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Pearl Beach NSW: 10 Best Things To Do!

Pearl Beach is a small, picturesque beachside village located on the Central Coast of NSW that is an absolute gem!

It has become a popular and chic destination for a weekend trip from Sydney for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful beachside village with a stunning crowd-free beach.

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With a population of less than 600 people, the quiet village of Pearl Beach is a really charming and friendly laid-back place, perfect to relax and unwind! 

Pearl Beach feels very different to the other beaches along The Central Coast, and is often declared as The Central Coast’s most beautiful beachside village, as well as one of the best beaches in New South Wales!

Surrounded by bushland, Pearl Beach still retains a feeling of simplicity and times gone by, yet it is becoming quite an exclusive and quietly elegant beachside suburb.

It definitely doesn’t feel like another suburbia – there’s something very unique and special about Pearl Beach.

With just a few amenities, houses surrounded by bushland, a long stretch of empty sandy beach and plenty of native wildlife around, Pearl Beach has held onto its unique charm perfectly despite being so close to Sydney.

There are so many things to do at Pearl Beach, whether you want to just relax listening to the sound of the waves crashing and birds singing, do some hiking and visiting stunning viewpoints, going for a swim or even to watch a concert at the local arboretum!

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WHERE IS PEARL BEACH NSW?

Pearl Beach is located on the southern tip of the NSW Central Coast, 92 km north of Sydney. It lies within Broken Bay, close to the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.

From Pearl Beach you can look across to Box Head (Central Coast), Lion Island and Barrenjoey Headland in Palm Beach – Sydney’s northernmost beach.

Despite Pearl Beach being so close to Sydney you really feel miles away from it all. 

You can find the Google maps location of Pearl Beach here.

HOW TO GET TO PEARL BEACH FROM SYDNEY

There are three ways to get from Sydney to Pearl Beach:

By car, by bus + ferry, or by train + bus.

Definitely the easiest, quickest and most convenient way is by car. I advise coming by car as it gives you more flexibility and options to explore the surrounding areas. Public transport does take longer but it is possible.

If you plan to take public transport then check timetables in advance as they don’t run very regularly.

Driving:

Pearl Beach is about 1.5 hours drive north of Sydney.

To get to Pearl Beach from Sydney take the M1 Motorway northbound and turn off at Gosford. From Gosford head towards Woy Woy, and then continue to Pearl Beach. 

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Ferry From Palm Beach To Patonga:

1. Get the bus to Palm Beach Wharf

Get the bus to Palm Beach (bus 199 from Manly, or B1 bus + 199 bus if coming from Sydney CBD). The bus up to Palm Beach will take at least an hour so be sure to set off early!

If you are based on the Northern Beaches then this journey is very convenient as the buses stop off at all the Northern Beaches towns along the way.

Get off the bus at Palm Beach Wharf, which is just after Barrenjoey House and before you reach Palm Beach.

2. Take the ferry

Ferry to Patonga:

There is a ferry that goes from Palm Beach to Patonga and back a handful of times a day from Friday until Monday (4 days a week). Check the timetable beforehand.

It costs $15 for a single ride for adults or $25 for a return and the views are stunning.

You can get off the ferry at Patonga and either walk from Patonga to Pearl Beach – a stunning 3km coastal walk that should take an hour, hop on the 54 bus (check the timetable) or book a taxi to take you to Pearl Beach.

If the Palm Beach – Patonga ferry isn’t running you can take the ferry to Ettalong (via Wagstaffe) from Palm Beach Wharf although it is a little more time-consuming.

Check the timetable and plan your journey accordingly to ensure you don’t waste time waiting for a ferry. 

The fare is $14.70 each way and payment can only be done by debit/credit card. 

From Ettalong Wharf you can get a 10 minute taxi to Pearl Beach (around $30). Or you can walk for 2.5km (30 minutes) along the beach and The Esplanade to West Street where you can catch the number 54 bus that takes you to Pearl Beach.

This bus doesn’t run too frequently though so check the timetable if you plan to travel this way.

Train To Woy Woy:

Alternatively, you can take the train from Sydney’s Central Station to Woy Woy (Central Coast & Newcastle line) and then catch a bus to Pearl Beach. 

Trains run roughly every 30 minutes.

Check the train timetable for Woy Woy beforehand to be sure the train stops at Woy Woy as often the trains running in the evening don’t stop at Woy Woy. 

