Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fun Things to Do on Sydney's Northern Beaches

Hello Beach Dwellers

The school holidays are almost upon us and I have to say I find these upcoming ones in high Winter, the most difficult.  It's cold and it is easy to blow the day off huddled around the fire in front of a screen.  But if you need to get out for a day trip and you are in Sydney, why not rug up, pack a picnic and visit one of these lovely and affordable spots on the Northern Beaches of Sydney for a day out with the kiddos.

I will be putting a button in my side bar and constantly adding to it, with some ideas about great things to see and do up here in our little part of the world. I have a whole archive of great day trip favourites and cafes to visit on the Northern Beaches.  I often get emails asking advice on the best of what is on offer up here, so if you can't find what you are looking for, please contact me and I would be happy to recommend some more of my favourites.  Or just click on the link in the heading, to take you though to more details on your location of choice.

Locations You Can Love for a Day

With her great picnic spots, open fire facilities, bike tracks, dam wall walk, stunning waterways, free parking and the fact fishing is allowed, Manly Dam is one not to be missed.

Manly Dam

A Waterfall on the Curl Curl Creek

The Basin is on the western foreshore of Pittwater and is accessible by ferry,  which launches hourly from Palm Beach.  Ferry time table.  There are gas BBQ's, camping and toilet facilities available at the Basin.  Please note, landing at the Basin even for the day, you will incur a small fee per person, as it is part of the Ku ring gai National Park. 

Swimming in the shark netted lagoon at The Basin

Located in Garden Street opposite the Warriewood Wetlands, North Narrabeen, this lovely sub tropical rainforest walk is completely enchanting.  You will be rewarded at the end, by a beautiful sandy river bed and raging waterfall. You will start to hear the rushing water about 8 minutes before all is reveled. It's about a 20 minute walk up a few stairs along the way and a great spot for a picnic as you can see.

Church Point and Scotland Island

Ozzing with history and buzzing with modern daily life for those who choose not to live on the mainland, but rather in beautiful homes accessed only by water, Church point and Scotland Island are an interesting and beautiful  day out from Sydney.  Take the ferry over to Scotland Island with a picnic or dine on the very nice food at the Church Point Post Office Cafe.


Although not strictly part of the Northern Beaches, Patonga can be reached from Palm Beach or Bobbin Head by ferry, so I am including it as a great day out from the Northern Beaches.  Practically unchanged since it's beginnings  early last century, this cute little fishing village is definitely worth a look and don't forget to look west for the World War 2 pill boxes built to defend the opening of Pittwater in the 1940's on the ferry ride over.

Affordable Accommodation

Pittwater YHA

One of the most memorable weekends we have spent together as a family, was at the Pittwater Youth Hostel, located in Morning Bay (previously Towlers Bay) on the western foreshore of Pittwater.  There are no cars, plenty of lovely families, a great big fire place in Winter  and be sure to rent the kayaks for a couple of hours to explore the bay.  Also don't miss the boarded up Petrov safe house, known as Towlers Bay Cottage if you have any interest at all in Russian spies.

Towlers Bay Cottage was once a Petrov Safe House
Favourite Cafes

The Boat House Cafe and Bar

For lots of styling eye candy in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, take a day trip to the Boat House in Palm Beach.  Open every day (weekends are crazy) for breakfast and lunch, this is a great spot to be.  A beautiful reasonably priced menu is on offer and with no bookings allowed be prepared to queue, but it is truly worth it.

Thereafter have a think about walking up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse to shift lunch. It and the adjoining historic homes are open for tours every Sunday, weather permitting and are of 30 minutes duration, $3 for adults and $2 for children.  For more info phone 02 9472 9300

Life Saver Cafe Narrabeen

For a great place to hang out with great coffee and affordable freshly produced food, you can't go past Lifesaver cafe.  Take a walk on the beach and come bake here for some refreshments on the couch there after.

The Armchair Collective Mona Vale

Originally from the same people who brought us the Boat House at Palm Beach, the Armchair Collective is a beautiful cafe.  Surround yourself with stunning homewares whilst choosing from their scrumptious menu.  Last time I was there I had the Moroccan chicken and it was fabulous.

Bespoke Shopping, Eating and Playing

Click on over to see all that Avalon has in terms of homewares and fashion shopping plus a few recommendations for lunch as well


Ginger and Smart

Palm Beach

I hope you enjoyed your little trip around Sydney's Northern Beaches and I hope to bring you many more attractions in the future.

Just as a side note, did you know Google Friends Connect is disappearing on 1 July?  If you follow Desire Empire that way and would still like to keep in touch after then, think about subscribing to my Newsletter here.


  1. If only! I'd be phoning you every other day saying "I've got the thermos and cake packed" meet you in 10! We're on holidays this Friday and looking forward to enjoying the winter sun.

    Anne xx

  2. oh so many of my favourite places. Do you know though, I have lived here for 36 years and I have never been to Manly Dam haha I have to change that! x

  3. What a beautiful area to live in Carolyn! You're really lucky :)
    Cas x

  4. I find the winter holidays the worst too. Especially when the kids are at private schools where they seem to be off for nearly four weeks! And there just isn't as much to do when the weather is cold and the days are shorter. But you have come up with a lot of great suggestions and yes, I have done all or most of these with my kids in the holidays including hiking up to Barrenjoey lighthouse which is another way to fill a day on the Beaches. Love Ginger and Smart but my budget usually doesn't stretch to being able to make a purchase! xx

  5. Nice post Carolyn, I would so love a long wander around the shops at Avalon and Palm Beach.

  6. Oh, this just makes me want to go on a trip to the water, any water really, I just like being near, around and in the water. Beautiful pictures.
    Thanks, Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...