Rad’s Ultimate Guide to Sydney’s Northern Beaches

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Adventure awaits at Sydney’s Northern Beaches

The spectacular coastal region spanning from Manly to the northern peninsula of Palm Beach offers picturesque ocean views, Australia’s golden sand and an exhilarating ocean breeze at every stop. Whether you’re looking or an outdoor adventure or keen to wine and dine, there’s something for everyone in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. 

Explore over 100km of stunning nature and heritage walks, with coastal pathways and panoramic lookouts connecting each beach from end to end. Surf or swim at some of the most renowned beaches in the world and enjoy some local pub specials or fine dining afterwards. Plan ahead with major festivals and local events happening year-round and celebrate Australian culture along the Australian coast. 

Sydney’s Northern beaches offer countless experiences with a breathtaking backdrop. Check out Rad’s ultimate guide to Sydney’s Northern Beaches and add these destinations and activities to your itinerary! 

Rad’s Top 3 Beaches

Photo credit: sydney.com

1. Manly Beach

Marked as a famous Australian landmark, Manly Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Australia. It is one of the most renowned beaches in the world for surfing, and regularly stages many major Surfing events such as the Vissla Sydney Pro. It is also home to many family-friendly events such as the Manly Inflatable Boat Race, and also offers an extensive range of waterfront dining options and accommodations. 

2. Palm Beach

Discover the glittering blue water and golden sand at Sydney’s most northern beach. Palm Beach is located 90 minutes north of the city centre by public transport and offers the perfect destination for a range of water sports, ferry rides, cruises, dining and more. Also known as ‘Summer Bay’ to Home & Away fans, this beach is home to the popular Australian TV show and visitors can often see the filming of the show. The northern section offers decent surfing conditions, whilst the southern end is ideal for swimming. 

3. Avalon Beach

Nestled between Bilgola Beach and Whale Beach, Avalon beach has become a top destination for those looking for a change of scenery or to adopt the surfer lifestyle. The beach includes a range of facilities including a picnic area, BBQ area and playground. The beach is perfect for swimming, surfing, windsurfing and fishing, and also features a rock swimming pool at the southern end of the beach. 

Rad’s Top 3 Restaurants

Photo credit: Oceans Narrabeen

1. Oceans Narrabeen Cafe, Bar & Restaurant

Oceans Narrabeen is located directly across from North Narrabeen Beach, a stunning, casual dining experience awaits. The modern Australian cafe and bar features an extensive menu with everything from wholesome breakfasts to fresh seafood and gourmet ribs. Known for their ‘Sunday Sessions’, head over between 3-6pm each Sunday for live music, drinks and food specials. 

RAD RECOMMENDS: Breakfast: Oceans Lot (eggs, bacon, chorizo, mushrooms, hash browns, homemade beans, roasted tomatoes and toasted sourdough). Lunch: The Beach Burger (Char-grilled chicken breast with peri peri, smashed avocado, tomato, cheese, red onion, lettuce, beetroot relish and chipotle aioli).

LOCATION: Malcolm St, Narrabeen NSW 2101, Australia

HOURS: Tue – Fri 6am-10pm, Sat – Sun 7am-10pm, Mon 6am-3pm

2. Seachange Cafe

Nestled in the heart of Dee Why’s waterfront, Seachange Cafe boasts a stunning ocean view right on The Strand. Everything about this place is about making your life easier, whether it’s waking you up with a great coffee, or offering a build-your-own-meal option. Keeping things simple and consistent has made this cafe extremely popular with the locals as well as visitors.

RAD RECOMMENDS: The Dee Why Sunrise (ham and eggs Benedict) for breakfast, or a classic chicken and bacon burger for lunch. 

LOCATION: 3/20 The Strand, Dee Why NSW 2099, Australia

HOURS: Mon – Tue 6.30am-3pm, Wed – Thu 6.30am-8.30pm, Fri – Sat 6.30am-9pm, Sun 6.30am-5pm

3. Pocket Pizza

Located in the heart of Manly is Pocket Pizza, serving up the best pizzas for lunch, dinner and takeaway. The restaurant, inspired by the back lanes of Little Italy in New York City, offers a nostalgic pizza parlour with good food and good times.

All pizzas bases are made in house and topped with the finest ingredients. The menu also caters to everyone, with 70% of the dinner menu available in gluten-free options, half the menu being vegetarian and over a third to the menu being vegan.

RAD RECOMMENDS: Gordon Hamsey (Tomato Base, Fior Di Latte, Double Smoked Ham, Pineapple, Pickled Jalapeno, Red Onion)

LOCATION: 46 Pittwater Rd, Manly NSW 2095, Australia

HOURS: Mon – Sun 5pm-10pm 

Rad’s Top 3 Things to See and Do

Photo credit: Manly Surf School

1. Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Encompassing the Australian coastline, rainforest and bushland, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a popular protected destination in Northern Sydney. Also featuring a portion of the Hawkesbury River, the park offers a range of activities, making it the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. Home to some of the most famous Aboriginal heritage sites, the park features a range of walking tracks to help you navigate through the bush.

The Basin campground is located within the national park for those who want to stay the night; and equipment rental is also available. Visitors can explore the calm waters on a paddleboard or kayak and view a range of fish species and other wildlife. 

2. Learn to Surf

Head over to Manly Beach, a world-renowned surfing destination, and learn the thrilling art of surfing or bodyboarding. Manly Surf School is one of the largest surf schools in Sydney and operates seven days a week; all year round.

Learn how to engage the ocean safely and how to perform various moves on one of the best surfing beaches in the world. 

3. Whale Watching

Whales migrate along the coastline of NSW from May to December and can be seen from many land-based spots around the Northern Beaches. Over 40 species of whales travel through Australian waters and many of them can be spotted in the area.

The best locations among whale-watchers include North Head, Manly and The Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. A range of whale watching tours are also available along Manly and the Northern beaches such as Manly Ocean Adventures; offering a variety of boat tours.


Feature image credit: sydney.com

Accommodation near Northern Beaches, NSW

Rad Season is providing you with rentals and hotels at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay near Northern Beaches, NSW using the map below!

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Katarina Cvetko

Katarina is an international journalist and photographer from Sydney, Australia with a strong passion for music festivals. Since her first solo adventure in 2015, Katarina has travelled to over 30 countries in 5 continents and has attended over 100 music festivals worldwide. After conquering a bucket list journey of 52 music festivals in 52 weeks in 2018, Katarina continues to live a digital nomad lifestyle, travelling to festivals in a different country every week and sharing her experiences on social media.


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