Complete Guide To Visiting Palm Beach in Sydney, New South Wales

One of the reasons why we love Sydney is because it’s surrounded by pristine, beautiful beaches. One of our favorite beaches is Palm Beach in Sydney.

Each time I step foot off the ferry onto Palm Beach, I feel like I’ve arrived home.

mountains surrounding a beach

It might be because I watched it every evening on TV as a child, because it’s the setting of the fictitious official home of Summer Bay on Australia’s best loved soapie, Home and Away.

Palm Beach is more than just a setting though. It has such a feel-good energy that beckons me to come back time and time again.

But if you’ve never visited Palm Beach before, and not sure what to expect, here is everything you need to know before you go.

Is Palm Beach in Sydney Worth Visiting?

shell on palm beach
girl looking at beach

It’s hard to explain to someone that the reason you love a place so much is because it has a good energy.

It’s the energy that often makes you either instantly like or dislike a place, even before you get to know it.

And that’s Palm Beach.

To be honest, there are lots of things about Palm Beach that make it one of the best beaches in Sydney. (It’s actually on our best beaches in Australia list)

people waking on palm beach

I would argue that Palm Beach is definitely worth visiting because, scenically, it’s incredibly beautiful.

It has soft, golden sand and clean, turquoise waters gently lapping against the shores, plus there are incredible views from the rocky Barrenjoey Head where you’ll find a historic lighthouse overlooking the bay.

You can take an easy 1km bush-walk up to the old sandstone lighthouse for stunning views over Palm Beach or across the waters to Killcare and the Broken Bay region.

In winter, it’s the perfect place to spot migrating humpback whales.

hills surrounding a beach
man in front of Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney, Australia

There’s a bit of history here too with the sandstone Barrenjoey Lighthouse guarding the ships passing by the rocky coastline below.

woman on a mountain hike

The golden sand of Palm Beach stretches for 2 kilometres and the colours in the water move between spectacular shades of turquoise and aqua.

It’s difficult to see the vibrancy of the Pacific Ocean on the days the surf is pumping.

At the southern end of Palmy, there is a more protected area for swimming and an ocean pool for those who want to swim laps or play with their kids in calm waters.

Our kids playing at Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Our kids playing at Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia

Lastly, another good reason to visit is that, compared to other Sydney beaches, Palm Beach is quiet.

No matter what day of the week you visit, even in the summer months, there will be ample space to walk around and sit on the sand.

If it was Bondi Beach or Manly Beach on a public holiday, you would be fighting for space anywhere.

Things To Do At Palm Beach

1. Watch the sail boats at The Pittwater

sailboats on the water Pittwater, Sydney, Australia
Boaties paradise

Behind Palm Beach, walk across the sandy isthmus through lush bushlands and the open grassland of Governor Phillip Park, and you’ll reach the place where the boaties like to sail.

This area is known as The Pittwater. With its many coves, beaches and surrounding National Park, the views of Pittwater are incredible.

It’s no wonder it’s a sailor’s paradise.

mountains surrounding a beach
The quieter side of the Bay
A small boat in a body of water
Pittwater side of Palm Beach peninsula

2. Go for a round of golf

For golf lovers, there’s a 9 hole golf course.

For families, there are plenty of swings and climbing frames; and for those wanting to amble, there are plenty of nature trails, view points, and grassy spots to picnic.

3. Visit Home and Away Sets

the boat house sign in the garden
Aka The Diner

If your an avid Home and Away fan, you can easily pick out the places where the show is filmed: the beach, the Summer Bay Surf Club, and the diner, which in real life is called The Boathouse Palm Beach and is always busy.

You may even arrive on a day when they are filming. Get here Monday – Friday and test your luck.

diners on deck of Boat House Cafe, Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Boat House Cafe – What a lunch spot!
girl looking in window of boat house
Is Brax in there?
Boat House Cafe on pier at  Palm Beach
The very popular diner or Boat House

Kalyra was dying to see some of the characters and didn’t understand when I told her they wouldn’t be there because it was a public holiday and they have the day off.

“But, they live in Summer Bay, Mummy. They could be just walking around.” And so she hunted all day long.

