Central Coast, NSW

Five great walks Palm Beach NSW

By Laura Pattara

September 7, 2020 | 4 minute read

Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse
Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Visitors to Palm Beach can easily be forgiven for wanting to spend their entire stay on the glorious beaches. But this area has so much more to offer, including on foot. There are great walks around Palm Beach that provide breathtaking views - whether you like an easy stroll or a walk that leaves you feeling invigorated. 

So if you are planning a trip to Palm Beach - pack your walking shoes and hat, and head out on one of these scenic trails in and around Sydney’s most famous northern beach. 

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse – 2.2km – 1.5hr 

Stunning ocean views are your constant companion on the walk along Barrenjoey Headland to the iconic Lighthouse. This relatively easy walk starts at the Governor Phillip car park, takes a minimum of 1.5 leisurely hours and includes lots of scenic spots to stop along the way. Do this walk on a Sunday and you’ll also get public access to the Lighthouse. 

Heritage-listed since 1999, this picturesque sandstone building holds indigenous, cultural and historical value for the region. Don’t forget to pack your camera too if you're visiting during the whale migration season (May-November) as you may get a sighting of one of these great mammals. Even without any whales - this walk offers some of the most outstanding photo ops of all. 

Great Mackerel Beach Loop to West Head Lookout – 6km – 3hrs

This longer and slightly more strenuous walk starts in the northern tip of the Ku-ring-gai National Park, directly west of Barrenjoey Head. It takes you past lovely beaches and through the heart of Ku-ring-gai bushland. 

Start from the parking lot of Great Mackerel Beach or take the ferry directly from Palm Beach to Mackerel) and, if you manage not to throw in the towel and spend the whole day there, head north along the West Head Trail around and up to the West Head Lookout (D.I.V.I.N.E.) before following the coastal track back down to the beach. A bit of elevation, a lot of nature and oodles of striking scenery. 

Ocean Pool
Ocean Pool

RSL to Ocean Pool – 4.8km – 2hrs

This easy loop walk starts at the Palm Beach RSL on the western side of the peninsula and takes you to the wonderful 50m ocean pool on the southern tip of the eastern beach. Start with a late brunch at the RSL (they open at 10am), take a leisurely meander through the Mackay Reserve (take the staircase at the entrance), turn right when you reach Pacific Drive and a left at the junction with Ebor Road. 

The trail from there will take you directly to the southern end of the beach and the inviting rock pool. Swim, frolic and sunbathe before walking the length of the beach and turning left at Beach Road to cross to the western shores. From here, an enjoyable walk south will bring you back to the RSL. For lunch, perhaps? Why not?! 

Narrabeen Lagoon Trail – 8.4km – 2.5hrs

Have a rental car, bicycles, a furry companion or kids in tow? Then this walk’s for you! Just a short drive (30 min) south of Palm Beach, this simply stunning trail is easy enough for the whole family and loved by local joggers, dog-owners, cyclists and walkers. It guides you around the Narrabeen Lakes and offers plenty of rest stops along the way. 

The perfectly kept trail opened in 2015 and has swiftly become a crowd fave. Easily accessible and boasting bridges, viewpoints and refuelling stops (in the shape of cool little cafés) this is, by far, the best family walk around Palm Beach. 

North Curl Curl to Freshwater Beach
North Curl Curl to Freshwater Beach

North Curl Curl to Freshwater Beach – 2km return – 1 hour 
If you want an easy family + dog walk near Palm Beach but wish to keep it shorter, then drive a little further south to North Curl Curl. A perfect boardwalk allows you to mash this one out in under an hour, all the while hugging the shoreline. Hop down and play in the sand or stay on the boardwalk and soak up the delights of this local hidden treasure. 

No traffic, no hazards and no worries! The lake ends at McKillop Park, overlooking both Freshwater and Manly beach. Want to make it even shorter? Drive to South Curl Curl and connect to the boardwalk there. One of the most relaxing walks around Palm Beach there is to enjoy. 

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