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The Ultimate Guide To A Weekend In Long Jetty, The Hippest Central Coast Suburb

Imagine a tiny version of Sydney’s Newtown, but wedged between a lake and multiple gorgeous beaches. The ‘best of both worlds’ is what a once-written-off town on NSW’s Central Coast offers visitors, who feel like they’ve stumbled upon a gem.

You’ve heard of Central Coast towns like Copacabana, Terrigal and Avoca, but you’d be forgiven for not knowing about Long Jetty.

You see, it was once a forgotten town on the Cenny Coast. Three decades ago, Long Jetty was home to a government-funded methadone clinic, earning it the title of ice capital of Australia — not exactly the place you’d want to holiday or put down roots.

 

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While those days are long gone, Long Jetty’s past imbues it with a certain kind of inner-city grit you can’t manufacture, a characteristic that separates it from the rest of the coast. Slightly rough around the edges, Long Jetty isn’t as pretty as Terrigal or Avoca — and that’s a good thing.

The town needed to offer more than scenery to draw in new life; it had to reinvent itself. Switched on local businesses and entrepreneurs have done a fabulous job in doing just that, all starting with The Glass Onion Society back in 2011.

Long Jetty has since enjoyed a slow glow up without losing its soul. With a strong sense of community, creative spirit and a decidedly bohemian vibe, it’s little wonder this strip has carved out a reputation as an enclave of Central Coast cool.

Now, you’ll find a hub of great cafes, beautiful boutiques, sweet vintage finds, local gigs and even a post WWII cinema-turned-bar, all perfect for a 1.5 hour getaway from Sydney.

Here’s how to make your trip a slam dunk.

Head to the jetty for sunset

Image: Sonia Taylor / Supplied

Australia has a knack for calling a spade a spade (The Big Banana, I’m looking at you) and Long Jetty is no different. This town gets its name from its most notable feature: the longest jetty in NSW, at 350 metres long.

It also happens to be one of the best spots to watch the sunset. And if the long jetty is chock full of visitors with the same idea, there’s a medium-sized jetty nearby where you can try your luck for Insta.

Eat at any of these joints

#1 The Glass Onion Society

 

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This cafe sits right in the heart of the main drag with ample outdoor and indoor seating. It’s changed hands from the original owners, but is still a hub of eclectic vintage decor, tasty cafe fare and strong coffee. The muffins usually sell out, too.

Open 7am – 3pm daily.

#2 Green Tangerine

This bakery cafe offers punters a taste of Sydney with coffee by The Little Marionette. They serve up delicious pastries and fresh bread from their on-site bakery as well as cafe meals. The side of the building is also where you’ll find the infamous tropical-coloured Long Jetty mural.

Open 8am – 3pm daily.

#3 Modern Organic

 

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Modern Organic is a place to ‘nourish your mind, body and spirit’. It offers yoga at the front, periodic events and a cute garden courtyard out the back serving a menu of local, organic, seasonal wholefood creations. The food quality is legit, with everything from warming kormas and ramen, to Korean fried chicken (or tofu) burgers and smoothie bowls.

Cafe open 7am – 2:30pm daily.

#4 Common Ground Kitchen & Canteen

 

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It’s no fuss here — there are a few tables and chairs out front — but the quality of the produce is on point. Known for their smoked and slow roasted meats, wholesome sides and burgers, you can also get good coffee and yum brekkies. Pasta fiends will be thrilled to know they do handmade pasta nights from 5pm Thursday through Saturday.

Open Mon – Wed 6am – 3pm; Thurs – Fri 6am – late; Sat 7am – late; Sun 7am – 3pm.

#5 Flour & Co

 

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What a crew ⚡️

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This is ~technically~ Toowoon Bay, but we have to include this happy little hole in the wall because it’s a local favourite. This is a family-run business, helmed by the lovely Grace Picot and her partner Tim. They do great coffee, freshly baked pastries and bread, pies and sauso rolls, as well as takeaway burritos (try the California, only available on weekends). There are vegan options and lots of raw treats, too and weekend fresh blooms from Pandanus Design.

Open Monday – Saturday 6am – 3pm; Sunday + Public Holidays 6:30 – 3pm.

