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May 22, 2019 by David Byrnes

A Day IN

We love taking holidays at Copacabana on the NSW Central Coast. In contrast to more northern beaches it is still relatively undeveloped and retains that village atmosphere.

On Del Monte Place the day starts shortly after sunrise. The birds have already had their singsong. Early walkers and a few runners are starting the morning. Some are struggling up the hill to the Captain Cook lookout. Others are taking a more leisurely approach accompanied by their pets. In the background is the sound of breakers on Copacabana Beach. The air is clear except for occasional sea mist.

The Newsagent is already open and Copaccino’s and Wave Cafes are putting their tables and chairs onto the footpath. A few patrons have already gathered enjoying their early coffee while reading the paper.

Meanwhile, back on the beach, a few board riders have gathered to try The Point or waves on the main beach. An occasional person is walking or running the 1.4 Km beach to Macmasters. There are usually a few fishermen trying their luck in the surf as well as a couple of diehards taking an early morning dip in the safe rock pool.

By mid-morning the street is humming with holiday makers enjoying a late breakfast, the surfers out in numbers and the sunbakers setting out their towels. Artie’s Café on the side of the Surf Club has now opened and patrons have gathered.

By this time families have also started gathering around and in the adjacent Cochrane Lagoon. This is a shallow, warm and protected body of water. It is great for young children and dogs are also permitted to join in the fun. Later we will see a few canoes and possibly an occasional sailboard. At the same time the sandhills are becoming populated with the sunbakers while others relax with a book.

By lunchtime the beach is less crowded but the Cafes are packed. The things quieten during the heat of the day.

Later in the afternoon the beaches and lagoon are repopulated. At this stage the local Lady Pizza is starting to throb. By late afternoon there are people queuing for Pizzas and craft beer. The local bottle shop next door is doing a roaring trade as people stock up for night festivities. There is also an unofficial hotel across the road where surfers finish the day with a can of beer under the “No Alcohol” sign.

The evenings are quiet. Most people are indoors dining with family and friends or at restaurants in adjacent villages (closest is Avoca which is only 5 minutes away). There has, and will be, a significant restaurant in Copacabana but that is presently looking for new management.

Loud disturbances and late night parties are unusual in this village so most holiday makers are able to get a sound night’s sleep ready for the next day.




Tudibaring Heads (110M)  forms the northern end of Copacabana Beach. Towards the south the beach is broken by Cochrane Lagoon and a little beyond is a rocky bluff. Captain Cook’s Second Peak forms the most southern part of Macmasters beach. Thus Copacabana and Macmasters are really the same beach separated by the Cochrane Lagoon. This beach is also unusual because it faces to the south-east. As a result it has quite different surfing conditions to most other beaches.SURF CONDITIONSAround the northern rock ledge of Copacabana Beach the “sucky lefts unload on the outside section before peeling through to the fun inside sandbars on higher tides and a southerly swell.  The banks facing the lake entrance are inconsistent but can be good” (Copacabana Spot Guide). A rock shelf and small reef extend from the base of the towering Tudibaring Head. As a result of the reef excellent waves develop off the point producing a left hand break. The presence of a northerly swell increases the wave formation. Hence this area is very popular with surfers.


At the northern end of Copacabana Beach a shallow rock pool lies next to the rocky shelf. The pool provides a perfect escape for parents with young children because it is shallow, has a sandy bottom and is protected from the waves. In addition, when tired of swimming,  youngsters  can explore the nearby rocks for small critters.


Copacabana Beach is popular because it is clean, has a gentle slope with sandbars , and moreover , is patroled by lifeguards. Copacana Surf Life Saving Club stands guard over the whole beach. It is an attractive and colourful building. Under the building is Artie’s Café which opens  onto a flat, grassy area. This is a sought after area because of shade, breezes, a good view down the beach and the excellent snacks and coffee.

The clubhouse has  viewing platforms on the upper level. Bonnie’s Lookout, in front of the shops, is also a handy viewing platform. Because of their elevation, these are perfect for watching the whale migrations which occur between May and October. Beside watching whales sometimes pods of dolphins appear thus giving a further delight. At times they even play amongst the  board-riders. The views extend beyond Cochrane Lagoon all the way to Macmasters Beach.Surf Club overlooking Copacabana Beach


Visiting Copacabana between May and August carries a bonus because part of the Humpback Whale migration can be seen. Copacabana is one of the most eastern points on the Australian coast and therefore the whales are often close inshore and easily spotted. The beachside platform in front of the Copacabana shops provides good viewing (Bonnie’s Lookout). However, Captain Cook Lookout, provides an even better view, because it is on the top of Tudibaring Head ( 110M above sea level). As a result the view to extends down to Sydney Heads. A plaque outlining Cook’s visit to the area is also on display. Although getting to the Lookout requires a quite steep walk it can be thought of as a “get fit” exercise.


