It’s finally summer again and with this really hot weather it’s a perfect day to go to the beach! After carefully considering different options, I decided to go to Palm Beach…. No, I’m not going to cross the Pacific Ocean in one day, in fact Palm Beach is only about 40 kilometers north of Sydney. Popular during summer months, this is definitely a place worth visiting just as much as its American counterpart.
Part of the Northern Beaches, an area in the northern coastal suburbs of Sydney, Palm Beach is considered as one of the most beautiful spots to go surfing in the world. Some may also know it because of the Australian television soap opera Home and Away filmed in the area. With more than 6,000 episodes recorded over the past 30 years, this TV show is still running!
It’s 7am and my alarm clock is already ringing… quite early for a Sunday morning but the adventure never waits. Time to prepare my lunch, pack my stuff and I’m jumping onto a brand new yellow double deck bus from Wynyard station going straight to Palm Beach. One hour and a half later I’m there and head directly towards the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, one of the main attractions.
Named by Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales, Barrenjoey originally means ‘little kangaroo’ in aboriginal words. That’s quite a nice name for this place even though you won’t probably see any kangaroos around here. Part of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse was built in 1881 and is now considered as a cultural heritage.
The walk starts along the beach, where I can already feel that it will be a windy day – after checking online I figured out I will have to deal with a 70km/h wind while up there! Luckily the sun is out and able to warm me up a bit. You have two options to reach the lighthouse: the steepest but also shortest Smugglers track or the Access trail, slightly easier but which takes a bit longer. I go for the first one and started to climb the steps through the bush. Landscapes were so stunning that I have no idea how many times I stopped to take pictures! Anyway, few hundreds steps and one kilometer later, I am rewarded with an incredible panoramic view over Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the Central Coast.
Behind the lighthouse, there is a small walk leading you to the grave of the last keeper. While going that way, I found myself immersed in the very distant past of the place as I could see remains from the September 2013 bushfire which destroyed a large part of the bush land. Fortunately enough, the lighthouse was saved from it thanks to the great work of firemen.
In order to get a better view of the bay, I decide to go off track and closer to the cliffs. With a 50 metre drop at the edge of the cliff and with no fence, you better be careful on which rock you are jumping! Few steps further I stop and sit at the top of a hanging rock where I can admire the scenery. No word can describe the beauty of the place.
Not a bad view for a lunch don’t you think? If there wasn’t so much wind, I could have probably stayed for hours looking at the horizon. However, after having a bit of rest up there, I still want to go down and enjoy the beach. That’s also what I came for! I opt for the ocean side which is usually less busy compared to the bay side, the later being on the track to the lighthouse. The beach is huge and if you walk a little it’s easy to find a quiet place to lie down on the sand. That was the perfect timing to have a quick swim and play in the waves.
After a couple of hours, it was already mid-afternoon and time to go back to Sydney – all good things must come to an end. I packed my stuff, walk along the beach and catch the first bus heading to the city with the overall feeling of having a great and relaxing day.