Terrigal Beach

Terrigal is the most popular beach getaway on the Central Coast.

The beach is backed by great cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Terrigal is like a mini-city on a beach. Think of a mini-Manly. This place definitely makes for a great escape from Sydney.

Terrigal Beach

Below are plenty of tips to help you plan your visit – like the best things to do, where to eat and the best places to stay.

Contents

About Terrigal

The name 'Terrigal' originates either from the Aboriginal word Tarriga, meaning 'where one can find wild figs', or Tarragal, meaning a 'place of little birds'.

This town has great accommodation and eating options that suit everyone.

It’s a particularly relaxing spot for families. Kids can swim in the gentle waves and the beach is patrolled by lifesavers. Plus restaurants and shops are a stone throw from the beach.  

Terrigal Surf Cafe

This area is also picturesque…

An old news article defines this area as one of the “prettiest spots in this picturesque district”. It’s hard to disagree… The curving 2.8 km beach extends to Wamberal Beach on one side and is bordered by a rising landform on the other. I must admit, there are great ocean views from wherever you stand in this town. You can’t get away from the views. 

This place is also lively…

It’s populated with lively people, lively bars and early risers who are already in the water before the sun rises. In the evenings cars queue to get into town to go out for the night. People are having drinks on terraces or heading to restaurants. Music from Florida Beach Bar can be heard throughout town.

Florida Beach BarFlorida Beach Bar

The only thing I don’t like here is the traffic congestion and time it takes to find parking. This town is very busy during summer holidays. But we enjoy visiting outside school holidays and long weekends. Terrigal is definitely the most dynamic town on the Central Coast.

Attractions

All attractions listed below are within 30 minutes’ drive from here. If you’re looking for more things to do on the Central Coast, here are useful pages:

The Beach 

There are two beaches in this town:

The main beach, Terrigal Beach, is at the southern end of a nearly 4-kilometre long stretch of sand. (Wamberal Beach lies in the middle and Spoon Bay at the northern end.)

The beach

This beach is popular for swimming. It’s patrolled from the beginning of the school holidays in September to the end of the school holidays in April. The waves are generally small because it’s sheltered by the headland. Toddlers can also have a dip in the protected rockpool.

Besides, it’s a great beach to hang out. There’s a paved walking path behind the sand and a grassy area that’s shaded by tall pine trees. And there are toilets and a cafe right on the beachfront. 

Read more on the beach and see photos.

The other beach is at Terrigal Haven. It’s a small and sheltered beach in a cove.  It’s one of the most child-friendly beaches on the Central Coast. We often used to swim there when the kids were very young. There are also picnic tables and barbecues.

Find out more about the beach here

the Haven

Surfing is also popular here. Experienced surfers surf off the point or at Wamberal Beach. And beginners surf in the smaller waves near the shore – if you want to take surfing lessons check out Central Coast Surf Academy.

Water Activities

The Haven

Other than surfing and swimming, there are many more activities you can do in the lagoon and in the cove.  

At the lagoon, there are paddleboards for hire in front of Clan Lakeside Lodge. In the cove at the Haven, you can kayak, fish, stand up paddleboard and snorkel. There’s also a boat ramp. Besides, several fishing charters operate from the Haven:   

Fishing at the Haven

Diving tours also operate from the Haven. Pro-Dive Central Coast offers diving trips to the HMAS Adelaide. This naval warship was scuttled off the coast to create a diving site.

The Skillion

Terrigal Haven and the Skillion are my favourite spots in this town. I already talked about the beach. But The Skillion is the most popular landmark here. This bluff rises up to a lookout with views of neighbouring beaches and rugged cliffs. There are stairs and a handrail.

Also, follow the path around the Haven – there are great ocean views. There’s also a dog exercise area.

Read more on the Haven and the Skillion.

The Skillion

Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre 

The Marine Discovery Centre is a great place to spend a couple of hours with the kids. Children learn about the local marine life. There’s a display of sea animals and kids can touch some creatures in one of the basins. The tour is followed by a short movie and activities for children to reinforce their learning. $5 adults, $3 child, $13 families. 11 Terrigal Drive.

