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Umina Beach is located on the scenic NSW Central Coast – a 1.5 hours drive from Sydney, and is locally known as being on ‘The Peninsular’ (other towns on the peninsula include, Ettalong Beach, Booker Bay, Blackwall, Woy Woy, Pearl Beach and Patonga). Umina Beach is the ultimate spot for a fun and relaxing holiday by the seaside. We feel that this is the best beach for a campervan holiday, although the campsite we have listed have wonderful cabins on site too, so get ready to surf, swim, explore, eat and camp!
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, check sites before you visit, and for more information see the NSW Government website.
Buzzing with people during the summertime, activities include surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking, fishing, walking (waterfront pathways and beach-to-beach walk), and with eateries to explore, this is a holiday that provides a variety of things to do, but allows you to totally relax too. Umina Beach is the quintessential laid-back Aussie beach lifestyle.
Surf and Swim
While this is a popular beach for swimming, if you wanted to try surfing at Umina Beach – there are two levels to choose from; easy and difficult. Being a protected beach, it is the perfect spot for those learning to surf, and venture out from Umina Beach towards Box head (you’ll need to paddle quite a way out), and at the heads, you’ll be met with some challenging waves. My husband is at the beginner’s stage, and is yet to paddle out to Box Head. But we felt this was an insider tip worth sharing.
We’ve also met an energetic surfer who used to paddle out to Box Head from Umina Beach and highly recommended it, but Box Head being quite a way out – he said he was exhausted coming back in. You need to be extra fit to try this one. And we’ve also heard about surfers who’ve caught water taxis from Palm Beach to Box Head to catch these waves!
On calm days – the waters are perfect for stand-up paddle-boarding. Here are some great schools where you can learn to stand up paddle or surf, which are set up right on Umina Beach (schools include board hire): Central Coast Surf School, and Manasup – stand up paddle school, and for children Sals Surf School.
Armed with the knowledge on where to surf, all you need to know now is what the area offers!
Where to Camp?
Situated on prime beachfront location, this location couldn’t be any better, the NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort offers an abundance of activities in a fantastic location.
The campground with its water parks and swimming pools, easy beach access, bike hire and on-site kiosk (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner options), provides enough opportunities to keep families busy for weeks. To add to this, the resort is also adjacent to the Peninsular Recreation Precinct, which has a large playground area (includes a flying fox, skate park and climbing frame) BBQs, kiosk and a restaurant – so if you don’t want to drive anywhere, but feel like a coffee, snack or meal out, Jasmine Greens is only a few minutes walk away.
Or if you’re looking to have some quiet time, join the locals and have an evening stroll, walking from beach-to-beach, Umina to Ettalong, but you could end up having a lovely stylish lunch or dinner on the waterfront at The Box on the Water Restaurant. Or feel like a laid-back lunch or dinner and a fancy cocktail, also on the waterfront, Margarita Daze (mentioned below; Where to Eat) is a hop, skip, and jump away on Umina Beach. There’s no excuse for you to be bored this summer!
Coincide your trip with one of the area’s most popular festivals, The Brisbane Water Oyster Festival – held annually in November in the Galleria Complex (Ettalong Markets) and on the adjacent street. This is a 10-minute bike ride from the NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort to Ettalong village, or a 40-minute walk (ask the resort about bike hire, or see bike hire stands located in the Peninsular Recreation Precinct and at the front of Ettalong Diggers).
While this is the perfect event to try an oyster or two and watch the iconic Oyster Eating Competition, there also are a range of food stalls – influenced by many countries from around the world. With wine from the Hunter Valley and beer from the Six String Brewery, and over 50 retail stores and live entertainment – they’ll be much to see and explore at this busy and exciting festival!
Another festival in the same area is the Central Coast Italian Festival – held each year in April. This is a place to celebrate culture and all things Italian, and is in the most appropriate setting too. Also in the Galleria Complex; with its bright and quirky Mediterranean atmosphere, interesting indoor alleyways, retail shops, and being mostly undercover, is a fun place to shop and explore.
During the festival, entertainment includes live choir performances, wandering musicians and dancing performances. And for a bit of extra fun, they also include a spaghetti eating and gelato licking competition. Enjoy the best Italian coffee, wine and cuisine all weekend!
Take part in one of the major events on the Central Coast, the Five Lands Walk is a festival connecting people to people, and people to place, each year in June. Drop in and visit one of the beach sites, or join the thousands that hike to each beach destination. It’s a free 15-minute bus ride to MacMasters Beach (the start of the walk) from Ettalong Beach. This is one of the biggest festivals on the Central Coast.
If you’re looking for something a little closer. Umina Beach Markets is held every third Sunday of the month in the Peninsular Recreation Precinct, (adjacent to the campground), and is as laid-back and relaxing as you’ll get. It’s also a great spot to grab lunch or snacks from the shop front caravans, where you can sit back – get cosy on some blankets and enjoy live music. (To keep updated about the Umina Beach Markets – visit their Facebook page.)
As a traveller, you’ll feel part of the scene here. Perhaps it’s the shop front caravans, or the variety of boho-chic stalls, or maybe it’s just the relaxed setting of a beachside market and a gathering of like-minded others, that makes it an unpretentious yet ‘cool’ and hip place to be!