From Woy Woy take the number 54 bus to Pearl Beach via Umina. The bus takes 30 minutes and you can use your Opal Card onboard.

Check the number 54 bus timetable beforehand however as there are only a handful of buses that run. 

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WHY IS IT CALLED PEARL BEACH?

In the early 1920’s Clive Staples named the area Pearl Beach, and developed a plan for the sale of land there. He then named all of the streets after precious stones.

So as you drive around Pearl Beach you’ll see road names like Amethyst, Diamond, Crystal, Coral, Beryl, Garnet, Jade and Opal.

Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Gurrungai Aboriginal people. 

10 BEST THINGS TO DO AT PEARL BEACH NSW

1. Relax At The Beach

The star of Pearl Beach is the beach itself. The beach is stunning, a beautiful crescent-shaped sandy beach with stunning views. 

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If you want to go for a swim, go near the southern end of Pearl Beach. The northern section of the beach is unsafe for swimming as the waves are extremely rough. 

Swim at the southern end of Pearl Beach, but be mindful that the beach isn’t patrolled by lifeguards.

There are some picnic tables and toilets right behind the beach, as well as a shop and cafe.

pearl beach NSW

2. Swim in the Pearl Beach Rock Pool

A swim in Pearl Beach Rock Pool is the ideal thing to do on a sunny day! The Pearl Beach Rock Pool is located at the southern end of the beach and was built in 1928.

This is the ideal place to swim if you don’t like waves, and there are stunning views across to the beach and the ocean from the 100ft rock pool. At high tide you can even enjoy the waves crashing into the pool!

3. Walk to Patonga Beach Via Warrah Lookout

One of the best things to do at Pearl Beach is to do the 3km hike to Patonga Beach via Warrah Lookout. 

The walk starts in the south of Pearl Beach on Crystal Avenue, about a kilometre back from the beach and just a few metres from the Arboretum. Look out for the Pearl Beach Patonga Firetrail on your left after the houses.

The walk will take you gradually uphill through the National Park, going past some caves, and Warrah Lookout is located at the top of the hill. The views from here are so stunning!

pearl beach to Patonga walk warrah lookout

You are on top of a cliff and the panoramic views are incredible – looking across to Palm Beach in one direction and Patonga Beach and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in the other direction.

You really feel like you are a million miles away from Sydney city life here, and you can get some fantastic pictures! From here continue the walk to Patonga Beach.

pearl beach to Patonga walk warrah lookout

The hike takes around an hour each way, and you can relax on Patonga Beach, have a swim and have some food here before walking back to Pearl Beach.

You can either bring your own food or head to The Boat House on the beach for great food and stunning beach views from the outdoor verandah.

the boat house patonga beach NSW

Like Pearl Beach, Patonga Beach is unpatrolled, however the water is a bit calmer here and so it’s a great spot for swimming.

You’ll find some public toilets just behind the beach if you want to change into or out of your swimming costume.

Bear in mind if you are walking back to Pearl Beach from Patonga the ascent at the beginning is quite steep and challenging so I’d definitely advise to wear suitable shoes.

If you don’t want to walk back to Pearl Beach you can get the 54 bus back!

4. Enjoy The Views At Mount Ettalong Lookout

Another absolutely stunning lookout by Pearl Beach is the Mount Ettalong Lookout.

Mount Ettalong is the big imposing headland you’ll see at the northern end of Pearl Beach, and from the top of it you’ll be able to get the perfect birds eye view of Pearl Beach and the surrounding area.

umina head lookout pearl beach NSW

To get to Mount Ettalong Lookout from Pearl Beach drive along Patonga Drive toward Umina. Before the road goes down the hill, take the turning on the right signposted “Mt Ettalong Lookout”. 

Park in the carpark next to the old water tower. It’s then a 10 minute walk to the two lookouts, which provide the best lookout of Brisbane Water’s western shore.

You can see Lion Island, Barrenjoey Headland, Pittwater, Palm Beach, and Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park to the right, and Umina Beach, Wagstaffe and Box Head to your left. Immediately below on your right is Pearl Beach. 

umina head lookout pearl beach NSW

You’ll definitely need a car to get to this lookout as there is no footpath on the winding road and there isn’t much space for pedestrians so it isn’t safe to walk. 

5. Umina to Pearl Beach Walk

Directly below Mount Ettalong Lookout there is a footpath where you can walk from Pearl Beach to Umina Beach.

It is just a short walk around the base of the headland and offers nice views. You will see signs warning you of potential rockfall, so be aware, although I felt safe when I did this walk.

