Northern Beaches, NSW
Beginning at Manly Beach and running 20km north to Palm Beach, Sydney’s northern peninsula offers a succession of surf beaches unmatched by a city environment anywhere else on earth. Manly itself has playful beach breaks and punchy barrels, plus the offshore Queenscliff “Bommie” (bombora), joy for big wave riders. Neighbouring Freshwater Beach is much loved by bodysurfers and youngsters on body-boards; this is also where surfboard-riding was first introduced to Australia by Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, on 15 January 1915. Continuing north, the 6km coastal corridor between Dee Why Beach and North Narrabeen is widely considered Sydney’s blue-ribbon surfing belt, with the legendary Long Reef bombora (known locally as “Butter-box”) situated smack in the middle. The surfing tribes of Mona Vale Beach, Newport Beach, Whale Beach and Avalon Beach can all make a good case for choosing their own local breaks over their neighbours’, or you could try all four beaches in a lazy half-day. Finally, the distinctive burnt-orange sands of Palm Beach mark the end of the peninsula, its 1.5km procession of beach breaks offering thrills and spills for surfers, body-boarders and wave-ski paddlers.
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