Looking for things to do in Terrigal in Central Coast, New South Wales? As a popular holiday destination, we’re lucky to have a local named Amy Butters to bring you this Central Coast guide.
Amy shared her experience about moving to the Central Coast from the UK on this site before! She has taken the time to share all of the best things to do in Terrigal, so you can plan your next day trip from Sydney with some of her favourite hidden gems.
Amy moved to Central Coast from Bournemouth, UK just before the pandemic started in February 2020. Make sure you follow her adventures on Instagram at @aworldunfiltered.
Table of Contents
Where Is Terrigal?
It’s approximately a 1h15m drive from Sydney to Terrigal, and a 1h20m drive from Newcastle, so smack bang in the middle.
If you’re travelling by public transport from Sydney, allow 2 hours. The nearest train station is Gosford, and it’s then a 20-minute drive or a 40-minute bus ride to Terrigal.
But, if you really want to explore the area, I’d recommend driving so you can venture to other places nearby and make the most of your time on the Central Coast.
Top tip – You don’t want to miss out on the hipster suburb Long Jetty which is just a 15min drive away or the beautiful nearby Avoca Beach too.
Why You Should Visit Terrigal
I’m not just biased because I live here, but Terrigal really is the hub of the Central Coast. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best Sydney getaways as there’s countless independently owned shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, beaches, lookouts and markets to explore.
It’s the perfect balance of not being in the heart of a city and not being in the middle of nowhere. The community feel in Terrigal is like no other, and it’s filled with people of all ages. I really don’t think anyone would spend time there and not enjoy themselves.
Best Things to do in Terrigal
1. Walk up The Skillion In Terrigal
It should be against the law to visit Terrigal and not walk up The Skillion. It’s a steep hill that a lot of (crazy) people use as part of their workout to run up! Don’t panic! There are concrete steps and handrails so it can also be enjoyed at a slow pace.
This isn’t a hike, it’s an easy walk, but the average person will be slightly out of breath at the top – mostly from the breathtaking views across the ocean. From July until September, it is named Humpback Highway as it’s the best place to spot humpback whales on their migration South while looking out to the spectacular views.
2. Go Whale Watching With Terrigal Ocean Tours
Speaking of whales, if you’d like an up-close view of these beautiful creatures, plus dolphins and seals, then book a whale watching tour with Terrigal Ocean Tours. As one of the best Terrigal attractions, you’ll hop onto the boat at The Haven, right next to The Skillion, and it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Terrigal Ocean Tours is a family-owned business that runs May – November, and they know their stuff. You’ll be taught about the local area and endless facts about the amazing mammals throughout the whole trip.
There’s obviously no guarantee of seeing the wildlife but even just to experience a tour on the water is something you won’t forget in a hurry.
3. Beachside Shop At Terrigal Beach Markets
On the first Saturday of every month, Terrigal esplanade is taken over by local business owners at the Terrigal Beach Markets. You can find everything from house plants and candles to vintage clothes and accessories for dogs!
There’s live music, plants, food stalls, macrame, jewellery, vinyl records, a gozleme stand, it’s awesome! It’s a great way to support local people who have turned their passion into a business. I love the buzz when the markets are on as there’s so many people from other areas who travel here for it, and in turn, all the local Terrigal shops and cafes get extra support too!
4. Surfboard Shopping At Ocean Haus
You’ll feel like a real cool Aussie as soon as you step into Ocean Haus in Terrigal. There are rows and rows of surfboards, wetsuits and swimwear to buy and also a coffee bar and pastries to tuck into. The staff are all super friendly and more than happy to help with any questions you have, whether you’re an experienced surfer or a complete beginner. Pro surfers are found here whenever they venture to Terrigal, so keep an eye out!
5. Gypsea Picnics at Terrigal Haven
Feel like royalty by booking a stunning (and extremely Instagrammable) picnic with Gypsea Picnics! Perfect for a couples date or a get together with friends, you’ll make memories to last a lifetime. The setup is so dreamy, you won’t believe your eyes and the platter/charcuterie board that’s included, is just delicious. What better place to enjoy this setup than at The Haven, overlooking the calm ocean. Stunning!
