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Thirroul – top stop on the Coffee Coast

Thirroul – top stop on the Coffee Coast
Play Towns & villages

There’s a buzz about the seaside village of Thirroul. Possibly because its residents are fuelled by caffeine. Thirroul’s coffee obsession has resulted in about a dozen flourishing cafes in a town home to only about 5600 people.
Good coffee is one reason to stop here on your tour of the Grand Pacific Drive. But there are many others, including Thirroul’s Egg & Dart art gallery, eclectic homewares stores, such as Cocoon, and unique boutiques, selling everything from surf wear to women’s clothing at the likes of the stylish Saltt Collective.
For vintage treasure hunters, there are a four options along Lawrence Hargrave Drive: Thirroul Antique Centre, Now and Then Collectables, the funky Mission Australia second-hand shop and the famous Retro Wombat, where collectors may spend many happy hours browsing through furniture, toys and memorabilia ranging from rustic to rusted.
The historic town takes its name from the “Thurrural” Aboriginal people who lived here. Translated, it means “the place or valley of the cabbage tree palms” – not many of this once-plentiful and prized tree remain, although you may spot some beside Bulli Pass.
Thirroul’s iconic building is on a corner of the main street, the old Kings Theatre, now Anita’s Theatre, with Federation Free-Style elements. Built in 1912 by the postmaster of the time,
it was once an open-air theatre with a canvas
roof and now hosts regular live music, comedy and movie nights (there’s a lull over Christmas, but The Divine Miss Bette, “the hilariously outrageous, naughty, camp, whirlwind of a stage show” is billed for January 27).
You’ll see signs for the “Coal Coast” in Thirroul. Do not be alarmed – coal mining is a thing of the past, at least in this Illawarra suburb. Mining from 1895 to 1962 did somewhat scotch the town’s reputation as a family holiday destination, driving visitors north to unspoilt Austinmer. But Thirroul has once again become popular with young families, with many Sydneysiders swapping the city for its relaxed village vibe on a permanent basis. This is reflected in rising house prices, the average now topping $1 million.
Young children will love Thirroul’s big beachside playground (especially the climbing ropes, scooter track and flying fox). There is also a free saltwater pool nearby on Bath Street, beside the beach, open daily 6am-7pm.
Thirroul Beach is a long, stunning stretch of sand. Patrolled daily in summer, it’s heaps of fun for swimmers, surfers and bodyboarders. And, of course, you can enjoy a fine coffee! Try the recently refurbished Thirroul Beach Pavilion, where outdoor tables overlook the ocean.