The Creek, Central Coast review: Home among the mangroves

Read our writer's views on this property below

Bellinda Kontominas develops a taste for the quiet life at a fishing village on the central coast.

THE sun is fading as we row across Patonga Creek to our piece of waterfront paradise. In dim light, I try to read from a set of supplied directions as my companion struggles to row in a straight line past oyster leases towards properties on the far side of the creek.

With the low tide, it would probably be faster if we jumped out and waded across but we choose to savour the journey and remark on the charm of the location.

We tie the boat and look for an olive-green house with a red tin roof, as instructed, before realising we have arrived at the wrong jetty. Throwing our bags back into the boat, we're off again, this time finding our little fibro cottage among the mangroves.

By now the sun is gone and I'm reading by the light from my mobile phone as we make our way from the jetty to the house. The key, however, does not open the glass door at the side of the house. A closer look at the written instructions clarifies things: please continue to the very back of the house.

The property has timber floors throughout and a timber fireplace in the entry room, although it doesn't look as though it has been used in years. Beyond is a rustic kitchen that has all the cutlery and appliances you'll need for your stay, including an electric stove. To the left is a lounge area, lined with comfy day beds and cushy pillows and a dining room with glass doors that open to a timber deck overlooking the water.

What seems to be missing are the bedrooms and a place in which to relieve ourselves. We turn on the outside light and discover a sliding timber door opens to a pit toilet. This is the most pleasant experience I've had as far as pit toilets go. It's designed to have as little impact as possible on the nearby oyster leases and is not smelly. Another timber door opens to the main bedroom, which has a double bed and clothes storage. We find a second bedroom on the other side of the house.

We doze off to the sounds of possums and bats in the bushland around the house and wake to the chirping call of the currawong.

Home seems a world away as we breakfast on the deck while gazing out to the creek, the excitement of getting here already replaced by a slower pace.

By the time we step into the outdoor shower, we are so relaxed we might as well be travelling in reverse. We watch as two large currawongs land in a nearby tree and begin picking at its fruit. The only disappointment is having to remove the cobwebs from the shower before stepping in.

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Later, we bask in the sunshine while fishing off the property's private jetty before discovering the stay includes a kayak. We paddle across the creek and, in the daylight, can see there are dozens of houses on our side of the water, accessible only by boat. Some are like ours – quaint shacks with million-dollar views; others are architect-designed mansions.

On the other side of the creek is a caravan park and further along is a small car park where we had left our car. We drive back into town, past a couple of art galleries and the general store (which doubles as a fish-and-chip shop) and have a drink at the Patonga Beach Hotel. The Hamptons-style hotel is popular among boaties who drop anchor off the beach before grabbing dinner.

We stroll along the beach, past a jetty where pelicans scout for their next feed and realise we are the only people on the sand.

Unlike Pearl Beach, its glitzier neighbour, Patonga is a quiet fishing village and to both locals and holidaymakers, that's part of its charm.

The writer was a guest of 295 The Creek and Tourism NSW.

Trip notes

Where 295 The Creek, Patonga. Bookings through Stayz: stayz.com.au/17649.

Getting there Take the Gosford exit of the F3, through Woy Woy and Umina to Patonga. Patonga is about a 10-minute drive from Umina. By ferry: Hawkesbury River Ferries operates a daily service between Palm Beach and Patonga. It's a 10-minute walk from the wharf to the creek's jetty.

How much $150-$245 a night, minimum two-night stay. The property sleeps four.

Style statement Rustic waterfront cottage.

Perfect for A relaxed getaway, once you have managed to find the place.

Don't forget Insect repellent.

A shame about The spiderwebs.

Kudos For keeping a kayak as an option for getting around.

Take the kids? Of course, especially if they like to swim, fish, be in boats or are keen to explore Brisbane Water National Park.