi Money Pots that are hand-thrown in Italy and hand-painted in London and handmade wooden ducks from Indonesia. Be sure to pick up one of Yvonne’s handmade candles, which she will refill at half the price when you’ve used it. Gallery 10, 141 Alison Rd, Wyong

Antigua Collective, Terrigal Cool, classic and chic — that’s what you can expect from Antigua Collective at Terrigal, a premium women’s fashion store that opened earlier this year on The Esplanade. Owner Ruth Macfayden had worked in fashion in Terrigal for 10 years before opening this beautiful boho-luxe store where she offers her customers a personalised but relaxed shopping experience. Here you’ll find pieces of a mostly neutral palette, with easy-wear cuts and great quality fabrics from labels such as Apero, Eb & Ive, Le Specs and Bird & Kite, as well as Antigua Collective, Antigua Jewellery and Antigua Home. 96 Terrigal Esplanade, Terrigal





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HEADING • Subhead

A Day at Westfield, Tuggerah What better way is there to spend a cosy winter’s day with family fun, food and entertainment! Have you heard of the Kids Passes at Westfield? This is the ultimate food and entertainment package to keep everyone happily occupied. The Mini Kids Pass for younger children is available for just $25 and provides hours of fun with an Event Cinema movie ticket, a cheeseburger Happy Meal from McDonald’s, a finger bun from Bakers Delight, and a kid size Boost Juice smoothie crush or juice. The Mega Kids Pass for bigger kid appetites and entertainment is $35 to enjoy an Event Cinema movie ticket, 30 minutes free play at Timezone plus unlimited standard and ticket games and 50 pre-loaded power. There are churros from Mad Mex and a delicious cup of frozen yoghurt plus a kid size Boost Juice smoothie crush or juice. Grab a coffee at any of the many cosy cafés before heading to the Concierge Desk to purchase the great value Kids Pass.

Catch an Event movie to relax, unwind or excite your senses The Kids Pass can be used on movie tickets with an Events Cinema movie — find it at the rear of the food court.

Head down to Timezone for family fun You’ll find Timezone in the outdoor dining precinct opposite Noodle Hut. There’s an endless choice of fun arcade games and attractions for the whole family to play.

Fill rumbling tummies with lunch at Grill’d. Introducing the Beyond Burger — your best loved burgers made with a pattie of pea protein and beetroot, free from soy, gluten and GMOs, a meat tasting, plantbased alternative.

Look and act the part — visit Rebel for all your fitness clothing and equipment You can’t miss the newly refurbished Rebel store.

What better way to finish off your day than to enjoy some Bavarian hospitality and let someone else cook dinner. Enjoy the newly opened Bavarian restaurant (see opposite page).




MY COAST • Graeme Blundell


raeme Blundell has appeared in around 30 movies and TV series (including Australian classics such as Don’s Party, Mad Dog Morgan, Power Without Glory, The Odd Angry Shot, The Year My Voice Broke, the mini-series Vietnam (giving Nicole Kidman her first screen kiss), as well as Star Wars II and III, and countless theatre plays. But he remains best known for the massively successful box office movie, Alvin Purple, the lusty sexromp film that did much to mark the beginning of commercially successful, locally made films in this country in the 1970s. Alvin has been both a blessing and a curse for Graeme, ‘When people have seen your bum on the big screen, it’s like there is no rest of you,’ he says. ‘As actor Frank Thring wickedly said, “before that, the only reason you would go to an Australian movie was to avoid the crowds”.’ Today, Graeme is The Australian’s TV critic, Foxtel’s Mr Movies, presenting Saturday Night at the Movies and is the co-presenter on Foxtel’s movie reviews program, Screen, with fellow Coastie, Margaret Pomeranz, which means he has to watch 10 to 12 movies every fortnight. The beginnings of this part of his career were evident even as Melbourne University student with little idea of what his life would become. ‘I loved practical criticism, the close reading of individual literary texts with particular attention to their intrinsic verbal structure and texture.’ When he’s not watching movies, eating popcorn or rolling Jaffas down his loungeroom aisle, one of Graeme’s favourite pastimes is his garden. His patch of the Coast has become something of a sub-tropical oasis in Hardys Bay even though his

activities lately have been curtailed by ‘a knee’ caused by what his wife, Susan Kurosawa, calls his ‘extreme gardening’. ‘The house was conceptualised to look out onto what the Japanese like to call “a borrowed view” with bamboo, angophoras and massive trees.’ Graeme and Susan came to the Central Coast by accident. ‘Susan had always had the notion of owning a weekender. We drove up to visit a friend and as we drove down Killcare hill, we saw the bay, and the sun coming off the water and that was it! ‘The area around Hardys Bay is quite a creative enclave and at one time there were so many actors living here it was being referred to as “Hardywood”. ‘We ended up buying a derelict house for $187,000, renovated it, then rented it out. But we hated other people being in “our house”. So here we are. Some of Graeme’s favourite things: WALKS: The Pretty Beach dog track, where it disappears enticingly into a mangrove forest. PLANT NURSERIES: Narara Valley Nursery at the end of Manns Road and Impact Plants at Empire Bay — great for sub-tropical exotics. CINEMA: Cinema Paradiso, and to Bar Toto for a drink and a pastry. RESTAURANT: Bombini Pizza. Love it. PIES, CAKES: Bremen’s Patisserie at Umina Beach. It’s run by an Austrian who’s won countless prizes for his pastries. BUTCHER: Saratoga Meats at Kincumber. DRY CLEANER: Rex, Drop Your Pants at Ettalong Beach.

Ettalong Beach Waterfront Reserve

Restaurant. Bar. Beach kiosk. Fresh. Modern. Australian. e p 4339 3369


PEOPLE OF THE COAST • Tim Silverwood




n 2007, at the age of 27, Tim Silverwood took a holiday to Indonesia and, as his surfboard nosed through the ocean, the sun on his back, he was feeling good ... until half submerged plastic bags nudged at his legs. The closer he looked the more plastic he found, it was everywhere. On what would otherwise have been a beautiful, pristine tropical beach, a flotilla of plastic soft drink bottles, cigarette lighters, biros, cheap toys, bottle tops, 6-pack rings and plastic bags had washed up on the sand. Even though he had a Bachelors degree in Environmental Sciences, it was this trip that made Tim aware of the devastating impact our use of plastic was having on the oceans, the beaches and its marine life. He returned to the Central Coast, unable to get the spoiled images of his holiday out of his mind. Sadly, back home, the story was only marginally better. On a north coast beach, 317 pieces of plastic were found inside a turtle washed up on the sand. On Lord Howe Island, an adult Shearwater bird — one of many thousands who forage on the Tasman Sea — was found with 276 pieces of plastic in its stomach. Tim knew he could ignore the problem — or more importantly, the cause of the problem — or do something about it.


‘Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it breaks down into small, bite-sized pieces — pieces that birds ingest and inevitably feed to their chicks’ Plastic rubbish entangles wildlife, strangles seabirds, suffocates turtles and is ingested by our biggest sea mammals — dolphins, whales, sharks and seals. It’s estimated that up to a million seabirds die from plastic every year as well as 100,000 marine mammals. For the turtles, birds and mammals that get entangled but survive it constricts and deforms their shells, or cuts painfully into their bodies. ‘Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it breaks down into small, bitesized pieces — pieces that birds ingest and inevitably feed to their chicks,’ says Tim. ‘Our ocean is downhill from everywhere — every river leads to the sea, and 80 percent of our ocean debris washes from our beaches, rivers and even our gutters.’ And yet, at the time of Tim’s surfing holiday, no one was talking much about this. The universe seemed to step in then, introducing him to Mandy Marechal, a youth educator, and Roberta Dixon-Valk a marine ecologist who became his co-founders in launching the organisation, Take 3 for the Sea in 2009. Tim, Mandy and Roberta decided to make a short film on the way plastic affects our oceans, marine life and beaches. They launched it at the Avoca Picture Theatre: Take 3: A Clean Beach Initiative. The response was overwhelming. Tim quit his job in Newcastle in 2011, and almost a decade later, Take 3 for the Sea is a fully fledged organisation with seven staff, partnerships with leading businesses like the World Surf League, and has an office space renovated courtesy of Kyal and Kara, well-known local Toowoon Bay residents. Take 3 has 250,000 followers on social

media reaching people in 129 countries. Those followers remove an estimated 10 million pieces of rubbish from our beaches every year. Tim and Mandy and Roberta’s aim is to educate and, through this, inspire participation and positive change. Their schools’ programs with kids are especially heartening. ‘After we talk to them about the impact plastic has, we go out to a school rubbish bin and dive in to take a good look inside, or we clean up a local area,’ says Tim. ‘Once they see it for themselves, they can’t un-see it. And then the kids come up with their own programs, their own solutions and it’s their decision to take any next steps and take it forward into their families and communities.’ Take 3 is a strong advocate for stopping the use of plastic straws, and reducing plastic bags in retail stores. ‘We want this thinking to be the “new normal”,’ says Tim. for information on education programs for schools, surf clubs and communities Take 3 Ambassadors include Grant Molony (featured in this issue); Kyal and Kara (featured in our Autumn issue), and Reed Plummer of Central Coast Drones (whose photography is regularly featured in COAST).


FOOD & DINING • Restaurants



Saddles, Mt White Inspired by the painting of a humble Australian homestead that sits above an oversized fireplace built from local sandstone, Saddles is a restaurant that oozes warmth and comfort — the perfect spot for a winter’s day. Set on an 11-hectare property in Mt White, its rustic aesthetic is complemented by luxe accents such as marble and aged brass, an ornate pianola, and handcrafted saddle barstools by local craftsman Heath Harris. But what’s especially comforting is the menu. Based on the essence of Australiana cuisine, it features bakery-inspired items such as a meat pie, sausage roll and lamington. And while the dishes sound simple, they’re incredibly tasty, served on fine dinnerware and made with the freshest ingredients, much of which is plucked straight from the kitchen garden. Saddles’ outdoor deck, which overlooks the property dam and surrounding bushland, is often bathed in winter sunshine but even on grey days, guests are kept snug with blinds and outdoor heaters. 20 Ashbrookes Rd, Mt White

Lord Ashley Lounge, Terrigal The best spot to watch the wild and woolly weather pummel the coast is from the comfort of the toasty Lord Ashley Lounge on Level 1 at Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific. With its high ceilings and large windows boasting views of Terrigal Beach and the famous Norfolk pines that line the esplanade, Lord Ashley Lounge is a sophisticated space with a large, modern fireplace keeping things cosy. It’s a relaxing spot to enjoy a creamy hot chocolate or a glass of wine with friends. There are platters to share, or indulge a little with one of six decadent high-tea options that are available daily from 12pm to 5pm. Otherwise, the bar menu is sure to hit the spot with salads, burgers, fish and chips and a selection of yummy desserts. Pinetree Lane, Terrigal


LORD ASHLEY LOUNGE EXPERIENCE LORD ASHLEY’S ICONIC HIGH TEA AT CROWNE PLAZA TERRIGAL PACIFIC With one of the best locations on the Central Coast for a celebration, nothing could be finer than sipping tea whilst looking out over a stunning ocean view. Enjoy a selection of sweet and savoury bites accompanied with your choice of tea from the Dilmah selection, barista-made coffee or hot chocolate. Your dietary requirements can be catered for with classic, chocolate, gluten free and vegetarian menu variations available, as well as a special kid’s high tea option.

LORD ASHLEY’S HIGH TEA IS AVAILABLE DAILY FROM 12PM TO 4PM First Floor, Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific Pine Tree Lane, Terrigal W: P: (02) 4384 9133


FREE reader gift $250 voucher to indulge in pure relaxation at Glow Beauty Space. The voucher can be used for hair or beauty services. At Glow, the hand-picked team of beauty therapists and hair stylists come with extensive experience from some of Sydney and London’s most exclusive beauty therapy businesses. Glow Beauty Space knows that what many women want is to feel beautiful without all the fuss. So that’s what Glow promises. You can find Glow on Facebook and Instagram @glowbeautyspace. Let us know why you deserve to win a $250 voucher of pure indulgence at Glow Beauty Space by sending your entry to Please note that the voucher is not available to be used on the purchase of products. The winner will be notified in the next issue of COAST. Relatives and employees of Glow Beauty Space and COAST Publishing are ineligible to enter. Entries close at 5pm, August 10, 2019. Entries will be judged by two members of COAST Publishing team. The prize cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash. By entering, you agree that COAST Publishing may use your entry in the magazine and in any promotional material for the magazine without incurring any fees. You undertake that the words are yours and that there is no impediment to COAST publishing the words and that the publishers will not be held liable for any breach of these terms and conditions.

FOOD & DINING • Restaurants

The Dart & Feather, Davistown This charming building set down a quiet street in Davistown has had a few incarnations, but its most recent as sleek waterfront restaurant and bar The Dart & Feather is especially exciting. With a modern European menu, a focus on seafood, and a great breakfast selection, The Dart & Feather has become a local hotspot. The special offerings are popular with Pizza Wednesdays (two for $30) and Locals Night on Thursdays (two courses with beer or wine for $40, or three courses with beer or wine $49), as well as live music on Saturday nights and Sundays. Owners Kane Fuessel and David Roy gave the space a complete overhaul when they purchased it, creating a bold and glamorous look with an emerald green, royal blue and gold colour scheme. During winter, the fireplace keeps things cosy while the undercover deck outside has outdoor heaters and a panoramic view of the water. 1 Restella Ave, Davistown

The Sitting Duck, Peats Ridge Winters are the best time to take a country drive through the Coast’s hinterland, and The Springs at Peats Ridge is the perfect stop for lunch. This sprawling venue is a popular golf course and events space but also a great place to grab a bite to eat. The Sitting Duck bistro is a unique eatery with an eclectic design of contemporary-meets-country. Think corrugated iron, marble, cowhide and a divine parquetry feature wall. Overseen by executive chef Dan Capper, who forages as much as he can from the surrounding rural properties to create his paddock-to-plate menus (his produce-driven weekend menu is a big hit), the bistro and bar have stunning views of the rolling hinterland and boast a cosy fire for winter. 1080 Peats Ridge Road, Peats Ridge

Bells at Killcare, Killcare Long, languid lunches are always a good idea, and Bells at Killcare is an idyllic spot for the occasion. This iconic boutique hotel oozes an exquisite mix of coastal and country charm; its restaurant at the heart of it all is elegant in Hamptons-style blues and whites with a grand fireplace and a pretty outlook of the perfectly manicured gardens. The cuisine here is Italian inspired and as fresh as you can get with more than 15 percent of the produce on the seasonal menu grown on the estate (there’s a large vegetable garden, honey beehives and free-range hens). For something truly special, five-course degustation menus can be arranged, or you can take advantage of the weekly specials: Tuesday is local’s night ($45 per person for a two-course menu with wine); on Fridays you can order the fish of the day for just $35; while Sundays are dedicated to family feasts, with seasonal roasts served on share platters. 107 The Scenic Road, Killcare Heights


Purveyor of unique Homewares & special one off pieces of furniture for Styling your home. Operating for 10 years and now incorporating great coffee at Drift Coffee Kazbah. 1/15-17 FORRESTERS BEACH RD FORRESTERS BEACH 4385 9996

The refurbished Saltwater Bar and Bistro at Avoca Beach Hotel serves up pub meals alongside contemporary and seafood classics. Enjoy a meal al fresco style on the deck in the sunshine or get cosy in front of the fire.

Open 7 days a week Lunch & Dinner

326-360 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach | 02 4382 2322

The Bon Pavilion, Gosford Gosford’s newest opening has people talking, for all the right reasons. More than a restaurant, The Bon Pavilion is a dining destination. Helmed by Sean Connolly, who has designed delectable menus inspired by global flavours, The Bon Pavilion has an espresso bar, relaxed cocktail bar, family-friendly grill and public bar. There’s also an intimate private dining room that seats up to 10 guests, and a cellar door with an exquisite selection of wines from around the world (coming soon). The impeccable design of The Bon Pavilion is inspired by the burnt landscape of Australia and is relaxed but oh-sosophisticated. A striking mural by artist Lisa King graces an entire wall, while the grand staircase makes a bold statement of its own. During winter, the fireplace in the public bar will be roaring and is sure to be a coveted spot to keep warm over a few cocktails and delicious bar snacks. 159 Mann Street, Gosford

Gusto Italian Bistro, Ettalong Beach This is not your usual Italian restaurant in that you won’t find pizza on its menu nor will you be sitting at tables draped in red and white checked fabric. Instead, this intimate eatery is all about lesser known northern Italian cuisine with a more modern aesthetic. Its owners Chef Mattia Secchiero (aka Chef Chiero, who has worked for Alain Ducasse in Tuscany and many European Michelin-starred restaurants) and his partner Carolina Villabon hail from the northern Italian cities of Veneto and Parma. The menu boasts Italian tapas (‘cicchetti’), antipasti, pasta, and a few larger main courses with a modern Australian twist – the likes of marinated fresh tuna with avo smash, homegrown herbs and fresh finger lime. But never fear carb lovers, pasta reigns supreme with six delicious options that are homemade and shaped on the spot. Pasta, wine, fireplace – what more do you need in winter? 54/189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Beach

Saltwater Bar & Bistro, Avoca Local favourite, Avoca Beach Hotel went through an extensive (and impressive) renovation earlier this year and the result is a lighter, brighter and more modern coastal-inspired space. The Saltwater Bar & Bistro offers a contemporary winter menu which includes some classic pub dishes including salt and pepper squid, fish and chips, burgers, pizzas and bigger meals such as steak and chicken schnitty. There’s live music every weekend in the bistro area and a separate sports bar with pool table, as well as accommodation options and events space. The alfresco deck has a relaxing bushy outlook and is a great spot to enjoy a beverage in sunny weather, but on cooler days try to nab a seat near the open fireplace inside. 326-360 Avoca Drive, Avoca


FOOD & DINING • Restaurants

Angel Sussurri, Yarramalong Valley The old Yarramalong Manor was in disrepair when Deborah Buckley, her two daughters and son-in-law — Aurora, Elizabeth and Mat — purchased it a few years ago. But after an extensive transformation, the newly named Angel Sussurri – ‘sussurri’ means ‘whispers’ in Italian – has been given a new lease on life. With boutique accommodation, a bottle shop, deli, florist, giftware shop, café, restaurant and beer garden, this truly is the social hub of the Valley and a perfect spot for people who are passing through to stop for refreshments. The intimate restaurant is warm and welcoming with an open fireplace and has a seasonal Italian-inspired menu and an extensive wine list of Australian and New Zealand drops, as well as whiskies from around the world. Indeed, if the manor’s street name is anything to go by — Linga Longa Road — you won’t be going anywhere in a hurry. 1–4 Linga Longa Road, Yarramalong

HUNTER VALLEY Restaurant Botanica, Spicers Vineyards Estate Modern Australian yet regionally distinctive in style, Restaurant Botanica is focused on seasonality and freshness, complemented by an award winning wine list. The restaurant nestled inside Spicers Vineyards Estate overlooking the on-site vineyard, has a warm open fire and stunning views of the mountain range beyond. Head Chef Shayne Mansfield is taking the Restaurant Botanica menu and experience to a new level with his extensive training, knowledge, passion and dedication to showcase the best of local produce. 555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin. To book phone 02 6574 7229 or email Open for breakfast 7 days a week, lunch Saturday and Sunday, and dinner Wednesday to Sunday.