6. Central Coast Aero Club Scenic Flight
The only way to get THE best views of Terrigal and the surrounding areas is from the eye’s of the pelicans! A flight with Central Coast Aero Club ensures that you’ll see the area in all its beauty. The ocean, the lakes, the hinterland – picture perfect.
7. Holistic Health At Love And Tonic
Make sure you swing by Love And Tonic which is home to crystals, herbal teas, books, vegan makeup and skincare, tarot and oracle cards, plus incredible healthy smoothies.
The staff are so passionate, helpful and knowledgeable and will be able to help you with what you’re looking for, even if you don’t know where to start.
You can also book an appointment with their nutritionist, herbalist or kinesiologist to ensure you’re looking after yourself from the inside out.
8. Play Bowls At Terrigal Bowling Club
As I’m sure you know, Australia loves a club and loves a bit of bowls. Kill two birds with one stone at Club Terrigal! It’s not just a great place to park your car for free as there’s SO many spaces, but offers great food inside too. It’s right in the heart of Terrigal so you can always go to a nearby bar for some drinks – loser of bowls pays the bill of course.
9. Sunrise Meditation At Terrigal Beach
There’s nothing more peaceful I can think of than meditating at sunrise on Terrigal Beach. It’s the most calming spot and the smell of coffee from the cafes behind you just makes it perfect. It’s run by Making Meditation Mainstream, is held every Saturday morning, free to attend and a great way to meet other people in the community.
10. Sunset At Wamberal Beach
If you’re not an early bird, Wamberal Beach is directly connected to Terrigal beach but always quieter and the best place to watch the sunset in the Central Coast. If you’re lucky, you may even see some dolphins! They seem to like playing by the rocks just off the sand. The colours that the sky projects are out of this world and are my favourite spots to watch the sun go back to bed.
11. Shopping Spree At Miki Finn
Spend the afternoon on a shopping spree at Miki Finn in Terrigal! You’ll find menswear, womenswear, swimwear, homewares, jewellery, candles, even cocktail mixes! It may be a small shop but I bet you won’t leave empty-handed! The clothing is high quality and a range of different labels to suit various styles.
Miki Finn is open every day 10 am – 4pm, and you can also grab sunscreen and sunglasses if you forget to pack the essentials. You’ll be supporting a lovely family run business, so win-win!
12. Terrigal Lagoon Water Activities
Paddleboards, kayaks and pedalos are available to hire if you’re looking for fun things to do in Terrigal at the famous Terrigal Lagoon! You can also book a stand-up paddleboard lesson if you’re not yet a pro to cruise around the calm waters!
They are available every weekend plus school and public holidays and prices range from $20 – $45 depending on which mode of transport you choose and if you go for 30 minutes or an hour. The lagoon is in the middle of the beach, so you won’t miss it, and there’s no better scenery than Terrigal.
13. Browse KAB Art Gallery
KAB Art Gallery opened in 2013 and is filled to the brim with art to suit your taste, whatever you’re a fan of. Various mediums, countless artists, sculptures and books, abstract to animals, you’ll find the newest addition to your home at KAB for sure.
Best Terrigal Restaurants
OK, discovering the best places to eat in Terrigal is my speciality. Trust me; I’ve tried so many cafes and restaurants so you can thank me later for sharing the best Terrigal restaurants in my opinion!
14. Island Time Espresso Bar
You know that whatever you get from Island Time Espresso Bar in Terrigal is going to be fresh, so you can’t go wrong with whatever you order. There’s a vast menu including all-day breakfast and lunch options, fresh fruit smoothies and coffees (of course), and even a cocktail for the afternoon!
Top tip, if you’re a dog lover, make sure to get one of the tables outside as so many people walk past on their dog walk and you might make a new friend!
Recommendation: Veggie Brekky Burger and a fresh fruit smoothie, doesn’t get better than that.
At Bouffant in Terrigal, you’ll find muffins, pastries, tarts, croissants, macarons, doughnuts, toasties, baguettes, and coffee! You won’t find a bigger selection of sweet treats anywhere else in Terrigal, that’s for sure.
