Copa Villa review: It's the hottest spot north of MacMasters

Read our writer's views on this property below

Jacqui Taffel takes her baby to Copacabana.

In the 1950s, developers on the Central Coast subdivided land at Tudibaring Head and called it Copacabana. Did they hope to replicate the heaving, high-rise-lined strip of sand in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

Thankfully, they failed.

This remains a gorgeous, unspoilt spot. The town is arranged around the hills overlooking the long, curved beach that stretches south to MacMasters Beach. It's never as busy as Avoca Beach, just to the north.

Our holiday house, Copa Villa, is on Del Rio Drive, continuing the exotic theme. The house is new, huge and not exotic, despite the colourful cushions and bedspreads. Built to occupy almost the entire block, it has vast interior expanses but not much garden at the front or back.

The first thing we do is lug the barbecue and outdoor furniture out on to the deck, which is small and sits rather oddly at the front of the house. The front door leads straight into the open-plan kitchen, living and dining room. There's a big dining table, an enormous flat-screen television and an oven so wide a largeturkey wouldn't brush the sides.

Of the four bedrooms, two have double beds and there are two bathrooms, one an en suite. Three bedrooms have ceiling fans but there are none in the main part of the house and there is no air conditioning. This is not such a problem as the lack of flyscreens. For a mosquito magnet like me, who likes to have windows open after dark, it's a drawback.

Overall, however, the villa is comfortable, clean, well appointed and perfectly located - a short, level walk to the beach and another minute to the shops. Copa, as the locals call it, has all the essentials: a supermarket, bottle shop, bakery, takeaway food and newsagent with post office. It even has a bar, Fubah on Copa, and a white-clothed restaurant, White Sands.

For us, here with a toddler, the main attraction is the Mavis Pool, a sheltered rock pool built in the 1950s by two local women, both named Mavis. Imagine trying to get a DA through for that now. It's popular with families, including us.

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We drive over the hill to Avoca for good coffee at the Point Cafe and a meal at Rojo Rocket, a new Mexican restaurant. It's the toddler's first dinner outing. He is not known to sit still for more than two minutes, so we arrive at 6pm prepared for tag-team dining. Miraculously, he is so entranced by the colourful decor, lively music, cute waitresses and guacamole with corn chips that he sits long enough for us to enjoy an excellent meal.

This is the icing on the cake of a relaxing stay. We'll take Copa over Rio any day.

Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.

VISITOR'S BOOK

COPA VILLA

Address 21 Del Rio Drive, Copacabana.

The verdict Great spot for a chilled-out weekend with family or a group of friends.

Price $1000 a weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday night), $250 for extra nights. Price varies with season.

Bookings Phone George Brand Real Estate, Avoca Beach, on 4382 1311 or see georgebrand.com.au.

Getting there About a 1½-hour drive north of Sydney.

Wheelchair access No.

While you're there Walk in Bouddi National Park, take surfing lessons at Avoca, see a movie at the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, shop at The Entrance Farmers Market (first and third Saturday of the month), visit Gosford Regional Gallery.