Coastal Culture: Five Central Coast Events to Hit on a Weekend Adventure This May

Bookmark these family-friendly events for any upcoming trips up north.
Joe Rivers
Published on April 11, 2024

Coastal Culture: Five Central Coast Events to Hit on a Weekend Adventure This May

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Bookmark these family-friendly events for any upcoming trips up north.

Winter is coming, the nights are drawing in, and the mercury has dipped, but that doesn't mean you must stay indoors for the next few months. New South Wales is just as full of entertainment now as at any other time of the year.

To prove that point, the Central Coast has lined up a series of events to keep us entertained. If you're a Sydneysider, a drive up to the Cenny Coast isn't that far, and if you make the journey, you'll be rewarded with a cluster of towns that are quiet enough that you won't feel crowded and big enough that there's always something happening. Here's a round-up of our favourite happenings in Central Coast this season.

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    Central Coast Chilli Festival

    Spice is big business, and people want their tastebuds more than tickled. If you’re a spice lover, it’s the perfect time to participate in “The Hottest Day on the Central Coast”. This free event celebrates all things capsaicin.

    Come down to Memorial Park in The Entrance on Sunday, May 19, to peruse the food trucks, taste spicy chilli products and — the biggest draw of them all — take part (or watch) in a chilli-eating competition. If you prefer your meals a little lower down the Scoville scale, there’s plenty of milder food for you to enjoy, as well as a selection of wines and beers.

    Plus, there’s live music throughout the day and a range of market stalls, meaning there’s plenty for spice lovers and haters alike.

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  • 4
    Words on the Waves Writers Festival

    From Wednesday, May 29 to Monday, June 3, various venues across the Central Coast will become the scene for a celebration of stories and ideas, Words on the Waves Writers Festival. Like any good literature festival, you can attend events and talks by big-name authors, book launches, and writing workshops. However, there are a few things that set this event apart. Firstly, there’s the location.

    The Central Coast is known for its stunning scenery, and here, you can attend events at Umina, Ocean Beach, and Ettalong Beach. Secondly, there’s the literary cruise. Leaving from Woy Woy Wharf on the morning of June 3, it’s a two-hour journey through literature and water, affording you an experience you won’t find at any other festival.

    Thirdly, and for the first time ever, there’s The Dip. A program stream featuring affordable and free events, The Dip is about discovery and accessibility. You can listen to best-selling authors like Judy Nunn, Anna Downes and Nat’s What I Reckon — the enemy of both censors and jar sauces — all for a low price.

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  • 3
    Shana O'Brien — Inner Landscapes

    First Nations artist and dancer Shana O’Brien brings her exhibition, Inner Landscapes, which tells stories of the land and our connection to it, to the Gosford Regional Gallery and Edogawa Commemorative Garden from Friday, May 24, to Monday, June 3. O’Brien uses her art to give insight into the lives of her ancestors. Her use of colours and shapes evokes her emotional journey.

    As a proud Darkinjung woman, O’Brien feels a particular connection to the area where this performance will take place. As a dancer and graduate of NAISDA College, Australia’s premier performing arts institution specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, O’Brien has worked with some of New South Wales’ best choreographers and artists.

    She’s also performed with Sydney’s famous Bangarra Dance Theatre and participated in the Banff Indigenous Dance Lab in Canada. Shana O’Brien brings a real artistic pedigree, so go to Gosford at the end of May and let her take you on a journey to the land and beyond.

    Image: Shana O’Brien, Inner Landscapes

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  • 2
    Highway of Lost Hearts

    “A woman. A dog. A campervan. And 4,500km of wide open road.” That isn’t the tagline for the latest homegrown drama series to hit streaming services. It’s the description for the newest production showing at Wyoming’s Laycock Street Community Theatre, Highway of Lost Hearts. The show is one night only, taking place on Saturday, May 18.

    In it, Mot, the protagonist, awakes one day to find she’s lost her heart — literally. This revelation takes her on a trip across the outback and invites us to ask questions about what we’d do in her situation, as well as ponder whether we, as a country, have also lost our hearts. Written by award-winning Darwin playwright Mary Anne Butler, Highway of Lost Hearts is presented in collaboration with Bathurst’s interdisciplinary arts organisation, Lingua Franca and Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre’s Local Stages program.

    It promises 70 minutes of thought-provoking entertainment, includes music from Central West artists Smith & Jones and is led by seasoned theatre star Kate Smith.

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  • 1
    Sydney Writers Festival Livestreams 2024

    At the end of May, a host of top names arrive in the state capital for the annual Sydney Writers Festival. But if you can’t make it to the Harbour City, a number of the biggest events are being streamed for free in libraries across the Central Coast. Lake Haven, Toukley, Kincumber, Erina, Tuggerah and Umina Beach libraries are all taking part.

    Note that all events are being livestreamed to all libraries, so make sure to check the Love Central Coast website for times and locations. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to see Julie Baird, author of Phosphorescence, talk about the inspiration for her new book. Or miss  Olivier Award-winning playwright Suzie Miller speak on the huge success of her production, Prima Facie. Or catch Trent Dalton, the biggest Australian novelist of the last years, talking about his new novel and what it means to see his breakout hit, Boy Swallows Universe, make its way onto Netflix earlier this year. Support local libraries while also getting a slice of literary insight — it really is a win-win situation.

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For more information on what’s happening on the Central Coast, you can visit the Central Coast Tourism website.

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