Northern Beaches lifestyle

Highlights

Stunning scenery and an enviable lifestyle have long attracted visitors to the Pacific-side beaches north of Sydney Harbour

Explore the stretches of white sand at QueenscliffCollaroyLong Reef or Narrabeen. Charter a yacht on Pittwater or simply enjoy the company of the friendly communities at the many bars and restaurants in the area. 

  • Jonahs Restaurant, Whale Beach
  • The Boathouse, Palm Beach

Northern Beaches lifestyle

Avalon Beach, Northern Beaches

The Northern Beaches stretch for many kilometres along Sydney’s beautiful Pacific coastline with the ocean on one side and nature reserves on the other. It’s an area known for its beach culture and relaxed ambience, as well as great surf beaches.

Manly Beach is arguably the most famous of the Northern Beaches and the closest to Sydney’s city centre, with regular ferries operating between Sydney’s Circular Quay and Manly Wharf. Here you can enjoy a wealth of beachside cafes and restaurants, or hire a bike and make the easy cycle to nearby Freshwater Beach.

Take a stroll to the secluded shores of Shelly Beach, or visit North Head, with over 10 kms of easy walking tracks to explore complete with spectacular views. The Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk is another great walk; over 3-4 hours you’ll pass by stunning beaches and secluded bays, with its many great vantage points offering spectacular sea views.

Many of these seaside neighbourhoods offer great food, from humble fish and chips to fine-dining experiences. For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, take a Sydney Seaplanes ride to Jonah’s at Whale Beach, near Palm Beach. This multi-award-winning restaurant serves modern Australian cuisine along with fantastic ocean views. Or stop in for a drink at the Newport Arms, a fantastic historic pub set on the Pittwater waterfront. They’ve been serving beer since 1880.

A 20-minute drive north of Manly is Dee Why, one of the area's most popular family beaches. Beside the beach is a selection of excellent restaurants and cafes and a playground for kids. Mona Vale Beach makes for a great day stop. Effectively two separate beaches, one with a patrolled swimming area, the other sharing a pool with The Basin, a beautiful inlet set within national park and great for swimming and paddleboarding.

Head to Palm Beach to discover Barrenjoey Headland and visit the Barrenjoey Lighthouse built in 1881. From here, you'll have panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, the Central Coast and Broken Bay. Two beaches worth adding to your list include Avalon and Narrabeen, both of which attract keen surfers all year-round. Sit back and watch them from the shore, or brave the waves and join them.

  • SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour

    Manly SEA LIFE sanctuary

    Just a short walk from the ferry at Manly Wharf, Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary features a wide variety of marine life, including lionfish, cuttlefish, octopuses, seahorses, Manlys own little penguins and baby sharks. If youre feeling particularly adventurous, dive in and get up close and personal with sharks at the aquariums Shark Dive Xtreme attraction.

     

  • The Boat House Cafe, Palm Beach

    Northern Beaches cafes

    Many visit the Northern Beaches simply to sit in cafes and while away the hours. Browse the bookshelves and sip a freshly brewed cup at Bookoccino in Avalon, look out over Dee Why Beach at On Shore Cafe Brasserie stop in for brunch at Belgrave Cartel or try some of the nest coffee in Manly at Barefoot Coffee Traders.

Enjoy Sydney's beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips

Surf Life Saving

Always swim between the red and yellow flags surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It's also a good idea to always swim with a friend.

Make sure you read any safety signs at the beach and you are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.

Check conditions before you go and find a patrolled beach by visiting beachsafe.org.au.

  1. Avalon Beach

    Over the last decade or so Avalon has become the favoured "sea-change" destination for Sydney-siders looking to adopt the surfer lifestyle. As a result, the board-riding community here is large and enthusiastic but...

  2. Dee Why Beach

    Dee Why plays host to many of the northern beaches main events including Australia Day and New Years Eve fireworks. It also is the site of numerous first class sporting events such as the Beachley...

  3. Long Reef Beach

    Long Reef is a perfect stretch of white sand.At the north end there is Long Reef Headland, a protected aquatic reserve, and a golf course. A walk to the top of the headland can often be rewarded by views of...

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