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24 Hours In Palm Beach

An hour from Sydney, a world away from everyday life

Anna Saunders

There’s nothing quite like handing your children over to their grandparents, and driving away for your first night’s holiday in over a year. 

The anxiety. The guilt. The sadness. 

The overwhelming sense of liberation.

For this unprecedented and much-anticipated trip, my husband and I headed to Palm Beach, which was resort-like and beach-y enough to feel relaxing, but close enough to Sydney to assuage our (ok, my) parental anxiety. 

We hit the road in our Volkswagen Tiguan (marvelling at the silence and relaxation of travelling without children) and stopped at The Newport for a casual lunch overlooking the lush Pittwater inlet, before heading to our hotel, The Pasadena at Church Point.

Our Volkswagen Tiguan at Palm Beach

Although we live by the beach in Sydney, Pittwater is another world. The roads wind languorously next to the water, huge houses sit on extravagantly spacious sections, and, across the inlet, pine-tree-covered hills only add to the sense of expansiveness and freedom.

After checking in, we strolled along the towpath at Church Point where we discovered a hidden gem: The Waterfront Cafe & Store.

There are plenty of hyped and highly ‘grammable cafes and restaurants in Pittwater, but it’s unlikely that you’ll discover a waterside spot as beautiful yet as low-key as this one, which is perched on a jetty where deep green ocean waves gently lap up against the pillars and water taxis and fishing boats periodically alight. My tip? Head there for a late afternoon drink, as we did, to catch the golden hour, as sun streams into the restaurant.


Next on the agenda was dinner at Bert’s, an elegant and buzzy French brasserie that opened as part of The Newport last year. With Clara Adolphs art on the walls, French-accented waiters and an extensive wine list, it was everything that two people more accustomed to noisy family pizza restaurants at 5.30pm could have hoped for.

The following day, we drove to another Pittwater classic – The Boathouse, which offers spectacular views across the inlet, not to mention sensational brunch. After walking up to Baranjoey Lighthouse to enjoy the views from yet another angle, we browsed the beautiful Boathouse interiors shop before dusting the sand off our feet and jumping back into the Tiguan.


For the next hour we slowly meandered home, exploring the using the in-built navigation system, stopping off at beautiful Whale Beach to read the newspapers, before slowly and reluctantly heading home.


The Newport for a casual lunch or dinner with spectacular views

Bert’s delivers a chic dining experience and memorable food

The Boathouse for Instagramable views and food (that’s delicious too)


The Newport for a fun night with friends

The Waterfront Cafe & Store offers an unparalleled setting for drinks or dinner


The Boathouse Home is a mecca for gorgeous, stylish beach-themed decor

Lee Mathews in Avalon is an excellent pitstop on the way through Avalon


The Volkswagen Tiguan Wolfsburg


The walk to Barenjoey Lighthouse offers beautiful, sweeping views



The author travelled courtesy of a Volkswagen Tiguan.


BY Anna Saunders

Anna is the co-founder of PRIMER. She has two small children and too few holidays.

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