Daytripper: Barrenjoey Lighthouse

A couple of weeks ago we went to a family lunch at The Newport, better known to Sydneysiders as the Newport Arms. It’s a long way from our place so to make the most of the trek to the Northern Beaches we continued on up the peninsula to Palm Beach after lunch to climb up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. It’s about as far north as you can be and still consider yourself to be in Sydney.

Palm Beach map

Palm Beach is beautiful, it really is. Houses clinging impossibly to steep cliffs, stunning views and a little windy single road in and out. There’s the ocean on one side and Pittwater on the other. It’s home to some of Sydney’s rich and famous but there was also plenty of ordinary suburban living going on the day we were there – families out walking the dog and kids kicking soccer balls. It is famously the setting for the fictional town of Summer Bay in the long running Australian soap Home and Away.

Climbing the headland to the lighthouse was on my not-bucket-list as part of the #festivalof50 celebrations, I’ve always wanted to go but like so many other staycation things to do in your home town – it never quite made it onto my weekend plans before this. Barrenjoey Headland is actually a tombolo, or ‘tied island’ so the spit of land is quite narrow by the time you leave the car and head along the beach on the Pittwater side to reach the start of the track up to the top.

It’s just stunning – there’s been some significant work done recently on the tracks to the top – you have the choice of a steep, stair-based track or the slightly lower effort graded pathway that takes a bit longer. We opted to go up the stairs and down the path as it was heading into sunset by the time we were ready to walk back down. There were lots of photographers milling about up on the headland clearly waiting for sunset. It was disappointingly overcast so we didn’t wait and headed back down. Just as we got back down onto the sand the sun broke through the clouds long enough to light up the water – it was just stunning.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story – if you’re ever in Sydney, do try to make time to do this, it’s quite special.

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