Forgot to renew your passport? Don’t panic – you can have an overseas experience without leaving Sydney! Sydney by Seaplane is a fantastic way to begin your luxurious holiday abroad. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind on a breathtaking flight with fantastic aerial views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, via Sydney Heads. Fly above the spectacular coastline of the Northern Beaches and land in the waterways of Pittwater. Here, you will be met by Jonah’s friendly staff who will transport you to your stunningly appointed Ocean Retreat room.
This luxury boutique accommodation perched high on a cliff above spectacular Whale Beach with glorious views across to Palm Beach, is a Sydney icon and the fine-dining restaurant is equally renowned. Enjoy the finest local produce served at lunch in the main dining room, with uninterrupted views of the ocean through floor to ceiling glass windows.
You may not want to leave your stunning room, but there are so many places to explore and Palm Beach is just around the corner. The heritage listed Barrenjoey Lighthouse of Palm Beach was one of the only existing structures in the area when Jonah’s first opened in 1929. A brisk walk on the 30-minute trail up to the iconic lighthouse built in 1881 on Barrenjoey headland, will help digest your lunch. At the top, you will be rewarded with expansive views of Broken Bay, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the Central Coast.
Dinner at Dune’s restaurant in Palm Beach, a restaurant with a distinctly Mediterranean vibe, with views across the coastal green carpeting the dunes bordering the ocean. With the smell of the salt in the air, it is no wonder the menu is rich with seafood. Settle in with a Tahitian Lime & Salt bush Margarita, or Alto Olive Aperol, Unwind and indulge.
For the adventurous, it is never too late to learn a new trick or improve on an old one. Get the quintessential Aussie experience with a surfing lesson at Palm Beach. Jonah’s will organise a private lesson for you with a professional instructor. Learn the basics of surfing and tips on where the best breaks are. The lessons cater for all levels of ability, fitness and age.
Bert’s Bar & Brasserie in Newport, a light-filled bar and brasserie with glimpses of Pittwater and its yachts, takes its inspiration from the opulently decorated grand hotel dining rooms of the 1930’s. If you are dreaming of Riviera vibes, then this is the lunch venue for you. Make sure you stop off at the Champagne Bar on your way to enjoying the luxe coastal menu. After lunch, return to Jonah’s for a lazy afternoon, soaking up the sun on the balcony, with a great read or treating yourself to one of their in house spa treatments. From the comfort of your room, you can enjoy a massage or beauty treatment.
What could be more zen than a sunrise yoga session on your balcony with a private instructor organised for you at Jonah’s. The perfect way to start the day off. Calm and relaxed, with all levels catered for, as well as meditation and mindfulness practices.
If golf is your passion, you are in luck! There are many stunning golf courses close by, including the local Bayview Golf Club. Hidden amongst the Peninsula’s rolling hills, their undulating, tree-lined course offers 18 holes of pure sporting enjoyment. Palm Beach Golf Club also boasts a world-class 9-hole golf course located just minutes away from Jonah’s, nestled underneath the Barrenjoey Headland.
If you are not into golf, there is always a back-up! One of those could be retail therapy – the adjacent suburb of Avalon is a great spot to spend the morning exploring the unique clothing boutiques, handmade homewares stores and artisanal food shops.
You could continue with the European ‘vacation at home’ theme and head back to Newport to the Le Petit Marche, the Northern Beaches answer to all things French. From fromage and saucisson to boutique wines, bespoke homewares and the fruitiest of jams, purchase yourself a hamper of delicious goodies for your next water adventure. Spend the night (or two) on a French yacht with a fully qualified host who will skipper the boat. If you are interested in setting the sails yourself, he can show you the ropes. The cabins are stylish and you can either self-cater with the goodies you purchased that morning, or order a spectacular food platter of your choice. You can sail to one of the many secluded bays where you will have the beach to yourself – a truly relaxing experience!
The gentle rocking motion of the ocean will lull you to sleep and when you wake up, you won’t have far to go for your morning dip. Pure serenity! With a trusty row boat, you will have the option of going ashore to find your caffeine hit and grab some breakfast. After a leisurely morning, it is time to wave goodbye to your friendly skipper and head south to discover a new area of Pittwater, Church Point. Here you will quickly learn to skim across the water as free as a bird flying with Fliteschool, Manly. It’s easier and quicker to learn than skiing or kiteboarding and it will be the most fun you have ever had on water!
A great spot for dinner afterwards is the Pasadena Restaurant located at Church Point with sweeping Pittwater views.
Start the day with an invigorating walk along the golden sands of Whale Beach, followed by a dip in the refreshing ocean or relaxing poolside. After all, it is your holiday! Soon it will be time to head further south to the glorious beachside suburb of Freshwater to celebrate the Sardinian lifestyle with a fantastic lunch at Pilu. This much-regarded restaurant is in yet another incredible location on Northern Beaches with fantastic ocean views. Giovanni, Marilyn and their team will ensure that your experience at Pilu is a memorable one; they welcome each guest like a returning friend.
After a long leisurely lunch, a tour of the Manly Spirits Co. Distillery will give you a ‘behind the scenes’ overview of their gin/whisky production processes. Your friendly and knowledgeable spirit guide will give you a history of Gin, the opportunity to touch, taste and smell their raw ingredients, including their pantry of Australian botanicals.
Head down to Manly beachfront to check in to your luxurious room or apartment at The Sebel, Manly. Just a few steps away from the very best boutiques, restaurants and entertainment, The Sebel embodies the relaxed sophistication for which this part of the world is known.
Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve is a few minutes stroll along the promenade. This morning, enjoy a snorkelling experience with EcoTreasures, to marvel at the incredible underwater world on your doorstop. On this 2-hour private tour, you will experience Australian coastal culture with a local marine expert and learn about the wildlife, environment and heritage of the area.
After an exhilarating morning, you are in the perfect spot to brunch or lunch at the very popular and extremely relaxed Boathouse restaurant. There are ocean vistas from wherever you choose to sit and the tables are set amongst fresh flowers and decorative fruit bowls.
You are in the perfect position to explore the beautiful national park of which Manly is so privileged to be adjacent to. Walk up to the headland near Shelly Beach, stopping to watch the surfers at famous Bower Break and follow the path, though the native bushland, to reach North Head lookout. Here, you can look across the magnificent harbour entrance to South Head. This 9km return loop, will take you right around the headland and back to your hotel.
Tonight, there are a myriad of fantastic dining options on offer; if you are after a delicious seafood meal with an Italian flair, Hugo’s is a great choice. Make sure you secure an outside table on their deck, as it is the perfect spot in Manly to watch the sun set across the water. Another option for delicious seafood without the views is The Herring Room, in a landmark 1920’s inspired space with an emphasis on good old-fashioned hospitality. The menu is inspired by flavours and dishes from all around the world and they proudly list the provenance of all their produce.
When you pull back the curtains the following day, the full glory of Manly Beach and the hustle and bustle of the morning’s activity will be in front of you. You can choose either to go out and join the swimmers, joggers, surfers and walkers or simply enjoy the activity from the comfort of your room.
Today, sadly, it’s time to return to the real world, but you will do so relaxed, refreshed and reinvigorated, already making plans to return again.