The eastern end of Ettalong Beach is dominated by a striking building, the Ettalong Beach Tourist Resort. It houses an impressive complex of businesses including the Ettalong Markets, Cinema Paradiso, Motel Paradiso and an array of quality restaurants. At the centre of this business empire is family patriarch Jerry Altavilla.
Jerry has always loved Ettalong. He regularly holidayed there as a child before moving to the Coast permanently as a young adult. He and his wife Nina started a family, eventually having four children, and dreamed of what Ettalong could be.
With Nina hailing from Santorini and Jerry from Sicily they knew what bustling seaside resort towns could be. And the beautiful town of Ettalong Beach, sitting where Brisbane Water meets Broken Bay, had so much potential.
In 1977 Jerry started the first incarnation of Ettalong Markets with just half a dozen stallholders. Slowly each year that number grew, as did customers. As surrounding property became available Jerry would purchase and increase the size of the market.
Next came a modest accommodation business, with just a few rooms incorporated into the market site. As land became available, and money could be spent, the complex grew, piece by piece. The next piece of the puzzle was the cinema 1999. Showing a mix of arthouse releases and blockbusters, it also catered for fundraisers and special events.
As the accommodation business increased Jerry also made the savvy move to specialise in hosting conferences. Few businesses were doing this at the time and Jerry was able to lure big business like the State Bank and AMP to sleepy Ettalong. At the core of his plans was the knowledge that Ettalong could be a serious tourist destination, and so the market site kept growing.
Jerry’s family will tell you that he is an incredibly disciplined and hard working man. Today Ettalong Markets has over 80 permanent stallholders, the largest fully undercover market on the Central Coast. And it’s an absolute delight that caters to locals and attracts visitors from far and wide. There’s a great mix of fresh produce, clothes and accessories, plants, homewares, antiques and bric-a-brac. Live entertainment and some great eateries make for a fun day out as well as some shopping bargains. It’s also quite possibly one of the most stunning markets in Australia, with beautiful tiled floors and moulded timber, balconies and tinkling water features. It’s like walking through a European village. In fact the entire complex is a rather lovely Mediterranean folly, with ochre walls and terracotta tiled roofs, frescos and Italianate statuary.
Motel Paradiso now has 40 rooms and suites and is a popular choice for holiday makers who have everything at their doorstep when they stay. Downstairs is an impressive selection of quality restaurants and cafes including some of our favourites – Safran, Gusto Tapas Bar & Lounge and Bar Toto.
Cinema Paradiso is a very impressive, and incredibly comfortable, complex of six screens, including an outdoor screen charmingly sited in what feels like a village square surrounded by restaurants. The cinemas are each decorated to a theme including art deco, starlight and Italian. They also have very good popcorn and choc tops!
After a lifetime of determination and hard work Jerry has created a destination in Ettalong. His slightly incongruous Mediterranean style Ettalong Tourist Resort is a hive of activity and gives as much to locals as it does to visitors. If you want a great day out, or to catch a movie or to dine at one of the Coast’s best restaurants, Ettalong has become the place to go.
Corner of Ocean View and Schapper Roads, Ettalong Beach.
Open every weekend and public holiday Mondays from 9am to 4pm.