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The 3 best Winter Beaches in Sydney to enjoy Beach Life Australia - Palm Beach

Enjoy the Beach Life Australia just as much in winter!

What makes a good Winter or early Spring Beach?

That is, if you are like us, and not brave enough to step into 18 degree water with only 16 degrees outside, but absolutely love the Beach Life Australia nevertheless.

We know how awesome these beaches are for swimming but this time our criteria is as follows:

- Scenic Walk to enjoy the environment, some history and the sunshine

- Playground/ space for kids to run around and make some friends

- Brilliant Cafe to relax in afterwards 

 Over the next few weeks we will be showcasing the best Beaches Sydney has to offer despite the cold weather.

Everyone knows how important it is to get some sunshine to produce Vitamin D, a vital tool that helps with calcium absorption and building strong bones, not to even mention the increase in endorphins.

Generally natural environments like beaches and waterfront parks offer more restorative benefits to people than gyms, entertainment venues and the built urban environment. 

Therefore get out and enjoy, the beach and the sun make us certainly happy and relaxed!

Despite the cold temperatures never forget to add some good quality sunscreen or on warm winter days spend some time in the shade. 

In our later blogs we also cover #2 Nielsen Bay  and #3 Bondi Beach (not in order of preference ;-):

The 3 best Winter/Spring Beaches in Sydney - Nielsen Bay

The 3 best Winter/ Spring Beaches in Sydney - Bondi Beach


#1 Palm Beach

Palm Beach is certainly worth a visit in Summer but don’t dismiss a winter visit just yet.

There are so many opportunities there and the options are plentiful.

For the Home and Away Lovers you will know that this is Summer Bay and recognize many of the locations!


How to get there 

Take the L90 from Railway Square and get off @ Beach Road near Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach.

By car from the south side of the bridge, don’t be fooled by your Navigation System and instead of taking Military Road take the Brook Street Exit, turn right onto Brook Street, turn right onto Edinburgh road, left onto Eastern Valley Way, right onto Waringah Road, left onto Wakehurst Parkway (beautiful drive through the National Park), left onto Pittwater Road which turns into Barrenjoey Road to Governor Phillip Park where you turn left. Drive to the end and park your car at the generous Station Beach car park, where you have to get a parking ticket (machine accepts Credit Cards), free for cars bearing a Pittwater Council parking sticker.



Plenty of options!

You can walk along the shores of the gorgeous harbour (Station/ Barrenjoey Beach) where the sand is generally hard enough to easily walk with shoes.

If you are up for some climbing and outstanding views visit the Barrenjoey Lighthouse 91 m above sea level and the most northern point of Sydney!

You can reach the lighthouse by the 1 km walking track, which is an easy climb or the “ Smugglers Track” which is a more challenging, shorter hike. The “Smugglers Track” gets its name from the customs officers who built the track around 1850 to monitor the smugglers at the time. The harbour bay made a perfect windbreak and was a suitable spot in the early 1800s for smuggling illicid goods due to its remote location from civilisation and customs. Start at the Station Beach Carpark and walk along Station/ Barrenjoey beach to the north (Pittwater will be to your left), where illicid barrels used to land and after 400 metres continue to Smugglers Track off the beach, where Customs brought the operation eventually to an end. Climb up the short but steep track to the lighthouse in about 15 mins from the beach.

Please remember that you are walking through a national park so respect plants and wildlife and note that a moderate level of fitness is required and that the track is not suitable for wheelchairs and prams.

Both tracks offer beautiful views of the beaches below along the way, but the best is yet to come at the top, where you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views across Pittwater, Palm Beach, out to the Pacific Ocean, the entrance to the Hawkesbury river (Broken Bay) and the Ku-Ring-Gai National Park in Pittwater and the Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast.

In Winter and early Spring this is also a popular spot for Whale Watching as you have a such a vast view along the coast, the open ocean and the entrance to Broken Bay.

The present lighthouse, built from sandstone quarried on site, is 19.5 metres tall and was designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnet and completed in 1881.

