Avoca Beach is a sleepy little town a couple of beaches over from the flashier, bustling tourist hotspot of Terrigal. Although it has a reputation for being a bit of a backwater, the central coast has had a thriving cafe culture for just as long as Sydney. This oasis is just a 90-minute drive up the highway, so it’s an easy day trip. But why not stay for the weekend?
Becker & Co.
You know a destination is taking off when exiled residents have returned. Dale Hunter (formerly of Bird & Bear Boathouse) was away from the area for 10 years before he came back and opened Becker & Co. This cafe serves Will & Co coffee and cafe food such as green eggs and ham – but the real highlight is walking away with a bunch of fresh flowers wrapped in brown paper after your breakfast.
2/162 Avoca Drive
(02) 4381 2312
Oomph Avoca Beach
Housed in a building that was once occupied by a fish-and-chip shop called Prawn Star, Oomph is a local favourite for excellent coffee and $5 fresh juices. Go for the potato rosti, egg and mushroom dish, and you won't be disappointed.
168A Avoca Drive
Wise Food café
With Campos coffee and a whole case of gluten-free treats and raw foods, this cafe is perfect if you’re not into holiday indulgence. It also has separate vegan and gluten-free menus and a yoga studio upstairs.
177 Avoca Drive
(02) 4382 2098
Grab a bottle of wine from the bottle shop across the road from this no-frills Malaysian restaurant and settle in for the salt-and-pepper soft-shell crab and Nyonya lemongrass king prawns. Book ahead; this place is seriously popular.
14/172 Avoca Drive
(02) 4381 2885
Bombini is about a kilometre outside the main village, a recent addition to Avoca's dining scene. The restaurant sits in two acres of gardens, and serves modern and casual Italian fare – much of which is made from produce grown on-site.
366 Avoca Drive
(02) 4381 1436
Avoca Beach Hotel
Grab a beer and take to the deck of Avoca Beach Hotel, where you can sit among the treetops. The pub menu is nothing to be sniffed at, with schnitzels, steak, beef wellington and confit duck Maryland.
326 Avoca Drive
(02) 4382 3899
Despite its food coming-of-age, Avoca Beach has a dearth of bars and pubs. But not only does Mojito Joe’s pour some damn-fine cocktails (such as the Sufffering Bastard, with whisky, gin, apple and lime juice and ginger ale), it also does a range of what it calls Pacific Islander and Asian cuisine. So while you might find gumbo and tiki salad on the menu, you can also pop in on the weekend for yum cha.
85 Avoca Drive
(02) 4381 1712
Avoca Beach Picture Theatre
It would be crazy to visit Avoca without stopping for a movie at the picture theatre. Opened in 1951, this independent cinema was recently named one of the BBC's top-20 cinemas in the world. Many of its old-world features still exist, including vintage posters lining the walls and a piano with a creepy mannequin on stage in front of the screen.
69 Avoca Drive
(02) 4382 1777
Avoca Beachside Markets
Try and time your visit for the fourth Sunday of the month, when the Avoca Beachside Markets spring up next to the lagoon. Local fashion designers, craftspeople and musos flock to this monthly celebration of arts and crafts.
Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach
Unless you're planning on renting a holiday house, there's a bit of a shortage of places to stay in Avoca. Your best bets are Avoca Valley Bed and Breakfast and Riley's Bed and Breakfast, which both sit in bushland a bit outside of the main town. Both provide simple but luxurious lodgings.