Visiting Terrigal – A City Guide
Terrigal is located between Sydney and Newcastle on the Central Coast of New South Wales, where Norfolk Island pines dominate the skyline and sandy beaches meet rocky promontories. Coastal walks and fishing trips attract nature lovers, and a laid-back atmosphere makes Terrigal an ideal location for a relaxing holiday.
Terrigal: city layout
Terrigal’s main thoroughfare is the Esplanade, while nearby Church Street provides low-key dining options. The grassy parklands of the Haven stretch up to the peak of the Skillion, a rocky sandstone outcrop that provides sweeping views of the coastline. At its base, fishermen cast their lines as silver gulls circle, and there are cafés and restaurants nearby.
Bulbararing Bay and Avoca Beach are located to the south, and Terrigal Lagoon and Wamberal Lagoon to the north, connected by the Scenic Highway and Ocean View Drive, respectively. The Kincumba Mountain Reserve separates Terrigal from Gosford, the inland regional centre where you’ll find additional shopping and entertainment.
Exploring Terrigal and beyond
Walk up to the top of the Skillion to enjoy spectacular coastal views – and maybe spot a whale during the peak migration months of July and September. The Rock Pool at Terrigal Beach is a safe place for children to swim in the ocean. There are numerous places to eat along the Esplanade and at the Haven.
Much of this part of the Central Coast has national park status. Outdoor pursuits are definitely the main attraction, from bushwalking and horse-riding to surfing and fishing – or simply enjoying the beach. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at one of the Central Coast’s many clubs, all a short distance from Terrigal.
The concierge recommends…
● Charter a fishing boat out to the reef for year-round fishing. Anything you catch can be prepared for you to take away and cook at one of the many local public BBQ and picnic areas.
● Feeling active? Book a surfing lesson at Terrigal Beach with Central Coast Surf School.
● The Entrance, just up the coast from Terrigal, has earned the title of the “Pelican Capital of Australia” because locals have been feeding these large sea birds daily for over two decades. Come along at 3:30pm every day of the year to enjoy the spectacle. Be on the look-out for dolphins, seals and whales.
Hotels in Terrigal
Proximity to the beach is travellers’ main concern when seeking accommodation in the Terrigal area. You can choose from a variety of places to stay, including beachfront hotels, boutique B&Bs, lakeside lodges and self-catering apartments. Scenic walks and water-based activities are nearby, and you’ll also be within a short drive of other Central Coast towns and attractions.
The laid-back atmosphere of Terrigal makes it popular with those seeking a break from the fast pace of New South Wales’ larger cities. Staying in the vicinity of the Esplanade will ensure you can walk to local sights and restaurants, and you’ll find everything you need in the town’s modest selection of shops and boutiques. Gosford is a 20-minute drive away and provides further options for shopping and nightlife.
The surrounding lagoons and parklands showcase the natural beauty of the Central Coast region and are largely untouched by large-scale tourism.
Eating Out in Terrigal
Fresh seafood is the focus when it comes to eating out in Terrigal. Those looking for south Asian flavours won’t be disappointed by local favourites Rajdhani and Thaiger Temple. There are plenty of laid-back cafés where you can enjoy a coffee. If you want to relax with a beer or a cocktail, head to Pocket Bar.
There is no shortage of places where you can dine with a view in Terrigal. Tables at The Cowrie look out over the ocean, and the seafood platter is recommended. Terrigal Beach Fish & Chip Co serves traditional battered fish and chips, as well as lighter dishes and classic desserts.
Head north towards Tuggerah Lake and The Entrance to discover more dining options. Shelly Beach Golf Club restaurant Seaspray has idyllic views over the greens towards the ocean.
The chef recommends...
● For super-fresh fish and chips, visit Avoca Beach Seafoods. While you’re there, try a chiko roll, a classic snack that puts an Aussie spin on the spring roll.
● If you want to splurge, Seasalt restaurant in Terrigal offers a tasting menu at dinner, with matching wines if desired.
● Look out for mahi mahi on the menu, which is also known as dolphin fish and is caught locally from February to May. Empire Bay oysters are another local speciality.
