Pack up the kids and take an adventure this holiday season, and head to Terrigal on the south central coast. While it's name is said to mean 'uncertain', the likelihood your family will enjoy themselves in this ocean-swept New South Wales suburb are anything but. The iconic Skillion landmark is bound to factor into your visit here, and there's plenty more to please travellers of all ages, from surfing at the exquisite beach through to dining out at one of the many establishments in the area.
The Skillion is perhaps what Terrigal is best known for, jutting high out of the ocean and standing proud over the the suburb. The rocky outcrop provides spectacular views across Terrigal and even right through to Wamberal, Forresters and Avoca's beaches.
The cape is oddly-shaped and narrow, and is famous for its unique shape that rises towards the east at a dramatic incline. Photographers love it here, as the lookout gives amazing views over the surrounding coastline.
There's a footpath leading the way up the Skillion, making it easy for even those with littler feet to get to the top. Once you're there, make your way to the lookout point - and make sure you have your camera handy.
Catch a Wave
Let your kids expend some of their never-ending energy with a surf session down at Terrigal Beach. There are accredited surf schools, such as the Central Coast Surf School, offering lessons in the area to help get you started, while those more experienced in the waves may want to seek out the tougher surf at Terrigal Haven and Wamberal Beach.
The most surfable waves in the area are usually found past 'The Bend', where you'll see sculpted sand banks and rips heading from Terrigal right through to the Wamberal end of the beach. Watch out for the heavy right-hand point-break off Terrigal Haven, as this is really for the experts only. The wave is visually spectacular, though, so don't miss it on your photo ops!
You'll feel extra safe in the waves when the Terrigal Surf Life Saving Club is patrolling the beach, which it does every weekend and public holiday in summer. It's one of the most respected clubs in Australia and helps to teach children and adults about surf safety in and out of the water. The volunteer Lifesavers have national qualifications and provide guidance to the more than 150,000 Terrigal Beach visitors each year.
If you're staying in the area for a while, get your kids involved with the Nippers program, which teaches little ones about surf and sun safety.
The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre is a must-do for any family travelling in Terrigal. Located on Terrigal Drive, it's open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on weekends and school holidays.
It came about after a committee met to discuss the possibility of such a centre in 2004, and in 2005 a working group formed to develop the concept of what is today known as the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre.
With a mission to 'deliver innovative and interactive education programs, activities and experiences, and a vision to provide greater community understanding of marine life in the area, the centre provides an excellent day out for kids young and old.
Teach your family about the ocean and everything inside it by taking a tour or getting involved in the activities available onsite. The Centre often hosts "Rockpool Rambles," where guests can become marine biologists for the day and discover local rock platform animals.
Other activities include puzzles, colouring, painting, competitions and peering through a microscope at sea life. Kids will even be awarded with a certificate when you become a centre-certified junior marine scientist!
Sometimes talks are given in the evening by experts discussing things such as diving, fishing, shipwrecks and anything else marine-related.
Reef Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Terrigal, and is the perfect place to take your brood after a day at the beach. You can guarantee your food will be as fresh as possible here, as chefs visit the Sydney markets frequently to source tasty, high quality produce that's always market fresh. Local Terrigal chefs supply all the restaurant's specialty cuts of meat.
Reef Restaurant's chefs have implemented a product placement traceability program to help identify the origin of key ingredients, as well as making sure they're part of a sustainable farming practice. This has been reflected in the restaurant's wine list, which features small boutique wineries from around Australia and internationally.
The current autumn menu includes a mouth-watering degustation offering, which includes seared sea scallops, confit pork belly, rack of lamb and French vanilla creme brulee, among others. If you don't feel like a feast, try the soft shell crab entree with a salad of green mango, papaya and bean shoot salad. Follow it up with the deconstructed Beef Wellington, complete with caramelised eschalots, baby French beans and bearnaise sauce. For dessert, don't miss the chocolate tart with miso-salted caramel, walnut cream and poached corella pear.
For something completely different, try The Bamboo Buddha. It's an experience like no other, with huge tranquil gardens complementing a fully vegetarian cafe. It's pet friendly and you can even have a tarot card reading while you're there.
The vegetarian cafe is a sanctuary offering fresh meals such as bruschetta topped with mushrooms, pesto and goat's cheese. Try the signature Buddha Burger, which is an open lentil burger with salad greens, chutney and sour cream. There's also a huge dessert menu the little ones are bound to love, including an apple and rhubarb crumble and gluten-free chocolate mud cake.