èRemo Restaurant, Spicers Guesthouse èRemo Restaurant, nestled inside Spicers Guesthouse in Pokolbin, offers a modern Italian menu thoughtfully created by multi-hatted executive chef Cameron Matthews. The menu is complemented by a well-travelled wine list, including some of the Hunter Valley’s best vintages and a selection of those from further afield. 57 Ekerts Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320. To book phone 02 4022 1801 or email Open 7 days for breakfast and dinner, and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.




THE COAST’S NEW PASTIME Gin and gelato may seem like an unlikely pairing at first, but in the grounds of Distillery Botanica it’s a match made in heaven.


he former Fragrant Gardens at Erina is a place that many locals will have fond memories of, and now – after sitting vacant for many years – it has been given a new lease on life thanks to the clever folk behind Mr Goaty Gelato, Dan and Julia Hughes. The husband-and-wife team had always planned on opening a gelato bar, but simply hadn’t found the place to do it. So when the opportunity arose to use the empty space adjacent to Distillery Botanica, where Mr Goaty Gelato is made, it seemed serendipitous. Bar Botanica came to fruition in April – a picturesque place to come not only for gelato, but also for a quick coffee or a picnic lunch in the surrounding gardens. The menu is inspired by Dan’s English upbringing and his experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK and Europe. Based on the concept of ‘elevenses’ (a light snack taken at 11am), it features dishes such as chicken liver parfait with Distillery Botanica blackcurrant liqueur; a traditional ploughman’s lunch including a gin-spiked cheddar from local producers Little Creek Cheese; Mr Black specialty coffee beans (roasted on-site); as well as 14 flavours of housemade gelato and sorbet (made using botanicals from the gardens). When the bar is licensed, you will also be able to purchase Hunter Valley wines, local Six String beer and Distillery Botanica gin. Housed in the original 1970s mud-brick hut, the space has been given a fresh, new look with interiors designed by the ever-impressive Stewart & Highfield, and made even lovelier with a hand-painted mural by local artist


Nicole Berlach. Complete with grass roof, cascading waterfall atrium, three acres of beautiful gardens, and a gin tasting experience next door, there’s nowhere else quite like it. No doubt, in years to come our children will be recalling their own young memories of time spent here running around the gardens, gelato in hand (and maybe a gin in yours). 25 Portsmouth Rd, Erina Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Wamberal locals Roy, Jo and their Three Donkeys, Sienna, Hunter and Elijah are very proud to now own and operate Three Donkeys Wholefood Café & Three Donkeys Home. Offering a lifestyle of eating well, living well and feeling well.



Our menu caters to dietary requirements, specialising in gluten, dairy and refined sugar free options. Enjoy a Turmeric, Charcoal and Beetroot latte or get a stellar drop of coffee on any one of our range of milks.

The Home shop offers a unique range of décor, fashion, furniture and flowers, not seen elsewhere on the coast. We are passionate about providing every customer a warm and welcoming experience.

WHOLEFOOD C A F É Open 7 days from 7am 15/6 Ghersi Ave Wamberal NSW 2260 I 02 4339 8052

H O ME Open 7 days from 10am 1/2 Ghersi Ave Wamberal NSW 2260 I 02 4309 5440



210 Central Coast Highway, Erina, NSW

Cosmetic Dentistry | Anti-Ageing and Corrective Treatments | Smile Makeovers

COAST • Lords of Pour

Different digs, same greatness WORDS MEGAN ARKINSTALL Ettalong favourite, Lords of Pour, has moved shop. And while things may look a little different, one thing hasn’t changed: the good things coming from the kitchen. You can never have too much of a good thing, right? Lords of Pour has just had an upsize, after outgrowing its original location, and there are some exciting plans in place for this cool caffeine haunt. Owner Ben Coward says the new venue, at the front of Ettalong Markets on Ocean View Road, is not only more spacious, but more in line with what they want to offer their customers. There’s more alfresco dining, bench seating where you can watch the world go by, and a vibe that’s a little less grunge. But it hasn’t lost its sense of fun: there’s bright pink walls, an impending street art mural by talented local artist Maz Fietz, which will feature a surrealist portrait of none other than Freddie Mercury, and a cheeky pink neon sign above the register which is an ode to their serious love of coffee. (Coffee which is, by the way, superb.) Loyal followers of the Lords — and there are many — can

expect a seasonal menu that features simple food with a little bit extra: think bacon and egg roll with caramelised onion and sriracha aioli; smashed avo with goats’ cheese, beetroot relish, charred lemon, pomegranate balsamic and citrus salt; and a Donny crumpet, toasted with butter, cinnamon sugar, shaved pear, fresh blood plum, coffee liqueur, whipped mascarpone and roasted walnuts. Has a crumpet ever sounded so good? Local produce is used where possible, with the menu always featuring Central Coast Honey, Smack Salt, The Egg Shed’s eggs and edible flowers from Hidden Valley Harvest. There are future plans to extend the offering to include craft beer and wines, as well as some coffee-focused cocktails and summer-night trading. And that’s what the people want — more of the good stuff! Watch this space. Lords of Pour 199A Ocean View Road, Ettalong Tuesday to Friday, 6am to 2pm. Saturday and Sunday, 7:30am to 2pm


Handmade Broken Bay Pearls necklace from AngelRock Jewellers at the Gosford Art Gallery shop AngelRock has donated this beautiful ‘Moonlit Sea’ sterling silver and Broken Bay Pearl pendant as a gift to a reader of COAST. It features a 7mm naturally silver-coloured Akoya pearl and is valued at a RRP $300. Let us know why you deserve to win the Broken Bay Pearl pendant by emailing us at The winner will be notified in the next issue of COAST. Relatives and employees of AngelRock Jewellery and COAST Publishing are ineligible to enter. Entries close at 5pm, August 10, 2019. Entries will be judged by two members of COAST Publishing team. The prize cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash. By entering, you agree that COAST Publishing may use your entry in the magazine and in any promotional material for the magazine without incurring any fees. You undertake that the words are yours and that there is no impediment to COAST publishing the words and that the publishers will not be held liable for any breach of these terms and conditions.


Central Coast Holiday Escapes

Your Beach, Bay & Bush accommodation specialists KILLCARE PENINSULA

Properties to suit all your holiday needs from budget to luxury accommodation

02 4360 2222

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ven on a cold night, The Lucky Bee at Hardys Bay is alive. Gregarious splashes of flamingo pink and palm tree green paint are part of the appeal, as is effervescent front-of-house Rupert Noffs, co-owner with his partner and chef Matty Bennett. But it’s the food that has everyone buzzing tonight: generous pan-Asian share plates and unapologetically spice-laden. Last time we spoke, the boys had taken over Frankie’s Rooftop at The Bayview Hotel, a sharp but welcomed departure for the former New York restaurateurs who’d tired of the city grind, and a boon for the Coast. Business, by all accounts, was booming. ‘The reception was incredible,’ recalls Noffs. ‘We were packed out for lunch and dinner and it really confirmed our concept for modern Asian food could work here on the Coast.’ At the time, Noffs had hinted at rolling out The Lucky Bee with the Bayview Hotel group throughout the region, but when it came time to sign on again, their hearts were elsewhere. ‘We were contract caterers, so it was never fully ours,’ he explains. They’d also been offered the lease on the small but iconic site on the Hardys Bay waterfront. ‘Here we’d have our own space and staff, and the ability to really do our own food.’ It was also a chance to bring this once-vibrant space back to life and an opportunity too hard to pass down. They received the keys at the beginning of March and two weeks later, they’d opened up shop. ‘In New York, it took us five months with a contractor to fit out our restaurant,’ says Noffs. Instead, they tackled the refurb themselves with a fresh lick of paint, some furniture re-upholstery and a few quirky motifs for


good measure. ‘At home, people don’t paint their walls bright colours or use oyster sauce cans for cutlery,’ says the restaurateur of their signature aesthetic. ‘We want people to have fun when they dine out.’ Two months in, and business looks likewise promising. Bennett, who cut his teeth as head chef at lauded Sydney Thai restaurant Longrain, appears in his element, cooking food with all the flavour and flair the region is known for. ‘Everything is made from scratch,’ explains Noffs. ‘The curry pastes alone have about 30 different ingredients.’ These pastes and other use-at-home products will soon be available for purchase at the restaurant and corner store, as well as a to-go menu including szechuan pepper and salt chicken wings to enjoy on the waterfront come sunset — one of a handful of places on the Coast where you can drink alcohol outdoors, according to Noffs. In-house, the bao buns with twicecooked pork hock, hoisin sauce, pickled cucumber and chillis are the crowd-pleaser, as well as the lobster roll with spiced fries, a special paired with live jazz on Sundays. As the boys walk to work and back home again along the water, taking in the special Coast views (they’re Hardys Bay locals too), they pinch themselves and feel as lucky as can be. Lucky Bee Hardys Bay, 60 Araluen Drive Hardys Bay Open Wed and Thurs for dinner, Fri, Sat and Sun for lunch and dinner. No BYO. Jazz Sundays from 12 to 4pm

FOOD & DINING • Restaurants



FROM CONVERTED WAREHOUSE TO CULINARY HOTSPOT: THE GUYS BEHIND THE MUCH-LOVED ROLLERDOOR ESPRESSO BAR ARE SHAKING THINGS UP IN GOSFORD WITH THEIR HIP NEW EATERY, SOUTH END SOCIAL. Four years ago Paul O’Donnell and Michael Griffiths were living very different lives. The pharmacy distributor and caterer were both working in an uninspiring industrial area of Erina where lunch options for staffers were limited (there’s only so many six-inch subs one can eat). Taking a leap of faith, they converted

a small warehouse into the Rollerdoor Espresso Bar and within three years this little café became so popular it had turned into their full-time gig and outgrew its space. Earlier this year Paul and Michael moved their business to the heart of Gosford, reopening and rebranding as the uber cool South End Social. The swanky new café and bar was designed by local inimitable design firm Stewart Highfield who describes it as ‘Australian coast meets the Amalfi’, and built by Hudson Lane Construction. The space is light and airy with large windows, fresh white walls, timber and Terrazzo flooring, and a refreshing palette of blues and greens from the leather seating and tiled bar, right down to the dinnerware. But the real heart — or should we say guts — of this institution is the food. The seasonal menu is fresh, modern Australian at its core, with an all-day brunch lunch and small plates (featuring everything from smoothie bowls to hot ciabatta sandwiches to charcuterie boards). The guys are passionate about supporting other local businesses and use the best quality, local-wherepossible produce such as the Coast’s own Fat Poppy Coffee, Casa de Cha teas, Six Strings beer and Kombucha Zest drinks. The wine list is particularly impressive with 47 different varieties including a range of local brand From Sunday Wines. If your office is usually a café, you’ll love the multiple USB and power-points throughout the café and free wi-fi. And afterwork drinks are sorted on Thursdays and Fridays with ‘Aperitivo Afternoons’ from 4 till 6pm. The reincarnation of the much-loved Rollerdoor Espresso Bar has injected some much-needed cool and class back into Gosford, a town on the brink of a reincarnation itself. Here’s looking at you, South End Social. Shop 1/32 Mann Street, Gosford Open Monday to Wednesday 7am to 3pm, Thursday to Saturday 7am to 9pm


Lisa King Mural, The Bon Pavilion


‘Elsie in Still Light. 2019’


t surprised us that, on Gosford getting its best-ever restaurant, we felt compelled to write about its giant 12 metre x 4 metre mural rather than penning a second article on its famed executive chef, or something on its interesting owners, or on the enticing food. But the impact of the mural is captivating all who see it. Restaurateur, Karina Barry (of Bells at Killcare and co-proprietor of The Bon Pavilion) briefly considered having classic black and white French wallpaper on the massive blank wall in the restaurant. But it was chef, Sean Connelly, who suggested a Lisa King mural as a dramatic feature. And dramatic it is. The restaurant’s creator, John Singleton, is known as a supporter of the arts, but Sean, too, is passionate about the arts and had previously come across the increasingly renowned artist, Lisa King and immediately suggested her for the restaurant’s mural. Bon Pavilion was considered to have quite a masculine feel to it, so Sean’s wish was to feminise the space with a strong female subject in the painting. The brief was to use the restaurant’s burnt-ochre colour palette and to draw inspiration from Australia’s native plants. ‘I wanted someone provocatively deep in thought, of time standing still, and the decadence of a classic still-life feasting table,’ says Lisa. ‘I wanted the work to have its own romantic connotations but not to be too boldly independent of the rest of the space.’ Lisa asked Brian and Karina Barry to suggest a young woman who fitted the criteria and Karina immediately thought of the daughter of close family friends in the Hunter Valley, Elsie Stuart, a young and proud Aboriginal woman from the Biripi nation.


Coincidentally, Elsie’s career encompasses that of a food and prop stylist for magazines such as Donna Hay and Delicious, as well as being passionate about ways to connect with and support her community. She is now a project manager for Just Juice’s charity, Nutrition Plus, which strives to build healthy futures for Aboriginal children through nutrition. She is responsible for managing projects in 37 schools and has become an inspirational role model for her constituents. ‘Elsie was the best subject,’ says Lisa. ‘She is a beautiful, strong and active woman, and she was just herself on set.’ Lisa often depicts birds in her paintings and, in this case, the macaw was chosen as a favourite of building owner, John Singleton, and happily symbolised a further connection to the restaurant. ‘Sean arrived on set with his range of native fruits and flowers which I loved as another aspect of the collaboration that the mural had become,’ says Lisa. ‘Sean really believed in my work and let me breathe through the entire process with trust. I have always been inspired by Renaissance painting and the European masters, and the restaurant lends itself to fine art rather than street art (which I also do) and it was a case of getting up on the scaffolding and ladders with my brushes and painting for six days.’ The artwork was to become a balance reminiscent of a classic still-life painting mixed with street-cred, in a palette of Australian colours. No mean feat that. 159 Mann Street, Gosford Open 7 days from 6.30 am.

Great Winter Delights

ta Mingara

The place to gather, relax and spend time with family and friends.

Escape the everyday with great coffee, cocktails, boutique beer or the finest Australian wine. Dine out with family and friends, celebrate life’s milestones or simply relax with free live entertainment. Open every day til late, it’s a place to escape, to laugh, have fun, relax and indulge… life is always great at Mingara! The Roasted Berry is where you can enjoy great times with those in your life who make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and just live a little better. Our coffee is made with love by our team of barista’s and is just what’s needed to warm the soul during the cooler months. Catch up over café style meals made fresh with local produce. The hearty all day breakfast is the locals favourite. Our bakers create delicious treats and sweets to share every day, including our signature sourdough which you can’t help but love. Take some home to share. Our famous white chocolate mocha returns over winter, a delicious treat to share with friends. #greatcoffee #feelslikehome #madewithlove #alldaybreakfast #theplacetocatchupwithfriends #eatthecake Indigo - Eats, Treats & Bar creates fresh, wholesome food from local ingredients that people love. Our Winter Warmer specials are designed to feed the soul … slow cooked lamb shanks, delicious roast carvery, veal scaloppini and homemade pies. Inside tip... leave room for dessert! Life’s too short to not enjoy simple indulgences. #mingara #feedthesoul #winterwarmers #leaveroomfordessert


and enter the draw to win $150 dinner on us! Entries close Friday 30 August. Authorised under NSW permit no. LTPM/18/03377. Terms and conditions apply.

Visit us at your club, Mingara 12-14 Mingara Drive, PO Box 8003, Tumbi Umbi NSW 2261 Ph: 4349 7799 Fax: 4349 7800 E:

ON THE WATER • Halvorsen

A grand dame at the bottom of the garden There’s a silver cloud at the bottom of a garden in Point Frederick, in a quiet bay of Brisbane Water. She’s the doyen of the still-hallowed Halvorsen fleet. WORDS CATHARINE RETTER AND RANDI SVENSEN


s you walk down the garden steps and get a first glimpse of her, you can’t help but be struck by her distinctive classic lines. She’s Silver Cloud, and has seen war service, been in a catastrophic fire, and been loved and owned by seven men. She’s in excellent shape for an 80-year-old, even though you might see that she’s discreetly had ‘work’. She is a 65 foot, luxury bridge-deck cruiser built by Lars Halvorsen Sons in 1939. (Confusingly, the 1960s-built Kanahoee was later re-named Silver Cloud II, whereas this Silver Cloud, designed by Harold Halvorsen and re-built by Lars Halvorsen Sons after the War, was originally named Silver Cloud III.) When World War II broke out and many luxury motor cruisers were commandeered for the war effort, she became part of what became referred to as the ‘Hollywood fleet’, and was fitted with an antisubmarine gun on her flying bridge and depth charge racks on the stern deck. Newspapers later reported Silver Cloud played an active role in the activities which saw the demise of one of the Japanese submarines that breached Sydney Harbour. 40 COAST

ON THE WATER • Halvorsen

After the War, as she was being decommissioned to hand back to her first owner, JAS Bruce, she was burnt to the waterline. The Halvorsen brothers bought Silver Cloud back from the government for £700 and salvaged her engines — only superficially damaged — from a scrap dealer. She was rebuilt at their boatyard with Trygve Halvorsen leaving a small portion of her burnt timbers in place as a tribute to her wartime efforts. They are still there today. Silver Cloud later became the pride and joy of the Halvorsen Club Commodore, Dr Derek Freeman. In 2005, Robert Hunter had been looking for a boat for ten years. ‘He is a man who likes to make considered decisions,’ says his wife, Lee. He’d heard the Cloud was for sale and came to take a look. As he walked along the little jetty where she was moored, he stopped halfway. ‘I want her,’ was all he said, the decision already made before he’d set foot on the boat. Robert brought her to Brisbane Water on the Central Coast where, as she swung on her mooring buoy, fellow sailors and boaties slowed down, turned their boats and cruised slowly around the grand dame in admiration. It did not take many months, though, before Robert realised his precious boat needed major work to ensure her continued longevity. He knew exactly what changes he wanted and the boat was taken to Port Macquarie for a major overhaul. Robert’s criterion was that he wanted everything to be a restoration to the highest possible standard and sympathetic with the era in which she had been built. Rotten planking was replaced fore, aft and midships, her deck in the saloon was pulled up (and while they had access to her engines, they may as well overhaul those too). Her hull was reinforced with sister ribs. The amenities in the galley were modernised, sophisticated navigation equipment installed, bunks lengthened, and several bulkheads were partially removed to visually open the boat up from fore to aft. After four long years of work by over 20 skilled tradespeople, Robert firmly believes Silver Cloud has been restored beyond her former glory. Her brightwork gleams, her timbers are varnished to a high gloss. In the galley, varnished timber benchtops and cupboards hide a Miele dishwasher, double-doored fridge and microwave, as well as a barbecue, bar fridge and icemaker on the fly-deck. She was relaunched by the former Governor of NSW, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair who noted her restoration was to the highest international standard. Today, Silver Cloud is often a feature vessel at the Sydney Classic and Wooden Boat Festival at the Australian National Maritime Museum. ‘It’s such a unique boat. Silver Cloud is a timeless classic, and her history makes her longevity even more important,’ says Robert. ‘He does a lot of research and is very considered, so once he makes his mind up, he sticks with it … even in decisions of the heart,’ Lee says, adding with a smile, ‘He dated me for ten years before making that lifetime decision!’

