Central Coast, NSW

Weekender's guide to Terrigal Central Coast NSW

By Nicole West

September 11, 2020 | 4 minute read

A cosmopolitan getaway with a backdrop of Norfolk pines, Terrigal is a relaxed seaside town with a sophisticated edge, thanks to award-winning restaurants and trendy boutiques. Just 90-minutes drive from Sydney, adventure is also never far away, with snorkelling, boating, cycling and hiking opportunities in the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a family escape or a romantic beach break, you’re sure to find your own slice of holiday paradise, in Terrigal. Here's my guide on what to do!

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

Beach Life

If you love nothing more than surf, sun and sea, you’ll find everything you want in Terrigal. Pretty Terrigal Beach rests at the southern end of a 4km stretch of white sand, flanked by shops and restaurants. At the northern end, Wamberal Beach is a top spot for surfers and beach cafes. The two beaches are protected, with lifeguards on duty for safe swimming. If you’re travelling with children, they’ll love splashing in the lagoon where both beaches meet. There’s also a rockpool area that’s perfect for wading, as gentle waves that roll over the natural barrier. 

For a more secluded experience, go for a short drive to picturesque Spoon Bay, located in the Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve. Seaside fun doesn’t stop there though, with Terrigal Haven offering boats a launching point, as well as fishing and diving charters. The area is protected by the Skillion, a narrow section of headland that juts dramatically into the ocean. You can walk to the lookout at the top for panoramic happy snaps. It’s easy to spend the best part of a day at the Haven, snorkelling in the calm water, trying to hook a flathead while fishing from the rocks or barbecuing by the shore. 

Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific
Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific

Shopping and dining

Although it’s a relaxed beach town, Terrigal’s shopping and dining scene adds a splash of sophistication and glitz, for friends' getaways or romantic escapes. In terms of shopping till you drop, Erina Fair is the largest shopping centre on the Central Coast. However, it’s Terrigal’s niche stores and boutiques that offer those special treasures we all love to find. 

Stroll along the Esplanade for some cafe-hopping and shopping for art, homewares, accessories and breezy coastal fashion. Within the Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific, you’ll find Accent Antiques, where the owners offer rare, handpicked jewellery from the UK and France. Pop into the KAB Gallery, also in the Crowne Plaza, to see their collection of great Australian Art. Then, there’s family-run Precious Little, with products for the little ones that are too cute to resist. Also don’t miss out on the Terrigal Beach Markets, held on the first Saturday of every month. 

After all that shopping, it may be time for food and a cocktail or two. Dining in Terrigal is a delight, with choices ranging from casual bites to healthy snacks and gourmet meals. If you love modern Italian, head to the recently revamped Rhonda’s for woodfired pizzas and a Limoncello Fizz on the rooftop. Bellyfish Cafe is a local favourite, especially for long, lazy brunches. The Wamberal Ocean View Cafe is the spot to sip on a crisp sauvignon blanc with ocean views, and keep your eyes peeled for whales or dolphins swimming by.

Activities for Everyone

If you manage to get the kids - or yourself - out of the water, you’ll find plenty of things to do in and around Terrigal. The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre is open on weekends and school holidays, with aquariums, tours and activities for children up to 12 years. A 15-minute drive will take you to the lush Holgate Valley and Firescreek Fruit Winery. Here you’ll enjoy award-winning, seasonal wines including those made from passionfruit, plums, lemongrass and elderberry, with tastings available Wednesday to Sunday.  

For an artsy outing, visit the Ken Duncan Gallery (above), one of the largest privately-owned photographic galleries in the country. Set within landscaped grounds and bushland, the gallery enchants with Ken’s acclaimed landscape works, a theatre for audio-visual presentations and a charming cafe for alfresco dining. 

 From casual beach life to cosmopolitan dining, art and outdoor adventure, Terrigal is the type of town people return to again and again. So, the only problem you’ll have is figuring out where to fit it in on your holiday itinerary!

We think you should know

The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.