Recommendation: Raspberry and white chocolate muffin or the strawberry macarons.
There’s always a buzz at Bellyfish in Terrigal and it’s often used as the meeting spot for Mum friends, swimming clubs and business meetings. It opens at 5am so it’s definitely the go to place for early risers. The food is gorgeous and is a testament to why it remains a success after opening in 2008. You can expect everything from your standard eggs benedict to fresh seafood.
Doors open at 11am but you’ll find people queuing beforehand to get their first choice at Daily Dough Co in Terrigal. Even though they have fresh deliveries from their local factory throughout the day, you have to be quick because they often sell out completely! If doughnuts aren’t your jam (pun intended) then maybe you’ll be a fan of the thick shakes, cookies or ice cream burgers – yes you read that correctly!
Recommendation: Creme brulee doughnut – it’s their best seller for a reason.
18. Milky Lane
Big ass burgers, over the top desserts, smoking cocktails, bangers from the DJ and graffitied walls at Milky Lane in Terrigal. If this place doesn’t make you feel cool, nothing will!
Recommendation: Loaded mash potato balls and Biscoff and Caramilk cookie dough skillet. The heart attack is worth it 😉
19. The Joker and the Thief
Try and bag a window seat so you can sip one of their incredible cocktails whilst overlooking the ocean views at Terrigal beach when you visit The Joker And The Thief. There’s regular DJs and live acoustic music which adds to the buzzing atmosphere.
Recommendation: Truffle and Parmesan Fries, Prawn Linguine and The Thief Cocktail .
20. Thaiger Temple
The first thing you’ll notice is the giant, bright pink, neon tiger head at Thiager Temple. If that doesn’t draw you in, they also have a ceiling covered in beautiful lanterns. It really is gorgeous inside and thankfully, their food is just as good! A menu filled with authentic Thai dishes and cocktails that will be impossible to choose from.
Recommendation: Tofu Pad See Ew and Thaiger Tini cocktail.
Freestate feels like a whole community within a community. The tables are often filled from first thing in the morning until closing, the staff are so welcoming and friendly and are always singing whilst making your order!
Another super popular spot for work meetings, catch ups with friends or a sit down after a long dog walk. I’m no coffee snob but the coffee is always delicious and the food is INSANE.
Recommendation: Chipotle Eggs Benedict – out of this world!
22. The Cowrie
The Cowrie in Terrigal is definitely for when you want to treat yourself. It’s slightly pricier than the other options but it’s worth every penny for the fine dining experience in Terrigal and the panoramic ocean views. You will feel on top the world, and you kind of are!
Recommendation: Sage and parmesan gnocchi with cauliflower cream, torched broccolini and broad beans.
23. Party At Mumbo Jumbo’s
A super popular spot at Terrigal is Mumbo Jumbo’s. You’ve got a winner when you mix a huge cocktail menu, good tunes from the DJ, and rooftop seating with ocean views. The decor and food is Jamaican inspired (and seriously delicious) plus anywhere with a cocktail called ‘Beyonce’s Favourite’ can do no wrong in my eyes.
Things To Do Nearby
Looking for places to visit near Terrigal? If you’re visiting Terrigal on a Sydney weekend getaway or spending your Christmas holidays in Terrigal, here are a few places you might like to visit nearby.
24. Long Jetty
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to miss out on the trendy Central Coast suburb of Long Jetty. This hidden gem is often known as the Newtown of the Central Coast for its trendy cafes, graffiti walls, vintage shops and overall cool vibe. You can find out more about it in our Ultimate Guide To Long Jetty.
Around the corner from Terrigal is the quieter Avoca Beach, which is smaller without many holiday resorts. It’s a beautiful slice of paradise and worth venturing to if you have the time. Check out our full guide for The Best Things To Do In Avoca Beach before you visit.
If you venture further down from Avoca Beach, you must pop into the beautiful Bouddi National Park, home to the stunningly beautiful Maitland Bay. You could also head on down to the beautiful Pearl Beach and Patonga Beach and even jump on the ferry over to Palm Beach if you wanted for the day!