Palm Beach: Is this one of the best beaches in Sydney?

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

It might be because I watch it every evening on TV. Palm Beach, one of Sydney’s best beaches, is the setting of the fictitious town of Summer Bay on Australia’s best loved soapie, Home and Away.

It’s familiarity is more than that though, it’s the energy that embraces me once I arrive.

It’s hard to explain to someone that the reason you love a place so much is because it has a good energy. But places do, It’s often why you arrive at a place and without getting to know it you either instantly like it or dislike it.

You probably say something like,

“It’s just something about it. I can’t put my finger on it.”

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

a beach

Scenically, it is incredibly beautiful.

On one end is Barrenjoey Head.

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

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

hills surrounding a beach

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

Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney, Australia
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 ocean on the days the surf is pumping. And it was pumping last weekend when we visited.

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

Compared to other Sydney beaches, Palm Beach is quiet.

It was busy when we arrived on Monday, yet still, there was ample space to walk around and sit on the sand. If it was Bondi or Manly on a public holiday, you would be fighting for space anywhere.

Opposite the beach is the bay where the water gently ripples to shore. To get to the bay you walk across the sandy isthmus through lush bushlands and the open grassland of Governor Phillip Park. This is where the boaties like to sail.

With its many coves, beaches and surrounding National Park, The Pittwater is 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
Pittwater, Sydney, Australia
Boaties paradise

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.

If your an avid Home and Away fan, you can easily pick out the places where the show is filmed: the beach, the surf club, and the diner, which in real life is called The Boathouse and is always busy. You may even arrive on a day when they are filming. Get here Mon-Fri and test your luck.

The Boat House Palm Beach Sydney (2)
Aka The Diner
The Boat House Palm Beach Sydney (3)
Produce for sale as well
Boat House Cafe, Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Boat House Cafe – What a lunch spot!
Boat House Cafe, Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
The very popular diner or Boat House
The Boat House Palm Beach Sydney (4)
Is Brax in there?

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.

Play the video:

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.

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

Unfortunately his older brother Daryl, or Brax to those who adore him, was not. (Yes, I am a closet Home and Away fan. I really only watch it for the Summer Bay scenery).

Palm Beach Sydney (13)
My Summer Bay

Palm Beach, Sydney is underdeveloped.

For those wishing to stay, your accommodation choices are limited. The locals have accepted Summer Bay into their lives, but are not keen for it to be turned into a tourist town. You’ll find a smattering of expensive B & B’s and charming guesthouses with panoramic ocean views.

You’ll also see plenty of mansions.

Palm Beach is the place where some of Sydney’s wealthiest and famous people escape to on their holidays. 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?

A group of people on a beach

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.

The Facts on Palm Beach Sydney

Getting To Palm Beach:

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. Lucky for us living where we are we get to arrive by a beautiful ferry ride across the Hawkesbury River.

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 ferry wharf is.

Our favourite is Dunes (photos below) which is in between the beach and the golf course in Governor Phillip Park. 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.

Where to stay in Palm Beach

For apartments, cottages and fully furnished houses check out Stayz. also has a few properties

Alternatively, stay in Ettalong and catch the 25 minute ferry over for the day.

Tours:  You can do Home and Away Tours (If you see Brax, tell him I said hey!)

Our Palm Beach day in Photos:

The ferry ride:

Caz and Savannah Makepeace
Mummy’s all excited to go
Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong (4)
Leaving Ettalong on the Ferry
Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong (2)
With my girls
Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong (5)
Ettalong, our peninsula home
Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong (6)
Popular spot for fishing
a sailing boat in the ocean
Ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong (1)
Ettalong Point
Lions Head, on the way to Palm Beach, Sydney
Lions Head

Dunes Restaurant

Dunes Cafe, Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia

Dunes Restaurant, Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia

Palm Beach Play

Palm Beach Sydney (11)
Palm Beach Sydney (12)
mountains surrounding a beach
Palm Beach Sydney (18)
Our kids playing at Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Our kids playing at Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Palm Beach Sydney (3)
people on a beach
Palm Beach Sydney

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