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But on the other side of the Palm Beach peninsula, less-known Pittwater harbour is the perfect playground for locals wanting to explore their own backyard. Pittwater is north of Sydney, past Manly, Dee Why and Narrabeen. It is close enough to the CBD to be accessible by those who live there, and also those who want a quick weekend campervan break by the waterside away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The peaceful waters of Pittwater are relatively unknown by Sydneysiders and the best way to see this scenic waterway is by kayak.
Local company Paddlecraft runs tours from from Gibson’s Marina and visitors can choose from a half or full-day guided kayak tour. The kayak journey includes regular breaks at secluded beaches and Scotland Island. The tour also includes a bushwalk around the local area where you may stumble across wildlife such as sea eagles, wallabies, goannas and kookaburras. Back on the water, it is not uncommon for paddlers to spot dolphins, fairy penguins, stingrays and sea turtles in the calm bays.
Ku-Ring-Gai National Park
Nearby Ku-ring-gai National Park covers nearly 150 square kilometres and is packed with activities to choose from including self-guided walks, mountain biking or picnicing. You can even join a guided Aboriginal heritage tour to discover the detailed carvings which date back tens of thousands of years when they were etched into the rock faces.
It is incredibly easy to spend an entire day exploring Ku-ring-gai but the gates close for vehicles at sunset. If you're still in the park after dark, your only option to make it home is a rather long walk.
Take A Cruise
If you’re after a slightly slower pace of sightseeing, a ferry is an ideal way to experience the serene waterways of Pittwater and Sydney’s far northern beaches. Departing every hour, the Church Point Ferry Service delivers offshore residents to their homes and gives visitors a close-up view of the beautiful homes of Scotland Island, and Lovett and Elvina bays from the deck of the L. Duck ferry.
Further north, the Palm Beach ferry comes and goes from the western side of Palm Beach. This service covers two routes, firstly to the charming picnic and swimming spot known as The Basin, at the foot of Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. Pack your lunch but beware of the resident bush turkeys and wallabies, who will be keen to share! Secondly to Mackerel Beach where a short walk over the headland will take you to Resolute Beach - a perfect place for a swim and sunbathe in serene surroundings.
Where To Eat
This community prides itself on being coffee connoisseurs and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad cup of joe.
If cooler beverages are your thing, the 4 Pines Public House in Newport has several locally produced craft brews on tap. Down the road from 4 Pines, The Newport beer garden is the ideal place to spend a lazy afternoon with fresh seafood, gourmet burgers and delectable pizzas.
Where To Stay
Distance-wise, it’s not far from Sydney but you’ll find so much to do in Pittwater that it’s worth pulling the motorhome or campervan into the NRMA Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park for a night to two to really explore the best of the region. This park is one of the only seaside holiday parks in Sydney and you just can’t beat the location, only a few minutes’ drive from Pittwater and less than an hour from the Sydney CBD.