• Friends walking on the path next to Curl Curl Beach, with their dog carrying surf boards

Things to do in the Northern Beaches

The perfect cityside coastal escape

For a cityside coastal escape, the Northern Beaches is the perfect destination. Known for its breathtaking surfing beaches, burgeoning foodie scene, cool shopping hubs and sun-kissed locals, this beachside oasis is well worth travelling for. From Palm Beach to Manly, we’ve scoured the streets to bring you the best restaurants, bars and things to do, so you too can live just like a Northern Beaches local. 

Busy day at Shelly Beach in Manly

Shelly Beach, Manly

CAFES

Rough & Bare 
While this Mona Vale wholefood kitchen may be bare, it’s anything but rough around the edges. Look forward to simple, paired back café dishes served as fresh and naked as the day they were picked. You’ll feel virtuous just reading the menu.

1/1 Bungan Lane, Mona Vale

Flower Child
The ultimate pitstop for shoppers, Flower Child is a gorgeous garden oasis hidden away in Westfield. With lush greenery, vibrant flowers, whitewashed timber, water features, and a sunlit outdoor space, it’s (bloomin’) beautiful. Like the setting, the food is just as Instagram-worthy.

Westfield Warringah Mall, Condamine Street and Old Pittwater Road, Brookvale

Room Two Ten
On any given day, local foodies spill out onto the footpath of this bright and airy Freshwater café. The menu is filled with artfully presented classics and nutritious, wholesome eats, with many gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy-free options. 

2D/2 Moore Road, Freshwater

The outdoor deck at the Boathouse at Palm Beach on a busy sunny day with all tables full and a waitress taking someone's order

The Boathouse, Palm Beach

Berkelo
The famed Berkelo bakery serves up mouth-watering loaves and pastries to unified  bread lovers on the Northern Beaches. Their goods are wholesome and honest – with no refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, bleached or commercial flours. Don't leave without trying one of their custard tarts, they're irresistibly good.

Brookvale and Mona Vale

Rollers Bakehouse 
The genius bakers at Rollers don’t mess around when it comes to their deliciously flaky croissants. Their unique flavour range is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before  ̶  sushi croissant, anyone? The space is small with communal tables, a cute courtyard and succulents aplenty. Oh, and it’s also millennial pink and oozes California-cool vibes. The stuff Insta dreams are made of.

19 Rialto Lane, Manly

Girdlers
This Northern Beaches favourite does simple yet nutritious meals. A health lover’s haven, Girdler's is known for its acai bowls, and its sweet and savoury buckwheat crepes. The coffee is excellent, and there are a few flavours of kombucha on tap too.

Brookvale, Dee Why and Manly

Exterior shot of the pink Rollers Bakehouse cafe in Manly with vintage bikes parked out the front

Rollers Bakehouse, Manly

The Boathouse
At each of its venues, The Boathouse follows the same formula that made the brand such an Instagram sensation: a nautical-chic décor, fresh flowers, and a seasonal menu that matches its coastal setting. On a sunny day, be sure to arrive early to score a table outside. 

Manly and Palm Beach

Fika Swedish Kitchen
Bringing Nordic delicacies to the Northern Beaches, Manly’s Fika kitchen is an all day Scandi paradise. Sun-drenched white walls and light timber finishes are paired with kitsch yellow crockery, and a menu of classic dishes  ̶  think Swedish meatballs and signature toast skagen. 

5B Market Lane, Manly

RESTAURANTS

Pilu
Freshwater’s mainstay, Pilu, does modern Sardinian-style dishes like none other. Giovanni Pilu takes local, seasonal ingredients and creates masterpieces that have been consistently recognised with hats year on year.

Moore Road, Freshwater

Exterior shot of Pilu at Freshwater overlooking Freshwater beach on a sunny day

Pilu at Freshwater

Busta
The talented team behind local favourites Chica Bonita and Sunset Sabi have just opened their third Manly restaurant, Busta. A taste of Euro-summer, the intimate yet lively eatery is all about authenticity, with a menu filled with classic dishes that have delightful, modern twists. Don't go past the kale-infused spaghetti and burrata served with charred mandarin and salmon roe. Delicious. 