Shopping in Terrigal
Forget crowded, noisy malls; shopping in the Terrigal region is a more laid-back, slower-paced activity. Whether you’re browsing for beachwear, hunting for souvenirs that reflect the stunning Central Coast scenery, or exploring the area’s outdoor markets, you will be rewarded with some hidden gems.
Terrigal’s fashion and surfing shops tend to be located near the beach, around Church Street and the Esplanade. Coco/Seashells Boutique stocks a wide range of fashion brands, including swimwear. KAB Gallery exhibits Australian and international artists, with collectable and investment art for sale. Further afield, Bouddi Gallery, inside Bouddi National Park, specialises in contemporary Aboriginal art.
If you’re looking for a wider retail choice, head to Gosford, where Erina Fair shopping centre has an extensive range of chain stores. Less than half an hour away to the north is Westfield Tuggerah mall.
The best markets near Terrigal
● The covered beach markets in Ettalong are open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holiday Mondays. You can buy local handicrafts, clothing and jewellery, and there’s an international mix of restaurants.
● Visit The Entrance Farmers Market on the first and third Saturdays of the month at Memorial Park to buy produce direct from local farmers.
● Avoca Beachside Markets are held on the fourth Sunday of each month. Local artists flock here to sell their work, and there’s lots of live music.
Culture & Nightlife in Terrigal
Terrigal is a serene retreat away from the bustle of New South Wales’ larger cities – people come here for nature rather than culture. If you’re looking for a night out, you can enjoy the intimate, friendly atmosphere of local bars. There are several museums that are worth the short drive into Gosford.
The Central Coast Interactive War Exhibit in Gosford has an extensive display of war memorabilia with engaging exhibits. The Gosford Classic Car Museum has a collection of over 400 cars and motorcycles. Local and touring theatre groups, comedians and musicians play the town’s Laycock Theatre. For a cute independent cinema, head to the long-running Avoca Beach Picture Theatre.
In Terrigal, beachfront nightclub Sirens attracts big-name touring acts. If you’re in the mood to party, you can bust out your favourite dance moves on its Friday RnB nights. Florida Beach Bar hosts bands on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Best Central Coast sporting events
● The Central Coast Mariners, the local A-League soccer team, play at the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford from October to May.
● The Central Coast Half Marathon takes place in November at The Entrance. There’s also a 10-kilometre fun run and a wheelchair event.
● This is prime surfing territory. To see the experts in action, look out for the Central Coast Pro competition, which takes place at Avoca Beach in February.
Leisure in Terrigal
A wealth of natural beauty surrounds Terrigal in the Central Coast region. You can go hiking, admire the scenery from elevated lookouts, enjoy a boat cruise, or book a reef dive to experience sea life and view shipwrecks up close. Many visitors come to see the birdlife and wildflowers.
Catch the ferry from Ettalong Beach to Palm Beach and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery during the half-hour ride. You may even recognise Palm Beach as the filming location for fictional town Summer Bay, the setting for Australian soap opera “Home And Away”. Ettalong Beach is 20 kilometres south of Terrigal.
Central Coast Ferries also offers cruises, departing from Woy Woy, a 30-minute drive from Terrigal. They take in the sights of Brisbane Water, Riley’s Island Nature Reserve and the Illoura Peninsula.
Terrigal’s best natural sights
● Bouddi National Park is a 20-minute drive south of Terrigal. You can catch glimpses of the PS Maitland shipwreck from the eight-kilometre cliff-top coastal walk, which can also be explored in smaller sections.
● Native animals from dingoes to Tasmanian devils are on show at the Walkabout Wildlife Park. Rangers lead regular animal encounters and feeding sessions, as well as boomerang throwing.
● The Australian Reptile Park in Somersby specialises in snakes, lizards and crocodiles, but you can also hand-feed kangaroos and admire colourful rainbow lorikeets. There are informative behind-the-scenes tours too.
● The Skillion at Terrigal is a key whale-watching point. The annual migration is from May to October.