Living on the Northern Beaches feels like an endless holiday, says Jordyn Christensen, a born-and-bred local. The journalist and co-founder of Centennial Beauty – a buzzy Gen-Z beauty and news publication – gives us the lowdown on where to dine, drink and unwind in her locale, focusing on the stretch from Mona Vale to Palm Beach.
“Picking up a coffee where the locals do might mean oat or almond milk is a non-negotiable part of your order… but there’s a good chance you’ll never go back. At Rusti Fig you’ll find yourself between the tradies en route, post-surf frothers and every dog owner on the beaches. Looking for a little more than coffee? Order the Builder Roll with a hash brown and chilli sauce (on the roll) – you can thank me later.”
363 Barrenjoey Rd, Newport
“The worst-kept secret on the Northern Beaches, The Boathouse Palm Beach is always busy for a reason. Set on the Pittwater side of the Palm Beach peninsula, the combination of scenery and delicious breakfast options make the location a no-brainer for tourists and locals alike. If you’ve got something to celebrate, order a glass of bubbles for the Instagram trifecta.”
“If you can swing a long weekend, visit the Boathouse on a Friday or Monday. Avoid the weekend crowd where possible, as it often means a long wait for a table.”
Governor Phillip Park, Palm Beach
“If alfresco dining is your thing, The Newport is what long-lunch dreams are made of. With the biggest (and possibly chicest) beer garden in Australia, overlooking the water – all you need is a cold glass of rose, a Gamberi pizza (trust me) and some live music.”
2 Kalinya Street, Newport
“While Mexican is by no means a cuisine in short demand, Alma’s no-fuss, fresh and delicious food makes it a stand-out. The takeaway cocktail window, chic decor, summer-all-year-round vibe and location in the centre of Avalon also help. Order the kingfish ceviche, a couple of tacos and add the tequila pairing to your meal to really round out the night.”
35 Avalon Parade, Avalon
“If there’s one thing we know about Justin Hemmes, it’s that he doesn’t do anything by half. Bert’s is no exception. Sitting above the Newport’s sprawling beer garden, Bert’s is reminiscent of a 1930s ballroom, except with views of Pittwater and tonnes of natural light. From the staff to the decor to the cocktails, every detail is thoughtfully executed and whether you stay for a drink or a four-course meal, you won’t be disappointed.”
“Depending on your budget for the day, visit Bert’s for a cocktail (or three), then head downstairs to the Newport for a pizza or burger.”
2 Kalinya St, Newport
“Pasadena is a gorgeous, newly renovated boutique hotel, restaurant and cafe. Whether you’re looking for some casual afternoon drinks or a special occasion-worthy meal, Pasadena does it all and does it well. Think palm trees, fairy lights and rolling lawn down to the water. Oh, and bring your puppy.”
1858 Pittwater Road, Church Point
West Head Lookout, Ku-Ring-Gai National Park
“If you’re looking for an adventure, this is it. Expect a national park entry fee ($12 per vehicle), but consider it a small price to pay for the most expansive views in Sydney and a day to spend exploring. Head in any direction from the sandstone lookout and you’ll find boat or foot access- only beaches (so you might just have them to yourself), local wildlife and views for days.”
“Pack water, snacks, swimmers and a towel, but make sure you leave with your rubbish.”
Berowra Valley Regional Park, West Head Rd, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase
“A move away from the surf beaches the north is known for, Clareville is the ideal picnic destination. Say hello to calm waters, BBQ areas and an abundance of grass, trees and shade to settle in for an afternoon. Toilets are also easily accessible.”
30 Delecta Ave, Clareville
Paradise Beach, Avalon
“For those who prefer not to battle waves or crowds, enter Paradise Beach. A little harder to find than most, park on Riverview Road and head down the hill on Paradise Avenue. Take a dip in the netted swimming area and then set up either on the sand or at the end of the jetty. Enjoy!”
End of Paradise Ave, Avalon
“You may feel more like you’re stepping into a boutique hotel or luxury showroom than a clothing store, but this carefully curated selection of designers, clothes and accessories has become a Northern Beaches staple. Find the likes of Bec & Bridge, alongside Matin and Marle, next to accessories from Gucci and Saint Laurent… which all somehow perfectly compliment a laid-back Northern Beaches lifestyle.”
Suite 10/349 Barrenjoey Rd, Newport
How to get there
The farthest Northern Beach, Palm Beach, is located about 40km from the Sydney CBD. The region is accessible via car, bus, ferry, water taxi or seaplane.
When to visit
Any time of year – go for a cosy winter weekender or a blissful summer’s beach day.
What to pack
Denim cut-offs and Birkenstocks to fit in with the locals.