Northern Beaches


Enchanting scenery and an enviable lifestyle have long attracted visitors to the beautiful beaches on Sydney’s northern coastline, collectively known as the Northern Beaches. This series of headlands, coastal pathways, cliffs and breathtaking lookouts run from Manly to Palm Beach, and the area is known for its outdoors lifestyle. Explore the white sandy stretches at Queenscliff, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Dee Why, Whale Beach, Freshwater and Avalon.

  • Surfer, North Narrabeen beach
  • Avalon Beach and ocean pool, Northern Beaches

About the Northern Beaches

The Northern Beaches stretch from Manly along Sydney’s beautiful coastline as far north as Palm Beach, a popular destination for fans of the long-running TV soap Home and Away. You’ll discover some of Australia’s best surf in an area known for its beach culture and relaxed ambience.

Manly Beach is the most famous of the Northern Beaches and the closest to Sydney’s city centre, with regular ferries operating between Sydney’s Circular Quay and Manly Wharf. Here you can enjoy beachside cafés and restaurants, or hire a bike and pedal to nearby Freshwater Beach.

Take a walk on one of the walking trails that offer spectacular views and visit the secluded shores of Shelly Beach or the impressive North Head. The Manly to Spit Bridge Coastal Walk is up to four hours and you’ll visit secluded bays and enjoy vantage points with harbour panoramas.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Pittwater

Many of the seaside neighbourhoods of the Northern Beaches offer delicious food, from humble fish and chips to award-winning restaurants. For spectacular views, fly with Sydney Seaplanes to Jonah’s at Whale Beach, near Palm Beach. This multi-award-winning restaurant serves modern Australian cuisine along with fantastic ocean views.

Or stop in for a drink at the Newport Arms, a fantastic historic pub set on the Pittwater waterfront. They’ve been serving beer since 1880. In Manly, you can enjoy craft beers and a tour at the 4 Pines Brewery, near the Manly Wharf. There are also inviting pubs on the Corso to Manly Beach.

A 20-minute drive north of Manly is Dee Why, one of the area's most popular family beaches. Beside the beach is a selection of excellent restaurants and cafés and a playground for kids.

Mona Vale Beach makes for a great day stop, too. Effectively two separate beaches, one with a patrolled swimming area, the other sharing a pool with The Basin, a beautiful inlet set within national park and great for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding.

Two beaches worth adding to your list include Avalon and Narrabeen, both of which attract surfers all year. Sit back and watch them from the shore, or brave the waves and join them.

Head to Palm Beach to discover Barrenjoey Head and visit the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, built in 1881. From here, you'll have panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, the Central Coast and Broken Bay, the mouth of the meandering Hawkesbury River.

Enjoy Sydney's beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips

Surf Life Saving

Always swim between the red and yellow flags; surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It's also a good idea to always swim with a friend.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. You are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.


Check conditions before you go. You can also find patrolled beach by visiting


HC+DNSW Sydney Summer 2015 Beaches 30sec


View all events