Where to go on the NSW Central Coast, including the Beachcomber Hotel in Toukley
When people think of a luxury resort vacation, Bali, Thailand, the Maldives or even Byron Bay may immediately come to mind.
But for most Australian residents, this requires significant travel, which may not yet be the most affordable or attractive option for those looking for a well-deserved vacation.
According to data from Choice Hotels, instead of venturing overseas, Australians are choosing the safer and easier options, namely regional road trips.
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In New South Wales, areas seeing a surge in bookings include Newcastle, Merimbula, Dubbo and Toukley on the central coast.
And right in the heart of Toukley is a new hotel and resort called the Beachcomber with everything you could want from a regional stay.
If the Beachcomber’s slogan “Eat, Drink, Stay and Play” doesn’t convince you to pack, then the hotel might.
There are seven rooms to choose from, including Essential, Poolside, Urban and Waterview, and all have a desk area, shower, 55-inch smart TV, WIFI, fridge full size bar and coffee maker.
The Hamptons-style decor is incredibly unique, with art deco wallpaper, blue and chrome accents, and rugs that are a combination of marble flooring and beach sand.
Rooms start at $159 for two adults for a room with a king bed and $223 for a space with a water view and balcony.
And then there is the swimming pool.
The hotel’s pool sits on Lake Budgewoi, is dotted with striped lounge chairs and yellow umbrellas, and palm trees. It’s the perfect place to relax and read a book on a lazy day or do some early morning laps.
And if that’s not enough to relax, there’s a pool bar to order a range of summery cocktails.
The hotel also has a multi-storey car park that guests can use during their stay.
Luxury beach resorts arguably have the dream food situation – you never have to leave the premises to eat or grab a draft beer.
The Beachcomber has two restaurants with stunning views of Toukley’s unbroken waterfront and the venue’s private jetty.
The best part is there is a 20 second walk from the rooms.
Their first restaurant is called “The Beachie” and is truly a magical setting with Hamptons-inspired decor and cascading hanging plants.
The large menu features pub classics with a few contemporary extras. Think wood-fired pizzas, grilled salmon with shredded fennel, potato gnocchi with heirloom tomatoes and crispy basil, spicy eggplant tacos and of course Sydney rock oysters.
The only problem for diners will be choosing where to sit each evening with terrace tables, U-shaped sofas above the pier, waterside benches and bar stools with sea views. a television among the options.
For those in need of even more Instagram-worthy backdrops, wait until the sun goes down and the trees and pier light up with string lights.
The second restaurant is called Pelicans with a more gastronomic approach. It is currently under construction and will reopen soon.
For those staying at the resort, a buffet breakfast is served downstairs each morning and includes all continental staples, including cereals, fruit, toast, yogurt, pastries, and coffee.
Those who prefer a feast at the start of the day will be pleased to know that there is also a full breakfast with all-you-can-eat eggs, hash browns, sausages, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
There’s also the option to have breakfast at Beachie, which serves coconut granola with mango tapioca, baked tomatoes on toast with Spanish ham, avocado toast and waffles with vanilla ice cream and honeycomb.
The central coast
While the Beachcomber has everything one could need for an exceptional on-site stay, some visitors may be looking for a little adventure.
And there’s plenty to see, do and eat on the Central Coast.
For those who enjoy bushwalking, Wyrrabalong National Park is just a 10 minute drive from the resort and offers coastal views, the chance to spot whales and is littered with beautiful native red gums.
Another 10 minutes’ drive and visitors can check out the historic Norah Head Lighthouse, which was built from 1901 to protect ships traveling between Sydney and Newcastle.
And if Soldiers Beach at Norah Heads isn’t your swimming fancy, there are over 40 other beaches to choose from on the Central Coast, including MacMasters, Terrigal, Avoca and Wamberal.
For anyone who enjoys water activities, there is paddleboarding and kayaking at the entrance and at the boathouse built in 1927.
As for food, visitors should head to Little Creek Cheese in Wyong, which is located in the former Wyong Milk Factory. The chilli, basil and garlic goat cheese and the fig and walnut club cheddar are must-haves.
Anyone visiting Norah Heads for that swim or lighthouse tour should feed themselves at the General Store, which offers spectacular coffee, the dreamy bacon and rolls and a huge range of vegetarian and vegan options, including buckwheat waffles at herbal basis.
Cecilias Restaurant and Wine Bar in Toowoon Bay is also worth a visit for a modern and refined dining experience.
Diners can expect to see items on the menu like chicken confit with lemongrass and corn emulsion, Wagyu tartare with gochujang and dikon, yellowfin loin with eggplant and plum ponzu and charred purple yam with summer pickles.