“There are no attractions here,” the man behind the desk at Gosford’s Visitor Centre said. Great. Ruth and & I had spent just over an hour getting to Gosford.
I had asked John & Trish a couple of days before what we should do with our extra day. John suggested we go up the coast because the last part of the journey passes through some gentle mountains with sandstone promontories and then the train descends to photo-worthy Hawkesbury River views. As usual, John was right. But what now?
The man whose job it was to make sure I had a good time on the Central Coast between Sydney and Newcastle asked, “Do you have a car?”
“No. We came up from Sydney on the train.”
“Want to spend over $100 on taxi rides?” he asked.
“No!” I replied. I couldn’t believe there was nothing to do. Australia has over 500 National Parks. There were 5 of them just west of Gosford. We had skirted Ku-ring-gai Chase and passed through Brisbane Waters on the train.
Then I guess I won’t recommend the Australian Reptile Park. He handed me its brochure. “We’re a hands-on zoo!!!” it screeched before inviting me to meet Elvis, the crankiness crocodile in New South Wales.
“How about Terrigal?” he asked. “You can get there by local bus.”
Terrigal had spectacular headlands to climb, beaches to enjoy, lots of shops and restaurants, etc. “Why haven’t we heard about this 5 Compass adult playground?” I asked Ruth, who didn’t reply because it was clearly a rhetorical question. Why would Australians want a flood of outsiders invading this paradise?
Over the next couple of hours we watched a cricket match, explored The Skillion and Broken Head, and learned that this area is one of Australia’s primary dive spots.
As we came out of effortlessly perfect Surf Cafe, Ann walked toward us. Ann had been on the bus, lived in Terrigal, and had recommended Surf Cafe. Figuring we’d be done with lunch about this time, she tracked us down and offered to show us around her town.
Over the next couple of hours we saw an elegant Crowne Plaza, learned about Ken Duncan, a local photographer of national renown, and enjoyed the Gosford Regional Gallery and its beautiful Japanese garden established in 1994 with the help of its sister city, Edogawa. But best of all we learned about the HMAS Adelaide FFG 01.
In addition to at least 6 popular, natural dive sites, Terrigal is now home to a controversial artificial reef. A U.S. built guided missile frigate with an illustrious and varied history that included service in the War in Afghanistan, the Adelaide was decommissioned in 2008 and scuttled off the coast near Terrigal in 2011. Now the first military dive site in New South Wales, the Ex-HMAS Adelaide Reserve is available only to vessels with valid mooring papers and a growing number of excited divers with permits.
Nothing to do in Gosford? Hah! it’s not just a place to go to, it’s a place to go back to. Check out the Crowne Plaza Terrigal.