Off the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Australia lies a district known as The Entrance. Though the name might sound a bit odd, it actually is referring to the entrance to the Tuggerah Lakes. The area is stunning, a veritable ingress, if you will, to idyllic coastal scenery and entertainment. While visiting The Entrance, there is one thing you cannot miss—the Pelican Feeding. Not many places attract as many of these incredible birds in a single place like The Entrance Pelican Feeding attraction. An awesome experience for all ages, this daily event is memorable and should be a highlight in anyone’s itinerary.
The Entrance Pelican Feeding experience might sound like an scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Let me tell you that the pelicans are just like the rest of the locals in NSW—friendly and mild-mannered. The interaction with the pelicans, as well as the commentary provided by the group who does the feeding, is actually very educational. You learn not only about the beautiful birds but about the wildlife in the general area. Children will love getting up close and personal with the pelicans; and adults will love snapping photographs and seeing how the feeding staff interacts with the birds.
The management behind this experience, particularly the volunteers from Marine Rescue, are also very active in giving those who come to see the action the best experience ever. Should you have any questions, they will be sure to respond back in a timely manner. Also, if you are concerned about not being able to see the pelicans due to the sheer amount of people, don’t be. Security has been amped up to make sure everyone gets a chance to view the feeding process. For those who are handicapped or are accompanying those with special needs, don’t be afraid to reach out to The Entrance or to Marine Rescue for assistance with seeing the pelican feeding show.
Over 20 years ago, the show began. In 1996, The Entrance Town Centre Management constructed Pelican Plaza in Memorial Park to make the attraction official. Because of the fantastic experience the Pelican Feeding has become throughout the years, it is now an internationally acclaimed location. The Entrance is now called “The Pelican Capital of Australia.” The excitement happens every day, regardless of weather, around 3:30 PM. It is recommended that you arrive early to secure a decent spot, especially when the weather is decent. The attraction is free.
If you find that you’ve enjoyed the lunch time pelican feeding at New South Wales, there’s another similar experience available in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island.
Getting to the Entrance to seeing the Pelican Feeding is remarkably easy. Located an hour from both Sydney and Newcastle makes the attraction the perfect pit stop when travelling between the two locations. If travelling from Sydney, take the M1 Motorway north. Exit M1 at Wyong/The Entrance/Yarramalong. From there head towards Tuggerah, Berkeley Vale and Killamay Vale. At the roundabout for Shelley Beach, take the left to Central Coast Highway/The Entrance Road. If coming from Newcastle, you can again use the M1 Motorway, following the route above. Another option is to use the Newcastle/Pacific Highway. Though not as straightforward, the road is very scenic, as you pass through Charleston, Belmont, Doyalson and Budgewoi.
Of course, The Entrance has more attractions than just pelicans. If you arrive early in the day, consider going on the Heritage Walk. Throughout the town are signposts that talk about the history of the area, the famous people who visited or lived there, and about the meaning behind the word “Tuggerah.” On a hot day, you might want to bring the kids to Vera’s Water Garden or indulge in dipping your own feet into some refreshing water. Since it’s close to Memorial Park, where the Pelican Feeding takes place, you don’t have to worry about the children growing bored while waiting for the excitement to begin.
Feeling a mite famished after watching pelicans chow down? The local restaurants recommended by the locals and visitors alike are as follows:
The Bistro Jinja — Gluten free Thai, anyone? The meals at this hidden gem are colorful, healthy and feature a wide variety of more than green curry. You will leave satisfied, in both body and wallet.
La Costa Restaurant — The best of Italy in Australia. Regulars rave about the freshly baked bread, but that’s not the only thing that’s awesome about this cozy restaurant. You’ll leave feeling like family.
The Old Bank Cafe and Restaurant — No matter the season, this cafe is alive and energetic. The presentation of both food and drink is as impressive as the flavor.
When in the New South Wales region of Australia, there is a lot to see. But not many places around the world offer the rare occasion of seeing swarms of pelicans getting fed and cared for. People from all over come to watch the display and interact with the birds. Whether passing through The Entrance or spending a couple of days, you will no doubt open the door to something fun and memorable.