15 Fun Things to Do in Palm Beach (Top Attractions)

Last updated: May 24, 2024

Find the best attractions and activities in Palm Beach, including sightseeing spots, exciting water activities, and great places to eat.

Palm Beach is Sydney’s northernmost beach town, surrounded by the Tasman Sea, Broken Bay, and Pittwater. Situated 40 km north of the Sydney CBD, Palm Beach has a unique atmosphere that feels like a small tropical paradise.

Palm Beach is a popular day trip destination from Sydney, as well as a niche holiday retreat for tourists, backpackers, and Australian and international celebrities alike.

In no particular order, here are 15 great ideas for things to see and do in Palm Beach and its surrounding area.

1. Hike up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Palm Beach
Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Palm Beach

The walk up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse on top of the Barrenjoey Headland is one of Sydney’s favourite hikes.

It’s certainly not the most challenging hike, but with coastal as well as bush walk elements combined with beautiful panoramic views, the Barrrenjoey Lighthouse walking track is an absolute must.

Built in 1881, the heritage-listed Barrenjoey Lighthouse stands 113 metres above sea level on the highest point of the Barrenjoey Headland, the northernmost tip of the Palm Beach Peninsula.

The views from the top of the headland of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Broken Bay, Pittwater, and the coastline north of Sydney to the east are incredible and make climbing up very rewarding.

2. Have Lunch at The Joey

The Joey in Palm Beach
The Joey in Palm Beach

A visit to Palm Beach is not complete without a lunch session at The Joey. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but this restaurant is a bit of an institution in Palm Beach.

The Joey (formerly the Boathouse) is located on Station Beach at Governor Phillip Park, facing beautiful Pittwater, and offers outdoor seating on the jetty at the back of the establishment.

Besides being a popular cafe and restaurant, the venue has also served as one of the various locations in Palm Beach for the popular TV series Home and Away. In the show, the place is called the Pier Diner in Summer Bay.

3. Visit the Bible Garden

Beautiful views from the Bible Garden in Palm Beach
Beautiful views from the Bible Garden

If you think the views from the Barrenjoey Lighthouse are good, wait until you visit the Bible Garden on the southern side of the Palm Beach peninsula.

Located at 6a Mitchell Road (see map location), the Bible Garden is a true hidden gem, often overlooked by tourists and day trippers visiting Palm Beach.

The Bible Garden is a peaceful and quiet Christian garden comprising a series of grassed terraces leading down to a viewing platform that provides spectacular views of the beach and the headland.

Pittwater Council currently owns the land that the garden sits on, and the garden itself is managed by the Friends of the Bible Garden, a non-profit community organisation.

4. Go Stand-Up Paddling at Clareville Beach

Clareville Beach
Clareville Beach

Clareville Beach is a quiet and secluded strip of sand south of Palm Beach.

With its sheltered waters, the beach is the perfect location to start a stand-up paddling session over Pittwater.

The beach is home to Tony Henry’s Avalon Stand Up Paddle, an accredited SUP school dedicated to growing this exciting sport on the beautiful Northern Beaches. You can take up lessons, join a daily paddle group, or hire a board and do your own thing.

Keen to buy your own board? Read our guide with reviews of inflatable stand-up paddleboards that are affordable and easy to carry around.

5. Catch a Ferry and Visit Resolute Beach

Resolute Beach
Resolute Beach

Another must-visit secluded beach close to the Palm Beach peninsula is Resolute Beach, located on the other side of Pittwater in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Against the backdrop of the Barrenjoey Headland, with beautiful emerald green water and often no tourists around, swimming at Resolute Beach is quite a unique experience.

If you’re visiting Resolute Beach, we recommend also visiting West Head Lookout, which is only a short walk away. The views from West Head are fantastic, and the lookout is a great opportunity to see the Palm Beach peninsula and the Barrenjoey Headland from a different perspective.

To get to Resolute Beach from Palm Beach, catch a ferry to Great Mackerel Beach and follow the walking trail to Resolute Beach.

6. Go Kayaking Across Pittwater

Pittwater
Pittwater

A fantastic (and original) way to soak up the natural beauty of Pittwater and its surroundings is by paddling around in a kayak.

You can either bring your own gear, hire a kayak, or otherwise go on an official kayak tour with a guide.

Pittwater Kayak Tours, for example, offers kayak tours daily that also involve swimming at secluded beaches and guided bushwalking.

7. Catch a Ferry to Ettalong

Palm Beach Ferry Wharf
Palm Beach Ferry Wharf

If you have a few days to spend in Palm Beach, why not catch a ferry to Ettalong Beach on the Central Coast. This scenic ferry trip navigates past the Barrenjoey Headland and crosses Broken Bay before it arrives at beautiful Ettalong Beach.

The water at Ettalong is usually quite calm and shallow, which makes it an excellent beach for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddling.

The Ettalong Beach foreshore has been upgraded in recent years and now features playgrounds, barbecue facilities, and cafes overlooking the beach.

