Ettalong Beach NSW is a magnet for families wanting to enjoy fishing and safe swimming.
The water is calm, shallow and flat, and the eastern bank is a favourite fishing spot for many anglers.
The new foreshore makes things easy for families. well, it can never get too easy for parents of small children… Kids can ride their bikes or play in the playgrounds while you’re having a picnic or barbecue. Or eat at The Box on the Water. It overlooks Brisbane Water.
The town is located on the southern Central Coast peninsula in NSW where Brisbane Water and Broken Bay meet. South of Ettalong and opposite Broken Bay is Palm Beach. It's only 7 km away in straight line but 100 km by roads around waterways.
Bouddi and Brisbane Water National Parks are located close by. They offer nice bush walks. And great lookouts.
Ettalong is an aboriginal word meaning “place for drinking”. It was named as such because fresh water was available from a hole submerged in sand close to shore. Early crews would stop in this town to get water from that hole.
Car: 1 hr 20 min from Sydney via the M1 (F3). Click on this link for directions on Google Map.
Train: 1 hr 45 min from Central Station in Sydney. Take bus 53 from Woy Woy Station.
Ferry: 30 min on the Palm Beach Ferry. Departs from Palm Beach Wharf.
The foreshore is mainly used for water activities: swimming, fishing, boating…
The water is calm, flat and shallow – it has a reputation for safe swimming. (The water is protected from the open seas by a headland.)
The natural scenery wins hands down...
You can catch bream, whiting and flathead along The Esplanade.
The sand continues unbroken to Ocean-Umina Beaches for 4 km. You can have a nice long walk on the sand. Or cycle on the path to Umina SLSC.
The foreshore was upgraded in 2014 and it now looks much better. It’s a perfect spot for families with young children. You’ll find everything you need at close proximity: swimming, cafe, picnic area, barbecues, playgrounds.
The eclectic Ettalong Markets are a popular attraction.
The markets are located in the Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort complex, and they open every weekend 9 am - 4 pm. The markets are covered so you can go even if it rains.
The best things about the markets in my eyes are the décor and eateries (Gozleme anyone?). Those alone are worth a visit.
The resort has a stunning Mediterranean decor. You may find that the rich decor contrasts with the stores, and even the stores contrast between each other. But it’s worth visiting. You may be surprised. The more I go the more I like it.
Off-street parking is limited, but you should be able to find a spot close by.
The 6-screen Cinema Paradiso is also located in the Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort complex. The décor is just as stunning as in the markets. Each room is different from one another. This building is certainly one of the kind. (This is not a generic Hoyts!)
This town is one of the few areas on the Central Coast that is flat. Cycling is enjoyable.
Cycle all the way to Umina Beach for a swim (when the beach is patrolled) or go to the BMX tracks and playground behind the Surf Life Saving Club. Have lunch / coffee at Jasmine Greens.
Or cycle to Woy Woy (13 km return). Follow Booker Bay Rd and Blackwall Rd then cycle on the bike path to Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf for seafood or fish & chips.
Stop over at Blackwall Mountain and walk to the lookout (15 min). (Turn onto Bay View Cres from Blackwall Rd.)
Watch out for these yearly events…
• Brisbane Water Oyster Festival (November): Facebook page here.
• Central Coast Italian Festival (April): Facebook page here.
Bouddi National Park and Brisbane National Park are great for bush walking. They’re both located a few minutes’ drive from the town.
Bouddi National Park contains plenty of stunning walks.
You can join tracks together to walk longer. All walks lead to stunning lookouts or isolated beaches. Try Maitland Bay track, Box Head walking track or Coastal Walk. Or drive along The Scenic Rd and stop at Marie Byles Lookout for amazing coastal views.
The Great North Walk passes through Brisbane Water National Park. If you don’t have time for such a long walk, try these shorter ones…
Walk up and over the headland from Pearl Beach to Patonga (6 km return). You’ll get stunning views at the top of the headland at Warrah Lookout. Have a beer and eat at Patonga Pub in Patonga. The walk starts on Crystal Ave in Pearl Beach. Allow 3hrs return.
Walk to Mount Ettalong Lookout (1 km return). You’ll get stunning views of Pearl Beach and Ocean Beach.
The walk starts from a carpark at the Water Tank on Patonga Dr. Follow Mount Ettalong Rd to the top of the headland for 1.3 km from Mount Ettalong Road corner Edgecliff Road. Watch for the driveway at the top of the headland where the road (Patonga Dr) straightens out.
There are many more walks in Brisbane Water National Park...
Umina is the closest beach to Ettalong. It's patrolled and the waves are small. It’s a top place to learn to surf.
I already mentioned that behind the beach is Umina Beach Playground. This playground is more fun than the Ettalong playground for older kids. You’ll find a large climbing web, flying fox, BMX track, skateboard ramp, and bicycle track. There’s also a fenced playground for toddlers.
A good cafe is Jasmine Greens next to the playground.
There are a number of great cafes and restaurants, which is very surprising for such a small regional town. You can find most multicultural food…
The Box on the Water ($$$) is a modern Australian restaurant located on the waterfront right beside playgrounds. Breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on the day; 02 4339 3369; The Esplanade corner Beach St.
The Grand Pavilion ($) has the best Indian in town. Lunch & dinner; 02 4341 7234; 46 Picnic Parade.
Safran ($$$) is an award winning modern Turkish restaurant. It may well be the highlight of your day. You can share Meze (small dishes). Book a table outside if the temperature allows. Dinner & lunch on Sat; 02 4342 7030; 81/189 Ocean View Rd, Ettalong Markets Tourist Resort.
These are other great restaurants in the Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort:
If you really only want a pie, the Ettalong Beachside Pie Shop is renowned for them. 382 Ocean View Rd.
Coast 175 ($) is a locals’ favourite for coffee, breakfast and lunch. So much so it can get full during weekends. The cafe is airy with beautiful coastal décor and nice music playing (yes, music is important!). That’s usually where we get our coffee fix.
The meals are made from fresh seasonal ingredients from gourmet markets. For a top breakfast and Campos coffee, this is the place to go. Sit outdoor in the garden. Only a short walk from the ferry wharf. Breakfast & lunch; 02 4341 8080; 1/175 Ocean View Rd.
There are two options for hotels… The Mantra Ettalong Beach or the mid-range Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort.
Are you after water views? Then the Mantra is the best place to stay. But make sure you book ahead for a well-located room with views. The Mantra has a funny U-shape – the views are very different from one room to the other and some are much better than others. You can also get a room at the Mantra that opens directly to the pool.
Noise from the Ettalong Diggers can be an issue. Ask for a room away from noise on a higher level.
Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort is a good option if you’re looking for something quirky. It’s the same complex I mentioned above with the Ettalong Markets and Cinema Paradiso. The Italian decor is certainly amazing.
It’s right next to the Ettalong Markets, the cinema and great restaurants. Great location.
There's also has a small, shallow indoor pool.