Thanks to Robert’s determination, the octogenarian Silver Cloud has a new lease on life and he hopes she’ll thrive for another 80 to 100 years. c Randi Svensen is the niece of the boat-building brothers, Harold, Carl, Bjarne, Magnus and Trygve Halvorsen, and author of Wooden Boats, Iron Men: the Halvorsen Story (Halstead Press, 2004. Reprinted 2005, 2007).



‘Every human on the planet comes from a long, long line of survival experts. We are living proof of the fact that all of our ancestors were proficient hunters and gatherers.’ WORDS MEGAN ARKINSTALL




abitually dressed in khaki, Jake Cassar wears many hats, not just his ‘lucky’ bush-bashed Akubra. He is known as one of the country’s foremost authorities on bush foods and runs workshops around the Central Coast on bushcraft and survival. ‘There are edible and medicinal plants everywhere — you just need to know what you’re looking for,’ Jake says. He uses this knowledge and passion for the bush to also mentor troubled youth and campaign for important conservational issues. How did he get this connection with the land growing up on the Central Coast? ‘I met my Aboriginal neighbours when I was just four years old in my hometown of Umina. Aunty Jenny, as I came to know her, was an Aboriginal educator at a time when there wasn’t a great deal of education around Aboriginal culture and history. From this family, I gained a deep respect and understanding for the land, which influenced my life and my pursuits greatly.’ The deep connection to the land that they shared with their young neighbour was to ultimately change the course of his life. ‘I was a bit of a wild child in some ways and, I have no doubt about it, my love for the land saved my life. Especially during my late teens and early twenties when I started heading down a destructive path.’ Jake dedicated his next 20 years to learning about the bush — a place he describes as cathartic and transforming — accumulating a profound knowledge of its medicinal and edible bounty. He believes it’s extremely important that more people learn about the original culture of this land, how we look after each other and our natural environment. It wasn’t all pretty plants and flowers though. ‘I was nearly eaten by a crocodile in the top end of Western Australia. I was working with Aboriginal youth in a place called Kalamburu and was swimming across a 50-metre-wide river. When I got about halfway, a croc started hammering towards me. I reckon I would have won a gold medal in the Olympics. The boys were clapping and cheering but they never did tell me whether they were cheering for me or for the croc.’

‘I use my experience and passion for nature to mentor young local people who are in desperate need of positive role models. We disconnect from the outside world, go out bush and learn valuable life skills to not only help them survive the wild but also the concrete jungle. It’s so satisfying to see them thrive and enjoy a bright future. My goal is to get people to connect more with Mother Nature and less with TV and social media.’ We ventured out with Jake on one of his fascinating bushcraft courses to learn a little more about this salt-of-the-earth bloke and to sample some of the abundance of bush foods growing in our coastal backyard. A short walk in Bouddi National Park presented hundreds of possibilities. ‘The sap from an Angophora tree is like Betadine on steroids,’ says Jake. ‘Native sarsaparilla is a hormone balancer and excellent for hydration. Maidenhair fern can be used as a hair treatment; I used it once and it made my hair embarrassingly silky. While local yams have about ten times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges. But there’s so much more.’ What is this bush man’s favourite place to ‘go bush’ on the Central Coast? ‘Girrakool National Park in Kariong is a stunning spot. Girrakool means ‘place of running water’ in the local Aboriginal language, and there’s always plenty of fresh running water that’s clean enough to drink. ‘And about a six-hour walk from Girrakool, along the Great North Walk towards Patonga, there is an absolutely breathtaking oasis that’s like an inland beach, complete with palm trees, a waterfall and one of the best swimming holes I’ve ever seen.’ And if all that doesn’t keep Jake busy enough, he was also one of the key people who lobbied and negotiated with the state government over ten years to protect the area as a national park. Add to that, he’s also a singer and guitarist with a real talent for playing the didgeridoo. Jake Cassar runs a variety of outdoor activities, from plant-based survival courses to school talks and corporate team-building events. He’s also a musician playing the occasional gig around the Coast. For more information visit




Dooralong, Jilliby, Yarramalong, Wyong Creek, Kulnura, Mangrove Mountain, Peats Ridge, Somersby and Calga. It’s on again, and stronger than ever. The two-day Harvest Festival celebrates locally grown produce from our region. It can’t be more local than an event designed around fresh food hubs, farm gate sales, farm talks and working farm tours, or even ‘pick your own produce’ — complete with pecan tree-shaking demonstrations. As if that wasn’t enough to entice you away from the coast and into our beautiful hinterland, there are bush tucker tours, free entertainment, live music, cooking demonstrations in picturesque heritage villages and rural farming communities.

Hub 3 – Peats Ridge 7. Mountain Growers Market 8. Open day at Royale Orchids 9. Tastes of the Harvest with Chef Dan’s street foods at The Springs plus farm rides and music* 10. Quack Shack for harvest inspired snacks at The Springs

Hub 4 – Mangrove Mountain

1. Bush tucker tours at Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park 2. Glenworth Valley Grazing Food and Wine Festival 3. Glenworth Winter Feast Lunch*

11. Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club restaurant and Foot Golf 12. Mountain Gliders, Central Coast Soaring Club open day 13. Little White Church café for morning and afternoon teas, lunch at MM Union Church 14. Paddock to Plate Sausage Sizzle at Silver Gully Farm 15. Mountain Goat Trails farm tours* 16. Eat like an Eco Warrior workshop at MM Memorial Club*

Hub 2 – Somersby

Hub 5 – Kulnura

4. Pick your own pecans with The Pecan Lady 5. Peruch Farms farm gate sales 6. Somersby Gardens Estate open day

17. Pick your own oranges, Wyunas Farm 18. Day on the Farm at Eascoast Beverages 19. Fruit picking and factory tours at Eastcoast Beverages* 20. Kulnura Arts and Crafts exhibition 21. Grace Springs Farm tour* 22. Kulnura Hanson Quarry tour* 23. Paradise Gardens open day, tea sales and tastings

Hub 1 – Calga

Hub 6 – Yarramalong and Wyong Creek 24. Edible Flower Workshop at Yarramalong School Community Centre* 25. Angel Sussurri for coffee and great eats 26. Pickled Pepper cooking workshop on fermented foods and preserves at Alison Homestead 27. The Food Farm tour with regenerative, chemical free farming*

Hub 7 – Dooralong and Jilliby 28. Valleys End Farm 2-hour tour and tea* 29. Full Circle Farm tour, regenerative agriculture* 30. Wyong River Catchment Crawl, walk from Kulnura to Wyong* 31. Dooralong Farm gate sales of biodynamic fresh produce 32. Dooralong Valley Showcase Countrywise at Dooralong Hall June 8 and 9, 8am to 5pm. (Some events on one day only so check the website.) Free road runner shuttle bus around the region. *Indicates bookings required. For more details, locations, times and accommodation: and



OVER 120 BONSAI TREES ON SHOW Bonsai trees from all over Australia will be part of a spectacular display at the Bonsai Open hosted by the Central Coast Bonsai Club with bonsai artists competing for over $5,000 in prize money. Growing bonsai is a hobby that involves horticultural knowledge, an artistic bent and a good deal of patience so if you have a passion for these tiny trees that capture the essence of their larger counterparts in nature, this is a day not to be missed. There are continuous demonstrations on styling and caring for bonsai with two of Australia’s top bonsai artists Tony Bebb and Hugh Grant. You can also buy bonsai tools, trees, soil, handmade bonsai pots and a wide range of bonsai-related items. The Bonsai Open, Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi. Saturday, 7 September from 9am to 5pm. Entry $3.





magine a play centre of trampolines, ball pits, giant inflatables and rope ladders. Now strip away the walls and ceiling, launch it 5 metres into the sky, surround it by tall native trees and call in the bellbirds. This is Networld, the Central Coast’s newest and coolest attraction. Opened in April, Networld is the latest adventure by Treetops in Ourimbah, and it’s an attraction on which the entire family — from ages 1 to 90 — can have a climb, bounce and giggle together. As we drive underneath a large suspended net supporting rolling giant balls and bounding kids, my children start bouncing with delight. The fabulous thing about this activity is its chooseyour-own adventure-style layout. There are no harnesses to wear, ropes to belay or guides to follow: after a brief safety talk and emptying of pockets of things that can fall out, you’re invited to climb the nets and join the fun. Netted walkways criss-cross the canopy and take you, like Alice, into the rabbit hole and new suspended worlds. There’s a space hung with hammocks where we gently swing and a ball pit where we laugh and hide and laugh some more. Chaos Crossing, though, is where our boys gravitate to time and again. This giant 180 square metre trampoline is topped with 3-metre inflatable balls that we push, roll and bounce across the net. While Treetops’ high ropes courses and Crazy Rider zip lines can be tackled at some of their other locations, the Central Coast adventure park is the first and only home of Networld. With its


natural bush surrounds and open sky, this is an adventure park that’s not only fun but also beautiful and surprisingly tranquil, a space where children’s gleeful squeals compete only with the whoops of bellbirds. You’ll have a ball — and a bounce — of a time. $18/person; discounts available for groups of 4+.

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a pro tap dancer. Oh, and did I mention he’s won the World Irish Dance championships – four times? Featuring music from Galway Girl to Danny Boy together with more contemporary numbers this is a toe-tapping celebration of the Emerald Isle!

Diplomacy This unmissable play stars theatre legends John Bell and John Gaden in an edge-of-your-seat thriller set in 1944 Paris. The men characterise Swedish diplomat Raoul Nording and German General Dietrich as they engage in intellectual brinkmanship over whether to raze Paris. Translated from the French, this will prove a riveting evening.

The Art House,19-21 Margaret St, Wyong Saturday 22 June, 8pm. Adults $49, conc. $45, members $42, children $25. Bookings


The Art House,19-21 Margaret St, Wyong Tuesday, 6 August, 8pm, Wednesday 7 August, 2pm. Adults $25, children $20, families $75. Bookings

Roald Dahl’s The Twits Join Muggle-Wump the Monkey as he gets his own back on Mr and Mrs Twit in this comedy of rebellion and justice. The Twits is a high energy combination of storytelling, puppetry and physical theatre and will delight the young and the young at heart.

ENTERTAINMENT Bobby Fox: The Irish Boy

The Art House,19-21 Margaret St, Wyong July 25 to 27. Bookings

Straight from Sydney Opera House, be wooed by the master of Irish dance, song and charm, Bobby Fox. Is there anything this man can’t do? Bobby Fox is a one-man entertainment phenomenon: he can tell a good craic, play the Irish bodhran drum, has sung lead roles in professional musical theatre and is

Spot Fresh from the production group who brought you The Gruffalo’s Child, and described by The Age as ‘a reliable and prolific source of high-quality children’s theatre,’ comes the much-loved tale of Spot. Spot and his friends go to visit his dad on the farm, but when they arrive they’re faced with a BIG mystery: where have all the animals gone? Using puppetry, songs and puzzles, this interactive show uses the audience to help Spot discover where they all are. Laycock Street Theatre, 5 Laycock Street, North Gosford CDP Theatre Productions & Salspot Ltd Monday 9 September: 10am, 12pm and 6pm. Recommended age group: children 18 months+ and their adults. Adults $25, children $20. Bookings


Possum Magic


Based on the adored book by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas, this is the adventure of Grandma Poss and her little granddaughter, Hush. We are immersed in their beautiful bush world with all its amazing creatures when Poss has to use her most magical invisibility spell to protect Hush. The problem is, Poss can’t remember how to reverse it! What follows is their journey around Australia sampling the strange foods that humans eat to find the



culinary cure to Hush’s malady. This production uses a beautiful mixture of song, dance, a clever use of props and gorgeous silhouette puppetry to enact their adventure. As always, with the Monkey Baa team, the costumes honour the illustrations and magic of the original text. Laycock Street Theatre, 5 Laycock Street, North Gosford Monkey Baa Theatre Company Friday 30 August: 10am and 12pm, Saturday 31 August: 10am and 12pm Recommended age group: 3 to 8 years. Adults $25, children $20. Bookings

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts Who would not want to suspend their grip on the ordinary when you could be transported to another world of wildly colourful, joyful and delightfully sassy characters? Hilarious and irreverent, this show is what theatre is all about: it’s loud, it’s big and bursting with energy and exuberance. Sure, Dahl reinvented some of the world’s best-loved fairytales and gleefully twisted them to comedic effect (as with The Three Little Pigs), but the real treat is how the material has been adapted for the stage. This team has created one of the very best examples of inventive physical theatre, resplendent with rock’n’dance numbers, boisterous personalities and truly inspirational costuming. Laycock Street Theatre, 5 Laycock Street, North Gosford Shake & Stir Theatre Co. Friday 27 September 10am and 12pm, Saturday 28 September 10am and 12pm. Recommended age group: 5 to 105 years. Adults $25, children $20. Bookings

MUSIC Songs of the Solstice What could be more mellow than being handed a glass of warming mead and settling into the winter solstice by listening to a compelling story and soothing classical music? In a cool Icelandic-themed evening, Augusta Miller will begin by narrating passages from Hannah Kent’s novel, Burial Rites. The haunting story (which is contextualised by music) focuses upon the last public execution of an Icelandic woman in 1829 and follows her evocative observations through the seasonal changes of her homeland as she awaits execution. The second-half of the program celebrates nature with such favourites as Vivaldi’s Winter, and Roland Dyens’ Tango en Skai. Central Coast Conservatorium Inc. Saturday 22 June, 7pm, Gosford Regional Gallery, 36 Webb Street, East Gosford. Adults $38, early bird and conc. $35, children under 17 $15, family (A2 +C2) $86. Bookings

Grigoryan Brothers – Past, Present and Future One of the toughest careers to survive in is that of a professional classical guitarist and impressively, Leonard and Slava Grigoryan have that prestigious reputation. This performance will showcase past classical works (such as Bach and Towner), their compositions from the soon to be released film, A Boy Called Sailboat, and re-worked Handel arrangements that will form part of their next album. The Art House,19-21 Margaret St, Wyong Tuesday 13 August, 8pm. Adults $42, conc. $37, members $32, under 30s $25. Bookings



Camille & Co. – A Carnival of Song

From Russia with Love

Everyone knows or has heard of Saint-Saëns’ classics like The Swan, his arias from Samson and Delilah or the magnificent organ Maestoso from his Symphony No. 3 in C Minor (after all, they have been the muse of other artistic greats from Pavlova to Callas). Of lesser fame, but no-less worthy or beautiful are his choral and vocal works.

Forbidden love, betrayal, manic mood swings, feuding families, infidelities, caustic wit — three of Russia’s great composers run the gamut of emotions at the Symphony Central Coast’s second concert of the year, with 16-year-old Central Coast cellist, Sebastien Hibbard, as the soloist in Schostakovich’s explosive Cello Concerto No.1. Sebastien won the SCC 2018 Concerto Competition performing two movements from this work. The afternoon is made complete with Prokovfiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite and Tchaikovsky’s The Voyevoda, based on the comedy A Dream on the Volga.



Central Coast Chorale St Patrick’s Church, York St, East Gosford Sunday 21 July, 2.30pm. Adults $30, conc. $25, students $15, children 12 years and under free. Group concessions available. Bookings

Symphony Central Coast, Arundel Rd, Erina Heights Central Coast Grammar School Sunday, 30 June at 2.30pm at the Performing Arts Centre. Book at or Cakes, tea and coffee provided by the talented CWA members, and wines from Tamburlaine Wines.

Charmian Gadd brings fine chamber music to the Crossroads Chamber Music Festival Coast resident, Charmian Gadd, learnt to wield an axe, hammer, hoe and rifle at the same time as she was learning to write and use a violin bow. At the age of 12, she was packed off to the Conservatorium High School in Sydney. Gadd quickly went on to become an international concert violinist, winning prizes in numerous international competitions, recording for the BBC, and playing under Yehudi Menuhin in the Bath Festival Orchestra and with Sir Neville Marriner at the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. But she loves nothing more than performing where she grew up. Outstanding artists performing at the 2019 festival include pianist Philip Shovk, cellist Georg Pederson, and international concert pianist Toby Lee. Greenway Memorial Chapel and Gardens, 460 Avoca Drive, Green Point on September 7 and 8. Tickets from $30 (early-bird concession) Students free. Early-bird bookings close 9 August 2019. Lunch is provided for full subscribers on both days. Bookings at

DIPLOMACY | AUGUST 6–7 by Cyril Gély | Produced by Ensemble Theatre

An unmissable WWII thriller starring theatre legends John Bell & John Gaden

GRIGORYAN BROTHERS | AUGUST 13 A stunning concert by Australia’s finest classical guitarists BOOKINGS 02 4335 1485 The Art House, 19-21 Margaret St, Wyong



ART The lands that bore us, embraced us and raised us create almost tangible bonds of connectedness - as any family longing to revisit a lost home can attest. It’s a mysterious, yet sacred relationship that is central to this exhibition. Indigenous artist, Beverly Smith, and French-born immigrant, Nathalie Hartog-Gautier, explore their cultural, historical and spiritual responses to places in Australia – each using the natural pigments native to that area. Of significance is the paper itself; a fragile custodian of memory created from the life-giving source of their study – the land. May 25 to July 7, Gosford Regional Gallery, Webb St, East Gosford.

