Avoca Beach is a coastal town on the Central Coast of NSW, an easy hour to 90 minutes’ drive north of Sydney, depending on traffic. The small town is built around a surf beach which makes it a popular holiday destination. To get there, take the Scenic Highway at Gosford then follow the directions to Terrigal before you take Avoca Drive which ultimately leads you to the beach.
Where to Stay in Avoca Beach
Avoca Beach thrives on rental holiday accommodation and these range from old shacks, to small units and grand houses. Three real estate agents, LJ Hooker, George Brand and Raine and Horne, all with large frontages, dominate the strip of shops that forms the commercial hub of town.
Avoca Beach holiday rental
The best places to stay are along Avoca Drive, either near the main shopping area with cafés and eateries, or the southern end of the beach near the Surf Life Saving club and beachside cafés.
What to See and Do in Avoca Beach
The main attraction is the beach itself with swimming and surfing as the main activities. You can body surf, learn how to surf, and walk the length of the beach and back. You can paddle a boat on the Avoca Lagoon Wetland, sit in cafes and visit the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre which dates back to 1951.
A series of shops line up the strip in the centre of town. You’ll find a supermarket, a bakery, a butcher with a good range of produce, a newsagent, a pharmacy, an ATM, a liquor shop among other small businesses, cafés and eateries among other small businesses. What you will not find there is a shop selling fresh seafood or a bar/pub in which to partake in a drink.
The beach can be accessed from that central part of town but even at the height of summer, it is not patrolled.
Where to Eat in Avoca Beach
Avoca Sands Café is situated on the southern end of the beach. The indoor/outdoor café serves breakfast all day, fish and chips, burgers and other light meals with a good wine list. 2 / 85 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach Ph: (02) 4381 0994 (review to come)
Mermaids Seafood is the spot to wrap your towel around you, sandy bottom and all, and get your burgers, hot chips and deep fried seafood. It’s laid back location on the on the southern end of the beach makes it a fun place to be. 1/85 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach, Ph: (02) 4381 0600
Point Café is situated near the Surf Life Club on the beach and serves a good selection of all day breakfast dishes, lunch and dinner. There are many vegetarian and gluten free options on the menu and it’s a popular spot with holiday makers. 10 Vine Street, Avoca Beach Ph (02) 4382 2760
Sul Rondo is an Italian style deli and cafe serving Toby’s Coffee and Tea, breakfast and lunch near the roundabout, hence its name. Indoor and outdoor seating in contemporary decor. 4/170 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach Ph: (02) 4382 3820
Burger Girls is a cute takeaway shack that knows how to attract the crowds. They serve burgers, fish and chips, coffee and fresh juices. 168a Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach Phone: (02) 4382 1230
Chopstix is a modern Chinese fusion restaurant which offers a take away menu with a home delivery option. Open daily for lunch and dinner and 172a Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach. Ph 02 43 823 939
L-R: Avoca Sands Cafe, Mermaids, Point Cafe
Allmalay restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining with a range of Malaysian dishes such as laksa, rendang, satay. The restaurant is BYO and takeaway. Shop 14 172 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach. Phone (02) 4381 2885.
Avoca Beach Pizza and Pasta Cafe is as the name suggests, an eatery serving pizzas and pastas 172 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach,
Blu Bar and Bistro is located above Avoca Sands Café and offers fine dining with panoramic views of Avoca Beach. 3/85 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach Phone: 02 4381 0707
Kahveh Café , serves coffee, breakfast and is often full of young families with prams which makes it difficult to get a table. 181 Avoca Dr, Avoca Beach
Rajdhani Indian Restaurant serves a variety of Indian fare at good prices. 169A Avoca Dr, Avoca Beach
And top of the pick:
Rojo Rocket – A short drive away from the beach, you’ll find a Mexican oasis to put on your must dine list is. With indoor dining, open air dining, lounging on day beds and a tequila shack 366 Avoca Drive Avoca Ph (02) 4382 2255.
Where to Drink in Avoca Beach
There is a notable absence of bars and pubs in Avoca Beach. The eateries that have views over the beach and serve alcohol do not open in the evening. The only pub is The Avoca Beach Hotel which is located at the entrance to the town and is not within a walking distance. 326 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach NSW 2251 Ph: (02) 4382 3899. You may wish to bring along your favourite tipple if you would rather not drive in the evenings.
Edited March 2013: Mojito Joe’s is now open at Upstairs 85 Avoca Drive overlooking Avoca Beach.
Where to Eat Around Avoca Beach
Top picks for dining around Avoca Beach:
Cara o Cruz in Terrigal – inventive tapas in modern surrounds and a new cocktail lounge upstairs. You could easily be dining in Sydney’s inner city. 3 – 5 Kurrawyba Ave, Terrigal.
Onda Italian Restaurant in Terrigal’s – a beachfront restaurant that brings Italian flavours to the Central Coast. 150 Terrigal Drive Terrigal, Ph (02) 4384 5554
The Cowrie in Terrigal – a fine dining restaurant renowned for its seafood, 109 Scenic Drive Terrigal Ph 02 4384 3016
Flair Restaurant in Erina Heights – an intimate modern Australian restaurant serving a mix of European, Asian and Latin flavours including a 9 course degustation. 1/488 The Entrance Road Erina Heights Ph: (02) 4365 2777
Things to Do Around Avoca Beach
1. Copacabanna Beach is a short drive away from Avoca Beach. A smaller beach with its own little hub of eateries. Worth a visit.
2. Distillery Botanica in Erina – Set in beautiful gardens and formerly known as St Fiacre, you can visit a small pot still distillery renowned for its fruit liqueurs and gin.
3. Firescreek Fruit Winery in Holgate – The winery produces a a seasonal variety of boutique fruit flower and herb wines with tastings at cellar door, 192 Wattle Tree Rd, Holgate.
General Advice about Avoca Beach
Avoca Beach is a popular holiday destination for young families, with pre-teens and retired couples. This is not the place to stay if you want any nightlife within walking distance of your accommodation. There is a noticeable lack of places to have a drink as the sun sets or in the evening.
If you want fresh seafood, such as oysters, prawns, mussels you won’t find it at Avoca Beach or in the nearby suburbs. The closest find was a takeaway fish and chips shop in Terrigal which had a small supply of oysters.
If you would like to go for a beach walk, the only option is to walk along the sand. Avoca Beach lacks a promenade or a road that hugs the coast for the length of the beach. You can pound the pavement along Avoca Drive but all you’ll see is a series the rental properties and real estate signage.
The northern end of Avoca Beach is a quieter area with its own smaller surf life saving club and a handful of shops. In the height of the holiday season, the area was not patrolled.
The sea can get very rough with strong rips that pull you in, even in summer. Always swim between the flags. Surf lifesaving rescues are very common and most can be avoided with a little common sense.
Since beach closures are common, be prepared to entertain yourself in case of inclement weather.
Avoca Beach is a tranquil beachside town best suited for family time and relaxation. You’ll find it to be a friendly spot and locale with daytime activities centred around the beach and the shops. But come evening, there is nothing to do in town. If you get bored easily, or if you want to stay in a place that has some nightlife, Terrigal is a more exciting option.
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