Cochrane Lagoon, is a large body of water, between Copacabana and Macmasters Beach.  We believe that the lagoon is the major attraction for holiday makers with young families. This is because, while many beaches are close by, none have such an easily reached child and pet friendly body of water. The lagoon  is mostly quite  shallow and therefore warm. Because of this the area is great for swimming, splashing and the usual water games. Deeper areas allow for swimming, boating and canoeing.  The Copacabana Beach area is hard to beat for a relaxed family holiday because of accessibility, cleanliness, good facilities,  the lagoon and scenic beauty. It is no surprise that we chose proximity to the lagoon for Copa Beachside.


Opening the lagoon to the sea occurs now and then but such times are very special because of the striking cascade of water. It is necessary  to open the lagoon when nearby properties flood after heavy rains. Soon after the first trickle of water we see a raging torrent pouring out onto the beach.  With the huge flow of water large standing waves form. Because these waves are static, boogey and surf board riders can ride these waves for long periods. Meanwhile children, board riders and fish go in all directions. Hence the event is very striking and fascinating to bystanders.Copacabana/Macmasters Beach.


Looking at Macmasters Beach we see a mirror image of Copacabana. Hence, on the southern end is a rocky headland (Captain Cook’s Second Peak), ocean pool and a Surf Club. The reef off this headland, provides a right hand break for surfers.Macmasters has a very relaxed atmosphere, because the area is almost entirely residential. The Surf Club and associated Bare-Foot-Cafe form the only retail development in Macmasters.  Although one can walk easily and quickly from Copacabana, a trip by car takes longer because the journey around the lagoon is 7km.


Copacabana has three coffee shop/cafes  on the main street.  These are –  Copaccino’s, Wave Café and Cabana café. Each provide good coffee and have noticeable long-term patrons. In addition Copaccino’s is well known for its tasty snacks and Waves Café  has a wide range of ice-creams.  Artie’s Place resides at the Surf Club.The Copacabana Supermarket carries an wide array of essentials. Rarely have we been  unable to find required articles.  As an example, they also hire out surf and boogey boards. A Post Office forms part of the Copacabana Newsagency. Snips Hair Saloon  caters for men besides women. Havana Hair and Beauty is a recent addition to the Copacabana shops. Copacabana Cellars has a wide range of beer, wine and spirits at good prices.

Lady Copa Pizzeria e Birra is a welcome addition because of the great pizzas and craft beer. Luca’s Chemist  is also a recent addition and provides a welcome service.Copacabana has two real-estate agents – Stone Copacabana and LJHooker. A medical Centre is now available at Copacabana Beach.

THINGS TO DO IN COPACABANA – 10 BEST SUGGESTIONS.1:SURFINGTry Copacabana Point, mid-beach Copacabana or Avoca to obtain the best conditions.2:WALKINGTake a trip up to the hill from Copacabana Beach to the  Captain Cook Lookout, or explore the Bouddi National Park – particularly Maitland Bay. If you are fit try walking the The  5  Lands Walk , but only after you have arranged a return lift.3:GOLFINGIf you are into Golfing improve your game with a lesson from Lee Akers – Kincumber Driving Range (highly rated) or play at Magenta Shores.4:DININGFor a great experience try Lady Pizzeria but for that special occasion go to Bell’s at Killcare.5:ADVENTUREIt’s hard to beat Treetops for children’s climbing adventures (one of the very best things to do around Copacabana) while Bensville Horse Riding and Glenworth Valley are alternativs.6:SHOPPINGIf you are interested in Shopping for odds-and-ends, clothes or home décor go to  Moochinside at Hardy’s Bay.  For more serious  shopping the huge complex at Erina Fair should satisfy your needs.7:MOVIESFor movies you must take a trip to the iconic refurbished Avoca Theatre but for the very latest releases the Hoyts Movie complex at Erina Fair should suit your needs.8:FRESH FISHSeacoast Fishing on Scenic Drive (a short distance from Copacabana Beach) has the Freshest Fish on the Central Coast. 9:FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLESGeorges Fruit Barn is an amazing place because of the very large range of Fresh Produce as well as Delicatessen Foods.10:ART AND CULTUREFor those interested in Art and Culture the Gosford Regional Gallery is a very pleasant surprise because of the Japanese Gardens as well as quality exhibitions and an excellent gift and coffee shop.