• Sam Wilson

Love Your Local

Top 20+ Locations to shoot on the Central Coast - Part 1

Welcome and thank you for visiting - hope you like what you see.

I’ve written about doing tours on the last couple of posts, so it must be time to showcase the beautiful area that I live in, which is the Central Coast, NSW, Australia.

Terrigal - probably the most popular tourist destinations on the Central Coast with a stunning beach, plenty of accommodation plus numerous cafes, restaurants and retail experiences

For those not familiar with the area, it is located about an hour’s drive north of Sydney and is a popular tourist area for good reason - it has numerous beaches, waterways, waterfalls and lovely national parks and forests.

Map image courtesy of https://www.centralcoastaustralia.com.au//

Until I started photography, I don’t think I really appreciated the area that well, and even after that, I don’t think I fully valued it until the restrictions that Covid gave us and it was all we had.

Now that things are lifting, I’ve given myself a mission of capturing worthy images of every location that I find.

1. Davistown

This is a very popular sunset location for photographers. You'll see that I don't have one of these photos and if you've read my previous post you will know that is because sunset is Cabernet time! Seriously though I have seen some absolutely stunning sunset shots from here so need to rectify that. But maybe in winter when it's a bit earlier with no daylight savings.

(Davistown - regardless of the conditions you can always photograph the plentiful pelicans or boats dotted along the waterfront. Also highly recommended is coffee and egg & bacon rolls from the Little Teapot cafe)

Without even trying, I’ve come up with a list of over 20 locations that I have photographed, another few that I’m yet to do justice to as well as a couple from our very close neighbours just north of the Central Coast.

These are a few of my favourites to go to with some basic information. I'm currently working on a resource that will provide much more detailed information on each location so here's just a brief summary -


Waterfalls, Waterways, National Parks and State Forests will be covered in Part 2.

2. Avoca Beach

Equally popular with fishers and photographers, Avoca Beach is always busy - even before dawn. This can be accessed at most tides, however to be avoided in big swells and rock shoes I would say are essential.

This is a relatively short walk from the car and best of all coffee is available right there. There's also a few nice cafe's for post sunrise breakfast just a short drive away.

As all of these spots there are numerous compositions, but I've just chosen one from each for this post. I have to save some for upcoming posts!

"Winter Blues". Avoca Beach, July 2019

3. MacMasters Beach

This is a fairly quiet location and another very short walk from the car and best/safest at lower tides. There is however, no coffee close by so it's BYO.

The pool is quite popular with local swimmers but it can be nice to have a strategically placed person in your shot sometimes.

"Morning Light". MacMasters Beach, February 2021

4. Noraville - Hargraves Beach

A lesser photographed location, but still very interesting. Less than a 10min walk from the car and definitely best at lower tides.

5. Norah Head

A very popular tourist location for good reason but at dawn it's usually once again only fishers and photographers. You can shoot from up the top as in this photo or head down the steps to the beach and rocks for a plethora of compositions. I noticed a coffee van there at my last visit but not sure of the opening times (not when I was there unfortunately). Luckily there's a few cafe's less than a 10min drive away.

6. Pearl Beach

This is my new favourite! Best at low tide and only a 5min walk from the car you are spoilt for compositions from the gorgeous green moss, Lion Island in the background and some great wave action. The cafe doesn't open until 8am though, so it's a bit of a drive afterwards for breakfast.

As always, never turn your back on the ocean! That's Lion Island hiding behind this rogue wave.

7. Killcare and Putty Beach

Technically these are 2 separate locations but they are right near each other so I'm putting them together here.

I think I'll dedicate a separate blog post to the stunning rock formations found in the neighbouring Bouddi National Park, so I'll share a sculpture by one of our local artists that was at Killcare earlier in 2020.

8. Forresters Beach

This is another fairly quiet location, and it can be a bit of a trek walking on the sand (my least favourite walking surface), but well worth it. There is also a fabulous cafe not too far away for that well-deserved bacon, eggs and coffee.

9. Terrigal

No more words needed for this iconic location, and when there's no clouds or interesting sky, there is always the opportunity to practice other forms of photography.

It really depends where in Terrigal you want to shoot to know which tide is better and whether rock shoes are needed - this is where planning in advance comes in. The one constant is there's always coffee at hand anywhere here!

This is called panning where you move the camera while the shutter is open to achieve different effects.

10. The Entrance

This is another very popular tourist suburb with lost of accommodation, activities and cafes/restaurants. I haven't shot here for a couple of years now so won't comment on the best tides and conditions as I can't remember! Another one to add to the list to revisit.

11. Umina

This is the suburb I grew up in yet have only ever photographed twice. The first time was my very first sunrise when I started photography and the second was only a few weeks ago. It is a very easy walk from the car and depending on the tide whether you shoot from the sand or put your rock shoes on and head around the rockshelf.

This is also an off-leash area for dogs so to be noted if you're not comfortable with this.

What a way to greet the new day

12. Wamberal

Now this is not a fun walk in - it's about a 15 minute walk to get to where these green rocks are - on sand and on an angle depending on the tide, but oh the green is just so lush I'd say it's worth it.

You can also photograph the lagoon nearby which is where you park your car. Oh, and breakfast is only a couple of minutes away.

It’s not all about the beaches though, we also have some beautiful national parks and forests, some of which have waterfalls - stay tuned for Part 2 where we will visit these stunning areas including Somersby, Strickland, Matcham and Glenworth Valley just to mention a few.

Close neighbours that I will also cover in another post and add to my resource of locations.

Caves Beach

Catherine Hill Bay


Yet to get to, or have a photo that I think worthy of sharing -


Long Jetty

North Avoca

Soldiers Beach

If there are any fellow “Coasties” reading this, please tell me where I have neglected to mention so I can add them to my list.

That’s it for now

That's all for today.

Next up is Part 2 of "Love Your Local" where I showcase some of the stunning locations I live near, join here to see more of the stunning Central Coast if you haven't already subscribed.

I also recently published a post showing the planning that goes into each sunrise shoot that I do - you can find that here

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