Oceans from Here


Paper & Place Nathalie Hartog-Gautier and Beverly Smith (Whyte)

Soothing or roaring with fury and power; ice-hard, mesmerisingly beautiful or bereft of it, water is an element that is both inspiring and thought-provoking. For this exhibition, ten artists from the Australian Centre for Photography were chosen to explore water’s aesthetic and symbolic qualities and these highly-varied works are the result of their musings. Curated by Allison Holland, the images are a great example of what can be achieved with this medium. July 13 to 1 September, Gosford Regional Gallery, Webb St. East

DANCE The Dinner Party – Expressions Dance Company

The Art House,19-21 Margaret St, Wyong Wednesday 12 June, 8pm. Adults $35, conc. $30, members $25, under 30s $22. Bookings


Natalie Weir has cleverly chosen the perfect setting to examine the universal themes of power and its manipulation: a society dinner party. Invited are the people we’ve all met: the egotistical host and his snobbish wife, the business rival, jealous lover, try-hard and insecure party girl. What follows is a fascinating and amusing foray into each character’s personality and motivations that drive the tension of the piece. Can you guess who will be the victor?

CROSSROADS CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL September 7 and 8 Greenway Memorial Chapel, 460 Avoca Drive, Green Point

Bringing fine chamber music to the Coast Earlybird prices close 16 August Single Ticket Adult $40 Conc $35


Subscription $120 Conc $95

S E A S O N 2 0 1 9

See with emotion, feel in colour.

Melbourne City Ballet




O C TO B E R • Thursday 3 - 7pm and Friday 4 - 7pm Adult $40 • Concession $36 • Child $25 Recreating the cherished story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Melbourne City Ballet dancers will click their heels together and get a little bit wicked as they follow the classic tale of Dorothy Gale, a young country girl who is swept away to the magical world of Oz. Full of enchanting characters, some friendly and some truly wicked! The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will be imaginatively brought to life in this brand new production for Melbourne City Ballet.

With stunning new sets and costumes and the company’s largest ensemble to date, this brand new ballet proves there is no place like home. An enchanting event suitable for the whole family. Don’t miss your chance to see this colourful new ballet, showing or a limited time!

BOX OFFICE 4323 3233












What’s on this

Whatever the season, there’s always a great excuse for a little adventure on the Central Coast. From the artistic, epicurean, sporting to musical — get your winter skates on and discover the exciting line-up of seasonal events, festivals and markets from the region’s coast to hinterland. For more events, activity ideas and accommodation, see

JUN Harvest Festival (8-9 June) Celebrate fresh food and delicious local produce over the long weekend at Harvest Festival. Follow event trails, visit local farmers and producers, pick your own fruit or stop by many of the event hubs set up around the region including the Glenworth Grazing Food and Wine Festival, and A Day on the Farm at Eastcoast Beverages. WHERE: Central Coast Hinterland. More info: www.visitcentralcoast.

Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase (Gosford 8 June, Wyong 16 August) The seventh event in a row, bringing the crème de la crème of the 2019 Festival to the Central Coast! The showcase will feature some of the Festival’s hottest acts live on stage for an incredible two hours of hard-hitting laughter. Boasting a line-up of veteran favourites, international stars, and some of the freshest emerging talents, this jam-packed night of pure entertainment will leave you sore from belly laughs! WHERE: Laycock Theatre Gosford, 3-1 Laycock Street, Gosford (8 June). More info: www.centralcoast.nsw. WHERE: The Art House,19-21 Margaret St, Wyong (16 August). More info:

Frothies Beer Festival at The Entrance (8 June) Featuring craft beer and cider stands, a craft beer master class and live music over two set times. Entry fee ($20 and receive 3 tokens). Tasting is free, however you can buy 100 ml and 300 ml pours for additional tokens. Breweries include: Six String Breweries, Dad & Dave Brewery, Iron Bark Brewery and many more. WHERE: The Entrance Lake House, 1 Oakland Ave, The Entrance. More info: 02 4332 5253 https://www.

Truffle Festival (12 June to 28 July) This June and July, three Central Coast restaurants — Ocean Restaurant, The Entrance Lake House and Cecilia’s — will compete for the title of ‘Central Coast Best Truffle Dish’ as voted by the public. Each restaurant will plate three truffle-fused dishes (entrees, mains and dessert) which can be purchased individually or as a set menu and diners are encouraged to vote for their favourite dish. WHERE: Ocean Restaurant 102 Ocean Parade, Blue Bay. The Entrance Lake House 1 Oakland Ave, The Entrance. Cecilia’s 89 Toowoon Bay Road, Toowoon Bay. More info:

Park Feast Food Truck Festival (14 and 15 June) Returning to Gosford waterfront, with over 20 food trucks and dessert stations, amusement rides and live music all evening long. Free entry and family-friendly. Kick back and enjoy great food with a waterside view. From 4pm until 10pm. WHERE: Gosford waterfront. More info:

Central Coast Cooking School (15 and 29 June) Learn the techniques of the trade and the secrets behind many culinary favourites, hosted by award-winning Cameron Cansdell of Avoca Beach’s bombini and Saddles at Mount White. Hands-on classes including ‘How to master a classic Sunday roast’ and ‘All about the pig’. WHERE: 61 Masons Parade, Point Frederick. More info:

Central Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival (9 June) Now in its eighth year, you can sample craft beer and ciders from both local and regional brewers across Australia. WHERE: The Kincumber Hotel, 6 Carrak Road, Kincumber. More info: https://events.humanitix.

JUL Winter in the Park (6 to 19 July) Get your skates on for some wintery fun, including an ice-skating rink, food stalls, snow play, kids’ activities, performances, and face painting. This is the place to be these July school holidays. WHERE: Kibble Park, Gosford. More info:

Cowra on the Coast (6 July) A collaboration with Cowra’s winemakers and food producers, for a taste of country by the beach. From 11am, enjoy the family-friendly event with festival atmosphere, sample the spit-roasted Cowra meats and quality wines, with masterclass events, live music, culminating in an indulgent Meet the Winemaker wine-paired dinner at Seasalt restaurant. WHERE: Terrigal Pacific Crowne Plaza Pinetree Lane, Terrigal. More info:

Whale Dreamer’s Festival (7 July) A great day for the whole family at Norah Head Lighthouse, this eco festival aims to raise awareness of the plight of whales, learn about their wonder and raise funds for conservation and research projects. Live music through the day, and food stalls to savour. WHERE: Norah Head Lighthouse, Norah Head. More info:

Winter Blues and Jazz Festival (13, 14 July) Grab a chair, blanket and enjoy some of Australia’s best blues and jazz entertainment. With an incredible line-up of artists, if you’re a music buff, it’s the perfect way to spend a weekend. Enjoy market stalls, amusement rides and plenty more along the water’s edge at The Entrance. WHERE: Memorial Park, The Entrance. More info:

Glenworth Valley Horses’ Birthday Festival (27, 28 July) Now entering its fourth year, the Horses’ Birthday Festival is the Central Coast’s biggest birthday party with loads of activities and entertainment to delight the whole family including, lead pony rides, petting farm, laser skirmish plus loads more. The grown-ups will also love the variety of quality food vendors, beer and wine tasting on the lawn, market stalls to browse and live music all day. WHERE: Glenworth Valley. More info:

AUG Country Music Festival (11 August) ‘Yee-ha!’ See the massive line-up of quality Australian Country stars. A day filled with entertainment, with whip cracking, tasty food stalls, a busking competition and much, much more. WHERE: Memorial Park, The Entrance. More info: events/country-music-festival

The Food and Wine Festival 2019 (4 August) The Central Coast’s favourite Food and Wine Festival. A handpicked collection of the finest food, boutique beers and wine suppliers and businesses. It’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday with the entire family. WHERE: Mt Penang Parklands just off the M1 Gosford exit. More info: www.thefoodandwinefestival.

Sports Events Central Coast Stadium

Christmas in July Race Day (27 July)

Hosting NRL games during winter. Tickets sold through Ticketek. Upcoming games: Sunday 14 July — Roosters vs Cowboys Sunday 11 August — Rabbitohs vs Melbourne Storm More info: event-schedule

Back by popular demand at The Entertainment Grounds, the Christmas in July Race Day returns after a sell-out event in 2018. Featuring action packed racing, live music, kids entertainment, TAB and bookmaker facilities and more, the race day has something for everyone. Delicious, Christmas inspired hospitality packages range from $60 per person. WHERE: 4 Racecourse Rd, West Gosford More info:

Umina Beach Markets


Third Sunday of each month. 90 quality stalls showcasing the best of the Central Coast. Supporting local artists, designers, buskers, foodies and more. A place for visitors and locals to come together and enjoy the beauty of Umina Beach. The market will be filled with unique and quirky stalls, where people can explore their creative and whimsical sides. WHERE: Peninsula Recreational Precinct, Sydney Avenue, Umina Beach. More info:

Avoca Beach Markets Fourth Sunday of each month with 110+ stalls, live music, kids eco art zones, water rides, fresh produce areas and international food offerings. WHERE: Heazlett Park, Avoca Beach. More info:

Woy Woy Flea Market Hosted in Tropicana Pizza Pizza’s palmtree filled courtyard, it’s an evening of fabulous flea market finds, awesome tunes, plus a whole lotta fun for the little ones. Stalls mainly with recycled fashion, vinyl, unique finds and vintage homewares. WHERE: Tropicana Pizza Pizza courtyard, Blackwall Road, Woy Woy. More info: Updates on Instagram, Facebook @woywoyflea

Terrigal Beach Market Market winter dates: Saturday, 1 June, 6 July, 3 August. Explore over 50 stalls of fashion, homewares, desserts, jewellery and many more. Celebrate local artists, get your face painted, and enjoy what markets are all about — bringing people together. WHERE: Adjacent to Terrigal Esplanade, next to the War Memorial, Terrigal. More info:

Greedy Guts Markets Monthly street food market, second Friday each month. Hosted by the Florida Beach Bar at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific. From 5.30pm to 10.30pm for food stalls (unless sold out); with desserts trading until 11.00pm. WHERE: Florida Beach Bar, Crowne Plaza Terrigal. More info:

Gosford City Farmers Market From paddock-to-plate, farm fresh and hand-made is best with Gosford’s newest farmers and artisans market, weekly, most Sundays from 7.00am to 1pm. WHERE: Gosford Showground, Showground Road, Gosford. More info:

Shelly Beach Markets Another popular market is the Shelly Beach Markets showcasing the best in fashion, décor and live and local talent. Last Saturday in the month. WHERE: Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, The Entrance Campus, Yakalla Street, Shelly Beach More info:

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ART COURSES Bobbie P Gallery Level 1/7 Hudson Lane, Terrigal. Bookings: phone 0409 061 949 or email: Watercolour Basics, Exploring Landscape: 3 hours This stimulating workshop combines drawing on location in Terrigal with time in the studio exploring watercolour techniques. Participants will gain insights into composition and colour-mixing methods to create their own naturalistic landscape painting. Suitable for beginners to intermediate. Bring a sketchbook and pencil. Includes morning tea and all other materials. Saturday, June 8, 10.00am to1.00pm. $135

Ink – East meets West: 3 hours Discover how Asian art has influenced Western artistic methods. You will experiment with ink and brush using various drawing techniques to create your own finished artwork. Bring a sketch-book as all other materials are supplied. Includes morning tea. Saturday, August 17, 10am to 1pm. $135

Shop 9/16 Washington Avenue, Niagara Park Shopping Centre. Bookings via website: Cake & Plate is run by co-owners Sharyn Mostran and Claire Aston-McCormick. They sell a range of cake decorating products, eclectic giftware and around 50 flavours of exquisitely decorated cupcakes (a selection is for sale Monday to Saturday). Sharyn and Claire will occasionally host someone special to demonstrate niche skills. Enter award-winning cake artist and author, Sharon Wee. In this one-day class, participants will each carve, structure and decorate a sizeable 3-dimensional gold and pastel unicorn cake and master techniques that will enable them to create other 3-D cake animals. Participants should have experience in working with fondant. Lunch is supplied. Sharon Wee Magical 3-D Unicorn Cake Workshop. 20 July, 10am to 6pm. $380.

BEAUTY AND SPFX MAKEUP Terrigal Makeup Shop 2/18 Church Street, Terrigal. Bookings 0499 923 889 or contact Jo at The work of Jo Sharpe of Terrigal Makeup has graced iconic magazines like The Australian Women’s Weekly and she can give you the inside running on saving big money on beauty products. Individual or Group Makeup Lesson + Kit: 1 hour. $375 pp. The cost includes a make-up kit including a four-pan eye shadow palette, foundation, foundation brush, bronzer, highlighter and lipstick. Jo will show you how to prepare your skin and how to effectively use everything in the kit so that your makeup stays on for maximum wear and effect. Introduction to SPFX Makeup: 3 x 2¾ hour sessions / 1 x 3½ hour sessions $950 to $1350 pp. This course is a great way to assess whether you want to become a professional makeup artist. Not only do you receive a beginners SPFX makeup kit (valued at $350), but you learn essential medical information before you apply products (like latex) to mimic burns, scars, stab wounds and the like. Each session requires a person to practise on and, for the higher fee, a professional photo-shoot with three, edited portfolio shots. You must be over 16 years to apply. Places are limited.


BUSHCRAFT COURSES Jake Cassar Bushcraft Bookings or phone 0405 424 124 Plant-Based Survival: Wild-food Crash Course (5 hours, $65 pp.) Jake Cassar (featured in People of the Coast in this issue) has certainly put his money where his mouth is. Over the past few years, his diet has been 50 percent wild food, and can attest to positive changes in his overall well-being. Not only has he lost 15 kilograms of flab, but his memory, energy levels and quality of sleep have all dramatically improved. Eager to share his transformative learning, Jake will show you how to sustainably forage wild plants together with some bushcraft skills. In the process, he’ll also educate you about medicinal wild plants. It’s a fascinating journey. Courses run 15 June, 6 July and 17 August

YOGA CLASSES Modern Organic 310a The Entrance Road, Long Jetty

Living Peace Kirtan: June 28, 7pm Stemming from the Vedic tradition, Kirtan is a meditative chant or mantra that aids self-awareness. It’s a beautiful, relaxing class that will leave you feeling absolutely chilled. $20 pp. Kids free.

Monthly Prenatal Workshop: First Saturday of each month, 10.30am to 12.30pm Designed for women at 12 to 42 weeks gestation, the class is run by a qualified doula and prenatal yoga teacher who will cover yoga poses to assist safe movement, exercise and birth preparation. The class also offers welcome information about the birthing and post-partum experience and how to deal with the fears you may have around the big event. Always check with your doctor before participating in classes. $40 pp.

FERMENTING WORKSHOPS The Pickled Pepper (c/- The Harvest Festival Central Coast) Alison Homestead, 1 Cape Rd, Wyong Creek Bookings Tonia Hedley and Claire Patch have a world of experience between them as nutritionists and dieticians. Together, they have created two-hour workshops on the significant health benefits of fermented foods and how to use traditional preserving techniques. Included in the cost are recipes, workshop books and refreshments. It’s part hands-on so prepare to have fun.

Yoga for People With Disabilities: 11am each Thursday, 45 minutes The exercises in this workshop are designed to enhance the flexibility, balance and strength of adult participants who already possess some movement. Contact Kurt via Facebook or the Modern Organic website to ascertain the suitability of individuals for the class. $10pp. Carers free.

Saturday 8 June, 10am and 2pm. Sunday 9 June, 10am and 2pm. $50.

COOKING Central Coast Cooking School 61 Masons Parade, Point Frederick Bookings or phone 02 4381 1436. Cameron Cansdell (of Bombini and Saddles restaurants) has created a mouthwatering winter program of hearty favourites. As always, you get to eat the produce over a lovely glass of wine. Check their website for further courses. Sunday Roast, Saturday 15 June, 10am to 2pm, $150 pp. Whether you prefer lamb or beef, Cameron will show you the prime cuts, how to cook them to perfection and how to add new zest to your accompaniments. All About The Pig, Saturday 29 June, 10am to 2pm, $150 pp. If the roasted chestnuts, spiced quince and pickled cabbage don’t have you salivating, the pork meatballs, roasted loin and perfect crackling will. Seriously yum!







rant enjoys doing large-scale artworks and his canvases are often immense. As well as the many murals he’s created at local schools and shopping centres, he’s painted a VW at Harkham Wines Pokolbin, a sculpture of a horse at The Entertainment Grounds and a 1.2 metre square portrait of Clint Eastwood! But that’s not to say he doesn’t paint small, too. In fact, this local artist from North Entrance had so many commissions for dog portraits in 2018 that this year he’s placed a 50-work cap on them ‘to allow time’, he says, ‘for other projects and personal practice.’ ‘I would love to be able to paint what I want to paint full time,’ Grant says, ‘but there’s finding that balance between it being a job and a passion, and it’s a hard balance. It’d be scary to close the doors to commissions and to lock yourself away for six months and then do an exhibition and see if people like it. You need to be brave enough to allow yourself the time to do that.’ Grant grew up in Berkeley Vale – the youngest of five brothers. He studied art for his HSC and was flagged as being a skilled artist. ‘As a kid I was always drawing,’ he says. ‘I looked into doing an art degree, but I went surfing instead,’ he says with a guilty smile. ‘But if there were no waves I’d take a piece of paper and a pencil and I’d be set for hours.’ These days you’ll likely find him surfing at North Shelly or North Entrance. A drop-knee bodyboarder, Grant competed on the World Tour for many years. He travelled to ‘Hawaii, Japan, South and Central America, Europe – all over,’ and is still sponsored by Cleave bodyboards and Volcom wetsuits. ‘It’s more of a long-time loyalty sponsorship these days rather than one where I need to compete or get images,’ he says. For Grant, bodyboarding led to surf photography and then, surprisingly, weddings. ‘Some brides like to do a post-wedding “trash-your-dress” style of shoot in the ocean,’ he explains. No matter what job Grant had, though, he was always ‘painting in the background’. After a few people commissioned him to do pieces, he started posting his work to Instagram and his business organically grew from there. After working for 16 years at Long Jetty’s Boarderline Surf store, Grant says, ‘It was my daughter who inspired me to quit my job and do it [drawing] full time. When she came along I wanted to show her that you should be able to follow your dreams.’

