Your Guide to the Northern Beaches - The Top 7 Beaches
Whether you want to catch some waves or some well-earned R&R while the kids play - this list of the best beaches on the Northern Beaches is your complete guide to having fun in the sun in 2019 and 2020 - that’s for shore!
Manly Beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches where the first world surfing contest was held in 1964 and where surfing is extremely prominent still today. The south end of the beach is ideal for beginner surfers with its reliable sandbanks and easy spilling waves. There is a Bommie off Queenscliff at the north end of the beach, which can handle waves up to five metres on its day, but you need a large board and a strong arm to paddle out to it. While at ‘Queensie” enjoy a delicious chicken burger from a choice of 15 or more flavours from Jimmy and his iconic ‘Salty Rooster’ joint.
A more sheltered and cozier beach, Shelly Beach, is just a short stroll along the promenade below the prestige homes of Bower Street on Marine Parade. There are no waves, (except for out on the ‘Bower’) so the beach is suitable for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. As the name indicates underfoot is more “shelly” than soft sand. Right next to the beach you will find a small reserve with BBQs and tables, there’s a beach kiosk at Shelly Beach, and it’s a pretty fancy one: The Boathouse Shelly Beach offers a kiosk, café, and restaurant in one. Shelly Beach is also the turnaround for the mighty popular ‘Bold & Beautiful’ (or pink caps)1.5km swim, every morning of the year! You may even bump 'goggles' with some of the C&H Team...
Enclosed by two headlands, Freshwater Beach has a private feel. It is mostly frequented by locals, it is a beautiful and fairly large beach, again perfect for surfing, bodyboarding, and swimming. The southern end of the beach has a rockpool which is handy if you don't like swimming in the surf or if you have young children. The famous and exclusive restaurant owned by Giovanni, ‘Pilu at Freshwater’, and its café/bar, Pilu Baretto are located behind the beach in the reserve. Pilu Baretto is popular for beachgoers for yummy muffins, breaky and coffees, or enjoy a more casual lunch or dinner with a special cocktail, by the sea.
Having undergone a big foreshore makeover, Dee Why Beach has become a very popular spot for families, especially with young children. The beach is easily accessible with ramps leading down to the beach itself which is welcomed by families with toddlers in prams and strollers. Dee Why Beach Corso is stylishly designed with a mix of stainless-steel street furniture, picnic tables, elegant looking lamp posts, along with Cafes and restaurants with a broad variety of fare. A must visit is ‘Girdlers’, where the food is delish and coffee is awesome. As well you can challenge yourself with a game of table tennis on the outdoor pingpong table, located near the playgrounds on part of the large grassy verge that lines the beachfront and Dee Why beach itself is ideal for swimming, bodyboarding, and surfing.
Avalon Beach is located between Bilgola and Whale Beach. With a grassy reserve, rockpool and a small playground, Avalon Beach is another very family-friendly beach on the Northern Beaches. The beach is relatively quiet and has a great friendly vibe. Older children will love Avalon Skatepark situated near the beach. Cross the road and you are in the middle of Avalon Village with a large variety of quirky cafes, restaurants, and stores. A must is the newly established ‘Sunset Diner’, located on Old Barrenjoey Road and is open Wed-Sun for a late breaky and till late.
Sydney's most northern beach, Palm Beach is a relatively quiet beach. Surrounded by stunning real estate on the headland at one end and Barrenjoey Lighthouse on the other. Fans of Home & Away will recognize parts of the beach as 'Summer Bay'. Visit another of the Boathouse Group venues for a delicious meal, well located on the old wharf over the waters of Pittwater, is the ‘Boathouse Café’. The eastern side of Palm Beach is ideal for surfing, whilst the western side has much calmer waters. In between, you will find a reserve with a playground, BBQs and picnic tables.
Collaroy Beach has also recently been upgraded with a great new playground and sheltered picnic tables at the southern end of the beach. In summer, the Collaroy Surf Life Saving Club runs nippers on Sunday morning. Collaroy Beach also forms part of an accessibility precinct that includes an all-abilities playground and access to a FreeWheeler which provides wheelchair access onto the sand and the surf. Collaroy offers good swimming conditions and is known as an excellent beach for beginner surfers and windsurfers in northeasterly or southeasterly winds. Merivale’s ‘The Collaroy’ is set right on the beachfront; you can wander into this newly refurbished friendly local pub straight from the sand, from breakfast to midnight!
Why? Because Life’s a Beach when you live on the Northern Beaches!