If you’re looking for a day trip from Sydney, you’ll find 15 things to do in Palm Beach. It may well be known as the set location for the Brit’s favourite soap we all grew up with; Home & Away, but there’s so much more to discover.
As you reach the area, you’ll be constantly be in awe of the beauty which seems to have a tropical feel oozing all over Palm Beach.
All of our favourite Aussie celebs like Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and more have been spotted on more than one occasion in this part of Australia. Even Beyonce, Pink and Jack Nicholson have holidayed here too!
Palm Beach is also popular spot for tourists visiting Sydney, families, backpackers and it’s the perfect romantic weekend away from Sydney. We’re going to show you why you need to visit and how this ultimate guide to Palm Beach will become your go to guide!
Table of Contents
How to get to Palm Beach
You can easily get to Palm Beach on the L90 bus from Sydney CBD. It’s also a direct bus but takes about 1h30m to get there.
Find an awesome car hire below!
If you don’t have a car, we recommend hiring one from the below to make it much easier to get around!
Prefer to do a Sydney to Palm Beach tour?
We love this 6 hour Manly to Palm Beach tour which ticks all of the boxes and you won’t need to organise anything 🙂
If you want to go all out, then we obviously recommend getting a seaplane with Sydney Seaplanes from Rose Bay in Sydney over to Jonah’s which also flies over Sydney Harbour. Just wait until you get out to the heads, flying around them is absolutely spectacular.
It’s no surprise that Jonah’s Boutique Hotel & Restaurant is our pick for high end accommodation in Palm Beach. This well known beautiful hotel sits right on the cliff top at Whale Beach. The views are spectacular, the restaurant is stunning and there’s really not much to fault on this bucket list place to stay near Sydney.
Our favourite stay near Palm Beach is in Scotland Island in Pittwater. This island is an absolute gem of a place to stay and sits right in the middle of Palm Beach and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
It’s also just a 30 minute drive from Church Point to Palm Beach. The ferry over to Scotland Island takes just 10 minutes at the very most and you’ll have to leave your car at Church Point because the island is so small, no cars are allowed on it.
Watch Our Scotland Island Video Below!
We loved staying at Scotland Island Lodge. It’s an absolutely beautiful home and run by a lovely couple who even have an outdoor spa in one of the rooms. We can guarantee you’ll be coming back more than once for a visit!
You can also hire a boat from Omega Hawkesbury Houseboat hire in Newport for around $575 for up to 8 people for a 1 night stay in off peak seasons. Find out more about staying on your own houseboat in Palm Beach here.
Cheap Palm Beach Sydney Accommodation
Camping at The Basin is a great budget option in Palm Beach
Camping at The Basin
We recommend camping at The Basin which is just a 10 minute ferry ride from Palm Beach Wharf. It’s quite a popular spot so try to get there early if you’re going on a weekend. It’s actually pretty cool there and there’s loads to do like hiking to other beaches and Aboriginal historic spots, loads of beautiful beaches to discover and the camp site has everything you need from toilet facilities, BBQ area and a lovely big lawn right near the water to camp.
There’s a lovely campsite at Patonga which we definitely recommend looking into. With the newly opened The Boathouse just a stroll away, you’ll be spending your afternoons looking out over to Palm Beach from this quieter side. Book ahead.
By car: It’s a 1 hour drive from Sydney up to the front door.
By bus: Take the bus from Wynyard to Church Point Wharf (1h30m), then ferry over to Halls Wharf (15 min)
Looking for something else? Check the best rates below!
Palm Beach Restaurants
If you’re wondering where to eat in Palm Beach, make sure you try out one of the following places which are all amazing!
In Palm Beach
The Boathouse Palm Beach is the giant in Palm Beach and is always packed. You can’t book a table so just count your lucky stars you manage to get a table!
Dunes Palm Beach – opposite the Summer Bay kiosk is Dunes. It’s a long running restaurant in Palm Beach and offers up affordable meals around the $22 mark.
Palm Beach Fish & Chips – apparently they do THE best fish & chips in Sydney which you can takeaway and eat over at the Wharf.
Barrenjoey House – this upmarket restaurant sits opposite Palm Beach Wharf and a mains will set up back between $29-$38.
The Greedy Goat Palm Beach – if you’re struggling with finding somewhere to eat, we recommend visiting The Greedy Goat Cafe.
The convenience shop in Palm Beach Wharf – if you’re on a budget, the convenience shop opposite Palm Beach Wharf serves up burgers and chips for around $9-$15.
Just outside of Palm Beach
After living near to Palm Beach for three months, we realised there’s a lot of amazing places to eat just outside of Palm Beach in Sydney.
