A coastal destination with a whole lot of urban cool, Sydney's Northern Beaches is packed full of things to do.
Bounded by Pittwater and the Pacific Ocean, and with Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park as the backdrop, you would be forgiven for thinking you've stumbled across paradise. From Manly in the south to Palm Beach in the north, the Northern Beaches peninsula is a place where summer vibes linger year-round and easy-going days are always high on the agenda.
The beaches laid-back feel is unlike any other - surfing beaches and sprawling parklands to walking trails that lead to scenic lookouts and on-trend dining hotspots that serve up wholesome dishes. And for fashion and homewares, Newport, Avalon and Manly are at the top of their game. So, this is the only list you will ever need when it comes to things to do on the Northern Beaches.
With over twenty surfing beaches lining the peninsula, the Northern Beaches promotes an Aussie beach life that those from far-flung places can only dream about. Sydneysiders flock to the beaches for the ocean swells, dreamy rockpools, sun-kissed beaches, and foreshore parklands. Pick up some essential surfing skills in Manly and work your way up to Avalon Beach for some of Sydney's best swells. And for die-hard surfers, Freshwater is revered for being the birthplace of Australian surfing culture.
The line-up of beaches may be all you need when it comes to things to do on the Northern Beaches, but Pittwater is just as inviting. Set sail or paddle your way to the many the coves, bays and inlets of Pittwater. Take a day trip over to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park – Coasters Retreat or Great Mackerel Beach – or for something a little closer, Narrabeen Lake, Manly Dam and Middle Harbour are ideal for SUP and kayaks.
A Foodie's Delight
From barista-made coffee to wholesome brunches, Northern Beaches cafes know how to kick-start the day right. But with waterfront dining and gastro pubs aplenty, you can be assured you will be eating well on the beaches. On-trend cafes and eateries champion farm-to-plate ethos, yet it's the fish n' chips shops with ocean-fresh seafood that is a local staple. The cafes of Newport, Avalon and Palm Beach have mastered the art of brunch, while Manly is bursting at the seams with indulgent restaurants, waterfront dining and BYO eateries.
Bars and Nightlife
Sprinkled throughout the Northern Beaches are bars and pubs that rival Sydney's nightlife scene. But, it's Manly's line-up of intimate wine bars, rooftop oases and chilled out pubs that should be high on every edit of things to do on the Northern Beaches. Manly Wharf and 4 Pines Brewery to Donny's Bar and the Steyne Hotel – you're all but guaranteed, the bars and nightlife of Manly will be pulsing.
Shop 'till you drop
The Northern Beaches trendsetting storefronts will have fashionistas in a flutter. The Corso in Manly has some big-name brands and markets that bring out some hidden gems. Warringah Mall is home to designer brands and boutiques, while Avalon's streets draw the most attention for their fashion and homeware stores. Yet still, sprinkled throughout the peninsula are an array of homeware and fashion stores that are well worth a visit.
Gardens and Parklands
Water play aside, the Northern Beaches have an abundance of green space to explore. North Head and Sydney National Park in the south of the peninsula offers walking and cycling trails through native bushland which opens out to spectacular harbour views. Garigal National Park and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park along the western side of the beaches have wilderness that's best explored on foot, while the coastline has trails that lead to headlands and impressive views. At the tip is Barrenjoey Lookout and Lighthouse with 360-degree views of the coast. Foreshore parks hug ocean and bay beaches and playing fields, and sprawling parks are peppered throughout.
The Northern Beaches are a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts who love to live by the tide, from ocean swells to calm bays and lush bushland to a line-up of vibrant neighbourhoods filled with global eats and intimate wine bars. There's no denying. There are so many things to do on the Northern Beaches.