Perfect for sailing, kayaking, fishing and boating, Pittwater is a beautiful waterway between Australia’s second-oldest national park and the charming Northern Beaches peninsula. On the western headland are ancient Aboriginal ochre hand paintings in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

The 1881-built Barrenjoey Lighthouse is on the eastern headland, Sydney’s northernmost seaside point with a spectacular panorama. Follow a trail up to Barrenjoey Head from the northern end of Palm Beach, a popular golden sandy stretch only 90 minutes by public transport from the city centre.

Friends kayaking on Pittwater at Bennets Wharf, Coasters Retreat

Wonderful tours include Aboriginal heritage, wildlife discovery, stargazing, sailing, kayaking, fishing and private boat charters. You can hire kayaks and try stand-up paddleboarding with Avalon Stand Up Paddle. For amazing views, fly in a seaplane from Rose Bay and land on shimmering Pittwater.

At Palm Beach hop on a ferry for the Basin, a delightful picnic spot and the only campground in the national park. Nearby is rich indigenous heritage, from rock engravings at the Basin Aboriginal art site off the Basin walking track, to ochre hand paintings on the Red Hands Cave track at West Head.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk, Palm Beach

The Church Point Ferry Service will ferry you to Scotland Island and other picturesque spots on the western foreshore, such as the national park and Morning Bay for the YHA youth hostel. You’ll find boutique accommodation too around Pittwater, and there are delightful waterside places to eat.

Flying Fox Cafe is in a pretty park at Winnererremy Bay. The Newport is a beautifully renovated pub that has been serving Pittwater since 1880. Near tranquil Clareville Beach is the Clareville Kiosk, a restaurant in a charming weatherboard cottage and a lovely spot for a romantic lunch or dinner.

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