Marine Discovery Centre website

Markets

Terrigal markets – First Saturday of the month on the beachfront from 9 am - 3 pm. There are clothes, candles, jewellery, soaps, relishes & chutneys and more.

Terrigal Markets

Car Boot Sales – First Sunday of every month at Lions Park corner of Terrigal Drive and Willoughby Road from 7.30 am - 1 pm.

Avoca Beachside Markets – Fourth Sunday of the month at Heazlett Park in Avoca Beach from 9 am – 2 pm. They’re my favourite markets. They sell quality clothes and homeware and delicious food. There’s also entertainment for the kids and live music. These markets are worth the 10-minute drive. Read more on Avoca Beachside Markets here.

Avoca Beachside Markets

Greedy Guts Markets – Second Friday of the month at Florida Beach Bar, Crowne Plaza Hotel, from 5.30 pm - 10.30 pm. There’s live music and delicious plates from street food pop-ups like Filipino cuisine from Pasalubongs Filipino Soul Food, Gourmet burger from Cheat Day Burgers, Paella from Tapas Market, Street tacos from La CALLE, Peruvian Street Food from Ola Chola and more.

Aquafun

Hire pedal-boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards at Aquafun on Avoca Lake. Choose a specific amount of time you’d like to have the boats for and swap as many times as you like. Older children can go on their own. Aquafun is my daughter’s favourite activity. Open Sept-May on weekends and school holidays. Located on Ficus Ave in Avoca Beach.

Read more on Aquafun.

Aquafun

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

The single-screen Avoca Beach Picture Theatre screens quality movies. They show independent and foreign films. They often hold special evenings such as French or Italian. And you can enjoy a glass of wine with a movie. This movie theatre was nominated as one of the “ten most beautiful cinemas” in the world. And it has received several awards. Located 69 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach.

Check current movies.

Ken Duncan Gallery

Ken Duncan is renowned worldwide for his stunning panoramic images. He has received many awards over the years. You can visit his gallery for free and have lunch and coffee at the gallery’s cafe. It’s a nice couple of hours to spare. You'll see photos of iconic locations on the Central Coast. Open 10 am – 5 pm daily except New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day, Christmas & Boxing Day. Located 414 The Entrance Road, Erina Heights.

Read more on Ken Duncan Gallery.

Ken Duncan Gallery

Distillery Botanica

Distillery Botanica is the best place to taste and buy gin. Taste and buy award-winning liqueur made with plants, such as aniseed and lemon myrtle. Gin is made with Australian natives. Philip Moore has won many awards including the 'Herb Liqueur of the Year' in Germany and a silver for gin in London. Open Wed to Sun 10 am – 5 pm. Located 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina.

Distillery Botanica website.

Bouddi Coastal Walk

Bouddi Coastal Walk is a stunning 8-km coastal walk between Macmasters Beach and Putty Beach. It’s one of my favourite walks on the Central Coast – the views are amazing. Also the walk gives a good workout and you can swim at beaches along the way.

Read more on Bouddi Coastal Walk here.

Bouddi Coastal Walk

Microbreweries

Six String Brewery serves handcrafted beers. The beer is unpasteurized and free of additives and preservatives. Local musicians perform in the weekends. The place is family-friendly. Located 4/330 The Entrance Road, Erina.

Block 'n Tackle Brewery serves handcrafted beer, and they offer tasting paddles and delicious food made by WTF. Block & Tackle is family-friendly. Located Unit 1, 11-13 Cochrone Street, Kincumber.

Bamboo Buddha Cafe 

Bamboo Buddha Cafe is a vegetarian cafe with a meditative vibe. It’s located in a peaceful and lush sanctuary at Holgate. (If you’re going to Erina Fair Shopping Centre the cafe is only a short detour.) The cafe is dog-friendly, and kids love feeding the fish in the koi and goldfish pond. Have a coffee there if you’d like somewhere peaceful and different. Located 221 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate.

