Get to know Ettalong
Ettalong invites you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, just one hour and 25 minutes’ drive north of Sydney. Picture it: anchored boats bob in the bay, locals gentle paddle their SUPs along the coastline, with several charming cafés are less than a minute’s walk away.
The “beach” of Ettalong is a short, shallow stretch of golden sand and calm, light blue water. It’s conveniently bordered by a foreshore reserve featuring public amenities, tables and BBQs, plus a modern takeaway café and waterfront restaurant. Ettalong by the sea is an appealing spot for parents and families to relax while their children play, or to pursue water sport skills by SUP, kayaking, fishing or snorkelling.
Stroll, cycle or skate along The Esplanade, a shared coastal path connecting Ettalong to neighbouring Ocean Beach and Umina Beach. Ettalong also links to Palm Beach by ferry, docking several times daily at the wharf on Ferry Road, which also connects to Wagstaffe just across the bay near Bouddi National Park as part of its circular loop.
For personalised advice on what to explore locally, drop into Ettalong Diggers Visitor Information Centre, within the Ettalong Diggers RSL Club, or simply chat with welcoming local shop owners, many who relocated from Sydney to enjoy the relaxed-yet-social coastal lifestyle this vibrant Peninsula town offers.
Ettalong Bucket List
What to do in Ettalong
1. Explore the kitsch Galleria Ettalong precinct
The very definition of random, The Galleria is a quirky time capsule of Mediterranean architecture, dramatic paintings, sculptures and terraces built in 1979. Just one minute from the ocean, it’s a Venice-like maze hosting locally run shops, cafés, businesses and even a beautiful old-style movie theatre, Cinema Paradiso, which plays new release and arthouse films. Catch the Ettalong Beach Markets held here every weekend too.
2. Hire a BBQ Boat and play in the bay
Anderson’s Boatshed and wharf is located on Petit Street, just outside Ettalong’s main shopping strip, offering kayak, SUP and boat hire 7 days a week. It’s a great option for groups to tour the bay in one of their BBQ Boats, complete with modern amenities, seating, esky, ice and – of course – a floating barbie. Anchor up in the calm bay or explore Brisbane Water near Woy Woy and Pelican Island for an adventure.
3. Browse Ettalong’s stylish seaside boutiques
Ocean View Road offers up a list of unique stores owned by local makers and creators. Pop into Tiki La La for their outrageously vogue collection of vintage fashion, furniture and vinyl. Visit Salmon & Co for stunning native floral arrangements alongside flora, fauna and marine-themed homewares. Feather & Seed Lifestyle will invigorate your senses with aromatherapy products for the wellbeing of your skin, body, mind and lifestyle. And don’t miss Amour: a women’s clothing boutique located right near Ettalong wharf.
4. Indulge in the Coast’s handmade cannoli, gelato and crepes
Ettalong is filled with delicious, handmade artisan options for sweet toothed folk. Try coffee in a cone or choose a creative sundae at Helado Espresso & Gelato Bar in The Rocks Arcade. Across the street discover Hatters Tea House for one of their famous high teas by the sea. Enjoy freshly made crepes (or palaĉinki) in sweet and savoury flavours at Palaĉinki Cafe in The Galleria. And don’t miss the Coast’s best, freshly-piped cannoli available at artisan bakery, Sasa Sicilian Street Food.
5. Sink into the local slow coffee culture
Life is calmer by the seaside, just ask the founders of Slowwell, a wellbeing café, bookstore and therapy space designed for slow seekers. Nearby you’ll find Lords of Pour, a punk pink styled brunch hot spot to transform morning zombies into friendly locals with a killer coffee and brunch menu. Coast 175 is ideal for courtyard catchups over cake with a good mate, offering ample seating right opposite The Galleria.
6. Cycle The Esplanade and enjoy a scenic picnic
Hire a bike from Ettalong Bike Hire on the corner of Beach Street, and follow the shared coastal pathway – The Esplanade – to the neighbouring town of Umina, to the Peninsula Recreation Precinct, and back. The flat route hugs the beaches, making it easy to stop for a cold drink at the SLSC kiosks, or pack your own snacks to enjoy on any park bench (the best seats in the area!), looking out at the beautiful Broken Bay panorama.
7. Meet The Peninsula’s makers and creators
Start with a visit to Bay Gallery, right opposite Mantra and Ettalong Beach Resort on Broken Bay Road, where local artists and exhibitions are curated and sold by a dedicated cooperative group. Next head to the town centre for a coffee or herbal tea at Re:Publik Café coupled with a browse of its Waterline Art Gallery which was once a furniture store, a haberdashery, a newsagency, an office and now an artsy café. For handmade fashion, homewares and hidden treasures, browse the stalls at Ettalong Beach Markets at The Galleria each weekend.
8. Learn to surf or SUP on calm waters
The gentle swell at nearby Ocean Beach and Umina Beach is perfect for kids and adults to learn the art of surfing with Central Coast Surf School. These beaches are also ideal for learning how to stand up paddleboard lessons with Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP, who also teach SUP Pilates, SUP Yoga and the latest aqua craze – SUP Ball.
9. Charming cinema and cocktail experience
One of Ettalong’s gems is its old world movie theatre, Cinema Paradiso, which takes you back to yesteryear when watching the latest film was an experience – from red velvet curtains to popcorn and choc tops, printed session times and blockbuster posters. Not only is the cinema foyer decorated with autographed photos of celebrities, but it folds into the dark Romantic-styled décor of Bar Toto, the neighbourhood’s classy go-to bar with an exceptional cocktail menu, Italian cicchetti and antipasti, plus huge arancini balls!
10. World-class fine dining along the beach
The world class chefs behind the world class menus at several Ettalong restaurants are well worth their salt. Osteria il Coccia offers Italian woodfired dining with a ‘farm to flame’ approach, led by chef Nicola Coccia (of Southern Highlands to Circular Quay), and French-born wife Alex who has designed an exceptional wine list. Safran is an award-winning, hatted Turkish restaurant led by chef Suleyman Kirbancioglu (Sulo to locals), who shares the melting pot of traditional Ottoman cuisine with a contemporary twist. Nearby La Fiamma offers traditional Italian woodfired pizzas in its sheltered courtyard of The Galleria, while The Box on the Water serves modern Australian cuisine on the ocean’s edge – go for a sunset booking.
Take a look at what is around the corner from Ettalong
Ettalong is a creative community surrounded by smaller seaside towns including Booker Bay, Daley’s Point, Blackwall and, further over the headland, Pearl Beach and Patonga. Larger town centres nearby include Woy Woy and Umina Beach, each with their own bustling high streets featuring shopping centres, cafes, restaurants and independent local businesses. Across the bay from Ettalong, you can take a short ferry ride to Wagstaffe wharf, which connects you to the Bouddi Peninsula and neighbourhood of Killcare and Hardys Bay. Some Sydneysiders choose to visit Ettalong by ferry, which takes 30 minutes from Palm Beach and glides across the beautiful Hawkesbury River to Broken Bay and Brisbane Water.