The Central Coast has an approximate population of 298,000 making it the third largest urban area in New South Wales and the ninth largest urban area in Australia. Geographically, the Central Coast is generally considered to include the region bounded by the Hawkesbury River in the south, the Watagan Mountains in the west and the southern end of Lake Macquarie in the north.
Politically, it is administered as two local government areas; City of Gosford and Wyong Shire. In September 2006, the NSW Government released a revised long term plan for the region that sees the Central Coast classified as a regional city, along with Wollongong and the Hunter Region, with the largest regional city in the area being Gosford.
Water restrictions on the Central Coast currently stand at Level 3, Level 5 being the highest, with temporary desalination plants currently being deployed at Budgewoi as an emergency response. Most of the regions water comes from Mangrove Creek Dam, which was not originally meant to be the main dam.
There have also been recent issues about the creation of a rugby league team in the National Rugby League competition. These efforts were rejected in 2005 in favour of Queensland's Gold Coast region but are likely to resurface in the near future when the governing body of rugby league once again considers new applications.
These are local stations only. In most locations on the Central Coast, Sydney and Newcastle stations can be received at good levels.
Television The Central Coast has three Broadcast translators across the region, located at Bouddi (between Killcare & MacMasters Beach), Gosford & Wyong (Forresters Beach). These translators carry national broadcasters ABC & SBS, commercial broadcasters Seven, Nine & Ten from Sydney, and regional broadcasters, Prime Television & NBN Television. Southern Cross Ten is only available from the Wyong TV translator. Digital transmission of all channels, except Southern Cross Ten, is available in all three TV translators.
Newspapers The Central Coast is serviced by two weekly newspapers. The Central Coast Express Advocate, published by News Limited's Cumberland Newspaper Group, is distributed on Wednesdays & Fridays. The Sun Weekly, owned by Fairfax, is distributed on Thursdays. Both papers are delivered to the resident's doorsteps free of charge.
In addition to local sporting leagues, the Central Coast is attempting to become a national sporting force with several teams competing in national leagues. The most notable of these is the Central Coast Mariners who play football (soccer) and compete in the A-League. The Mariners, the regions' most popular team, were grand-finalists in the first A-League 2005-06 season and in the A-League 2007-08 season. The Mariners play out of Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium at Gosford. Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium is the largest stadium on the Central Coast. As well as hosting all the Mariners home games, several National Rugby League (NRL) and Super 14 games have been held there.
The Central Coast Rhinos is another team that plays in the Australian Ice Hockey League. The team have played out of Erina Ice Arena at Erina Fair, which is the Central Coast's only ice rink. The Rhinos have played in the previous three seasons finishing 8th in 2005, 7th in 2006 and 6th in the 2007 AIHL season.
The Central Coast 'Oxigen' Crusaders are the elite senior basketball program of the Central Coast region incorporating the Gosford City Rebelsand The Entrance Lakersjunior associations with their successful junior representative programs acting as the breeding grounds and feeder programs of the Crusaders senior teams. Their home 'national class' basketball stadium is located in Terrigal.
Several attempts have been made to have teams enter other national competitions. The most notable of these was the attempt to enter the Central Coast Bears as the 16th team into the NRL. This attempt was financed by a consortium led by John Singleton, but the Gold Coast Titans were ultimately successful. The Northern Eagles, a merger of NRL clubs Manly-Warringah and North Sydney began their tenure playing half of their games at Gosford, however within three years the team was solely playing back at Brookvale. South Sydney were also unsuccessfully approached to play out of Gosford, despite the few games that are played on the Central Coast attracting large crowds. The Central Coast Storm rugby league team play in a number of NSWRL lower grade competitions in rugby league, and the Central Coast Waves rugby union team plays in the Shute Shield. Most recently, the Central Coast Rays rugby union club who competed in the ill-fated Australian Rugby Championship's only season late in 2007, called Bluetongue Stadium home.
The Central Coast has numerous sporting ovals, golf courses, skate parks, tennis courts and swimming pools that are open to the public. Attempts are underway to build a series of bicycle paths. A velodrome is also open to the public at West Gosford. National parks on the Central Coast have a large range of walking paths and mountain bike trails. Water sports like sailing, rowing and water skiing are popular activities on the Central Coast lakes. Attempts are being made to attract pro golf tournaments to Magenta Shores (a new resort north of The Entrance), and plans are being considered to sink the wreckage of HMAS Adelaide off the coast for divers.
The regional tourism body is known as Central Coast Tourism and manage the three accredited Visitor Information Centres located in the area. These are located in the Mt Penang Parklands at Kariong, in Memorial Park at The Entrance and also on Mann Street in Gosford.
The Central Coast's roads are maintained by both local councils as well as several state roads, however, due to the relatively large geography, maintenance issues often arise.
Stations considered part of the Central Coast length of the CityRail network are (from south to north):
* - Stations not located in Central Coast region but still considered to be part of the Central Coast portion of the CityRail network
Trains terminate at both Gosford & Wyong stations which are also utilised by the far-reaching CountryLink network.
Busways operates services using Tuggerah, Erina and Gosford as central points. In the south services cover as far south as Woy Woy, Umina, Ettalong and Pearl Beach/Patonga, and also stretch out to Kincumber, Erina, Avoca and Terrigal in the east. Occasional services are conducted to Kariong in the west. Busways' northern services cover from Gosford and north to Tuggerah (through the Narara Valley and Ourimbah), then continue north to Wyong via Tuggerah, which in turn services the northern section of Lake Haven, Charmhaven, Gorokan, Toukley, Noraville Budgewoi, Buff Point and San Remo. Further services also utilise routes including Blue Haven, Gwandalan, and as far north as Swansea and Charlestown in Lake Macquarie. As of February 2008, Busways now have more than 19 wheelchair accessible buses in its fleet.
Red Bus Services operates services mainly between Wyong and The Entrance as well as The Entrance and Gosford, although some services do reach Ourimbah and Wyong Hospital at Kanwal. Their services also operate to West Gosford, Wyoming, Holgate, Matcham, Point Frederick and Springfield. Although most services operate to/from Wyong Hospital via Berkley Vale and Westfield Tuggerah, one service (Route 29) operates from Bay Village to Wyong Hospital via The Entrance, Magenta Shores, Toukley, Gorokan and Lake Haven. Red Bus have around 12 buses that are suitable for wheelchairs.
Coastal Liner operate limited route bus services around the Westfield Tuggerah, Wyong, Wyee, Hamlyn Terrace, Woongarah, Warnervale, Dooralong and Jilliby. Routes 10 (Tuggerah-Wyee via Hue Hue Rd and Wyong), 12 (Tuggerah-Jilliby via Dicksons and Mandalong Roads) and 13 (Tuggerah-Dooralong via Jilliby Rd) all operate only on weekdays with limited services. Route 11 is the most popular service, Linking Lake Haven with Warnervale via Hamlyn Terrace and Woongarah. This service on weekdays occasionally extends to Westfield Tuggerah and Wyong Station via Hue Hue Rd. Coastal Liner also currently has 2 wheelchair buses.
Great improvements have been made in recent years with considerable investment from both major and specialist companies. Due to the region's challenging topography some areas have a poor choice of service providers and this remains an issue yet to be solved.