Central Coast: Terrigal, Avoca and Beyond
by Stephanie Brown
Central Coast: Breakfast time
The southernmost part of the Central Coast, Australia still appears to be the quiet area hidden from Sydney-siders containing many unpolluted natural areas. My journey for the day was spent across Terrigal and Avoca. The day started early and I spied a café nearby a gym.
Driving down the Highway on the M1 Pacific Motorway I stopped by a café called Jimmy G’s for breakfast. The staff are friendly and the food satisfying. I ordered an early breakfast which contained poached eggs, potato fritter, avocado, tomato, lemon and cheese sauce and smoked salmon. Since it is also opposite a gym, it appears to be a favourite haunt of local cyclists and gym enthusiasts alike. The service was quick and friendly and I appeared to miss the rush hour. Despite the food, I was keen to see the natural beauty of the beaches.
Terrigal: How to get there
From the café, Terrigal is a twenty minutes drive along the Pacific Highway. There are plenty of signs which direct you were to turn so it is an easy drive. The traffic was heavy near Erina so worth trying to go early if driving. Those travelling by public transport can catch a bus from either Woy Woy or Gosford train station to Terrigal which takes around the same time to arrive. The train ride from Sydney is 1.5 hours however is quite scenic and worth a day trip or weekend away. Winding down the road into Terrigal itself, I was arrested by the clear blue waters and shopfronts along the shore. Since it was a weekend, the shops were bustling and the cafes full of early risers, surfers and those just wanting to relax. There is a definite relaxed atmosphere with people on the footpath nodding and saying hello to one another and a crisp ocean air drifting across to the cafés lining the shore. Amongst the cafes and their assortment of music and ocean breeze, a surf carnival was beginning and pop-up shops starting to emerge on the beach with local artists displaying their work. By lunch-time hordes of families had arrived and were navigating the little shops and watching the surfing competition.
What to do at Terrigal: Swim, Eat and walk up the Skillion
The water is surprisingly clear and quite safe, despite a surfing competition being held. On one end of the beach is rock pool area which was quickly explored by families. Walking up the Skillion is a must. From Terrigal beach winds a footpath to an oval. Beyond that oval, the Skillion looms. It is a large cliff edge mounted by green grass, a footpath and viewing area at the top. I’m told in the past ten years, it has undergone significant change. Firstly, it has been chopped in half for safety reasons so it is now not far or as steep as it used to be and secondly, there are now steps and footpath all the way up the hill. Once at the top, there is an unspoilt 360degree view of all of Terrigal and into the distance other beaches such as Copacabana and even across to the heads of Sydney in the distance. A definite photographic moment. Behind the main shops is another street and on that street is the Ice Creamery which holds hundreds of different ice-cream and sorbet flavours. There is the famous ice-cream tank which seems to be a popular item. By lunch time, Terrigal becomes quite busy not just with families but tourists as well. There seems to be an increasing number of weekenders from Sydney that are visiting Terrigal which makes the beach quite busy during the day.
Avoca: The Beautiful Beach
Avoca is another fifteen minute drive from Terrigal but well worth it. Although Terrigal has its shops and events, Avoca beach is wider, longer less crowded. My favourite spot is right next to the surf club as there is an amazing fish and chip café right on the beach and a local cinema five minutes walk away. Each Thursday and Friday night, a local band will come and play at the café and the noise drifts across the beach area. The most recent one, was doing a rendition, of 60’s and 70’s music which added to the relaxed area in general. At the edge of the beach is a large cliff and rock area which promises exploring. Hewn in the rock, are a few misshaped rocks which lead down to a rock plateau. It wraps around a cliff edge which provides for a variety of lunch spots to watch the ocean spray against the rocks. In low-tide, the large rock plateau allows for explorers, fishermen and tourists to discover creatures leftover in water holes and lovers to walk hand in hand taking in the brilliant views and pink sunset. Sunset brings the collection of families and surfers into café and restaurant area to watch the final hues of purples, pinks and yellows close the afternoon into evening. The local band at the café starts up and groups and couples settle in for the next few hours of dinner listening to the soothing melody from the bank and the crash of the sea.
Accommodation is best found at Terrigal where a wide variety of styles and prices. Most places are motels within walking distance to the beach. I’ve heard there are houses that can be rented as holiday homes in the area as well however did not notice any signage. Probably best to ask one of the local real estate for information.
Quick Summary: Terrigal and Avoca
For those looking for a quiet weekend away with friends or family either Terrigal or Avoca seem to be choice places for locals and tourists alike. Terrigal will provide more nightlife for those seeking that. For me, I enjoyed Avoca as it was very layback and quiet. The natural beauty of the beach and view is unspoilt by any construction or build up areas and the local cinema adds a little quirky fun touch. To me, Avoca is still a favourite.