Grant’s daughter, Frankie, has just started kindergarten and he works his hours around school drop-off, park plays, skateboarding and beach trips with her. It means a lot of early starts and late nights, but he feels he’s found a good balance in leasing the studio space out the back of Long Jetty’s Lucky Surf & Supply store. They provide the coffee and he organises the art shows. On display in the gallery, you’ll normally find the work of Grant, his brother Russ and pieces from the Coast’s emerging artists. ‘I try to give young artists a space that they feel comfortable to show their works,’ he says. In January, he worked alongside local youths together with artists Russ Molony and Jason Goulding to design and create a large-scale mural on the wall of the basketball court at the Wyoming Youth Skills Centre. It was a program run by the Regional Youth Support Services and kids could attend for free. What’s his advice to these up-and-coming creatives? Life as an artist is ‘so up and down. You’ll be too busy to even breath and then you’ll have nothing on, so you’re always trying to find that balance. I’m definitely glad I jumped in and made the move. You’ve just got to have a go I think’. Grant Molony Gallery open 7 days inside Lucky Surf & Supply, 3/417 The Entrance Rd, Long Jetty.



A state-of-the-art, rehab centre for horses Shannon Betts

of Emeran Park, Dooralong Valley



hannon Betts’ career background as a journalist wasn’t an obvious path to rehabilitating elite athletes, let alone rehabilitating elite equine athletes. She’d done a communications degree at university, and worked as a journalist at the ABC, and was well into her career at Seven News when she fell pregnant. The prospect of long hours of news journalism didn’t sit well with the mother-to-be but, as she says, ‘I needed something to sink my teeth into.’ ‘I owned a stockhorse called Emeran, and I had always been very passionate about horses and had a real interest in equine medicine and management.’ Her husband, David, was a landscape designer in Turramurra and together they decided to leave Sydney and move to Lemon Tree in the Dooralong Valley, to a property they named after Shannon’s beloved mare. Their dream was to create a centre with the highest standards of rehabilitation, solely for horses. Shannon’s parents were soon to become part of that dream too. ‘They had always wanted to retire to the country, and they sold up to live and work with us at Emeran Park.’ An essential part of Shannon’s plan was to gather around her a team of expert consultants to be able to individually tailor nutrition


The beautiful rolling hills, evergreen pastures and temperate climate are ideal for resting, growing, training and rehabilitating horses.

and exercise programs, and advise on the innovative, state-of-theart exercise equipment she bought from around the world. She also built an exercise arena, round-yard, sheds and workrooms. ‘We bought these 100 acres at Lemon Tree and have another 40 up the road which is where a lot of breaking-in and pretraining takes place. And it all began with some Sydney racehorses. ‘When I was pregnant I took a bunch of flyers and door-knocked around the Randwick racing stables. Ron Quinton, a former jockey who’s still an active trainer, gave me one to look after. He was happy with what I did so he sent me a couple more.’ Racehorses lead a pampered but hectic working life and need a spell from their busy schedules, much like humans do. Many of the racehorses are worth over a million dollars, and there are also valuable performance horses from show jumping, dressage, eventing and other equestrian sports at the Park.


‘We ensure those spelling are emotionally letting down and are in the right paddocks with the right neighbours,’ says Shannon. Each morning the staff feed and check all those spelling or receiving post-operative care. Each week the patients are assessed by specialist vets. ‘As well as the local equine vets from Wyong, they come from Randwick Equine Centre which has excellent diagnostic facilities,’ she says. ‘And another regular is Emma Mathlin, a physiotherapist from Equi-motion in Terrey Hills.’ The racehorses are constantly weighed and steps taken to either reduce or increase their feed. And many are worked on either a dry- or water-treadmill, imported from Germany, where they can exercise without a rider on their backs. Some, like those arriving from Hong Kong, take a while to acclimatise. They are unused to open air living conditions and are inclined to stay in their shelters, reluctant to walk onto grassy paddocks. But when they finally venture out, they are a joy to see — kicking up their heels in the sunshine, shying away from the cackling kookaburras, eyeing off a curious wallaby, and just enjoying being horses. Some coming to the Park are suffering from repetitive strain injury. ‘So many owners just ride in the same way in the same place day in and day out. I’m a great believer in cross-training where horses are ridden in a variety of ways over small jumps, into the bush, and down tracks. Today,16 years since Shannon knocked on those Randwick trainers’ doors, Emeran Park has had many successes. She has 150 horses in her care. Shannon and David also have four children: Harrison 14, Seamus 13, Soraya 9, and 5-year-old Anais.

The treadmill allows a rehabilitating horse to gradually build up its strength under close supervision.

Shannon carries out a flexion test on a horse to assess knee soreness.

Shannon speaks fondly of her equine children too. ‘Target in Sight had problem after problem but went on to win the Magic Millions. And Global Glamour, trained by Gai Waterhouse, had ongoing surgery issues but ended up winning some group one races.’ Every day — and there’s never a dull one — involves mucking out, grooming, nursing, administering medication, breaking-in and riding. ‘We hire a lot of young people who are based on the Coast,’ says Shannon. ‘Many are young women because we find they’re meticulous, very good at nurturing and they fuss over the horses, which is what we like.’ Shannon’s mother, Noeleen, does the accounts and debt collecting. And dad, Warwick, is in charge of maintenance and is Shannon’s go-to person. ‘He’s somewhat eccentric and has a tendency to break things,’ says Shannon with a fond grin. None of it would have happened without Emeran Park’s 25 dedicated staff, Shannon is quick to tell us. ‘The staff here is everything.’



The Coast’s own wisp of a ‘Wendy Whiteley garden’ WORDS SUZY JARRATT When Virginia Matcham played her piano and looked at the glittering Hawkesbury River, the pelicans on the jetty and across to the magnificent national park, she saw a wonderful outlook – but it was a blemished one. The neighbouring walkway to the public wharf was choked with weeds and asparagus fern, the undergrowth filled with litter. ‘People would throw their rubbish into the bush as they walked up the steps from the jetty,’ said Virginia, a keen and creative gardener. She decided it was time to give the area a serious makeover. ‘When I began clearing it, I found nappies, beer bottles and all manner of things. But since it’s become a garden the people don’t do that anymore.’ Virginia is very modest about her handiwork. ‘I just wanted to make something which was nice to look at. People now walk down to the wharf just to enjoy the scenery, and some might take cuttings. I’m just the caretaker.’ She weeded extensively and dragged away unsightly scrub revealing shelves of rock previously hidden under the dense vegetation. On these she planted scores of giant bromeliads (Alcanterea imperialis). ‘They’re from South America and, basically, they’re just anchored to the rocks,’ explained Virginia. ‘No Australian plant would grow in such conditions.’ She brought in soil, planted lilly pillies and other native trees, used various cuttings from friends, and worked tirelessly. The project spanned many months in between commitments with grandchildren to babysit, and music students to train at Loreto in Normanhurst. ‘I prepare pupils for piano exams and play the accompaniments to those doing their HSC,’ said Virginia who trained in London in the seventies with Maria Curcio, one of the most influential and sought-after piano teachers of the second half of the 20th century. ‘I’m very lucky having a job which I love.’ Her partner in the garden is husband, David, who loves taking on Herculean tasks, and Virginia’s gardens have benefited from these. In order to build an elevator to their house he drilled eight metres into the rockface, and then dug out a passageway to the elevator’s entrance. The excavated stone was used to enhance the landscape.


PEOPLE OF THE COAST • Virginia Matcham

‘These days he’s enjoying his retirement and doing a lot of cycling,’ said Virginia. Some have likened her achievements to those of Wendy Whiteley at Lavender Bay. The widow of one of Australia’s finest painters cleared landfill and lantana from the front of her harbourside home to create a remarkable Secret Garden, which she opened to the public several years ago. One of Virginia and David’s neighbours was more inclined to regard Virginia’s work as Mooney Mooney’s Angkor Wat. ‘Until she got rid of all the invasive weeds she didn’t know what she’d find. Then she unearthed all the rocky terraces, and undertook an extensive planting exercise,’ said Penny McDonald, who has lived in Point Road for almost 30 years. ‘Later a semi-circular fire-pit was buried into the rock and surrounded with seating. People use it in winter and it’s just lovely. ‘Recently someone asked “where’s the public wharf?” When I showed her, she replied “we’ve just walked through there, we thought it was someone’s private garden.” ‘To enhance one’s environment is always a plus. That’s what Virginia has done and the community is very, very grateful.’ Virginia’s Garden beside the public wharf, Point Road, Mooney Mooney.

The Wildflower Place


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Open 7 days a week 9am till 5pm.

Due to the recent opening of Saddles we have now opened a Garden centre and cater to the general public offering a wide selection of plants. We run sandstone sculpting, propagation workshops and have tours of the nursery for Garden Clubs.

453 Central Coast Hwy, Erina Heights Phone 02 4365 5510 Email

PRINCETON NURSERIES Open 7.30 to 4pm Mon-Fri GARDEN CENTRE Open 8am to 5pm 7 Days

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HOMESTYLE • House of the Year

House of the Year award winner, a house for all ages

If it can be said that a house reaches out its arms to you, you would certainly say that about ‘Agave’ in Wagstaffe.



HOMESTYLE • House of the Year

The front entry is through a protected courtyard dominated by two pairs of elegant palms.


he quiet colour scheme, beautiful decor and flowing spaces draw you subtly into its calm, relaxed embrace. It’s what owners Stephen and Pam Leibowitz set out to create for their Central Coast beach house. ‘It’s very much a house that reflects the creative input of the family,’ says Stephen. ‘I have more of a spatial sense so I got more involved at the architectural stage. On the look and feel of all things decorative, Pam, along with our youngest daughter who is an interior decorator, were the major contributors.’ It’s easy to see all the details that made this the Housing Industry Association Australian House of the Year in 2018. The front entry is through a protected courtyard dominated by two pairs of elegant palms, around which are the first of the encaustic Moroccan tiles you see in the tiled areas throughout the house. This is predominantly a white house. A two-storey beachside house. The white walls are rough-rendered, balanced elsewhere with tongue and groove panelling and plantation shutters. ‘Everything white is the simplest way to go,’ says Pam. ‘We love colour, as long as it’s soft, with sludgy colours that seem faded, not bright. A beach house should be soft.’ ‘Even the art on the walls is soft-edged and sludgy,’ adds Stephen. The lounge chairs and sofas all have white slipcovers. ‘They’re easy to accessorise and, surprisingly, they’re easy to maintain,’ says Pam. ‘As long as you’re prepared to spend a fortune on Napisan!’


HOMESTYLE • House of the Year

The large lamp bases in the living room are re-purposed Chinese urns which stood outdoors in Stephen and Pam’s Point Piper home for around 12 years until finding their true vocation here.

Opposite the entry hall, in an alcove that looks especially designed for it, a giant, 45 kg limited edition book of Annie Leibovitz’s famous portraits, Sumo, has pride of place.


‘The house entertains wonderfully,’ says Stephen. ‘We have lots of friends to stay, and our two daughters come on their own too and bring friends when we’re not here. ‘Stephen’s a very hands-on grandfather,’ says Pam. ‘We love having the grandchildren here.’ The house appears to flow seamlessly between indoor and outdoor living and, particularly so, the master bedroom on the main floor, opening onto the very private swimming pool area. The deck, of tallowwood timbers, has been left to age naturally into silver grey. ‘The bedrooms on the second level are located as four corner suites that don’t share walls, and dividing doors close off each area for privacy,’ says Stephen. The white colour scheme throughout is offset with timber floors in bleached European oak. Bedroom cupboard doors and wardrobes all have natural leather strap handles. In the stairwell, woven African bowls adorn the wall. ‘They say it takes seven years until you stop decorating a house,’ says Pam. ‘So we’re still collecting, still adding layers.’

‘We love the whole process so much, that we’re going to do it all over again,’ admits Stephen. ‘We’re designing a new beach house in Palm Beach. It will be our seventh house. We’re using the same architect. And when you work with a good builder, as we did, they know the best tradespeople, so we’ll also be using the same Central Coast builder and foreman, and many of the same tradies again too. ‘We have a great relationship with them. Our builder even has the keys to this house so he has access when anything needs doing.’ With all this beautiful and thoughtful design around them, Stephen doesn’t nominate a favourite room or a favourite ‘thing’. For him, ‘It’s the atmosphere: the friendly, calm, peaceful and practical feeling of the house.’

The master bathroom, with its free-standing bath and alcove skylight won a Bathroom of the Year award in its own right.

The master bedroom on the main floor.


HOMESTYLE • House of the Year

The garden, designed by landscaper, Marcia Hosking, adds to the tropical feel with palms, aloes and agaves.

There’s a purpose-built playground with a climbing gym-cum-tree house, as well as a pirate ship that has a sandpit amidships.



Daniel Syddall, Construct Central Coast


Dennis Rabinowitz, JPRA – now Cottee Parker JPR

Windows and Skylights

Sublime Aluminium



Decking and Cladding

Mitre 10, Kincumber


Construct Central Coast


Instyle Tiles

Tile supplier

Jatana Interiors; On-Site Tiles


International Floor Coverings


Open Shutters

Internal Doors

Nicco Joinery

Kitchen and Joinery

Woodstock Industries

Custom Playground

Custom Cubbies

Architectural Landscape Designer

Marcia Hosking


Next Level Landscapes


Granite and Marble

Shower screens and Mirrors

Clearview Glass


PNB Electrical


SEA Solutions




0412 503 2 33 9/8 Gibbens Road, West Gosford NSW 2250

www.constructcen tra lcoa m .au

PREMIUM ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS & DOORS COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL Marble • Travertine • Porcelain Mosaics • Stone • Swimming Pools Commited to Quality Peter Chapman: 0405 140 795 Email:

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5 TIPS TO CREATE THE PERFECT COCOON TO BUNKER DOWN THIS WINTER JUST AS YOU SWITCH YOUR FASHION WARDROBE SEASONALLY, YOU CAN DO THE SAME TO YOUR HOME. THE GIRLS AT THE BEHOLDER STYLING + DESIGN, A LOCAL CENTRAL COAST HOME STAGING AND INTERIOR STYLING COMPANY, HAVE PROVIDED THESE ‘INSIDER’ TIPS. Tip # 1 — Layering with texture As soon as the weather turns, it’s time to start reaching for cosier textures in warming winter hues. Layering chunky knits and warm throws in natural fibres in your living space and bedrooms brings instant warmth. Team these with velvet cushions, our favourite go-to fabric in the cooler months. Lay a beautiful woollen Berber rug from Morocco underfoot to keep your toes warm and throw luxurious hides over occasional chairs to curl up in. Tip # 2 — Bring in winter colours Winter calls for rich moody hues. Leave the cooler tones behind and embrace a great palette of earthy mustards, rusts and deep forest greens or move to the jewel tones of emerald green, gold, ruby and sapphire blue. Introduce colour in your soft furnishings — cushions, throws, rugs and linen. Tip # 3 — Reposition your furniture The fireplace is the perfect focal point in winter, so reposition your furniture around it to create the perfect gathering spot. Nothing is more beautiful and cosy than the look and smell of a fire.

Tip # 4 — Lighting is key to creating mood in your home During the day, make the most of any natural light. Place a chair in a sunny corner nook in your home, throw a chunky knit over it, add a soft cushion and curl up with your favourite book. As the sun goes down, turn off the overhead lights and turn on your lamps. Create a warm glow by lighting beautiful candles in natural, earthy scents. Our favourite is Tobago by Gascoigne & King. Tip #5— Don’t forget yourself Ward off the winter chill by wrapping yourself up in a plush robe and some warm toasty slippers. Bring on the cocoa! For a full list of the girls favourite winter pieces head to their website at

Interior Styling | Home Staging | Event Styling

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> New Patients comprehensive exam and hygiene appointment: No ‘gap’ payment with private health insurance, or $290 without. > 1 hour Philips Zoom! teeth whitening: $450, includes touch-up kit. > Free dental implant and orthodontic (braces & Invisalign) consultations. > Ask us about our other offers, including facial aesthetics packages. Extra cost may be required depending on dental condition. Any invasive procedure carries risks. | 02 4323 1933 | On-site parking Suite 10, 36-40 Victoria Street, East Gosford NSW 2250

Goateyed Fabrications is the inspiration of Central Coast local, Myles Naylor. With a natural curiosity and a creative mind, this fine craftsman joiner and carpenter found himself making the progession into metal fabrication and art and what started as a hobby is now a full time profession. Goateyed Fabrications manufactures quality firepits with purpose. With an eye for detail, design and seeing form meeting function, Myles creates custom firepits and cauldrons that not only create wonderful heat and bring people to together but also look beautiful when they are not in use. They have a sculptural aesthetic, making them a centrepiece for any outdoor environment. With the addition of custom grills, and rotisseries, the modest pit has evolved into the ultimate outdoor BBQ kitchen, where friends share food and drink and laugh around the ambiance created when gathering around a fire. Myles’ imagination also extends into sculptural art and garden water features. Myles and his creations can be found at various markets along the NSW east coast from the Hunter Valley, South Coast to the regions of the Snowy Mountains. His ‘STARGATE’ sculpture (pictured at right) recently won the People’s Choice Award for both the illumination and daytime entries at the Lake Light Sculpture Festival in Jindabyne. It is the first time in the 17 history of the festival that one artist has won both awards. This unique and award-winning piece can be viewed at this year’s 5 Lands Walk at Avoca Beach June 21-22. Myles is always happy to chat and help make your idea a reality with his custommade, quality pieces that will enhance your garden and add value to your property.


Myles Naylor m. 0451 155 350 e. goateyedfabrications customed designed firepits and sculptures • designed and manufactured on the nsw central coast




5 Lands Walk

THE 5 LANDS WALK TRAVERSES THE BEACHES, HEADLANDS, BUSHLANDS AND COMMUNITIES OF MACMASTERS BEACH, COPACABANA, AVOCA, NORTH AVOCA AND TERRIGAL AND WAS ORIGINALLY INSPIRED BY THE FAMOUS CINQUE TERRE, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALKS IN ITALY. NOW IN ITS 14TH YEAR, THE 5 LANDS WALK HAS BECOME RENOWNED IN ITS OWN RIGHT AS A BEAUTIFUL, INSPIRING, CELEBRATORY AND ENJOYABLE ACTIVITY ON SO MANY LEVELS. 24,000 people are expected to set off on the walk that coincides with the winter solstice, on Saturday, June 22. The date is no coincidence. You can hike the 10 km non-stop, or take a more leisurely approach and stop at any of the surf clubs for a coffee, enjoy the entertainment, stroll by the sculptures on the beach, drop into the beachside art exhibitions, marvel at the passing Humpback whales — the totem of the local Darkinjung peoples. (We defy you not to see one … or perhaps a dozen whales). The route is designed to reconnect walkers with the land, the ocean and lagoons, local Aboriginal heritage, and the communities of the 5 Lands. Most people start at Macmasters but you can join the walk anywhere. Free Busways shuttle buses operate from Terrigal and the Haven, as well as from the Ettalong Beach ferry (catch it from Palm Beach), and the buses will drop off and pick up at all the major points along the route … so you can plan to avoid the big hills if you want, or even catch a bus all the way, just stopping at the scenic lookouts and entertainment hubs. It’s designed to be inclusive of all fitness levels and abilities.