Bamboo Buddha Cafe

Terrigal Accommodation

Booking.com is a great website to search for accommodation in Terrigal. It allows you to compare the cost of different places and see what’s available for your dates. This website also allows free cancellation on most rooms. 

Crowne Plaza
  • For an outstanding hotel, we recommend Crowne Plaza Hotel. This hotel has great facilities and ocean views. The beach and cafes are just downstairs. And families are sure to love the pool. It’s also a great option for couples and business travellers. 
  • For an affordable motel, we recommend Clan Lakeside Lodge. They have standard rooms and affordable family rooms. And it’s located right beside the lagoon and the beach. 
  • For self-contained apartments, we recommend Terrigal Pacific Coastal Retreat. There’s a heated pool and hot-tub spa – great in winter. This accommodation is located a 15-minute walk to the beach.  .
  • For self-contained apartments in a central location, we recommend Terrigal Sails Serviced Apartments. These apartments are serviced daily. And it’s a 2-minute stroll to the beach and local cafes. .
  • For an adult-only accommodation, we recommend Tiarri Terrigal. It's a small boutique-style hotel in a quiet cul-de-sac. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of Terrigal, yet it’s only a 7-minute walk to town. .

Find out more about these accommodations

Crowne Plaza

The Locals’ Favourite Restaurants

There are many good restaurants in Terrigal. It’s the place to go on the Central Coast for fine dining. I’m not going to name them all, but below are some of the locals’ favourites.

Bellyfish Cafe
  • Florida Beach Bar at Crowne Plaza Hotel is a popular beer garden just across the road from the beach. Weekend afternoons with live music are enjoyable.
  • Terrigal Beach Fish and Chip Co ($) serve the best fish & chips in town. Everything there is made from scratch. Even the salad dressing and tartar sauce. Located in the centre of town – 108 Terrigal Esplanade.
  • Chop N Grind ($$) serves delicious and the best burgers in town. Located in the centre of town – 3/98 Terrigal Esplanade.
  • Four Hands Pizza Bar & Grill ($$) serve excellent pizza & tapas. They also have tap beers from Six String Brewing Company. Located in the centre of town – 6/17 Church Street.
  • The Grand Pavilion ($$) – 9/17 Church Street – and Rajdhani Indian Restaurant ($$) – 8 Ocean View Drive – are two fantastic Indian restaurants. I can’t decide which one is my favourite.

Fine dining:

  • The Cowrie ($$$$) is a multi-award-winning seafood restaurant. It sits on top of a hill overlooking the beach – 109 Scenic Highway. It’s a bit tricky to park, but you can organise for their shuttle bus to pick you up.
  • L’isle de France ($$$$) is a wonderful French restaurant. Located a 10-minute walk from town – 1 Ena Street.
  • Reef Restaurant ($$$$) is an award-winning fine modern Australian restaurant. There are ocean views. Located at the Haven.

Getting There

Located 1 hr 30 min from Sydney and 1 hr 20 min from Newcastle via the M1.

Parking: traffic is congested here. So it’s better to find parking straight away when you get here and walk the rest of the day. Free parking is available at one of the following 3 carparks. Click on the link for directions on Google Map:

Free Multi-storey carpark on Wilson Rd – it’s the best carpark closest to the shops and main beach. Better to get there from the backway rather than following The Scenic Highway along the beachfront.

The Haven carpark – it’s a great spot for parking, but it’s a 10 minutes’ walk to the main beach and shops.

Beside the Surf Life Saving club – closest carpark to the beach, but it’s full most of the time and it’s a 2-hour car park.

the Haven
View of Avoca Beach from the Skillion
The Skillion
Dog exercise area at the Haven
Picnic at the Haven
Terrigal & Wamberal beaches
View of Terrigal and Wamberal beaches from the Skillion
The beach
The rockpool

Plan Your Visit to Terrigal

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