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7 Relaxing Things To Do In Terrigal Beach, NSW

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The scenic Terrigal Beach, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, is just over an hour drive from from Sydney but is often missed by most travellers.

This beautiful area has plenty of stunning beaches, natural bushland, and excellent surf, making it an ideal destination to visit for a long weekend getaway or day trip from the city.

credit: Destination NSW

Terrigal Beach was a favourite hang out of mine when I was finishing up school and heading into college.

We spent many days out there exploring this gorgeous Aussie beach town, and while there aren’t a huge amount of things to do in Terrigal Beach, it’s the perfect place to relax in and spend some time by the waves.

If you’re road tripping the East Coast from Sydney to Brisbane, swing your car down Kariong Mountain and make Terrigal Beach a destination to stop off at.

Things to Do in Terrigal Beach, NSW

1. Learn to surf or relax at Terrigal Beach

dolphins jumping out of water at terrigal beach
Dolphins catching a wave at Terrigal Beach

Terrigal Beach is a small cove that generally has very calm surf conditions, making it the perfect place to have a surf lesson with Central Coast Surf Academy.

It’s one of the best-known beaches on the NSW Central Coast because of its cleanliness and outdoor activities.

The southern end of Terrigal Beach is more family friendly, with gentler waves, a small ocean rock pool, and a greater amount of space to spread out and play in.

Friends entering Rhonda's Restaurant & Bar, Terrigal.
Credit: Destination NSW

The beach is lined many boutiques, gift shops, ice cream parlours, cafes and restaurants, which get extremely busy during the weekend and summer days and of an evening.

Terrigal Surf Club is a great spot to sit and have a coffee with panoramic views. For lunch we recommend grabbing some local seafood and finding a patch of grass or sand to sit and enjoy them.

There may even be a Surf Carnival for you to watch while you do.

2. Admire Terrigal Beach Lagoon

a woman holding a child
The Lagoon with views of Wamberal Beach

The Terrigal Board Walk wraps around Terrigal Beach and takes you to Terrigal Lagoon and Wamberal Beach, in the opposite direction to Terrigal Haven.

Where Terrigal and Wamberal Beach meet, the calm and gentle waters of The Lagoon lies just behind a small strip of sand under the cliff.

The Lagoon is a good spot to hire a paddle boat or one of the more popular activities – stand up paddleboarding.

Woman enjoying a day of stand up paddleboarding on Terrigal Lagoon
credit: Destination NSW
Paddle Boating Terrigal Lagoon
Paddle Boating on the Lagoon

You don’t just have to paddle surf in the lagoon, you can carry your board over the sand to take it out on the ocean as well.

Apart from being a great spot for jumping into the lagoon, the bridge that connects Wamby to Terrigal also gives you great views out to the Haven.

3. Relax at Terrigal Haven

Aerial view of Terrigal Haven on the Central Coast.
Aerial view of Terrigal Haven | credit: Destination NSW

Just a short 5 min walk up and around the corner from Terrigal Beach is the Haven, a protected boat harbour and a much quieter spot for a picnic, a play with the pelicans or a swim (although I don’t like to swim here with the moored boats and pelican itch).

Fun fact; the word “terrigal” comes from the aboriginal word “place of little birds.”

Views of the Haven and Terrigal
Views of the Haven and Terrigal
Haven Seafoods The Haven Terrigal
Fish and Chips at the Haven
a beach
Walk around the rocks to get to the Haven

The Haven is also a popular spot to learn scuba diving and snorkelling. There is a fish and chip shop here and one fancy restaurant/cafe. There’s also a picnic area with picnic tables and barbecue facilities if you want to fire up the barbie!

You can rent boat charters from here, or launch your own boat from the boat ramp.

4. Walk to Terrigal Skillion Lookout

Views across Terrigal from The Skillion lookout.
Views across Terrigal from The Skillion lookout. | credit: Destination NSW

A small walking path takes you around the small hills beside the Skillion and offers fantastic viewing points out over the Pacific Ocean and back to the Haven.