Macmasters Beach Distance to Copacabana: 1.4 km Track surface: beach and sand Gradient: level Opening ceremony at 8am. Aboriginal culture meets Scottish with ‘The Beginning’ ceremony, Welcome to Country, Reading of the Message Stick. Local school children perform, photo exhibition of student works. Follow the bagpiper and didgeridoo player through the Portal of Good Intentions, to the beach, through the smoking ceremony. Bamboo art installations. Outdoor gallery of Macmasters Beach historical images. Help build the giant sand turtle. Performances by rising local artist, Libby Ingels and tomorrow’s stars from the Coast Academy of Music. Around 30 artists will be painting in the open interpreting land and seascapes, along the route from Mac to Terrigal.





Distance to Captain Cook Lookout: 1.6 km Track surface: beach and sand Gradient: level This year’s guest cultures are represented by Irish dancers, a Scottish pipe band, and English and Welsh entertainers. Food tastings, face paintings. Art and photographic exhibition in the SLC showcasing the talent of Central Coast high schools. Girrakool Blues Festival Band competition in the afternoon.

Captain Cook Lookout Distance to Winney Bay: 1.2 km Track surface: road and a flight of stairs Gradient: long uphill climb, two steep sections One of the best locations for whale watching. Clifftop walk, stage 1 has been completed, with an all-weather pathway, boardwalk and steps from Del Monte Reserve.

Winney Bay Distance to Avoca Water Tower: 0.9 km Track surface: road, concrete path, steps, rough track and mud Gradient: hilly road followed by steep downhill, then level A new, north-facing and wheelchair accessible lookout has been constructed adjacent to the carpark.

Avoca Water Tower Distance to Avoca Beach: 0.9 km Track surface: unmade road Gradient: steady climb uphill

Avoca Beach Surf Club Distance to North Avoca: 1.6 km Track surface: concrete path, steps, parkland Gradient: steep downhill Ephemera sculptural exhibition along the beach, designed from found objects. Connections exhibition of paintings, sculptures and photography at the SLC, together with live classical piano performances. Latino and Spanish-style performers in the park at the Community Fair. Fun for the kids at the Candy-Striped Circus, Kids Dig Fun, and Friendship Rocks.



North Avoca Surf Club Distance to Scenic Highway crossing: 1.2 km Track surface: beach and sand Gradient: level Showcase of Australia’s First Nations people culture, crafts and food. Dance, sing, relax and enjoy cultural activities and art exhibition in the SLC. Wish upon the Wishing Wall! Subject to wind conditions, spectacular giant kite flying on the beach.

Scenic Highway crossing to Terrigal Distance to Terrigal: 1.1 km Track surface: road Gradient: long steady uphill climb

Terrigal Surf Club Track surface: road Gradient: long steady downhill, then level Coast songwriters and performing artists entertain on the Terrigal Live Stage with original land-focused music.

The 5 Lands Walk is a free event with the help of sponsors and 700 volunteers. It is organised by 5 Lands Walk Inc., a not-for-profit association with representatives from each of the 5 Lands, the Aboriginal community, the arts, schools, tourism and ethnic communities. To register online, and check the timetables for free buses, free mini buses, and the Fantasea Palm Beach Ferry timetable, see Facebook: Instagram:

SATURDAY JUNE 15 AT 6AM: The Awakening at Kincumba Mountain Gather around the fire at first light of the Morning Star for a blessing of the 5 Lands Walk. FRIDAY JUNE 21 AT 5.30PM: Opening Ceremony at Hunter Park, Avoca Arrival of The Guardian of the Message Stick, heralded by a 60-piece choir, 10-piece musical ensemble,


5 multicultural communities and dancers.



When the Dark Emu runs in the night sky

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Six weeks before the winter solstice, which is the date of the Walk, is the time that the Dark Emu constellation is most visible just beneath the Southern Cross. In Mt Yengo National Park, in a sky far from city lights, the Aboriginal elders of the local Darkinjung people point out the dark shape of the emu’s head just below the lower left hand star of the Southern Cross. A long black neck leads to its chest which touches the two pointer stars of the Southern Cross, and gives way to a large dark body and ‘running’ legs. The significance of the running legs is that when they are visible in the night sky, it’s the time that not only does the earthbound emu chase its mate before laying her eggs, but it is the time when the whale migration starts from the Antarctic. Later in the season, when the constellation is nearer the horizon, the running legs appear to be squatting, and that is the time the male emu is sitting on the eggs. The significance of Mt Yengo, is that it is the most sacred of Aboriginal sites, where the creation god, Baiame came down from the Morning Star and, where he touched the earth, the volcanic cone of Mt Yengo was flattened by his landing. In Darkinjung lore, it is here that Baiame created the plants and animals, and turned Gion, the bird into a whale. The tremble of the earth and the roar of the volcano is said to have been the sound of Baiame’s voice on earth before he returned to the Milky Way and to the dark area now known as the Dark Emu. The whale is the totem of the local Darkinjung Awaba people and the physical symbol of kinship and harmony. When the whales swim by the Central Coast, is also the time when 24,000 5-Lands walkers pause along the beaches and at the clifftop lookouts to watch the exuberant tail slapping and breaching of the migrating whales. Little did so many of us know, that in Darkinjung lore, it is also where the whale first slid into the sea.

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o if I want to see my city friends, they must venture north, some with compasses and pith helmets, to the wilds of the great unknown. The most comical of the disbelievers are those who pack picnics for the train journey, as if there’s no proper sustenance beyond Hornsby. These are the same naysayers who make jokes about the calibre of coastal cuisine being a choice of fish and chips or chips and fish. Frankie’s Rooftop Bar in Woy Woy, and the new Lucky Bee at Hardys Bay, for Asian street food to rival Bangkok’s. Italian? Pizza, pasta and cannoli like Nonna used to make? There’s Bombini at Kincumber and


Costa Centrale at Woy Woy, and these are but a few examples in our immediate neighbourhood. For fine dining fare, unfold the white linen napkins at Bells at Killcare and tuck in. For rustic goodness, head to Saddles at Mt White and breathe the country air as kookaburras cackle wildly. But often when houseguests descend, we dine at home because once they’ve settled in with the comical birdlife and abundance of big, old trees, they want to stay put. ‘I feel I can breathe again,’ is a common remark. So too is, ‘What was that noise on the roof last night? I thought it would be quiet up here.’ Well, hello,

Bombini, Kincumber

Polly Possum and the line-dancing brush turkeys too numerous and frankly unattractive to name. And then, of course, there are the beaches, which means Killcare, in our case, and I’ve yet to find a more beautiful stretch of sand and ocean. ‘Where are all the people?’ asked our Bondi mates a week before last Christmas. I had been about to apologise that it seemed far busier than usual. ‘Do you have to pay?’ enquired exchange-student Lucia from Milan, who had never been to a free beach or simply unfolded a towel and sat on the sand rather than hire a deckchair by the hour. She thought the lifesavers were rather handsome too, which could constitute another coastal attraction. Last year, while driving cousins from the USA around the Wagstaffe peninsula, I slowed down, as all local motorists do, to let a mother duck and her row of fluffy ducklings cross the road in a rather leisurely fashion. My guests thought it was the cutest thing ever until I paused at the ‘Slow Down: Baby Owls Hunting on Road’ sign at Pearl Beach. ‘If we were in America,’ remarked Karyn, ‘that could just mean get out your gun and shoot.’ Aside from my plan to ‘up-sell’ the coast to city folk, there has been movement afoot for which I can claim no credit. People I’ve known from various stages of my life have moved here in recent times and the inbound flow continues. A few have called by on weekend visits and then returned on real-estate missions. One lot offered to buy our house. No way, we replied, point blank. Others have suddenly popped up, as if parachuted in, and tracked us down and friendships have been warmly resumed without so much as a flicker of unease. A work colleague recently became engaged. I had met her new chap but not his parents and there they were at the engagement party at Darling Harbour.

Neighbours of ours, it transpired, from a few doors away in Killcare. ‘What are you doing here?’ I gasped. ‘It’s a small world,’ they laughed. Indeed it is. c Susan Kurosawa is the associate editor (travel) of The Australian newspaper. She moved to Hardys Bay in 1997 and now lives at Killcare. Her 1999 book, Coasting: A Year by the Bay, has had several reprints.


Enclosed by a hedge, the home garden is an oasis of peace filled with birdsong and the sounds of trickling water.


GARDENS • A garden for wildlife



T Grevilleas such as ‘Peaches and Cream’ are an open supermarket for nectar feeders such as eastern spinebills, an assortment of honeyeaters and colourful lorikeets.

his is the scene that greets me as I approach the expansive rainforest garden of Ann and Tom Raine. The couple came to what had been an unadorned horse paddock 18 years ago. Then, a few remnant blue gums and indigenous maiden’s wattle were all that remained of earlier clearing. The wattle (Acacia maidenii) is a remarkably characterful tree, all fissured bark and gnarled trunk but hardly known to any but the keenest amateur botanists. The site, covering 4.5 hectares, had also been a market garden in previous decades. Tom and Ann spent much time rehabilitating degraded areas, and the natural regrowth and dense foliage make this place a haven for fauna and flora. They are quick to credit Nola Parry from The Wildlife Place for her advice in developing the garden and as the source of their plants. The dam had been infested with weeds, but native water plants have now made it their home and it has become a pristine haven for ducks and other waterfowl. On the right of the drive, an old paddock was allowed to regenerate naturally and trees now dot the space with native grasses spontaneously re-emerging. The dominant grass is Microlaena stipoides or weeping grass. In recent years, this has found some favour in trials as a native turf.

A secret garden

Sculptures dot the garden and provide a handy perch for this yellow robin.

The flower of the bonewood tree (Medicosma cunninghamii) from the Queensland rainforest looks and smells vaguely of citrus to which it is related.


The garden is divided into two parts: the wilder, natural areas and a cloistered, intimate space that nestles around the house itself. This is achieved with a long hedge of Lillypilly ‘Cascade’, loosely pruned by Tom. His aim is to maintain its natural habit while keeping it sufficiently manicured to qualify as a hedge. Its soft weeping new foliage adds a colourful touch, with new leaves a vibrant almost psychedelic pink, toning down to lime and finally to a quieter green. It acts like a vertical Persian carpet, hiding and enclosing the house garden to create a secret garden beyond. At once, it contrasts with and complements the vast forested areas beyond. Inside the natural wall, a long axial path leads to the front door. The walk to the door passes through a garden with a low planting of groundcovers. At the end of the journey, a crystal clear pond erupts with a submerged fountain while a delicate Baeckea linifolia, the flax leaf honey myrtle, appears like a miniature willow at water’s edge. This shrub, with its fine foliage and dainty white summer flowers, is just itching to be used more in bush gardens. There are several in this private garden rising like living chandeliers amongst other shrubs. To the east, the garden veers into a more damp rainforest section dominated by a flowering Queenslander called, rather unkindly, ‘bonewood’ Medicosma cunninghamii. Here, a line of three shrubs flower prolifically emitting their faint citrus perfume, not surprising since it is in the same family as citrus. It’s normally a gangly tree but here it takes the form of a pyramidal shrub covered in bloom. Beyond, the rainforest section takes over with Dorrigo tree waratah (Alloxylon pinnata), corduroy tamarind (an edible native), white oak (a rainforest grevillea, Grevillea baileyana and native frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum) and many more creating a backdrop to the view toward the coast.

GARDENS • A garden for wildlife

Sculpture walk Great use is made of art pieces some by the best known of Australia’s outdoor and garden sculptors including Chris Bennetts (Ishi Buki, Marguerite Derricourt (, Cami Lyons and Folko Cooper ( Placing art in a garden is an art in itself. The trick is to keep sight lines open and to position them in such a way that they are discovered as you move through the landscape. They always look better if revealed through and nestled amongst foliage. This is how we see them here.

Living gardens A garden comes to life when enhanced by the presence of birds and here they are a major feature, from the natural canopy of the bushland to the birdbaths and feeder in the centre of the garden. Lewin’s honeyeaters, little wattlebirds and eastern spinebills occupy the nectar levels with plenty of grevilleas and other nectarrich plants. The red browed finch takes full advantage of the native grasses and the bird feeder which is covered with plastic mesh to keep out larger birds like bronze cuckoo doves which can be both greedy and messy in a bird feeder. Creating such a special oasis from a blank canvas is a special achievement and one that rewards with the peaceful sound of birdsong and the rustle of leaves of lush rainforest trees. Ann and Tom Raine have quietly achieved their own private nirvana on the Central Coast.

Ann and Tom Raine relax on the verandah which fronts the house.

To keep the larger, more aggressive birds away from the feeder, plastic mesh encases the bird tray so finches can feed in peace.

The water feature is a haven for waterfowl and native water plants.


WEDDINGS • Profile




A romantic wedding to follow a proposal with 144 red roses. WORDS SARAH TOLMIE

WEDDINGS • Profile


ne of the best things about finding love overseas was bringing everyone back to the sunny shores of the Central Coast to wow them with a wedding full of bush, beach and sunsets. Living and working overseas, Central Coast local Rikki met her beloved Adam in the small Canadian town of Canmore three years ago. Her sister, who was also living in Canada, made the prediction at the very beginning of their romance, ‘they are going to get married, for sure!’ and three and a half years later they tied the knot with an Aussie-style bush and beach themed wedding. For his proposal, Adam had arranged a weekend away and a hotel room filled with 144 roses — that’s twelve dozen roses — and fairy lights and photos of them both, followed by a romantic dinner to celebrate. How was Rikki going to top that? For Rikki and Adam, bringing 20 members of Adam’s family and friends from Canada to enjoy the wedding festivities, meant they wanted to showcase the best of Rikki’s local Central Coast. On a wedding planning visit back home, Rikki and Adam settled on one of its best kept secret places, snuggled into the hills of Erina. Distillery Botanica, with its fragrant gardens, is an award winning distillery showcasing many of Australia’s herbs and botanicals, which just happen to be tended to by its resident herbalist, horticulturalist and champion brewer. Perfect! The ceremony within the private, hedge-lined garden, delivered tears and laughter, and began with the youngest family members stealing the show. Their eight- and ten-month-old niece and nephew as flower girl and ring bearer were rolled out in a pullwagon made by Rikki’s father. Adam was overwhelmed by the vision of Rikki in her off-white strapless princess gown. And Rikki says, ‘I never thought I would choose the dress I ended up in, but when I tried it on, a feeling came over me and I cried and then my mum, Oma and three sisters who were my bridesmaids cried. It was the one in which I truly felt like a bride.’ ‘Saying our vows, which we had kept secret from each other, was so moving,’ says Rikki. Their wedding experience was made extra special by keeping things intimate and family-focused, filled with magic moments of surprises, sweet sentiments and, by chance, a most amazing sunset. The surprises continued at the reception back on the beach, with Adam’s father sneaking in a piano, and singing a song he’d written and composed for the couple, with the chorus, ‘When you’re in love, it’s always a sunny day’.


WEDDINGS • Profile Adam’s 85-year-old grandpa, who couldn’t travel all the way from Canada, handmade a wooden cake topper, ring box and names carved for the bridal table. Ever the romantic, Adam had the diamonds from his grandmother’s 25th wedding anniversary ring and engagement ring made into a necklace and earrings for Rikki to wear on the day. He had included a beautiful letter, with the words, ‘I know my grandmother would be proud I am giving it to such an amazing woman.’ Rikki gave Adam a ‘groom’s survival kit’ with a letter, cufflinks, and three framed photos from significant moments in their life. With the reception at Umina Beach, Rikki and Adam made the most of the surrounding clifftops for their photography, and the Central Coast sky treated their guests to a sunset glow of pinks, oranges, purples and reds settling over the ocean. Ceremony Venue: Distillery Botanica, Erina Reception: Umina Beach Surf Club Photographer and Videographer: Perfect Moment Photo and Video Celebrant: Rebecca from Bella Celebrations Musicians: DJ Magoo Dress: Brides On Bridgewater; alterations by Atelier For Brides Hair: Hair by Rosanne Makeup: Brittany Antonio Stylist: Nibble and Sip High Tea


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Kitty and Tommy The Stables, Somersby


ver since they were 12 years old, Kitty and Tommy have been great friends. They even went to each other’s school formals as friends. And then life, university, careers and adventures in different states intervened, separating them for many years. One day, Tommy put a picture up on Facebook while at a test cricket match at the SCG. Not only did Kitty see the photo, she was there too. Within an hour they reconnected, and Tommy soon declared to Kitty’s mother that he would marry her daughter. Within weeks, Kitty and Tommy began plans to start their lives together at Avoca and, four years later, they married in a gorgeous country garden wedding at The Stables of Somersby. ‘We knew we wanted a garden party style wedding. We wanted our guests to feel relaxed, to be able to sit back and take in the sunshine, to meet other wonderful friends of ours and to share in the love we have for each other. We imagined a massive garden party with white marquees, lots of beautiful food and drink, and great local acoustic music which would lead to a night of dancing in the barn for hours and hours. ‘Our wedding day was exactly that dream come true,’ said Kitty. The Stables of Somersby was the gorgeous and perfect venue,


WEDDINGS • Profile

providing both a lush outdoor space which Kitty styled herself with rustic furniture and masses of white and pastel pink flowers. In honour of their reunion love story and their shared love of cricket, Kitty even set up a full cricket pitch for Tommy’s favourite game. Being a designer herself, with her own swimwear label ‘Cleonie’, Kitty not only styled the wedding day, she designed her unique wedding dress as well as the bridesmaids’ dresses. They were individually styled but in the same white fabric, and Kitty’s own dress was a long body contour gown with train, completed with a floating bodice feature of bonded lycra. The ceremony was a powerful moment in the day, with Tommy and his mates arriving in Kitty’s grandparent’s vintage Holden — Kitty’s late brother’s favourite car. When Kitty arrived, she walked to the Holden and paused. In her heart she imagined joining her brother, Michael, and then she walked down the aisle, alone, yet with him. At the end of the aisle there was a single seat reserved for Michael, with a pocket flower for him too. Another special moment of the day for Kitty and Tommy was taking some time away from the festivities and watching it unfold from afar, seeing their family and friends wholeheartedly in the moment and enjoying themselves. Drinks and canapes were served under the massive white marquees while a band played in the sun-filled afternoon. When the sun went down, the party moved into the barn where a DJ cranked out the tunes and the guests danced into the night. Chef Dimitris prepared a huge grazing table with a constant stream of food flowing ‘cocktail style’, including individual bento boxes of chicken, lamb and paella. Kitty’s sister, a baker, lovingly gifted them an overflowing dessert table and the wedding cake. Kitty and Tommy’s dream wedding created a special moment in time that expressed perfectly their love and connection. It was about fun, family and friendship. ‘Every day, we work on our connection to each other’s souls and strengthen our bond. Our wedding day just solidified the love we share and makes our commitment a moment in time that will last forever’. Ceremony and reception: The Stables of Somersby Photographer: April Josie Photography Celebrant/officiant: Craig Moran Musicians: SOHO DJs and Micah Polla Band Videographer: Bonnie Gray Hair: Claire Scott Makeup: Louy Naylor Jeweller: Ashley Russell Flowers: Octopus Garden, Lauren King Catering: Dimitris Antonious from Private Chef Catering Bride’s dress: designed by Kitty, made by Huntress Bridesmaids’ dresses: designed and made by Kitty, and her mum Jane.