8. Do a Home and Away Tour

Summer Bay Surf Club
Summer Bay Surf Club

Who hasn’t seen an episode of Home and Away at least once? Filmed mainly in Palm Beach, Home and Away has been one of Australia’s most iconic TV hit series since 1988.

In the show, Palm Beach is called Summer Bay, and the North Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club is called the Summer Bay SLSC. Just so you know!

If you’re a fan, why not book a guided tour and have a closer look at the outdoor filming locations of Home and Away in the Palm Beach area.

You will get the inside scoop on the people and places behind the hit TV series from your expert guide, and you may even get to see the actual filming taking place and meet some of the cast.

9. Go Fine Dining at Jonah’s

Jonah's at Whale Beach
Jonah’s at Whale Beach

Facing beautiful Whale Beach, Jonah’s restaurant offers contemporary Australian cuisine showcasing some exceptional Australian and international produce.

Additionally, their extensive wine list contains a large variety of vintage Australian and international wines.

If you decide to dine at Jonah’s, you would certainly be in good company, as the restaurant has hosted numerous celebrities from entertainment, politics, business, and royalty over the years.

10. Catch a Ferry to Patonga

Map of Patonga Wharf
Patonga Wharf

Another ferry trip that is worth doing if you’re staying a few days in Palm Beach is the ferry to Patonga on the Central Coast.

The vessel used for this service is the “Merinda II”, a 50-foot timber passenger ferry that was built in 1983. The Merinda was first used for the ferry service between Palm Beach and Bobbin Head.

The ferry service currently runs between Palm Beach and Patonga, passing the Barrenjoey Headland and West Head on the way to the Central Coast.

This service is provided by the Boathouse Group and runs seven days per week, with three services from Monday to Thursday and six from Friday to Sunday. Check their timetable for more details.

11. Visit Whale Beach

Whale Beach
Whale Beach

Situated south of Palm Beach and facing Dolphin Bay, Whale Beach is a beautiful 600-metre long strip of sand with a relatively quiet and secluded atmosphere.

Whale Beach has a beautiful round shape and is surrounded by two prominent headlands: Careel Head at the southern end and Little Head at the north end of the beach.

Whale Beach has its own surf life saving club that was formed in 1937 and has a recognisable clubhouse with BBQ deck, function room, a gym, change rooms, first aid room, and gear sheds.

12. Swim at the Palm Beach Rockpool

Palm Beach Rockpool
Palm Beach Rockpool

Keen to do your morning swim laps in style and in idyllic surroundings?

Like many other beaches in New South Wales and Australia, Palm Beach also has its very own rock pool.

Quietly tucked away on the eastern side of Palm Beach at the southern end, the 50-metre long Palm Beach Rockpool is in excellent condition and has change rooms and toilets available.

Check out our list of beautiful Sydney ocean pools for more great options to go for a nice swim outside.

13. Have a Picnic in Governor Phillip Park

Governor Phillip Park in Palm Beach
Governor Phillip Park in Palm Beach

Situated between the two strips of sand in Palm Beach, Governor Phillip Park is a hugely popular green space that tends to fill up quickly on the weekends.

This is also where most visitors to Palm Beach park their car, with lots of metered parking options along Park Road towards the Barrenjoey Headland.

Governor Phillip Park is a beautiful green area with various picnic areas, barbecues, and playgrounds. It also provides easy access to the beaches on the eastern as well as the western side of the Palm Beach Peninsula.

14. Go Surfing at Palm Beach

Palm Beach has excellent surf conditions
Palm Beach has excellent surf conditions

A visit to Palm Beach is not complete without doing a solid surf session.

Palm Beach certainly has excellent surf conditions, with experienced surfers typically heading to North Palm Beach and beginner surfers heading to the sheltered southern corner.

New to surfing? Manly Surf School has a mobile branch at the southern corner of Palm Beach where you can book surf lessons if you’re keen to give this sport a try.

15. Play Golf at the Palm Beach Golf Club

Palm Beach Golf Club
Palm Beach Golf Club

The last entry in this list of things to do in Palm Beach is for the golf enthusiasts among us.

If you do enjoy the occasional golf session, a visit to the local Palm Beach Golf Club is a no-brainer, with a 9-hole golf course in a beautiful location.

But the Palm Beach Golf Club is so much more than just playing golf! It’s also a great spot for a casual dining experience, and the venue can be hired for corporate events, birthday celebrations, and weddings.

 

15 Best things to do in Palm Beach

 

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3 Comments
  1. What about lunch at Palm Beach RSL?

    Daily specials from $15 making it the cheapest place to enjoy your meal in Palm Beach. What about their $25 ferry and lunch deal for group bookings. Catch the ferry from Ettalong, the clubs courtesy bus will meet you at the other end in Palm Beach, enjoy a choice from 3 from a special group booking menu for lunch at the club, and then driven back to the wharf to get your ferry back to Ettalong for just $25pp. The best for the best @ clubpalmbeach.

    Reply
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