The Skillion is a very steep bluff and famous landmark.You can walk or run up for views of North Avoca Beach, an excellent surfing beach around the rocky headlands.

Skillion views Terrigal and Avoca
Views out to Avoca Beach

As a child, I loved to roll all the way back down the Skillion, and so of course, I just had to encourage my own child to roll on down the Skillion this time.

There are beautiful views of the Haven and the perfectly placed rugby field on the roll back down.

If you’re lucky, you may even spot some migrating humpback whales during whale season (June to November) from the headland. It’s also a wonderful sunrise and sunset spot.

5. Hang Out at Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific, an IHG Hotel

Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Terrigal
Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Terrigal

Crowne Plaza Terrigal Hotel is the premier hotel in the town, or as an old local like myself still likes to call it, Peppers.

Crowne Plaza Terrigal is the place to hang out and who can’t see why? It’s location opposite the beach gives you gorgeous views, the beer garden is huge and gets completely packed out, music often plays outside and the atmosphere is buzzing.

The Beer Garden Peppers Terrigal
The Beer Garden

It is an expensive place to drink, but it’s where you will find some of the best cocktails in the town and a vibe to match.

This was the place for us to hang out in our last year of school, and why we were at Uni, Thursday night was Peppers night. Ahh to be young again!

6. Dive a shipwreck and artificial reef

scuba diving experience on the ex-HMAS Adelaide warship,
credit: Destination NSW

I mentioned earlier that the Haven was a popular spot to book diving tours. Allow me to expand on what you can see on a dive tour! The most well known dive school in the area is Pro Dive Central Coast.

The most famous dive site in Terrigal is the ex-HMAS Adelaide, a shipwreck nestled 32 meters below the ocean surface.

Located just off the coast, it’s known for its artificial reef and healthy marine life. It’s possible to see rays, colorful fish, octopus, and even whales in the right season!

7. Walk in Wyrrabalong National Park 

Wyrrabalong National Park is the closest national park to Terrigal Beach, and combines the coastline from Forresters Beach to Bateau Bay, as well as the woodlands and bushland behind it.

There are several walking trails and hikes you can do, depending on the scenery you want to explore.

You can walk along the coastal cliffs, meander through the woodlands of native trees, or admire the mangrove areas which are known for their thriving bird life.

How to Get to and Around Terrigal Beach New South Wales

Wamberal with views across to Terrigal.
Wamberal with views across to Terrigal. | credit: Destination Central Coast

If driving, take the Gosford Exit from the F1 and follow the signs to Terrigal Beach.

It is about an hour and a half drive from Sydney and a very scenic journey.

You can also catch the train from Sydney to Gosford and then a bus from Gosford, which is about 10km away from the town.

When you get to Terrigal Beach, the best way to get around is to walk. Terrigal is a small, cosmopolitan seaside town and everything you need is in walking distance.

Where to Stay in Terrigal Beach

Entrance to Crowne Plaza Terrigal, located on the state's Central Coast.
credit: Destination NSW

You are not going to find many budget options in Terrigal Beach, most of the accommodation options are apartments and condos since this is an Aussie summer beach town.

Many of the locals own holiday lets here, but even in the summer, you can usually find a beautiful Terrigal Beach House to rent with some friends.

There is a YHA Backpackers Hotel just behind the beach, and although it looked a little run down, it may be your only option for affordable accommodation right near where all the action is.

The best place to stay in Terrigal Beach is the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. You can see more in our review of the Crowne Plaza in Terrigal here.

You can use the map below to find accommodation in Terrigal

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Final Thoughts

Couple enjoying a walk across Terrigal Beach
credit: Destination NSW

Terrigal Beach may not be big, but it is well worth a visit. We hope this guide helped you plan your next trip and gave you some much needed travel inspiration.

Have you ever been to Terrigal Beach, NSW Australia? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

More Central Coast Australia Travel Tips

Need more inspiration for visiting the Central Coast of Australia? Here are some other helpful guides.

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