Shop 8/2-12 Pittwater Road, Manly

Sunset Sabi 
A trendy eatery in a breezy loft style space, Sunset Sabi dishes up a delicious modern Japanese menu that’s designed to flow Izakaya-style. The team will encourage you to share within your group and sample a little something from every section of the menu. Even more reason to work your way trough the entire menu. 

26/28 Pittwater Road, Manly

Bert’s Brasserie
Housed on the grounds of Merivale’s The Newport, Bert’s is an upscale and tranquil bar and brasserie. The premium wine list and European-inspired menu pay homage to grand hotel dining of the 1930’s. With beautiful views of Pittwater and grand vintage-styled interiors, Bert’s is the perfect spot for a girl’s night out or romantic dinner for two.

2 Kalinya Street, Newport

Interior shot of the wall art and welcome lounge at Bert's Brasserie, Newport

Bert's Brasserie, Newport

Queen Chow
Perched on Manly Wharf, Merivale's Queen Chow reigns supreme on the Chinese cuisine front. Elegant yet casual and drenched in natural light, the dining space fuses deep green timbers, dark woods and marble, to create a warm and contemporary feel. Fusing modern Australian with local, Chinese dining, classic Cantonese dishes are reimagined with a quirky Australian twist. 

22-23 Manly Wharf, East Esplanade, Manly

Saké Restaurant and Bar
When it comes to Japanese fine dining, Saké attracts foodies from all over thanks to its washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) and mind-blowingly long saké list. It knows its clientele well; this mainstay has Northern Beaches locals queuing up for a taste every night of the week. 

Manly Ferry Wharf Belgrave Street and West Esplanade, Manly

Chica Bonita
A Manly favourite, Chica Bonita is a raucous mingling of Mexican fare and Baja California charm. The creative menu is a tasty mix of Mexican and Mexi-Cali ingredients. Truffle quesadillas, Baja Fish Tacos, California Burritos, Chimichangas, and their famous Plantation Chips are just some of the flavoursome dishes that have the crowds lining up out the door. 

9 The Corso, Manly

Vacant outdoor table setting on the deck overlooking the Harbour at Sake Restaurant & Bar, ManlySaké Restaurant & Bar, Manly

Sunset Diner 
If you follow Sitchu, you'll know we have a penchant for millennial pink, and Sunset Diner is the latest restaurant to pique our interest. The perfect aprés-beach hangout, this beautifully-styled oasis brings the Miami vibe to the Northern Beaches. Take a seat in the outdoor courtyard and peruse the souped-up menu of burgers, griddle dogs, salads, shakes, sundaes and moreish sides. 

41 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach

DRINK

Corretto 
Sitting pretty on  The Strand in Dee Why, Corretto is the beachside cocktail bar-slash-eatery the Northern Beaches has been waiting for. With cool blue interiors and a relaxed, laid-back vibe, this soon-to-be local fave serves up amazing cocktails, with a killer food menu to match. 

Shop 1/24 The Strand, Dee Why

Manly Greenhouse
A lush new rooftop bar and eatery, Manly Greenhouse is a three-story beachside destination boasting the best views around. Your eyes, however, will be drawn to the beautiful fit out, which doesn’t hold back on the whole greenhouse vibe. The rooftop bar is decked out with a canopy of hanging ferns, glass panelling and illustrations of native plants. Sip on bespoke cocktails and bar snacks or head to the ground level for heartier fare from the wood fire.

36/38 South Steyne, Manly

Interior shot of the pink and green decor and view of the ocean from Manly GreenhouseManly Greenhouse

Park House
Boasting a chic cocktail lounge, restaurant and courtyard, Park House is the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of decadent wining and dining. Tuck into their  modern Australian share-style dishes – of which there are plenty – paired with a selection of craft beers and quirky cocktails.

