You may have heard of Summer Bay in the Australian TV soap Home and Away, and guess where that’s filmed… yep, Sydney’s very own Palm Beach.
It’s a suburb in the northern beaches region of Sydney, about an hour drive from the CBD. Considering it’s so close, I wanted to cross it off my list so of course, we picked one of the hottest days in summer to drive down without air-con.
On arrival, parking was difficult but not impossible and we got a spot soon enough, just outside The Boathouse Cafe. We had packed a lunch so didn’t go in there to eat, but it looked lovely with its rustic-chic space and outdoor tables. I wish we had now!
At the north end of the parking area (past the Boathouse), you will see a sign pointing towards the beach (Pittwater side). Make your way here and you’ll see signs that direct you to the lighthouse. After a further 100m, you will reach a point where you need to choose between two tracks to get up there. We chose the supposedly ‘easier’ of the two ‘Access Trail’ and heck, I must be super unfit because it was steep! I’ve completed 3 Duke of Edinburgh expeditions with my tent, food and clothes on my back, and yet this is now what stands out in my mind as a “rough walk”.
Don’t let me put you off though – it’s only a medium 1km walk, I was just not prepared in sandals and non-active gear on a stinking hot day. Make sure to bring some water and wear decent walking shoes. The more difficult ‘Smugglers Track’ offers a shorter trek up to the lighthouse, but it’s up a bunch of steps, so pick your poison.
Once you’re at the top, there are stunning panoramic views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the Central Coast to enjoy. The lighthouse was built in 1881, and has been beautifully restored. Tours are now available on Sundays, where you can hear about its history and climb the winding stairs to the top.
After a leisurely walk back, we drove back south for 10 minutes to spend a couple of hours on Newport Beach. It’s a pleasant beach surrounded by two high cliffs, and is a lot quieter than the Palm Beach crowds – perfect to enjoy the summer sun and waves.