Sydney, Australia
October 30, 2001 - North Sydney, NSW - Northern Beaches

Wondering what the beaches were like on the north side of town, I threw some gear in Clyde (our van) and took the tunnel under Sydney harbor, ending up in Manly. From there, I puttered up Pittwater Road, then Barrenjoey Road, ending up at Shark Point and the Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

I was primarily interested in seeing if there were any beaches offering better surf than Maroubra, which is very close to where I live. I had heard good things about Manly, but I didn't know what to expect as I moved up the coast.

All of these beaches are within the larger city of Sydney, but as I moved further up the coast, I saw fewer people, larger houses, and more vertical landscapes.

N. Beaches Movie
[5.2 mb; 4:22]

Visit some of Sydney's top beaches, taking in a few of the sights.

Opening Frame

The title frame of the movie show a few floating surfers at Manly, all waiting for the big afternoon waves to start rolling in.

Manly - People

Manly is probably the second most popular beach in Sydney, after Bondi. I showed up on a Tuesday afternoon, and stretches of the sand were packed.

Topless bathing is very common in Sydney. Check your hang-ups at the door.

Manly - Surfers

Surfers next to a huge pipe at Manly.

Sewage? What sewage?

No, actually, the ocean is pretty clean here.

Manly - Volleyball

Volleyball is not the only beach sport here, but at Manly, it is front and center.

I saw a few classes being taught on the 8 or so volleyball courts available for use, as well as pick-up game in progress.

Manly - Rescue

The surf rescue folks hang out near the flags next to their red raft most of the time, watching for trouble.

Dee Why - Flags

At Dee Why Beach, things are pretty well arranged, mainly because there wasn't anyone swimming while I was there.

Note that the flags tell surfers to stay on one side and the swimmers to stay on the others.

Dee Why - Surf Life Saving Club

The Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club building.

Every major beach, as well as a few smaller ones, have "surf life saving clubs" that are staffed by (mostly) volunteers that act as lifeguards.

You must be certified to be a lifeguard, and it is considered an honor to serve.

Mona Vale - Rock Baths

The Mona Vale Beach features a central rocky area with a pool filled with ocean water.

As the tide comes in, the pool is filled and as the tide goes out, the pool is drained.

Fishermen try their luck off of the rocks beside the swimmers.

Mona Vale - Rock Surf

Rocks are a major hazard on many Sydney beaches, including in this surf at Mona Vale.


The Sydney beaches were built by erosion, like beaches everywhere.

This cliff face, near Avalon Beach, looks like it is about to collapse, but that sure hasn't stopped development.

Heli Scoop

I was trying to capture Bangalley Head as it jutted out into the Pacific, but I accidentally also included a helicopter (right center) in the shot, scooping up water to spread on a nearby bush fire.

Whale - Houses

Life is good for the rich folks that live in North Sydney.

These houses are on the south side of Whale Beach, hugging the hillsides.

Whale - Long Beach

The north side of Whale Beach has plenty of surf and empty sand.

Station Beach

To contrast the ocean beaches above, Station Beach is on the other side of the Barrenjoey Head from Palm Beach.

The water on this side is very calm, like a lake, since this is actually Pittwater Bay.

I saw a seaplane land moments after this shot (and I had put the camcorder away). I also saw a C-130 circle on its way to a nearby air base.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse

The Barrenjoey Lighthouse shows the entrance to Pittwater Bay.

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