Drive just a little over an hour from Sydney to the Northern Beaches and there exists the Montauk of New South Wales: infinity pool mansions, boutiques and everything within a stone’s throw of cerulean sea or a serious latte.
Sydney’s elite escape to the charming towns of the Northern Beaches (Whale Beach, Palm Beach and Avalon) for some serious summer swagger and because it’s almost always summer in Sydney, there’s never a bad time to be seen there.
Palm Beach is the mythical village of ‘Summer Bay’ – Australia’s long-running soap opera TV show – but for the real froth the North Palm Beach surf club is the perfect place to spy sweeping views of the waves foam and churn. At the southern end of Palm Beach, calmer waters prevail for taking a dip. And all of the northern beaches have plenty of ocean rock pools to spy sea anemones (which are always ticklish) and let the kids safely swim laps.
Jog, walk or strap on a surfboard and take the Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk. From the 1880s lighthouse, spy Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Broken Bay and look back pityingly along the stunning northern coastline to those still stuck in Sydney.
For those more partial to a boutique than a boogie board, there’s plenty of shopping and foodie goodness to be had. Starting in the first stop out of town, in Avalon there’s everything from South East Asian street fare (Yoda Food) to a pizza shack (Cranzgots) and post-meal retail therapy is always a possibility (Rust and Haven and Sarah). In the lovely village of Whale Beach, there’s cakes and a classic bacon and egg roll from the hole in the wall Whale Beach Deli. For the real thing, migrating humpback whales can be spotted in winter.
Hop a historic ferry from Palm Beach to picturesque Ettalong – for a delightful day’s picnic. Just make to take plenty of selfies to stoke envy for some of that Northern Beaches’ coastal bliss.
Transport in and out of Palm Beach at the end of the northern beaches peninsula is limited to car, bus and sea plane, the last of which is by far the most fun! Most visitors self drive, because there is limited public transport throughout the area, which consists of some hilly terrain (hence the great views!) For more glamorous transportation options, sea planes leave Catalina in Rose Bay daily and private yacht and boat charters abound from the marinas on the pittwater side of the peninsula.
#luxicobucketlist top 5
1. Watch the sea planes land with a great coffee in hand at The Boathouse in Palm Beach
2. Reconnect with your inner zen-master during a private yoga lesson on the beach
3. Visit the national parks and beaches accessible only via a private skippered boat charter
4. Take the kids for a paddle in the beachside lap pool built into the Palm Beach rock face
5. Explore the pittwater on a stand up paddle board at Claireville Beach