2 Park Street, Mona Vale

Stowaway Bar 
This neat little hideaway oozes laid-back vibes, yet its uber slick set-up and sleek vintage décor makes this pub hard to beat. An impressive food menu brings tapas, pizzas, burgers and heartier options together, while the wine and cocktail list offers alluring concoctions including the ‘Snugglepot 4 Cuddlepie’ and the ‘Jon Snow’ iteration of the espresso martini.

18/1-3 Moore Road, Freshwater

Manly Wine 
Local favourite, Manly Wine is a stylish mix of laid-back Australian beach culture and Hamptons beach house opulence. This is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two or a post-sun refuel. 

8/13 South Steyne, Manly

The outside dining area at the Newport on a busy summer's dayThe Newport

The Newport
Some of Justin Hemmes’ finest work, The Newport manages to take the best bits of the Northern Beaches and work them into this sprawling, relaxed hangout. On the shores of Pittwater, gather your friends for a long afternoon by the water – with delicious food and drinks at hand.

2 Kalinya Street, Newport

Hotel Steyne
Settle in by the fire in the Steyne Bar with a vino or two and a few slices of some of the best pizza in Manly. But when you really need to amp things up, head upstairs to Glasshouse for a premium G&T, with a side of ocean views.

75 The Corso, Manly

The Collaroy 
Part of the Merivale Group, The Collaroy has long been known as the local watering hole of choice. Drawing inspiration from the coastal scenery, The Collaroy is a multi-level venue fitted out with floor to ceiling windows, nostalgic seaside artwork across the walls and wooden furnishings. Head to the top floor for the best view while you indulge in a delicious modern Australian menu.

1064 Pittwater Road, Collaroy

Interior shot of the view over the beach from the inside dining area at The CollaroyThe Collaroy

THINGS TO DO

Head to the Markets 
The Beaches Market held every Friday morning at Warriewood boasts an enviable selection of fresh produce and the Palm Beach Market has returned to the good people of the North, offering homewares, fashion, jewellery and more every fourth Sunday of the month. 

Get Active
Want to fit in on the beaches? The first step is to get in step with the active lifestyle. With so much spectacular scenery the area,  you’ll be a fitness buff in not time. Just remember to pack a picnic.

Shop Till You Drop
Avalon is a hub of designer activity, with beachside style and high fashion houses setting up shop in every corner of this  trendy enclave. With a  boutique offering  that rivals some of inner Sydney mainstays there’s every reason to visit.  Be sure to stock up on summer essentials at Westfield Warringah Mall.

Interior shot of women's clothing and accessories at Splice Boutique, NewportSplice Boutique, Newport

Scenic Bushwalks
With tracks winding their way up the entire Northern Beaches peninsula, you’ll always have a new route to explore. Notable mentions are the Clontarf to Manly Walk, the climb up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse and the Narrabeen Lakes loop.

Brewery and Distillery Hopping
When it comes to distilleries and breweries, the Northern Beaches have plenty to choose from. Passionate about spirits? Stop by Manly Spirits to taste test their award-winning gin, vodka and whiskey. For craft beer lovers, a stop into industrial suburb Brookvale is a must. From Nomad Brewing Co and 4 Pines, to 7th Day Brewery and Dad & Dave’s Brewing, you are well and truly spoiled for choice.

Go Swimming
Practically every single beach along the peninsula is patrolled throughout the summer months, so all you need to worry about is packing the spf50 and a wide-brim hat.

Two people swimming in the aqua blue ocean next to the rockpool at Avalon BeachAvalon Beach

Tee up for Golf
The Northern Beaches is filled with stunning courses for you to tee off without having to suffer any club fees. Long Reef, Palm Beach and Mona Vale are particularly scenic.

Explore the Surrounds
The hidden beaches and coves to Sydney’s north are the true pearls of the area; drop in to Shelly Beach and snorkel with blue groupers or tiptoe around the rock pools at the North end of Queenscliff.

For more destination guides and local travel inspiration, head to Sitchu.