If you’re looking for some cheaper options, I recommend stopping off at Avalon Beach on the way to Palm Beach. You’ll find a village style town with loads of fantastic places to eat. We love it there so much we’ve written a complete guide on where to eat in Avalon Beach.
Whale Beach Deli (Whale Beach) – ran by The Boathouse group, Whale Beach Deli is a lovely little place you can sit outside and enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat.
The Boathouse Patonga (Patonga)- we mention another one of The Boathouse restaurants further below in this post which is set in the beautiful location of Patonga. You’ll either need to drive or get the ferry over.
Waterfront Store & Cafe (Church Point Wharf) – we love this restaurant for it’s service, food and beautiful views looking out to Scotland Island. Also check out Pasadena next door. It looks quite posh from the outside but it’s got a cracking outdoor area on the water and they serve up a fantastic fish&chips.
Newport Arms (Newport) – this is a fantastic and huge pub nestled in the middle of Newport run by the Merivale Group. It still boasts the original pub out the front but what you’ll find out the back is like a huge magical garden with various food menus, seating areas and a big kids playing area. When we visited, they had an outdoor cinema on which is pretty cool. This is a fantastic place to spend a Summers day at, you’ll just struggle to leave!
15 Things To Do In Palm Beach Sydney
You can either make a great day or fun packed weekend in Palm Beach quite easily.
There’s a few good stops off on the way up or down from Palm Beach which we’ve also included in this post.
1. Mona Vale Beach
Mona Vale Beach has become an Instagram sensation because of the incredible rock pool. If you have a drone, bring it with you. The only place you can’t fly your drone is up at Barrenjoey Lighthouse (we know this because there are signs stating it).
We also recommend going to visit Pittwater Mini Golf for a laugh. It costs $17 for 18 holes ($12 for kids) or $20 for 36 holes ($15 for kids).
And if you really need to entertain the kids, we also recommend stopping off at The Flying Fox Park in Mona Vale’s Winnererremy Bay. There’s a cafe with water views and the adventure park has a flying fox and climbing challenges for children of all ages as well as a bike path.
By Car: 50 min drive from Sydney / 20 min from Palm Beach
By Bus: 1h15m on the E54 bus from Sydney / 50min from Palm Beach
2. Bigola Beach
Bigola Beach is one of the best beaches in the Palm Beach area. It’s definitely not as crowded as some of the other beaches and we love it for its beauty, the amount of dolphin spotting along the beach and even a visit from the whales during the migration months. There’s also a great rockpool and cafe at Bigola as well.
Make sure you head up the hill to the Bigola Lookout and you’ll be able to see sweeping views of Bigola Beach and Avalon Beach.
By Car: 50 min drive from Sydney / 20 min from Palm Beach
By Bus: 1h15m on the E54 bus from Sydney / 50min from Palm Beach
3. Whale Beach
Another one of the best beaches in Sydney is Whale Beach. Again, not as busy as some of the others in the area, Whale Beach has a gorgeous long stretch of sand waiting for you to spend the whole day there.
Where to eat at Whale Beach
Just up from the beach is Whale Beach Deli which is owned by restaurant giant, The Boathouse. This gorgeous little cafe is one that’s not to be missed and makes a great coffee stop along the way.
If you’re looking for some incredible cliff top views, check out Jonahs as mentioned in the accommodation section for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. You’ll need to book ahead and dress at least smart casual.
By Car: 1h5m dive from Sydney / 8 min from Palm Beach
By Bus: 1h50m from Sydney / 30 min walk from Palm Beach
4. Home&Away Set Locations
When you arrive into Palm Beach, on the far left you’ll see the wooden fence, a classic nod to the Home & Away set. Just up from the fence is the Palm Beach kiosk, which is also known as the Summer Bay kiosk. This is actually open all day long and you can buy Home&Away merchandise from there as well like an Alf Stewart tshirt!
The other set location for Home&Away is at The Boathouse which is used for exterior shots for the show as well.
It sure looks like a beast but Barrenjoey Lighthouse is only a 15 minute walk from the car park at the bottom. Be prepared because the car park costs $10 an hour. We recommend planning 1h30m to walk up and down from the lighthouse including photo stops.
There’s two ways to get to the top, either via the steps or the gradual climb up. We recommend taking the gradual climb up even though it says on the signs it will take a few minutes longer as a lot of the great photo opportunities are located on this side. Then take the steps on the way back for a different views. Also, make sure you stretch when you get back down as your legs might feel a bit like jelly after those steps!
When you’re up at the top of the lighthouse, you’ll be able to see 360 degree views, even up to the Central Coast! Please note, the lighthouse itself isn’t open to visitors.
By car and bus: It takes around 15 min to walk up to the top of Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
Watch Our Video To Barrenjoey Lighthouse Below!
