Welcome to “Summer Bay”!
Television viewers especially in Australia and the UK will be very familiar with Palm Beach, location for the mythical village of Summer Bay where the hit TV series Home and Away is located. Screened in more than 50 countries Home and Away’s mythiical village of Summer Bay couldn’t have choosen a more idyllic location. The millionaire “beach shack” suburb of Palm Beach sits at the northern end of a peninsular, just north of Sydney Australia, and juts out into Broken Bay seperating the sheltered waterway of Pittwater, a serene boating harbour with great sailing, and the Pacific Ocean.
If you think Bondi is the best beach that Sydney has to offer,well, think again! Take a Central Coast Day Tour from Sydney, visit Palm Beach, and explore some of the best beaches and tranquil hideaways that Regional New South Wales has to offer.
Bondi Beach might be great as an inner city beach with easy access from Sydney CBD but the slightly longer travel time to Palm Beach or its beachy neighbours is well worth the travel. It’s not hard to get to by public transport either, just take the L90 bus from Wynyard Station in the city (Sydney bus routes and timetables) and the journey takes just over an hour. Or if you want a great view of all the Northern Beaches of Sydney then take a float plane flight along the coast and land on Pittwater, right at Palm beach with Sydney by Seaplane.
Palm Beach has a sheltered inland harbour side, Pittwater, and a great surf beach open to the Pacific Ocean. They are quite different.
On sheltered Pittwater the waters are tranquil with a small shallow beach ideal for a quick dip. It’s great for picnicing in the surrounding park, part of Kurringai Chase National Park, which borders the 9 hole Palm Beach Golf Club. At this point the narrow sand isthmus that seperates Pitwater from Palm Beach runs north to the prominant Barrenjoey Headland which is topped by Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
Access to the headland and Barrenjoey Lighthouse and the cottages is by a very steep and rough one kilometre walk from the base of the headland which will take you at least 20 minutes. Guided tours of the lighthouse are undertaken by the NSW Dept of National Parks & Wildlife every Sunday,from 11am to 3pm. Tours take approx 30 mins, phone 02 9472 9300 on the day to check tours are going ahead. There are no public toilets or refreshments available on top of the headland. Tours cost $4 adults and $2 children, meet at the top of the track and bookings are not required.
A short walk over the hill from the car park at Barrenjoey is the small village of Palm Beach. Here, clustered around the Palm Beach Ferry Wharf is the Palm Beach general Store and restauarants such as very pleasant Barenjoey House or the Greedy Goat Cafe. If you are looking for a nice bottle of wine or fixings for a picnic then the The World Famous Palm Beach Wine Co might satisy your desires. A full directory of the shops and stores with contact details can be found at the Qwert Directory of Palm Beach. This is where Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones reportedly spent $250,000 on champagne in one visit to the shop whilst holidaying here.
From the Palm Beach Ferry Wharf you can also embark on a cruise of the Hawkesberry River and Cowan Waters through Kuringai National Park. Here the steep sided bush tumbles down sandstone cliffs to waterways that can only be described as spectacular. Minutes from the hussle of Sydney and yet so serene. You shouldn’t miss this. Or if you want go go a little further afield then catch the ferry across Broken Bay to the village of Ettalong on the New South Wales Central Coast. You can listen to a podcast on Ettalong Beach in the free audio guides of Australia on this site. Information on the Palm Beach Ferry here and in a fast 30 minute crossing of Broken Bay you will be able to view Barrenjoey Lighthouse from the sea.
Another great day out or a longer stay is at The Basin camping and picnic ground. Part of the Kuringai Chase National Park and provides picnic and camping facilities for 400 campers. Information can be found on the Department of Environment and Climate Change web site. It’s great for family, friends or larger organised groups and amenities at the Basin include toilets and showers, laundry, electric BBQs and under cover tables. The Basin is a great spot for swimming, bush walking trails, and viewing Aboriginal Rock Art engravings. As it is a part of the Kuringai Chase National Park native wildlife abounds including Kangaroos, Wallabies, Goannas, Koalas as well as prolific birdlife and the easiest access is to take a ferry from Palm Beach Wharf. Information on ferries in the area can be obtained from the Palm Beach Ferry website.
On the Pacific Ocean, the surf side of Palm Beach is where you see most of the Home and Away “Summer Bay”, beach scenes. There are long stretches of golden sand tinged with red and plenty of beach to find yourself a tranquil spot. It is best to follow the beach safety directions of the surf lifesavers and swim between the flags. Beaches in Australia are beautiful but all can hold some hidden dangers. You can listen to a podcast about beach safety in Australia here.
Don’t just visit Sydney get out of the city and see more with a light carbon footprint day tour of the Central Coast.