The start of the walk is located just next to the northern entrance of Pearl Beach.

You can bring dogs on this walk but keep them on a lead as there are some steep drop offs. Dogs can be off leash both on the northern end of Pearl Beach as well as on Umina Beach so it is a perfect walk to take your dog on.pearl beach walk NSW

6. Visit The Crommelin Native Arboretum

About a kilometre back from the beach on Crystal Avenue is the Arboretum, a lovely relaxing place to stroll around.

The Aboretum is free to visit and there are over 100 different species of trees and plants in this 5.5 hectare sanctuary!

There’s a wetland area, temperate rainforest area and ancient grass trees, amongst walking trails, plus you may even spot some possums, glossy black cockatoos, owls and swamp wallabies here!

The Arboretum makes a lovely place to relax with a picnic, plus in Mach each year host the Opera in the Arboretum!

This is a great open air festival where you can enjoy live opera music. Bring your picnic mat, your picnic chairs and food and drinks and enjoy the show!

7. Relax Or Go Fishing At Paul Landa Reserve, Green Point

To the east and south of the Pearl Beach Rockpool lies Green Point and the Paul Landa Reserve. This is a great place to go for a stroll, or to sit and relax on the rock platform with a picnic.

The headland provides stunning views across the Hawkesbury River, Lion Island and over Pearl Beach.

The reserve is situated at the end of Green Point Road. 

If you enjoy fishing, the rock platforms here at Pearl Beach are a great place to go fishing. You can catch a variety of fish, including whiting, bream and flathead.

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The Paul Landa Reserve is the bit of land sticking out at the end of the beach in the picture above.

8. Take Your Dog To The Beach

Dogs are allowed off the leash on the northern section of Pearl Beach, and it’s one of the best dog beaches on the Central Coast as it is so quiet and picturesque!

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9. Take the Kids to the Playground

Right behind the southern end of the beach, close to the cafe is a children’s playground. With climbing equipment, a spider web and swings, children will definitely enjoy playing here. 

10. Enjoy The Local Cafe & Restaurant

Pearl Beach has a lovely cafe and restaurant next to each other on the southern end of the beach that are both worth visiting.

The Pearl Beach Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is a lovely relaxed cafe with some outdoor seating. They also do puppacinos for your furry friends. There is also a General Store attached to the side of the cafe.

Pearls On The Beach is one of the best restaurants on the Central Coast. It’s a relaxed restaurant but definitely with chic beachside glamour and the price tag to go with it.

The food is good and the ocean views are spectacular. Last time I was in Pearl Beach they were changing owners so it was temporarily closed, but hopefully it will be open again in no time!

Places To Explore Near To Pearl Beach NSW:

Hire A Kayak Or Paddle Board

Drive to nearby Killcare to hire a kayak or paddle board and explore the calm waters of the Brisbane Water National Park. Open seven days a week.

Explore Bouddi National Park 

Walk the stunning Bouddi Coastal Walk, from Little Beach to Putty Beach.

IS PEARL BEACH GOOD FOR KIDS?

Pearl Beach is a lovely place to bring children. It’s safe, relaxing and family-friendly and there are plenty of things to do to keep the children occupied, from swimming to playing at the playground to hiking to Warrah Lookout or taking the dog to the beach together.

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IS PEARL BEACH NSW EXPENSIVE?

Several high-profile people have holiday homes here in Pearl Beach, and prices have risen a lot over recent years.

The majority of the residents are retired or close to retirement age or have highly paid jobs such as managerial roles.

Only around a third of the homes in Pearl Beach are permanently occupied – most of them are let out as holiday homes for the majority of the year!

This means it’s easy to find accommodation in Pearl Beach as there are so many holiday rentals available.

Where to Stay in Pearl Beach NSW

There isn’t a hotel in Pearl Beach but there are many holiday rentals:

LUXURY

  • The One At Pearl
    This stunning 6 bedroom house featuring a garden and barbecue area, terrace and fireplace, is just a short stroll to the beach.
     
  • Paradise In Pearl
    A stylish 5 bedroom, 3 bedroom house near the beach. Perfect for sharing with friends and families and perfect for kids. 

MID-RANGE

  • Beach Shack Lilli Pilli
    This 3 bedroom house is a 2 minute walk from the beach. Complete with an outdoor dining area as well as a garden and barbecue, this is a perfect place to enjoy Peal Beach.

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