ONCE UPON A TIME • Yarramalong




n the 1840s, the first sawmill opened at Wyong Creek, followed by four more. The sawmills were steam-driven and therefore located near creeks. In the 1850s, Cedar Brush Creek, Ravensdale, Yarramalong and Wyong Creek saw ex-convicts settle in the area. The first European settlers in the Lower Yarramalong Valley are thought to have been the Lettes in 1853, and the Stinsons and Waters in 1856. In the Upper Valley, ex-convicts William and Isabella Beaven held the first-come honour.


Fred ‘Yankee’ Carson’s truck transporting logs from the Valley.

Yarramalong Inn


There was no railway until the 1880s, just a bullock track from Yarramalong to the old Maitland Road where Wyong stands today — ‘a wild scrub full of dingoes and wallabies.’ The roads were first built by convicts in leg irons. The mail came by Cobb and Co. and the timber was transported from the mills by bullock teams, 14 to 16 strong, to the railhead at Wyong. Chapman and Sons had a ‘big shop’ in Wyong as well as a store in Yarramalong which meant there were bread deliveries three times a week, and the baker was quite happy to deliver a reel of cotton from Chapmans when he called by. Or, if you asked nicely, he’d drop into the butcher shop for you if you got tired of blue pigeons, satin bird soup, wild turkeys and rabbit stew. The women sewed mattresses for the family out of ticking, then stuffed them with corn husks, which meant the beds rustled and rattled when anyone turned in their sleep. In winter, wagga rugs, made from corn-bags were piled high on the sleeper, making it hard to turn over under their heavy weight. The tough conditions brought its share of characters. There was Fred ‘Yankee’ Carson who owned the big mill at Kingtree. He was an engineer and it’s said he had something to do with designing the Harbour Bridge. Yankee solved the problem of getting his timber down the hill to the mill ‘by blasting a gap in the rock, then building scaffolding up to that, and shot the logs down from right up on top of the hill. They’d go down through this tunnel and via this viaduct thing he’d built and then out into a paddock … the logs would do a thousand miles an hour coming down there,’ recalled Keith ‘Snooks’ Fernance in an interview with historian Bill Bottomley. ‘It was a wonder he wasn’t killed … one time he went up through it in a storm and it washed him down. They were picking splinters out of him for weeks!’ There was Frank Clune, who was a tax agent by profession, and an art lover by passion. He brought Namatjira to the Valley, as well as William Dobell, among others. Eric Palmer, better known as ‘King’ was so-named in honour of a friend of his father’s who’d died in the War. There was an earlier ‘King’ to claim the crown who arrived in 1856 from Ireland and went on to father 17 children from three wives, two of whom died in childbirth. The last wife, in poetic justice, outlived him by 53 years.

In 1893, Mervyn Victor Richardson was born in Yarramalong where his father was the local school teacher. Although Merv went no further than primary school, he did mow lawns and could have started a successful franchise calling it Merv’s Mowers, but instead he invented Victor Lawnmowers and became a multimillionaire. By the 1880s, the easily accessible timber had mostly been felled and the Valley gradually turned to dairying and fruit growing. Certainly by the 1950s, the timber industry had largely disappeared and there are no mills left today. By the 1960s, it was poultry farming’s turn to become the main industry, producing 8 million eggs per year. Over time, turf farms became popular, as did alpaca, deer, donkey and goat breeding, as well as farmstays and destination weddings. The Valley is also known for its creative, and sometime macabre, streak in its annual Scarecrow Festival each spring when residents vie to outdo each other to swell the population of the Valley with colourful, innovative and newsworthy stuffed citizens. Yarramalong Valley is 25 km in length, has a small village hub at Linga Longa Road (enticingly named after an early boarding house). Yarramalong, in turn, is thought to have been named after the Guringai word for the cedar-cutters’ ‘horses’. It has come full circle, with the Valley now popular for the breeding, spelling and riding of horses pastured behind long wooden fence railings throughout the Valley.


ONCE UPON A TIME • Yarramalong

St Barnabas church, 1885 to 1977, is the oldest church in the Valley and now protected by a permanent Conservation Order.

Sources: The Valleys that Created a Town, Max Farley.


Back Then: Talking about the Past Around Yarramalong, Bill Bottomley.



WHITEHAVEN, Wamberal Casual luxury makes this the dream choice for a beachside break This architect-designed, lakefront holiday property accommodates up to 18 guests and is just 100 metres from Terrigal and Wamberal beaches, making it perfect for a beachside holiday, wedding, family reunion or even a corporate function. A rooftop entertainment retreat with kitchenette and 10 sun-lounges has a 270-degree view of the lagoon, beach, Haven and Skillion and is large enough to entertain 60 guests. The living area has large expansive glass onto the leafy waterfront vista and in-ground pool with its six-metre water feature. There’s also a separate home theatre environment with 84-inch TV, X-Box console and surround-sound system. A sweeping staircase leads up to four double-sized bedrooms and en-suites. The master suite boasts an open spa bath/shower against a magnificent waterfront backdrop. It’s such a short walk to the cafes, shops and beaches that you can almost smell the coffee and taste the salt air. Whitehaven, 4 Ocean View Drive, Wamberal Bookings at




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Yarramalong Valley Winter is the perfect time to experience luxurious Ravensdale Retreat, Yarramalong Valley. Here you’ll abandon the everyday and relax with family and friends. Cook up a feast or nestle next to the crackling fire as you take in the mountain views with a glass of wine and good conversation. We know you’ll never want to leave. 524 Ravensdale Road, Ravensdale 0477 010 010 For reservations visit or


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t was Ron’s first love, Janine, who realised his creative potential and sparked his passion for timber — almost 50 years ago — by giving him the gift of a simple press-metal lathe not long after they were married. Janine had recognised Ron’s creative potential early on. They moved to the Central Coast 44 years ago and purchased the home they still live in, ‘when these were all dirt roads and people told us it was crazy to come up here, ’cos there was nothing!’ Ron then spent eight years patiently teaching himself woodturning, ‘making little things and mucking it up a lot’ before going out and receiving instruction in the art. This introduced him to a vibrant community of life-long friends who share his passion and his values. He has always held an unshakeable belief in the ‘value of a thing’. So it’s no surprise that he is driven to create beautiful pieces with practical uses that have real long-term value and will be cherished for generations, rather than ending up in landfill. As you would expect, Ron is not a lover of mass-production on any level. The phrase comes out of his mouth like a dirty word. You can see how much it bothers him written all over his face. ‘It just hasn’t got the love in it.’ On most afternoons, no matter the weather, Ron can be found in his workshop. It’s a sacred space filled with warm light, heavy with the heady aroma of a mixture of cut timbers, a thick layer of sawdust on every surface like fresh snow. The walls of the old garage are carefully stacked with blocks of timber in various colours (including purple!), and of grain and hardness from all over Australia and the world. The benchtops are laden with bowls, vases, jewellery boxes, music boxes and children’s toys in various states of finish. All of them still needing sanding back, lacquering or oiling, or are patiently waiting for Ron to make a creative decision for the formless to take shape into something beautiful. He picks up each piece to tell you a story about the timber, the inspiration or the purpose, his calloused hands sliding gently over the smooth finishes of the timber. Ron is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others and has found purpose in ‘teaching young people how to create something with their own two hands and the value of making

things. I hope they realise that the world isn’t all take-take-take and that good things in life take time and effort.’ He also brings his grandchildren into his world and gets them to help him make wooden toy trains and dinosaurs, ‘it’s something you’ve done yourself … and I made them paint them too!’ Perhaps the first time he experienced the value of making something useful himself was when he and his dad worked together to make a cart from scrap wood and pram wheels. With that he ventured out in his first business: collecting empty beer bottles from the establishment of the infamous madam and sly-grog purveyor of the 1930s, Kate Leigh, who was very much a senior citizen at this point. Ron played for the A-Grade South Sydney Juniors team and is still an avid Rabbitohs supporter. It was at a club barbecue that Ron met Janine. ‘We just hit it off,’ Ron says in his trademark understatement, but it’s clear to see they share a deep sense of generosity, care, community, creativity and a wonderful sense of humour that marks the foundation of their love across almost half a century. Their connection is difficult to define in that it goes beyond anything either one says or does; it’s just an unspoken twinkle they both get in their eyes when they look at each other. At his vintage, and after all the living that he has done, Ron still considers himself a student of the world. ‘It’s like my dad used to drum into us, ‘If you’re not learning something every day, you’re not paying attention! You gotta learn life!’


WINE • Hunter Valley

DAVID HOOK There are many beautiful wineries and cellar doors in the Hunter Valley designed to appeal to visitors, so when you come to a slightly more remote northern Hunter working winery at the end of a gravel road in the middle of typical Australian scrub, you somehow feel the experience is truly authentic.



hree very friendly kelpies form a joyous welcoming party to ‘Pothana’, named after the old railway station in Belford. David Hook’s father, Bill, first ran ‘Pothana’ as a farming property and, in some ways, it hasn’t changed all that much — other than an extra house for the new generation, a group of buildings that house modern fermentation tanks, winemaking vats, hoppers and regimented rows of oak barrels chalked with the grape variety and vintage. And just beyond the buildings stand 20 acres of vines planted row upon endless row. ‘Although Dad was a cattleman he was always passionate about the local wines so we grew up tasting the best,’ says David. ‘And while I was at uni doing a Bachelor of Science degree, Murray Tyrrell would always give me a job in the holidays, and then he offered me a job when I graduated. Then Dad and I independently decided we wanted to plant a vineyard. He likes to say his decision was based on the fact that I was going through his cellar of good wines way too fast. ‘Because we had 250 acres to choose from, we were more fortunate than most in being able to select the very best plots for wine growing. The land is like a dome here with clay over a shell base at the top, running down towards Sweetwater Creek and the lower sand flats, which are what the Hunter is famous for. We planted the traditional grape varieties that do so well in the Hunter: Semillon and Shiraz, and then Chardonnay.

WINE • Hunter Valley

‘I continued to work at Tyrrells and at Lakes Folly, as well as studying at the Australian Wine Institute in Adelaide. I was also a “flying winemaker” in Europe for a time.’ In the 1990s, Australian wines were highly favoured in the UK, and the less-developed viticultural areas in France and Germany flew in Australian winemakers at vintage time to make wines in the Australian style, hoping to capitalise on their popularity. It suited the young Aussie guns of winemaking because the European vintage was at the opposite end of the year to Australia’s. Around about the same time, David’s Italian Lovedale neighbour and restaurateur, Aldo Zuzza (Prunier’s and Darcy’s), had planted an unknown grape from his homeland, Pinot Grigio, on his weekend property. So David started making Pinot Grigio wine for him. It was an uncomplicated wine with apple and pear flavours. The rest is history. ‘That wine really reflects my philosophy in winemaking,’ says David. ‘My wines are about drinkability and enjoyment, they’re soft and approachable. I don’t go for an overt style, but more subdued. ‘That Pinot Grigio also made me look at other varietals such as Barbera, an easy drinking wine from Piedmont in Italy. And more recently Vermentino. They are cool climate wines so we get the grapes from vineyards in Orange.’ It took David 15 years of experimenting with Barbera, but the David Hook Barbera is now considered a benchmark of Australian Barberas. Will it be the next Pinot Grigio in popularity? ‘Who knows?’ says David with a hopeful or, perhaps, resigned grin. ‘No one knows why or how a variety suddenly becomes popular.’ David is also working with Nebbiolo grapes, known as “the king of wines and the wine of kings”, also from Piedmont. Because ‘Pothana’ is slightly off the beaten track, their cellar door is by appointment only, and their main cellar door is a Peppers Creek village in Pokolbin alongside Café Enzo and Pukara Estate olive tastings. David fondly recalls Murray Tyrrell as his major influence on the viticultural and business side, along with Ralph Fowler, who was then Tyrrell’s renowned winemaker. ‘Ralph influenced me on the practical side of winemaking and how innovative you could be. He gave me the excitement of making wine, that epiphany when you have your first great Pinot Noir full of all the flavours, and you realise that’s what you want to create yourself one day.’ What is David most proud of? ‘I’d have to say, pioneering Italian varietals in the Hunter. And that this is a family business. Dad’s pretty well retired — though I bought him a tractor with air conditioning last year — but he remains the chief taster! ‘He’s always loved the traditional Hunter Valley wine styles. The climate here makes it a low yield area, so we have to go for quality not quantity, and my wine style is still influenced by that. Dad would be annoyed if I wasn’t doing that.

‘And at the end of the day it’s about the joy of working in this industry. We’re passionate about what we do. We might be competitors but winemakers work very cooperatively. We all like to pass on what we’ve learnt to the new generation coming through. And at the end of the day, it’s about people, and a glass of good wine, and great food.’ c Pokolbin cellar door: open daily at cnr Ekerts and Broke roads, Pokolbin Belford cellar door: by appointment only


There is no better setting on earth than Australia’s oldest wine region for Éremo’s distinctive brand of modern Italian dining. In true Italian style, Éremo is the heart of Spicers Guesthouse. Generous and warm, it epitomises our approach to food and wine - that they go spectacularly well together, and that they are infinitely better when shared. Dine a la carte or ‘Avido’, where our chefs choose a selection of dishes from the menu for you. Come and discover the Hunter’s newest destination - Éremo at Spicers Guesthouse.


COAST • Hunter Valley

Aloft! A


s a teenager, Nicola Scaife represented Australia as a marathon kayaker until injury forced her retirement. What followed was a challenging time for Nicola to recover mentally and physically. A significant factor in her recovery was finding a new passion and direction on an early morning ride in a hot air balloon. Nicola was hooked. She got a job with the company that morning, immediately after the flight and, after a time as ground crew, went on to get her pilot’s licence at the age of 22 to become Australia’s youngest hot air balloon private pilot. Her first passenger after gaining her licence, was her dad, John. His love for and belief in his daughter overcame a fear of heights and he remains her staunchest advocate. ‘The sensation aloft is unlike any other,’ says Nicola. ‘It’s peaceful and gentle, yet it’s got an adrenalin surge. It’s being part of nature, yet above it too. It’s like sailing but with a few more dimensions. You have to read the wind speed at different altitudes to navigate where you want to go, as well as navigating up and down by the amount of hot air the burners thrust into the balloon. ‘What I love about ballooning is that you can put the basket on a trailer and take it just about anywhere. You take the basket off the trailer, attach the balloon, fill it with cold air using a fan, then turn the burners on to heat that air to make the balloon rise.’ Shortly after falling in love with the elation of going aloft,

Nicola met a young pilot called Matthew, who came from England to join the company. They fell in love, further turning her world topsy turvy. ‘I’m the perfectionist,’ says Nicola. ‘And Matthew is the more spontaneous and outgoing one. And we’re both competitive. Ballooning is a very male-dominated sport, but it’s also a team sport because you rely so much on the ground crew too.’ Their competitive natures have led Matthew and Nicola to become ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in ballooning competitions in Australia. When Nicola married Matthew (they eloped in Fiji), she also married into a hot air ballooning family. And when her father-inlaw, Graeme, bought Balloon Aloft in the Hunter Valley, he knew he wanted Nicola and Matthew to run the company there. Graeme first took his son aloft at the age of six, and Matthew has now flown over 2,500 hours. He repeated the family tradition recently by taking his and Nicola’s son, Hugo, on his first balloon flight in Dubai while they were all there for the World Air Games. The experience ranks high in Matthew’s favourite ballooning memories. The only downside to their chosen careers? ‘The alarm goes off at crazy o’clock, two hours before sunrise.’ ‘But at the end of “just another day at the office”, I think, how lucky am I,’ says Nicola after yet another day of making twenty people’s bucket-list dream come true.

Inspired by the great winemaking traditions of Europe, Iron Gate Estate is a boutique, family-run winery in Pokolbin, producing unique, handcrafted wines that capture the true essence of the Hunter Valley.

Open 7 days 10am 4pm Corner of Ingles Lane & Oakey Creek Rd Pokolbin 2320 Phone 4998 6570


GREAT OUTDOORS • Bicycle Routes on the Central Coast



Dharug National Park





hat makes an enjoyable cycle route? Attractive scenery, being close to nature, a network of cycle paths, a moderate climate, convenient coffee stops, somewhere to park your bike … oh wait, that’s describing many places on the Central Coast! Add to that, ease of access by train, by car, or even by ferry. And a choice of scenery from coastal, to lagoons and waterways, to hills, through urban communities or off-road in our state forests, national parks and reserves. Here are just some of the great places you can cycle on the Central Coast.

Gosford to Woy Woy Known as the Point to Pelican ride, you can start anywhere from Point Frederick Pioneer Park, or, for a shorter ride, from Adcock Park in West Gosford, or from the Gosford RSL carpark opposite Bunnings. It’s a 13.5 km, mainly flat ride along the Brisbane Water shared cycle path along the very scenic waterfront and wetlands to Lions Park Woy Woy where you can stop for fresh fish and chips at Fishermen’s Wharf kiosk, picnic in the park with the local pelicans, or grab a coffee at one of the many cafés in Woy Woy. There

are also free, water top-up stations at Gosford waterfront and Tascott, and Tascott also has a nice little park and play area for the children with great views across Brisbane Water. From Woy Woy you can catch a train back to Gosford (or points north or south), a ferry to Davistown and Saratoga or continue on the Brisbane Water Loop ride.

Brisbane Water Loop At Woy Woy, follow the shared pedestrian/bicycle path through the trees and parklands along the foreshore towards Blackwall Mountain then continue on the shared path to Ettalong Beach where you can take the quiet side roads to the waterfront. Or take the scenic (also quiet) on-road route via Orange Grove (along Orange Grove Road) with great views back across Brisbane Water.


