Based in Sydney for the past 13 years, I’d of course been to Palm Beach. It’s a town on the NSW Northern Beaches, about an hours’ drive from Sydney CBD and probably best known as the filming location for Home And Away — it’s the real backdrop for the fictional Summer Bay.
I would spend an afternoon or sometimes a full day in Palm Beach, but never an overnight. I didn’t think there was enough to do and see.
That was until I was recently invited by drinks brand NON to staycation in Palm Beach, with dinner at one of the many venues around the country that serve the non-alcoholic drink, Barrenjoey House Palm Beach.
I left Palm Beach feeling like I’d truly had a holiday. I’d strolled along the beach, soaked in the sun on a jetty and dined on a burrata-atop-pasta dish I’m still thinking about, washed down with NON 1, salted raspberry and chamomile (my favourite after NON 2, a caramelised pear and kombu flavour).
Now that I’m basically a Palm Beach local, I thought I’d share some of the things I did there this past visit in case you were heading there soon.
Hike Up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse
One of the most popular things to do in Palm Beach is hiking up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse which overlooks the Pacific Ocean to the east, Hawkesbury River to the north, and Pittwater and Broken Bay to the west. The hike is a 3km return journey and takes about an hour in all to complete, but you may want to allow for a bit of time at the top to catch your breath and take in the views.
Stay at Barrenjoey House Palm Beach
I stayed at Barrenjoey House, which is a restaurant, bar and guesthouse with four rooms looking out over Pittwater, two rooms overlooking a garden, and one loft. All guests can relax in a shared lounge room and courtyard and have a help-yourself breakfast spread, served in the lounge, included in the room rate. The property features Hamptons-style décor — think blues and whites and plenty of greenery.
Dine at Barrenjoey House
On the ground floor of Barrenjoey House is the restaurant and bar, still in the same Hamptons-style décor. On the food menu, you’ll find fresh seafood, flatbreads with toppings, and pasta and meats. For drinks, choose from cocktails with fun names like French Kiss, Caught In The Rain, and Big In Japan, beers and non-alcoholic beers, spirits, wines, and, as I mentioned, flavours 1 and 2 of non-alcoholic drink, NON.
Ferry to Resolute Beach
Another thing to do in Palm Beach is to catch a ferry from it to Great Mackerel Beach and then follow the walking track to Resolute Beach. It’s a secluded, often empty beach on the Palm Beach peninsula, on the other side of Pittwater in Kuring-gai Chase National Park. While you’re there, you might also want to visit West Head Lookout, which is only a short stroll away from Resolute.
Shop at The Boathouse Home
The Boathouse Home and Bakery are located at 1 Beach Road. Grab a Single O coffee and sandwich to enjoy in the sunshine before shopping at the homewares store for home décor, like placemats, jugs, drink glasses, and furniture, like a handmade teak wood and glass cabinet.
Visit the Bible Garden
The Bible Garden is such a hidden gem. Located at 6a Mitchell Road, it’s a garden made up of a series of grassed terraces that lead down to a viewing platform overlooking the beach and headline. Pittwater Council owns the land the garden sits on, but the foliage is all managed by the Friends of the Bible Garden, a non-profit community organisation.
Ferry to Ettalong Beach
If you’re in Palm Beach for a few days or more, you might want to take the ferry from it to Ettalong Beach on the Central Coast. The scenic ferry trip heads past the Barrenjoey Headland and crosses Broken Bay before it arrives at Ettalong. In Ettalong, you’ll find plenty of cafés and a cycle path connecting it to neighbouring Umina Beach.