The Central Coast is a region of NSW just north of its capital, Sydney, with a population of around 325,082 people. As the third largest urban population in NSW, it stretches from the north of Sydney to Lake Macquarie and west to the Watagan Mountains. The Central Coast’s local Guringai and Darkinjung people are among some of the first Indigenous cultures to encounter white settlers. Aboriginal Australian and historical figure, Bungaree was from this area; he became a famous community leader who accompanied Matthew Flinders on a circumnavigation of Australia as an interpreter and negotiator. A Queensland suburb, Bongaree, was named after him as well as Boongaree Island in Western Australia.
Modern industry in the region ranges from tourism and retail to manufacturing and building. There has been lots of suburban development in the Central Coast, particularly around Brisbane Water, Gosford and Erina. The Central Coast has a commercial hub located in Gosford, which is the main visitor gateway as well as a single level shopping centre (the largest in the Southern Hemisphere) called Erina Fair.
Lots of CBD commuters reside in these suburbs today but the area itself is quite distinct from both Sydney and the Hunter Valley. Tourist attractions on the coast include sandy, family-friendly surfing beaches and rock pools including Avoca and Terrigal beaches and inland Yarramalong Valley, Munmorah State Conservation area and the hinterland.