It has a gallery around the lantern and its light flashes in groups of 4 every 20 seconds, which is visible 35 kilometres out to sea. Today the light functions automatically, still providing comfort and guidance to the mariners at night.

Next to the lighthouse are the head keeper’s house and the attendant’s building, all buildings remain unpainted in the original stone finish.

The Barrenjoey Lighthouse and keepers cottages are not occupied anymore, but guided tours are conducted every Sunday. Contact Kalkari Discovery Centre (9472 9300 or 9472 9301) for more information.

Before you leave, don’t forget the ocean side though.

Palm Beach offers sand dunes, generated by centuries of pounding surf and white sand.

The northern part is relatively unspoiled and a pristine, natural beach, very unusual for a beach in a large, world city. The northern beach is also well exposed to southerly waves, which average 1.5 m and maintain a rip-dominated surf zone with up to 15 rips along the entire beach.

Palm Beach is 2.3 km long and curves in a gentle arc from the Barrenjoey Headland to the southern end of the beach called “Kiddies Corner”.


Playgrounds/ Space for Kids

In Governor Phillip Park towards the Beach Road end you will find some fabulous facilities for both kids and parents.

Governor Phillip Park has been renovated and a new, fully equipped kids playground added. A replica of the cutter Governor Arthur Phillip sailed on, as he passed these shores in 1788, defines the lay out of the new park.

There is lots of shade provided by mature trees and covered picnic tables, please note the playground is not enclosed.

Near the Playground you also have a BBQ Area, Picnic tables and toilet facilities can be found at the North Palm Beach Surf Club a few minutes walk away on the Surf Beach.

For a snack and coffee you can visit the Dunes Kiosk near the Playground on the Southern Side of the Dunes Restaurant. The Kiosk can be found towards the Surf Beach a few minutes walk from the Playground. Dunes Kiosk offers an outdoor seating area, which is enclosed in winter with clear walls and heated by outdoor heaters. They serve Campos coffee, breakfast, smoothies and juices while lunch includes fresh beer battered fish and chips, salads, burgers and steak sandwiches.

In addition there is plenty of space to just kick a ball or run around in the park and on the beaches, which are, especially in winter, not crowded at all.

Your kids and you might see the following animals in that area: Crested Tern, Eastern Bluetongue Lizard, Green Tree Snake, Grey Butcherbird, Little Wattlebird, Musk Lorikeet, Rainbow Lorikeet, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwen



We have already mentioned Dunes Kiosk in the Kids Section however our favourite is The Boathouse Café.

The Boathouse Cafe is in the best location a great cafe can be - right on the beach!

The large, elevated deck is built on Station/ Barrenjoey beach and there is also a jetty from where you can reach your water plane, if you choose to book one. 

The outdoor area is large, north facing and super popular on weekends, so make sure you get there early. You have to order and pay at the counter and drinks and food will be served to your table.

The style of the cafe is beachy, super chic and we liked the wooden seagulls confirming our order number.


The Boathouse Cafe serves modern Australian Cuisine for Breakfast and Lunch and is fully licensed for that nice glass of wine or cool beer after the walk...

All food is produced with the freshest local produce and seafood.

For Breakfast choose from basics like fruit, muesli, porridge and for something more substantial try the Eugalo Farm Eggs (Deep fried eggs, mushrooms, brown rice, in season greens + chilli) or Salmon Eggs (Beetroot, poached egg, pate + watercress). For that naughty treat the Croissant French Toast is great!

Lunch favourites are the Beer Battered Flathead with Chips, Boathouse tartar + fresh lemon, Boathouse Salad with Quinoa, avocado, carrot + labne with either smoked trout/ duck breast or the Bucket of Prawns with Seafood sauce + sourdough.

The bar offers a variety of Boutique wines and in addition to good quality coffee you can also get fresh juices from the juice bar.

If you really loved the place you can even organise your wedding there!

More info and some great photos:

Check out our other Winter Beaches as well:

The 3 best Winter Beaches in Sydney to enjoy Beach Life Australia - Nielsen Bay

The 3 best Winter Beaches in Sydney to enjoy Beach Life Australia - Bondi Beach

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