At the end of the Northern Beaches there’s a narrow part of the peninsular bordered by the Tasman Sea. Here you’ll find the magical coastal towns of Whale Beach, Palm Beach and Avalon. The homey shops and eateries give each beachside town a village charm. The drive is roughly an hour from the CBD, and Avalon is the first place to stop. Here’s our guide.
Eat & Drink
Whale Beach Deli – Whale Beach
Despite being a hole in the wall, this deli pumps out loads of baked goods everyday. With its own in-house bakery, it provides all the cakes for its bigger sister The Boathouse in Palm Beach, Balmoral and Shelly Beach. “Cakes are made at 3am, then delivered fresh and warm each morning to our venues,” says owner Andrew Goldsmith. The Deli covers all your basic needs, from coffee and fresh bread, to deli goods, eggs and newspapers. The classic bacon-and-egg roll with aioli chutney will have you coming back.
Yoda Food – Avalon
For South East Asian street food, this restaurant hits the spot. Every element, from the curry pastes and peanut sauces, to sambals is made in-house. The owner, Michelle Ring, has nailed the art of quick, fresh food done with great detail. Yoda brings the experience of fast-paced street eating to a restaurant. “Everything on the menu, apart from the fish, is out within 10 minutes of ordering, like a true South East Asian experience,” says Ring. You’ll find flavours from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos. Try the betel leaves with scallop, prawn, crab or lychee as a topping.
Cranzgots – Avalon Beach
This pizzeria is a great spot for a meal after a day at the beach; it makes you feel as though you’re sitting in a small shack on a safari trip. The spot has been styled with cane chairs, bamboo, leafy plants and wooden benches. The Oscar pizza – with garlic prawns, chorizo, mushrooms, red onion, roast capsicum and avocado – is a wise choice.
Haven and Sarah – Avalon
This boutique florist sells everything from magnolias to native Australian flowers. You’ll also find affordable homewares alongside dinner sets, wooden chopping boards, concrete vases and soft furnishings. Flowers can be delivered from Mona Vale to Palm Beach.
Rust – Avalon
This shop was created out of Michael and Elizabeth Browning’s passion for finding quirky, rustic furniture. Browning’s fascination with searching the world for pre-loved goods grew from his previous role as the manager of globetrotting rock bands such as AC/DC. You’ll find a collision of vintage collectables, cotton sleepwear and natural skin care here.
MamaPapa – Avalon Beach
MamaPapa has clothing for women and children as well as delicate jewellery and stylish toys. Most of what’s here is handmade or has a grassroots story. The French owner, Virgine Batterson, has styled the space with lace, gold, wood, feathers and white tones. The shop usually houses silk, linen and organic cotton apparel along with furnishings. Stick with the French theme and visit La Banette Patisserie a few doors down; it has mountains of fresh almond croissants and warm baguettes.
Barrenjoey House – Palm Beach
This heritage house was originally a kiosk in Palm Beach in 1923. Now the owner, Jenny Barry, runs the house with rooms, a restaurant and bar. The boutique hotel rooms are minimalist and beach-inspired. “We keep the space like it’s an old seaside village,” says Barry. There are no televisions in the rooms, making it easy to wind down and enjoy the waterfront views. The restaurant is also open to the public. It’s the perfect spot for a weekend lunch. Enjoy freshly shucked oysters while taking in the view, followed by chocolate souffle.
The Bible Garden – Palm Beach
The Bible Garden is a small block of land with panoramic views of Palm Beach. The garden landscape and large, grass terraces have been designed for picnics, reading a book or spending some quiet time.