#6 The Savoy

Like Long Jetty, The Savoy has also had a revival. In the 1950s, it was the Central Coast’s biggest (and ritziest) cinema until it closed its doors in the 70s. Sitting unused for almost 40 years, it’s now been revived into a multi-use bar and restaurant that hasn’t forgotten its past.

Open Friday and Saturday 4pm – midnight.

#7 Hernando’s Hideaway

 

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It’s a universal truth that everyone loves Mexican food and it just so happens the colourful Hernando’s Hideaway serves up the tastiest Mexican fare on the Central Coast. A Long Jetty institution, you’ll need to book ahead for this one – it’s regularly packed with adoring locals. Order a Pacifico or a margarita and browse their menu of Mexican classics with a twist, designed to share tapas-style. They cater to vegetarians, vegans and some food sensitivities, too.

Open Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm till late.

#8 Yasaka Japanese Dining

 

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The recently opened Yasaka is a happy addition to LJ, bringing some much-needed Japanese cuisine to the area. Everything from lunchtime bento boxes to miso eggplant, sashimi, fresh oysters and of course, sushi, this is tasty, fresh Japanese in a low-key, cosy space.

Open Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 2pm and 5pm – 9pm.

Boutique hop

Whether you’re a plant mum, a human mum, love your labels or want to stock up on your crystal collection, there’s something for everyone.

#1 Plain Janes

 

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Plenty of dried goodies in-store this weekend ✨ See you tomorrow OPEN 930-430 ✌

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This is a charming boutique offering labels like Nude Lucy, Assembly Label and Levis, plus great shades, kids clothes and a heavenly room full of dried flowers and ceramics.

#2 Shadowbang Apothecary and Supply

 

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It might just be the cutest shop in NSW (a stunning A-frame house). Centred around the modern mystic woman, you’ll find labels like Zulu & Zephyr, By Billie and Dylan Kain alongside Salty Aura rugs, essential oils, locally-poured candles with crystals and more. They also have a pick-your-own dry flower bar.

#3 Mowgli Studio

 

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Mowgli is a newer kid on the Jetty block but a firm local fixture. “Full of hand-painted pots, sculptures, locally made homewares and more plants than any sane person should have,” so says the website. The team at Mowgli also throw events (COVID permitting). The space is a vibe.

#4 Lucky Surf & Supply

This is a one-stop shop combining men’s clothing, a surf store, gallery and coffee spot.

#5 Long Jetty Vintage

Is where you’ll quell a vintage and pre-loved clothes craving.

#6 Webster’s Vintage

Is a must-try for antiques and bric a brac.

#7 Sorry Grandma Shop

Sorry Grandma offers retro and handmade treasures including kids clothes, retro kitchenware and even wallpaper.

#8 Sadie Lou

This is another cute women’s clothing boutique worth a stop.

#9 Tiny Folk Co

This store is a must for discerning mamas with dapper babes.

#10 Grant Molony gallery

If you’re keen on local art, you simply have to take yourself here.

#11 The Sound Exchange

Vinyl lovers need to visit The Sound Exchange, you’re sure to find some treasures.

#12 Totally Active Healing Centre

This joint has a bunch of beautiful crystals, and why not get a tarot reading while you’re there?

Get physical

Considering Long Jetty is quite narrow, sitting on a strip of coast flanked between Tuggerah Lake and the beaches of Shelly, Toowoon Bay and Blue Bay, you’ve got multiple options nearby for getting out in nature.

Rent a bike and hit the Tuggerah Lake Cycleway, an off-road scenic route spanning 12kms around the lake, or alternatively across the bridge at The Entrance toward Magenta Shores.

If you prefer your feet on the ground, take the Coast to Lake Walk for a decent walk (7.6 km), which does a loop along Tuggerah Lake, The Entrance channel, the beaches from The Entrance to Toowoon Bay, then through town and back to the start.

Head out for a surf or swim at Blue Bay, Toowoon Bay or Shelly Beach (all easily walkable along the shore to one another). You could also hop into The Entrance Ocean Baths for a few laps.

 

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Hit Wyrrabalong National Park for an easy bush walk and take in the views at Crackneck lookout. You could even pack a picnic and walk all the way to Forresters beach.

You’ll find all this within a 3km radius and you’re only about 15 minutes from Forresters, Wamberal and Terrigal if you want to explore further.

Once the weekend dream is over, I’d personally wrap up where I started: at the jetty watching sunset.

(Lead Image: Provided by author)