It may be the middle of winter, but the day we visit Palm Beach the weather couldn’t be better.
Unless you live in Sydney you may not be familiar with the Northern Beaches suburb of Palm Beach. But if you’re a fan of Australian television soap operas you’ll definitely have heard of its alter ego, Summer Bay. Palm Beach is the setting for the outdoor scenes of the TV show, Home and Away.
Located on a narrow peninsula, Palm Beach is almost completely surrounded by water. On the eastern side is the famous beach featured on television, a 2.3 kilometre stretch of white sand edged by the Pacific Ocean. North of the peninsula is the wide expanse of Broken Bay while on the west is Pittwater, a deep and wide river estuary .
We’re staying in Gosford on the northern side of Broken Bay, and the best way to travel to Palm Beach is on the local ferry.
From the terminal at Ettalong, the ferry sails into the open waters of Broken Bay. The half hour journey follows a clearly marked route between Box Head and Barrenjoey Headland. Even from a distance the Barrenjoey Lighthouse stands out high above the water on the headland.
At Palm Beach the ferry docks at the pier alongside Pittwater Park. We’ve already decided to avoid the busy beach area popular with fans of the TV show; instead we stay on the quieter Pittwater side.
With freshly cooked fish and chips for lunch, we settle ourselves near the water’s edge. Children paddle in the shallows, sailboats at anchor gently rock in the tidal current and we just sit, enjoying the beautiful scenery.
It’s the perfect way to spend a winter’s day.