DescriptionThe Central Coast is an Australian peri-urban region in New South Wales, located on the coast north of Sydney and south of Lake Macquarie. The Central Coast has an estimated population of 323,079 as at June 2014, growing at 1% p.a. 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. The region is a network of towns that have been linked in recent years by expanding suburban development. The main urban cluster of the region surrounds the northern shore of Brisbane Water and includes the Coast's largest population centre, Gosford, stretching east to the retail centre of Erina. Other major commercial "centres" on the Coast are Wyong, Tuggerah, Lakehaven, The Entrance, Terrigal, and Woy Woy. Large numbers of people who live in the southern part of the region commute daily to work in Sydney. The Central Coast is also a popular tourist destination and a popular area for retirement. The Central Coast has significant employment including services, tourism, manufacturing, finance, building, retail and industrial. As a result, the cultural identity of the region is distinct from that of the large and diverse metropolis of Sydney as well as from the Hunter region with its mining, heavy industry and port. On 2 December 2005, the Central Coast was officially recognised as a stand-alone region rather than an extension of Sydney or the Hunter Valley.