Palm Beach, just an hour from Sydney's CBD, is the city's northernmost suburb. On one side of the peninsula is rolling surf and on the other, bush and gentle harbour. There are quaint cottages and palatial homes, golden sands and lush bushland.
At the very point is Barrenjoey Headland, which is surrounded by a national park. The highest point, Barrenjoey Lighthouse, is reached by a 30-minute uphill walk. The views are worth every step. The northern aspect takes in Broken Bay to the Central Coast, the western outlook is along the Hawkesbury River and the south takes in Pittwater and Sydney's other northern beaches.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse was the third light on the headland and was completed in 1881. A customs station was established in 1843 at what was considered to be the back door of Sydney for smugglers. Smugglers Track leading to the lighthouse was built by convict labour.
Originally there were two wooden lighthouses on the headland, making Broken Bay and Pittwater a safe haven in storms for vessels carrying coal from Newcastle. The need for more permanent light led to the current lighthouse being built. The sandstone was taken in by barge and dragged to the top of the hill on sleds by teams of bullocks. The bullock tracks and some of the timbers used to smooth the track can still be seen. The original prism was brought from England in 1879 and is still there.
When the lighthouse was automated, the keepers left and over the next 40 years it became derelict. Four years ago, National Parks restored the buildings and their staff conduct guided tours.
Below the lighthouse, Barrenjoey Boathouse is the perfect place for a bite to eat. You can also hire a kayak and take it out for a spin.
For something different, Simon Rintel's company, Two Inspire, offers a guided Palm Beach kayak tour. Two Inspire runs exciting adventure-based programs in New South Wales and Tasmania with kayaking, rock-climbing, orienteering, navigating and abseiling group tours for fun or motivation. The company motto is 'are you alive or just living?'
Palm Beach on Sydney's northern peninsula.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse tours are $3 for adults and $2 for children. They run every Sunday, weather permitting.
Two Inspire guided Palm Beach kayak tours are $99 per person.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Tours
National Parks and Wildlife
Ph: (02) 9472 9300
Ph: 02 9337 1653
Barrenjoey Boating Services
Ph: (02) 9974 4229