Narrabeen to Avalon
Chances are if you're not a local but you've heard of North Narrabeen Beach, you're a keen surfer - the beach is internationally renowned for its consistent surf break. But the area isn't just for board riders, Narrabeen also has a lagoon that is popular with kayakers and nearby Collaroy provides access for all abilities.
Narrabeen Beach joins Collaroy Beach and together they create a long stretch of sand that's about 3km long. North of Narrabeen Head you'll find more patrolled beaches including the sheltered Warriewood which joins Mona Vale when the tide is low, plus the secluded Bilgola and more popular, Newport and Avalon beaches.
Things to do
Most of the beaches along this stretch of coastline also offer ocean rock pools. These are great for kids who don't want to play amongst big surf waves or those who want to do laps in the refreshing salt water rather than chlorine, but don't want to contend with waves ruining their stroke.
One of the biggest attractions of Collaroy Beach is its all-abilities playground, specifically designed for children with various levels of ability. The beach is also open to everyone and provides access to a FreeWheeler, a wheelchair with soft balloon tires that provides access to the sand and surf for less-mobile users.
The area is also fantastic for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors. Manly Surf School offers lessons at Collaroy Beach and Narrabeen Lagoon has something for everyone including a bushwalking and off-road cycling track, plus you can hire kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to make the most of the still, calm waters.
Eat and drink
There are delicious waterside places to eat and drink dotted along the coast. The Collaroy Hotel is run by the same people as The Newport and offers the same Neapolitan-style pizza and casual, coastal fare. At Narrabeen, have a coffee at Oceans, go for a steak at Barbuto or something lighter at Limani's Seafood Restaurant.
Getting and staying there
This gorgeous area of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is only an hour by bus from the city centre. Or hop on a ferry at Circular Quay for a 30 minute ride to Manly then catch a connecting bus. There are a range of places to stay along the Northern Beaches, from YHA hostels to boutique hotels, which suit all budgets.