The Palm Beach to Avalon Walk is a lovely section of the much longer iconic Palm Beach to Manly Walk. At 6.5km long, the Palm Beach to Avalon Beach walk can easily be done in a couple of hours, leaving you plenty of time to relax at the end of the walk or along the way. This is an absolutely stunning walk with all the beaches separated by headland, meaning there is a fair bit of climbing! It is totally worth it though as throughout the walk you’ll see lots of stunning viewpoints and ocean lookouts as well as dramatic cliffs, picturesque sandy beaches and rock pools.
You can do the walk in either direction, whatever you prefer. There is more to do at Palm Beach compared to Avalon Beach, including lots of nice restaurants so you might want to consider walking from Avalon up to Palm Beach so you can treat yourself after the walk with a nice meal!
How to get to Palm Beach and Avalon
To get to Palm Beach or Avalon is very easy if coming by public transport – just take 190 bus from Wynyard and it goes all the way up along the Northern Beaches. It does take about 1.5 hours though so be prepared! Alternatively if you are coming from Manly take the 199 bus. Both buses stop at Avalon before continuing on to Palm Beach, so whichever direction you do the walk you will take the same bus back again to return.
If you will be driving, beware that parking at Palm Beach and Avalon Beach are quite expensive if you choose to park right next to the beach. Alternatively you can park on one of the side streets for free. Just remember if you drive though that you will have to get back to your car – either by getting the bus back to your car after the walk, or walking back along the route.
Palm Beach is Sydney’s northernmost beach and is located 41km north of Sydney CBD. It marks the start (or end) of the Palm Beach to Avalon Beach Walk. Palm Beach is not only the name of the beach, but also the name given to the whole area. It is located at the end of the Northern Beaches peninsula, so it has two beaches – one facing the ocean and one facing Pittwater (officially called Station Beach). The whole area is absolutely stunning with lots of beautiful houses and has a real holiday feeling about it.
Before you start the walk you should do the short hike up to Barrenjoey Head (click here to read about it), which marks Sydney’s northernmost point. Climb to the top of Barrenjoey Headland (a 15-20 minute climb) and be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of Pittwater, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Broken Bay. The Barrenjoey Lighthouse here dates back to 1881 and is built from local sandstone. If you are up here on the headland from June to October you may even be able to spot some humpback whales on their annual migration.
If you have more time you should definitely spend a couple of days in Palm Beach as there is lots to do here such as going on a Home & Away tour, visiting the Palm Beach Bible Gardens for the incredible views, staying overnight on a luxury yacht, or even catching the ferry across to Ku-Ring-Gai Chase or Patonga. You’ll find more information about things to do in Palm Beach here.
The Palm Beach to Avalon walk goes along the ocean side of Palm Beach. Enjoy walking along the perfect 2km sandy beach and if you want to stop for a coffee before continuing the walk, stop by at 2108 Espresso coffee shop that has nice sea views.
Not far from here at the southern end is the stunning Palm Beach Rock Pool. When you get to the rock pool (which is incredible to swim in!) you will see some steps just behind it – take these steps up and you’ll end up on Whale Beach Road. Turn left and walk about a kilometre until you reach the steps down to Whale Beach. You won’t have a sea view whilst walking on Whale Beach Road as it is full of houses (very impressive ones by the way! I enjoyed having a gander at them along the walk), but 200 metres or so before you get to the steps there is a nice little lookout onto Whale Beach that is marked Hal Baily Reserve.
Whale Beach is the next beach along from Palm Beach and is also absolutely beautiful. Many trees line the edge of Whale Beach and there are several benches so if you have brought food with you you can have a little picnic here in the shade.
There is a rock pool at the southern end of the beach too. It is a lot smaller and shallower than most of the other rock pools around Sydney but it is nice as it has mostly sand at the bottom. There are some public toilets nearby if you need. Apparently if you carry on past the rock pool around the rocks for a few hundred metres there is a very impressive carving made out of the rocks of a man, a turtle and a lizard. I have seen pictures and they look really impressive so I would love to check it out next time I am back!
From Whale Beach find your way back on to Whale Beach Road via Malo Road. Continue south for about 1.5km then take the turning on your left into some bushland at Bangalley Head Reserve (it is signposted). Bangalley Head is one of the largest bushland reserves along this stretch of coastline, so the walk should take around 20-30 minutes. There are lots of steps going up so it can be quite challenging. This is actually the highest point on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and the views from the top of the headland are amazing. There are a couple of rocky outcrops when you reach the top that offer fabulous views up towards Palm Beach, Whale Beach and up towards Box Head and the Central Coast. Do be careful here though as you are on the edge of the cliff here!
You’ll notice by these rocky outcrops the track splits into two (labelled ‘loop track’). It just goes in a big loop and all joins back in the end, but keep to the left to enjoy more scenic views. Then 100 metres or so when you see a left turn in the track, take it and it will take you to Bangalley Park – a small open grassy area. If you carry on going straight instead of turning left you will just go back to where you started on the loop trail!
At the end of the park turn right on the bush path and it comes out on Marine Parade. Turn left and walk about a kilometre on this residential road until you get to the end. You’ll then see a car park on your left – head through here (there are also some public toilets if you need) and then you will find the steps that lead down to Avalon Beach.
Avalon is yet again another beautiful beach. Head down the steps and walk along the beach – you’ll find the rock pool at the southern part of the beach.
Avalon Beach is just a few metres from Barrenjoey Road (where you will get the bus back) and you will find lots of cafes and restaurants here too!
If you want to walk from Avalon to Newport
If you want to carry on the walk towards Newport, carry on walking along Barrenjoey Road for 500 metres or so until you come to the road The Serpentine, which winds along the coast. At the first wind in the road, turn off left onto the North Bilgola Lookout for nice views across Bilgola Beach, Newport and beyond. Head back along The Serpentine, take the steps down to Bilgola Beach, stroll along the beach and then take the footpath at the southern end of Bilgola Beach that takes you through Eric Green Reserve for half a kilometre or so until you get to Newport. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants at Newport just behind the beach.