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Terrigal is the most popular beach getaway on the Central Coast.
Great cafes, restaurants and boutiques are situated right beside the beach – it's like a mini-city on a beach. This place definitely makes for a great escape from Sydney.
You'll find tips below to help you plan your visit – like the best things to do, where to eat and the best places to stay.
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 lifeguards patrol the beach. Plus restaurants and shops are a stone's throw from the beach.
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 you can hear music playing from Florida Beach Bar throughout town.
Terrigal is definitely the most dynamic town on the Central Coast.
There are two beaches in this town: Terrigal Beach and Terrigal Haven.
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 beach is protected, so the waves are generally small.
Toddlers can also have a dip in the rock pool.
Read more: Terrigal Beach
Terrigal Haven is a small and sheltered cove that's perfect for small children. The water is calm. It's also a great spot for picnics.
Read more: Terrigal Haven
Surfing is 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.
You can also kayak, fish, stand up paddle board and snorkel in the calm water at the Haven.
Fishing charters and diving tours also operate from the Haven. You can join a diving tour and dive the ex-HMAS Adelaide.
And if you'd like to learn stand up paddle boarding or rent a pedal boat on the beautiful lagoon, check out Terrigal Paddle Boats. They're located on the shore of the lagoon beside Clan Lakeside Lodge.
The Skillion is a popular landmark in this town. It's a bluff that rises to a lookout.
Walk to the top of the Skillion and enjoy the great coastal views. There are stairs and a handrail. Also, follow the path around the Haven and enjoy the other lookouts. You can also walk your dog in the designated area.
Read more: The Skillion
Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre is a great place to spend a couple of hours with the kids.
Children can see a display of sea animals, touch some creatures in one of the basins, and learn about the local marine life.
Located 11 Terrigal Drive, Terrigal.
On the first Saturday of the month, visit the local markets on the beachfront. You'll find clothes, candles, jewellery, soaps, relishes & chutneys and more.
On the second Friday of the month, enjoy live music and taste plates from street food pop-ups at Greedy Guts Markets. From 5.30pm at Florida Beach Bar.
On the first Sunday of the month, visit the Car Boot Sales at Lions Park.
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: Aquafun
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.
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. You'll see photos of iconic locations on the Central Coast.
It’s a nice couple of hours to spare.
Open 10am – 5pm daily except New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day, Christmas & Boxing Day. Located 414 The Entrance Road, Erina Heights.
Read more: Ken Duncan Gallery
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. They make gin 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 10am – 5pm. Located 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina.
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: Bouddi Coastal Walk
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 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.
Crowne Plaza Hotel has great facilities and ocean views.
The beach and cafes are just downstairs. And families are sure to love the swimming pool.
Other great places to stay are:
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.
Located 1 hr 30 min from Sydney and 1 hr 20 min from Newcastle via the M1.
Parking: there's a lot of traffic 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 the multi-storey carpark on Wilson Rd, at Terrigal Haven, and there's a 2-hour carpark beside the Surf Life Saving Club.