The last time we visited Palm Beach, was when we filmed our video for Expedia. They were filming on that day and I was immensely distracted.

footprints in sand Palm Beach Sydney (13)
My Summer Bay

Who wouldn’t be when river boy Heath Braxton was wandering around with his shirt off?

Yes, I am a closet Home and Away fan. I really only watch it for the Summer Bay scenery.

4. Admire The Palm Beach Mansions

Palm Beach, Sydney is underdeveloped. For those wishing to stay, your accommodation choices are limited; you’ll find a smattering of expensive B & B’s and charming guesthouses with panoramic ocean views, but nothing cheap.

The locals have accepted Summer Bay into their lives, but are not keen for it to be turned into a tourist town.

Palm Beach is the place where some of Sydney’s wealthiest and famous people escape to on their holidays. You’ll also see plenty of mansions.

It’s isolated and tranquil and charming, you could walk right by someone like Mick Jagger and not even know (it’s rumoured that he once spent $250,000 at the Wine Store at Palm Beach!)

Celebrities such as Kelly Slater, Guy Sebastian and Lleyton Hewitt often escape to Palmy and are left alone to just blend in.

I could definitely see myself living here, blogging from my office, with ocean views out the window and Brax shooting a scene just outside.

(At an average price of $3m to buy or $30,000 a week to rent, I better start innovating a bit more genius on this blog!)

Ahh. You gotta dream right?

How To Get To Palm Beach, Sydney

people on Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong (5)
Arriving to Ettalong

Palm Beach is the furthest point north of Sydney. To get there from the city, you will have to drive or catch L90 bus from Wynyard Station in Sydney CBD.

Alternatively, opt for the B-Line bus from Wynyard Station to Mona Vale, then switch to the 199 bus that will take you directly to Palm Beach.

Alternatively, there is a beautiful ferry ride across the Hawkesbury River from Ettalong.

The Palm Beach ferry is our favourite way to travel, since you can feel the sea breeze from the historic ferry with panoramic views of the surrounding beauty.

people on ettalong pier waiting for ferry
Leaving Ettalong on the Ferry
family on ferry to palm beach
With my girls

Where to Eat in Palm Beach

There are only a few cafes on the Palm Beach side, and a couple of more options at the Palm Beach Village where the Palm Beach Wharf is.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t find delicious food!

diners outside at Dunes Cafe, Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia

A popular restaurant on Palm Beach is Dunes Palm Beach, which is a relaxed restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.

This is our favourite restaurant in Palm Beach, which is in between the beach and the golf course in Governor Phillip Park.

plate of salmon and pasta

On Sundays, they have live music and even have a kiosk serving up small bites if you’re not looking for a formal dining setting.

The food is delicious and when the take away counter is open, the food is pretty cheap. Be warned, you will have a line up though.

If you want something flash, Jonah’s is said to be one of the best dining experiences in Sydney. And of course the Boat House.

Best Time To Visit Palm Beach

A group of people on a beach

The best time to visit Palm Beach is during the warmer months from December to April.

During this period, the weather is pleasantly warm, which is the perfect time to soak in the crystal-clear waters, indulge in exhilarating surfing sessions, or simply soak up the sun on the pristine shores.

However, the winter brings with it a special experience. During May – November, you can witness majestic whales migrating off the shores from a whale-watching cruise.

June and August are prime times for whale watching and you may even get to see them from the beach.

The quietest days of the week to visit are mid-week (Tuesday and Wednesday) during the day.

people on ferry looking at beach
Popular spot for fishing
a sailing boat in the ocean

Final Thoughts

Caz and Savannah Makepeace
Mummy’s all excited to go
Lions Head, on the way to Palm Beach, Sydney
Lions Headland

We LOVE Palm Beach. It’s natural and beautiful, gentle and peaceful, warm and fresh.

It is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Sydney. For me, it is my favourite beach in Sydney and could possibly be one of my favourites in Australia.

There’s just something about the energy here that keeps me coming back for more.

Palm Beach, Sydney Video

More Sydney Travel Tips

Need more inspiration for traveling to Sydney? Here are some other helpful guides to Sydney and the central coast…

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