Best Walks and Hiking Tracks
On the peninsula there are a few walking tracks to explore:
- Umina Beach to Ettalong Beach Waterfront Walk: 3km one way, on pathways, mostly flat walk) which starts from Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club/ Margarita Daze and ends at Ettalong Ferry Wharf. Parts of this pathway at the Ettalong Ferry Wharf area are relatively new.
- Mt Ettalong Lookout: 4 km – return, rated easy, mostly on a management trail
- Woy Woy Waterfront Walk: 2 km return, easy, flat walk the entire way
- Patonga to Pearl Beach Track:4km – one way, through the bushland, rated moderate, and off this pathway is Warrah Trig Lookout – one of the most visited lookouts on the peninsular. With spectacular views overlooking the Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay – across to the Pacific Ocean, Barrenjoey Headland, West Head, Cowan Creek, Juno Point and Patonga. This is one walk not to be missed due to this lookout, however, if you rather a shorter walk to the lookout, see below.
- Warrah Trig Lookout: also accessed via a twenty-minute easy walk (if you drive to Warrah Trig car park, the car park is accessed via a 5-minute drive on a dirt track) with descending steps to get there, you’ll notice the ascending steps on the way back, but it is worth the effort!
Where to Eat?
There are a range of places to grab a bite to eat in Umina Beach, either along the main street (West Street) or just off it (including supermarkets), and all easy bike rides from the campground too.
With a hip vibe, this is a cosy restaurant and bar. It is a place to enjoy some music, quality craft beer and Southern American style BBQ meat – which is slow-cooked, smoked meat. Absorb the ambience on weekend nights, while young guitarists play a few solo tunes.
With a cosy setting inside Sounds on West – their outside dining has a fun Aussie backyard feel, this place offers some quirky fun (popular for birthday parties too)! The menu includes dishes such as; brisket sandwich – slow and low smoked brisket with American cheese, sauerkraut and the restaurant’s secret BBQ sauce. For a main, there are meals like; pork ribs, which is a U.S. style spare ribs grilled in Sounds on West’s secret sauce. Gluten and dairy-free options available.
Overlooking the waterfront, and with a range of cocktails, here you can relax with a sundowner while enjoying tranquil ocean views. Dishes range from burgers to seafood, pizza, and pasta, to spanner crab linguine. And if you feel like lashing out try; the seafood platter for two, which consists of barbecued king prawns, natural oysters, soft shell crab, blue swimmer crab, grilled fish fillets, black mussels and salt and pepper squid. They also include a kid’s menu. See their menu for more details.
If you enjoy books, coffee and cafe meals, this is the place to visit – and escape it all! With a bookshelf that surrounds the back part of the cafe, this is the perfect place to wander in – grab a book and a coffee and sit back and relax! While Ruby’s is a popular spot for all-day breakfast (their breakfast dishes are quite substantial), and light snacks, the assortment of pastries and cakes accompany tea and coffee nicely. Check their specials board for one-offs like house-made beef and red wine pie (the kitchen closes at 2pm). (And opposite, and nice and handy, if you’re wanting to fully relax, book in for a message across the road at Sabai Sabie Thai Oil Massage.)
Looking to have a relaxing beer in a family-friendly pub with some great food, and live entertainment – the OB has a variety of dishes and drinks, which can be enjoyed in their beer garden while watching a live band performance. Dishes range from; hand-cut potato wedges, lamb shanks, to American Beef Burgers. And if you’re looking for a vegetarian meal, try the lentil burgers. And for entertainment, the hotel provides trivia night, karaoke night and themed days such as Family Funday Sunday, see the Ocean Beach Hotel above-underlined link for more detail.
Jasmine Greens Park Cafe, is located in the Peninsular Recreation Precinct (a five-minute walk from the campground). With a kiosk, and stylish yet relaxing beachside restaurant and bar – it is at the heart of all the outdoor action, especially being so close to the beachfront. This venue overlooks the vibrant playground. While there are a variety of snacks and dishes to choose from, Jasmine Green’s menu focuses on sourcing locally grown, free-range and chemical-free food.
Besides kiosk snacks, the restaurant offers dishes such as pancakes made from buckwheat and buttermilk with maple yogurt and fresh berries, beef wagyu burger, grilled chicken burger, to satay tofu (provides gluten-free and vegan options too). And you can also indulge in a beer, wine or cider with your meal too!
During the warmer weather this area is often brimming with people, from families relaxing on sun lounges outside the kiosk area – enjoying a coffee, to children with pets and scooters travelling to and fro from playground areas. This is a place for the whole family!
For decades Umina Beach has been the ultimate beach spot for holiday-makers, travellers and campers. While the area has developed and it has become a thriving tourist destination, it remains a place to unwind – lay back and enjoy the sun, sand and surf. For those who enjoy the outdoors and the beach, this holiday destination will not disappoint!
If you’re looking for some more travel ideas, try the ‘Your RV Lifestyle‘ website!
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Shelley has published a variety of online articles. With a master’s in special education, this has allowed her to write in the area of education, through platforms such as The Huffington Post. Being an outdoor enthusiast, she has written for The Weekender Travel and currently writes for Kombi Lifestyle. She is keen to share her knowledge and enjoys writing informative articles that help the discerning traveller prepare for road trip holidays in Australia. Shelley is the founder of Kombi Lifestyle.