With its kid-friendly rockpool and large pine trees that cast shade across the sand, Macmasters Beach is fantastic for families.
Kids love the different natural play spaces this beach provides at its southern end. In the rockpool little ones can enjoy a swim and go hunting for crabs and periwinkles. Just nearby, large rocks dot the sand creating a natural play space that kids love climbing on and exploring: watch as their imagination transforms one boulder into a pirate ship and another into a remote island. And, of course, there’s the surf and flagged swim area in the middle of the beach.
Large pines provide the southern end of the beach and rockpool with shade in the afternoon, which is so lovely at the height of summer. There aren’t many beaches on the Coast with natural shade, so we think this is a huge bonus.
It’s a great spot to visit at any time, but it’s definitely one to keep in mind during peak season. Macs isn’t on the radar of most tourists, so it’s normally far less crowded than nearby Terrigal or Avoca during school holidays.
Perched on a small hill overlooking Macmasters Beach and rockpool, the Barefoot Cafe has a location that’s pretty hard to beat! The cafe’s tables are located on the glass-fenced deck, so everyone is guaranteed a view of the water. Most of the tables are large enough to accommodate groups of 6-8 and are under the shade of umbrellas or permanent sails.
Food: Barefoot Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch every day, and also for dinner each Friday and Saturday evening. The breakfast menu is fairly classic and includes pancakes with maple syrup, potato rosti with poached eggs and bacon, and googy eggs.
The chefs are Thai, and their lunch and dinner menu offers a combination of classic beach fare (burgers with the works, or fish and chips) and Thai cuisine. The green chicken curry is fragrant with kaffir lime leaves and coriander, and the flavour is a great balance of hot chillies, sweet palm sugar and zesty lime juice. It’s a winner.
They also have snacks by way of milkshakes, ice creams, muffins and banana bread, and of course, coffee.
Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase from the Surf Club Bar on Friday (from 5pm) and Sunday (from 4pm) nights. The bar is staffed by surf club volunteers.
Service: You have to order at the til, but the food is delivered to your table, so they get points from us there (we hate it when you have to hang around waiting for a number to be called). Trade is busy and the staff manning the til are brisk and to the point – there’s no time for small talk here. Delivery of the food is normally super speedy. We say “normally” as this obviously depends on the weather – come for breakfast on a gorgeous 30C Saturday during peak school holiday time and you will have a bit of a wait for your pancakes, but on a normal evening the food is delivered really fast.
Great for kids: One of the key reasons we love Barefoot Cafe is because it’s really kid friendly. The paved path is a great space for toddlers and preschoolers to cruise about on their balance bikes and scooters, or for tweens to practice their skate tricks. The grassed area, just a few metres from your table, is large enough and contained enough to allow the kids to kick a ball or play a game of “What’s the time Mr wolf” while you enjoy an uninterrupted conversation with friends. It’s fantastic.
Please be aware that the area is not fully fenced, so you do have to watch that wanderers don’t take off down the hill towards the beach or off into the back car park.
BBQ facilities: There is a small grassed area with barbecue facilities at the southern end of the beach. These are free for anyone to use.
Playground at Macs: There is a small playground located in the park opposite the beach (corner of Gerda Road and Marine Parade) – about 200 metres from the Barefoot Cafe. This park is in desperate need of an upgrade and some maintenance, but it’ll keep the kids entertained for a short while. It has a set of swings – a baby swing and normal swing (no belt on the baby swing when we visited), slippery dip and climbing structure.
Toilets and showers: These are located near the Barefoot Cafe (southern end) and in the park (corner of Gerda Road and Marine Parade).
Tips: Barefoot Cafe is cash only!
Hours: Breakfast every day from 8am (served all day). Lunch every day 11.30am-4:30pm. Dinner Friday and Sunday 5.30pm-9pm.
Location: On the balcony next to the Surf Club, 100 Marine Parade, Macmasters Beach.
Phone: 0499 059 041.