At Pittwater Boat House, you can’t help but wake with the sun. Light pours into the bedroom through huge arch-shaped windows, which frame views of the sparkling turquoise sea dotted with bobbing boats. Who needs curtains (or sleep) when a world like this awaits?
Hidden in the hills of Clareville on Sydney’s northern beaches, the AirBnb makes for a stylish staycation or weekend getaway for two, just an hour from the CBD. On first impressions, it doesn’t look like much: you’ll pull up to the main house shrouded by tall gum trees, then descend a steep set of stairs before happening on the little waterfront boat house. But step inside and the glittering outlook immediately takes hold. Upstairs is the entry and bedroom – a pint-sized but light-filled space – while a spiral staircase leads down to the kitchen, breakfast nook and bathroom. Throw open the doors onto a huge deck, boat jetty, and even your own strip of private beach.
Owners Liz and Tony are the consummate hosts, providing plentiful recommendations of things to do and see, plus a pair of kayaks and even a motorboat. Whiz around the serene waters of Pittwater, and dock for lunch or swimming.
Excellent restaurants and sublime beaches define the area (see a full guide to Sydney’s northern beaches here), though Pittwater Boat House is cosy enough to stay put all weekend too (cook up a feast on the outdoor barbeque, and bathe in the alfresco spa). Perhaps best of all, this little gem is off the beaten track – in terms of social media at least. The property doesn’t even have an Instagram page yet – and as you wake at dawn and get your perfect snap of the sun rising over the sea, there’s a certain thrill in knowing you’re holidaying in Sydney’s best-kept secret. Until now, anyway.
While you're there...
This little slice of Paris in Avalon is authentic and understated. We feasted on oysters, Côte du Boeuf, and soufflé – be sure to arrive hungry!
Swim at Paradise beach
There are countless beaches to choose from in the area, including Clareville Beach. It’s pretty peaceful, but for something even more secluded, try Paradise Beach, a tiny, picture-perfect bay with a netted swimming area.
Take Tony’s motorboat for a spin (or hop in a water taxi) and indulge in a leisurely three-course lunch on the water. It’s fine-dining, but relaxed and unpretentious.
We took the boat over to Church Point and docked at Pasadena. The waterside hotel and restaurant is a magnet for hens groups and weddings, but it’s also perfectly positioned for drinks in the sun.