GREAT OUTDOORS • Bicycle Routes on the Central Coast

Kincumber to Davistown and Saratoga

Then cross the Rip Bridge on the shared path (eastern side) and over to Daleys Point. Here you can either use the road shoulder along Empire Bay Drive all the way to Kincumber South, or try a few of the less busy detours through Empire Bay (Rickard and Greenfield Roads) and Mary Mackillop Peninsula (Humphreys and Mackillop Roads). Either way, you can re-join the shared pedestrian/cycle path at the Nautical Retirement Village which then takes you through forested reserves, over creeks, along the waterway and over the raised path to Davistown Road. Cross Davistown Road and ride through the urban streets to Saratoga where you’ll be greeted by more superb water views. You can catch the ferry back to Woy Woy or continue up to Avoca Drive and the Central Coast Highway into Gosford. In this section you’ll need to cycle on the road shoulder for short sections with reasonably fast passing traffic. But there is a shared path along Avoca Drive and along the Central Coast Highway (north side) to East Gosford. From Gosford, follow the cycle route to Woy Woy to complete the loop. In all, the ride is reasonably flat but there are some short challenging hills (which you can walk if you’d rather). There are numerous cafés along the way at Bensville, Kincumber and Saratoga — some a little off the route — as well as East Gosford, the Gosford waterfront and along Brisbane Water Drive.

The 3 km cycleway passes through wetlands, around the Broadwater to Davistown Road and is a pleasant, scenic family ride that’s flat and easy to ride, and traffic-free to Davistown. Start at Carrak Road, Kincumber (near the Kincumber Hotel) and head for Broadwater Park in Saratoga or continue on to ‘The Davo’, the RSL at Davistown with lots of outdoor tables and a large grassy play area for the kids. The Little Teapot has a garden courtyard, or there’s the newly opened Ferryman, a charming cottage café opposite the ferry wharf. The Dart & Feather, further around on the Broadwater has an elegantly casual café/restaurant section overlooking the water.

Ettalong to Umina If you’re coming on the ferry from Palm Beach or Patonga, this is where you’ll start. (Bicycles are allowed on the ferry for a small charge). The easy 7.5 km Ettalong to Umina foreshore is hard to beat as a scenic waterfront, shared pedestrian/cycleway. Coast 175 café on Ocean View Road, near the ferry wharf, is a favourite stopping place with cyclists for coffee or lunch every weekend and there are places to leave your bike. Further along, The Box kiosk has bicycle racks as well as beachside seating. In between, there’s an endless supply of cafés with good coffee! Alongside The Box there’s a great playground with colourful play equipment, and at the Umina end of the cycleway it’s also very family oriented with a skate park, BMX track, kids’ cycling track and playground. Ocean Beach and Umina Beach along this route are two patrolled beaches (in season), so bring your swimmers and a towel.

Tuggerah Lake Wyrrabalong National Park


Niagara Park to Narara, Wyoming This shared cycleway is another good ride to take the kids on and there are horses to greet along the way. The path starts at Niagara Park Stadium and heads to Narara railway station. From here you can cross Narara Valley Drive into Deane Street, Hanlan Street and Fountains Road.

Narara Creek Sensory Park This 1.5 km paved cycleway starts at Showground Road, Narara and is the perfect bike track to get the littlest family members used to riding a bike or a scooter. The track runs alongside Narara Creek, has plenty of shade, and picnic areas with toilet facilities. There are usually ducks along the tree-lined foreshore as well as lots of kids whizzing and zooming along the track.

Tuggerah Lake: Tuggerah or Chittaway Bay to The Entrance This 14 km, shared cycleway follows the Tuggerah Lake shoreline in a coast-to-lake ride that’s wonderfully scenic and has a wealth of parks, picnic areas and playgrounds to choose from. It’s perfect for a leisurely weekend ride. This is an out-and-back ride, but with different views in each direction to engage your senses. From Tuggerah, start at the railway station and follow the


GREAT OUTDOORS • Bicycle Routes on the Central Coast


Tuggerah Lake Wyrrabalong National Park


Fernleigh Rail Trail North of the Central Coast and east of Lake Macquarie is a disused 1880s coal railway track that is now a 16 km sealed walking and cycling trail. The highlight of the track is a 180-metre railway tunnel. There’s also some remaining evidence of mines along the way. Start at Railway Parade in Belmont. There’s a fairly flat 5.5 km track through coastal bushland and a boardwalk across the wetlands to Redhead. At Redhead, the restored station platform is a picturesque feature. From here it’s 4.5 km ride to Whitebridge, including a gentle ascent. The next section to Adamstown is a 6 km ride, across Burwood Road, north east along Park Avenue to the Adamstown railway station, and through the tunnel under the Pacific Highway. The trail runs through bushland in the Glenrock State Recreational Area. The trail is classified as ‘mostly flat, and undulating in some sections’ but, as steam trains that couldn’t climb steep hills chugged along this corridor, then most people can probably manage it too without running out of puff.


shared path (Pacific Highway side) which follows along beside Wyong Road all the way to Chittaway shops with a few roads to cross and an underpass to navigate. Cycle along Chittaway Road, then take Lakedge Avenue to join the lakeside shared path at Chittaway Bay Lions Park that takes you all the way to The Entrance. You can also start from the other end, at the skate park at The Entrance and ride to Chittaway Bay. Another popular starting point is Rotary Park at Long Jetty from where you can head to either Chittaway Bay or The Entrance. Saltwater Creek at Long Jetty has barbecues and a BMX track at Rotary Park. At Picnic Point there’s an outdoor fitness station for an extra spot of exercise. And there is an abundance of cafés at The Entrance and Long Jetty. The Entrance Hotel also has extensive dining options and is said to serve the best poké on the Coast.

You can continue on from the ride, above, crossing The Entrance Bridge on the shared path (west side). Take the first left for another 5 km of cycleway along the shoreline and bushlands. The cycle path ends on Wilfred Barrett Drive, near Magenta Shores. There’s also a new path through Wyrrabalong National Park, along the shoreline and across Toukley Bridge and through the village. The Wilfred Barret Drive road shoulder is suitable for more experienced riders to push the pace up a bit.


Tuggerah Lake: Chittaway Bay–The Entrance–Wilfred Barrett Drive, Magenta Shores

Fernleigh Rail Trail


GREAT OUTDOORS • Bicycle Routes on the Central Coast


Bouddi Ridge Explorer

MTBers are welcome to use the large network of formed forestry roads within State Forests. Or, if you are after more of a specialised single trail experience, there are two purpose-built MTB Parks in the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie area: Ourimbah State Forest Ourimbah MTB Park (just a bit further up Red Hill Road from Tree Tops Adventure Park) is operated under permit by Central Coast MTB Club.


NSW State Forests at au for information on:

Olney State Forest Awaba MTB Park is located in at the base of the Watagan Mountains, via Jenkins Road (off Mount Faulk Road at Cooranbong) and is operated under permit by Hunter Mountain Bike Association at Commercial operators approved by Forestry Corporation of NSW can assist you with tours, MTB coaching and shuttle services: Central Coast Mountain Bike Tours at and Momentum is Your Friend at

Dharug National Park Old Great North Road The Old Great North Road is an important piece of Australia’s history and part of the Convict Sites of Australia World Heritage Area. Built between 1826 and 1836, the 43 km one-way ride takes about a day to complete. Dharug National Park Devine’s Hill Loop The Devines Hill Loop, a 28 km loop near Wisemans Ferry and part of the Old Great North Road, is the perfect bike ride with fabulous views, great examples of convict-era engineering and a terrific hill to climb. Bouddi National Park Bouddi Ridge Explorer Bouddi Ridge explorer is the longest mountain biking trail in Bouddi National Park. The 10 km loop trail passes the stunning Allen Strom Lookout and offers real variety for mountain bikers. Strom Loop and Rocky Point Trail sections are easy going for beginners, while the undulating Daleys Point Trail needs more effort, and MacMasters Ridge Trail is steep in parts, requiring greater fitness.



National Parks at for information on:

Old Great North Road

Brisbane Water National Park Warrah Trig Cycling Loop This exciting cycling 10 km loop follows the ridge between Patonga and Pearl Beach, taking in scenic views of the Hawkesbury River and local wildlife on the way. Popran National Park 248 Trail The 248 Trail is named because it’s 248 metres above sea level, It’s a great trail for mountain biking, horseriding, and walking. The ride is relatively short (2.5 km one way) so it’s a great one for kids. Further information is also available on the Central Coast Council website on and on the non-official, user-sourced

24 HOURS IN… • The Valley

24 hours in…



9 am

Bamboo Buddha’s tranquil rainforest garden offers the perfect space to lull you into holiday mode. Statues of Buddha are shaded by frangipanis, water features are surrounded by hibiscus flowers and koi dart among the pond’s water lilies. The café serves locally roasted expresso coffee and vegan and vegetarian dishes. On their all-day breakfast menu mushrooms are sautéed in garlic and lemon, and served with feta, rocket and house pesto. And the toasted house-made loaf of banana, berry and coconut comes topped with cinnamon butter and walnuts. The café hosts workshops in yoga, life drawing, meditation and more throughout the year. 221 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 3pm


24 HOURS IN… • The Valley

11 am

Follow the Central Coast’s Scenic Sips Trail, a new artisan beverage route that you can drive, walk or pedal. Make a day of it with a designated driver, or spread it over a weekend. Start at Firescreek Wines where Nadia and Francis O’Connell grow and tend to the passionfruit vines, mulberry bushes and other botanicals that make up their wines, as well as organically grown figs, handpicked guavas and non-treated honey. Everything here is done by hand — from bottle labelling to lemon zesting — and because they make limited vintages from seasonal fruit, the wines are always changing. This winter they’ve released two new flavours perfect for the cooler months: chilli citrus plus coffee and blackcurrent. Wine tasting is complimentary, but if you’re travelling with a large group (10+) we recommend you book a ‘Taste and Talk’ tour, which includes a presentation on the wine-making process and a tour of the vineyard and gardens. 192 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.30am to 4.30pm info@firescreek. to book a ‘Taste and Talk’ tour ($5 per person)


24 HOURS IN… • The Valley

12.30 pm

Bar Botanica is your next stop. This new café-cumgelato bar is run by Julia and Dan Hughes of Mr Goaty Gelato fame. The café is surrounded by fragrant herbal and flower gardens, and Dan, a Michelin-trained chef, has created a menu that invites you to lay out a rug and picnic under the trees. Think chicken liver parfait with Distillery Botanica blackcurrant liqueur, and a traditional ploughman’s board of house-pickled onions, leg ham and Moore’s Gin-spiked cheddar. Along with daily-baked pastries, Mr Goaty’s signature gelato is available by the scoop. Can’t decide between the blood plum and lime sorbet or salted caramel gelato? Bar Botanica will be hosting a series of pop-up dinners this winter; check their Facebook page for dates. 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

1.30 pm The beautiful gardens surrounding Bar Botanica are owned and managed by Distillery Botanica, the gin distillery that shares the property. Philip Moore, herbalist, master distiller and owner of the 3-acre property, uses the garden as his ‘botanical playground’ to source flavours for his gins. The rose, chamomile, sage and Murraya flowers are used in the Distillery Botanica Gin while Angelica is picked for the award-winning Moore’s Gin, the first Australian gin to win Gold at the prestigious London International Wine and Spirit Competition. The distillery is open for tastings and sales and offers a sneak peek into the process. 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm


24 HOURS IN… • The Valley

2.30 pm

Tucked away off Holgate’s Wattle Tree Road is Katandra Reserve, a beautiful section of bushland with easy and moderate walking tracks. The Katandra Reserve Explorer route is a 5.3 km circuit that takes in all the area’s highlights, including Seymour Pond, St Johns lookout and the popular strangler figs. If you’re short on time, a return walk to the strangler figs is 2 km and takes only an hour.

7 pm Now that you’ve walked up an appetite it’s time to head to Six String Brewing, the Central Coast’s first home-grown craft brewery, launched in 2012 by school mates Chris Benson and Adam Klasterka. There’s a tasting room and Donnie’s Eatery, the pop-up food cart-turned-permanent-resident run by Mikey Morgan and Dan Brooks. It’s a fun space for a casual meal with foosball, board games and cards available to occupy kids — both little and big. The menu befits the brewery scene: classic pub meals that ditch the utensils. The pickle-brined fried chicken, jalapeno and Texan mayo burger and flathead taco with pico de gallo get the nod from us. Order a paddle so you can sample some of Six String’s brews and you have a happy night. Six String run Brewery Tours on Saturday mornings ($15) and BrewDay on the fourth Saturday of the month for those eager to learn the craft ($75). Call 43654536 to book for 22 June, 27 July and 24 August. 4/330 The Entrance Road, Erina Open Wednesday to Thursday 12pm to 9pm, Friday to Saturday 12pm to 10pm, and Sunday 11am to 5pm


WHAT’S ON • For Kids



MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU Ever wanted to be a Jedi? You can at Tuggerah! Sons of Obiwan, Australia’s first and only light saber training facility is located right here on the Central Coast. In a centre packed with Star Wars paraphernalia (think R2-D2 statues and Stan Lee-signed posters), staff train participants in European Longsword and Balintawak using light sabers made from aircraft-grade aluminium alloy. ‘It’s theatre combat,’ says Sons of Obiwan founder Luke

Boyton, ‘choreographed fighting like you see in movies.’ ‘I used to be a behavioural learning teacher,’ says Luke, ‘and I started this as a way to teach kids on the autism spectrum.’ Sons of Obiwan continues to run weekly general spectrum group classes and customised special-needs classes. ‘We have people aged 10 to 60. We have hardcore Star Wars fans, we have people who are looking to try something different,’ says Luke. ‘Anyone who comes through the door can learn something fun’.

WINTER IN THE PARK A winter wonderland is popping up in Kibble Park, Gosford these July school holidays. Explore the inflatable igloos, meet Frozen’s heroines Anna and Elsa, watch ice carving by international ice sculptor Kenji Ogawa and join in a free snow-globe making or sun print magic workshop. Plus, Kyla Daniels (the awardwinning cake artist of Gosford’s Cakes by Kyla) is relocating her renowned cupcake classes from her Watt St café to one of the inflatable igloos this holiday, so children can create snowmen-


topped cupcakes and sugary snowflakes in gorgeous wintry surrounds. The 1½-hour classes are $35 per child and can be booked directly through Cakes by Kyla (keep an eye on her Facebook page for ticket release dates). Winter in the Park, hosted by Central Coast Council, will run 6 July to 20 July.

NET MINIS A new play-based netball program for toddlers and pre-schoolers has launched on the Central Coast. Net Minis kicked off its first term of classes at Kincumber and Terrigal in May and will be expanding into Charmhaven in Term 3. The classes have been developed by Net Minis founder and coach, Caitlin McKeown, a sports management professional and former Netball NSW junior netball clinic officer. After having children, Caitlin saw a gap in the market for a toddler program based on the foundations of netball, and so she set about establishing Net Minis. The classes are for children aged 2 to 6 and include activities such as ‘catching and throwing, learning colours and counting, jumping and balancing, dancing and skipping,’ Caitlin says.

WHAT’S ON • For Kids



Have a little shredder? Slam Factory at Tuggerah is an indoor skatepark for BMX, scooter and skateboard riders. Taken over by local couple Kurt and Elle Teague in December, this fantastic indoor facility is open to casual riders – from the super experienced to the very green. They also run term-long coaching clinics, school holiday workshops and private one-on-one lessons for kids as young as three years old. The park is made up of ramps, bowls and half pipes that are regularly moved around to keep regular riders challenged and they have a resi ramp and foam pit so that young guns can throw down new tricks. This July they’re running threehour holiday camps in BMX, skateboard and scooter for kids of all skill levels aged 5+. It’s $39.95/ person for each camp session or $34.95/person if you book a sibling. Phone 43 551 557 to book.

Little zoologists, get excited: the Australian Reptile Park runs Kids to Keeper programs every school holiday and they’re on again this July. The Mini K2K program invites tots aged 3 to 6 to pat koalas, meet reptiles, feed kangaroos and play with some adorable star tortoises. For this program, a big kid (aka adult) gets to accompany the child and join in on the fun too. The Little K2K program is a fully escorted program for children aged 7 to 12. Participants learn how to handle reptiles, watch an exclusive spider milking show, meet koalas and feed a tawny frogmouth. The Big K2K program delivers an intense learning environment and hands-on experience for teens (aged 13 to18). Participants handle snakes, lizards, frogs, alligators, birds and mammals and present an animal at the Keeper Kids show in front of public visitors.

t an affordable price Premium Quality Child Care a

1 MONTH of


You will be required to attend a full inspection of our State of the Art Terrigal or Tumbi Umbi Centres, and present this coupon to claim your child's free month of care. Conditions Apply: Only for new enrolments. Strictly limited offer while places last.

Call Jess or Beck on (02) 4389 8888 for Tumbi Umbi & Cassie on (02) 4384 7000 for Terrigal


caring for your child’s teeth

Even though they eventually fall out, primary (baby) teeth are extremely important for your child’s development and overall health. It is recommended that children should have an initial dental check-up by the time they turn two years old.

At VC Dental we are experienced Paedodontics, which is specific dentistry for young children. Healthy teeth and gums

Welcome to St Peter’s Catholic College, Tuggerah Lakes. Conveniently located on the Central Coast with easy access by bus and train. Developing life-long learners who are committed to achieving their best in everything they do. St Peter's welcomes enrolment applications for male and female students in Years 7 to 12. We offer excellence in learning and would be delighted to showcase our extensive facilities and beautiful campus.

We will assist you in keeping you child’s teeth and gums clean and healthy, and look out for any early signs of dental decay.

Prevent dental phobias and form good habits

Early involvement in the dental environment can help prevent dental phobias later in life, and can help your child form good dental hygiene habits to last them (and their teeth) a lifetime.

Normal development of the permanent dentition

Diagnosing and rectifying any developmental or hereditary problems early. This can include tongue ties, cross bites, and crowded or missing teeth.

We BULK BILL the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule

Eligible children child receive up to $1,000 worth of dental treatment, every 2 years. This includes services such as exams, cleans and fillings. | 02 4323 1933 | East Gosford

For a personalised tour, please contact the Registrar, 02 4352 9816.

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78 Terrigal Espl 4385 1000

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8 Mimosa Ave 4369 3078


206 The Entrance Rd 4365 0645

Gosford Waterfront 12 Dane Dr 1300 975 389

Did you know the Central Coast has more than 20 bush walks and trails to explore the diverse landscapes from the coast to the hinterland?

Profile for Coast Publishing

COAST Winter 2019  

Stay, Play, Eat Drink, Explore the Central Coast of NSW.

COAST Winter 2019  

Stay, Play, Eat Drink, Explore the Central Coast of NSW.