6. Visit The Secret Bible Garden In Palm Beach
Gerald Hercules Robinson planted every single plant mentioned in the Bible to create Bible Garden in memory of his wife in 1960s. It’s a ver popular spot for weddings and christenings and best of all has a beautiful view overlooking Palm Beach. This gorgeous garden is a beautiful place to visit when you’re in Palm Beach.
Bible Garden is just a 10 min walk from Palm Beach on Mitchell Road.
7. Tony Henry’s Stand Up Paddle Boarding
With the beautiful flat water at Pittwater, it would be weird if there wasn’t a SUP rental place near Palm Beach. Luckily you can find an awesome Kayak tour in Palm beach here. This is a great family activity in Sydney and takes 3 hours to show you around all of the hidden gems in Palm Beach area.
The Boathouse is a bit of an institution in Palm Beach. Although the restaurant chain has a few other restaurants around Sydney (Manly’s Shelly Beach and Balmoral), you’ll find their deli in Whale Beach, a home shop in Palm Beach and the famous restaurant itself that is also used as the exterior for some of the Home & Away sets.
The Boathouse Home shop is an Instagrammer’s dream full of beautiful homewares.
Did you know you there’s a continuous footpath from Palm Beach to Manly? The 35km hike passes by 23 beaches and takes about 15hrs to complete. Most people who do this walk for charity under The Bloody Long Walk which takes place in September.
Budget friendly boat trips
There’s a few beautiful ferry rides to go on at Palm Beach Wharf which won’t break the bank. Just be careful with parking because the car park outside of the wharf is pricey (we’re talking $17 for like 1h30m).
We recommend jumping on the ferry over to Patonga where you can go for lunch at the newly opened The Boathouse which sits right on the water, looking out over to Palm Beach. There’s something just so lovely about Patonga which is also known as a bit of a secret gem.
You can also camp here too as mentioned in the budget accommodation section but as always, it’s best to book early.
By car: 1h30m drive from Sydney / You can catch the ferry at Palm Beach which takes 30m and costs $20 return (bring cash).
By bus: Unless you want to walk for 1 hour from Woy Woy, we suggest taking the ferry at Palm Beach wharf which takes 30m and costs $20 return (bring cash).
By car: 1h45m from Sydney / 30min on the ferry from Palm Beach
By bus: It takes 1h30m with a combination of train and bus to get here / 30min on the ferry from Palm Beach
12. Palm Beach To The Basin Ferry
As mentioned in the accommodation section, you can camp at The Basin but you can also just visit for the day as it has a great space for picnics, a netted swimming lagoon, toilet facilities, BBQ areas and also great hikes in the area to historic aboriginal sites.
A highlight for visiting Palm Beach, isn’t Palm Beach itself, it’s taking the ferry over to Mackeral Bay and hiking over to Sydney’s most beautiful beach – Resolute Beach! It takes an hour total to get to this slice of paradise and it’s not a difficult hike either. We do however recommend wearing trainers or hiking boots and there’s a tiny bit of climbing over a few rocks along the way.
Resolute beach is stunning and it’s mind blowing to think of how quiet this spot is when you’re looking out to Palm Beach just the other side of the water. This beach will really top it off as being a great romantic getaway from Sydney!
You can reach Resolute Beach two ways – either go via Palm Beach as we suggest or if you’re going out to West Head, there’s a well worn short track from there down to this beach.
By Car: It takes an hour to get to West Head Look out then a short hike down / 30min ferry ride to Mackerel Beach, then a 30 min hike from there if you’re coming from Palm Beach.
By Bus: 2hr bus ride from Sydney / 30 min ferry ride to Mackerel Beach, the 30 min hike.
Watch Our Video To Resolute Beach In Sydney Below
If you’re spending a couple of days in Palm Beach, we recommend heading over to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park for an amazing lookout point over to Pam Beach, beautiful secluded beaches and awesome hikes. Even if you’re looking for a day trip from Sydney, you could easily spend the entire day up at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
14. West Head Lookout
Make sure you go over to West Head Lookout to see a different perspective of Palm Beach. It’s definitely worth the effort. You can also hike down to Resolute Beach (mentioned above) from the lookout or head over to Flint and Steel Beach as an alternative.
By Car: It takes an hour to get to West Head Lookout from Sydney
There are loads of walking tracks in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park but we recommend America Bay which is on the way up to West Head Lookout. It’s a lovely 20 minute walk all of the family can do and it provides knockout views when you reach America Bay.
By car: 57min drive from Sydney, then a 20 min hike
By bus: Unfortunately there’s no options via bus to get here unless you take the ferry via Palm Beach and hike up.