Palm Beach (coll. 'Palmy') is, with Bondi, perhaps Sydney's most famous beach. The reason for this – along with its outstanding beauty – the fact that it provides the external set for one of Australia's most successful exports (especially to the UK), the soap opera Home and Away. The area is ridiculously pretty for an urban beach – try the Barrenjoy Lighthouse walk on for size, for instance. The area is characterized by steep hillsides covered in dense foliage hiding mansions, all tumbling down towards the crescent shaped beach. The beach around the corner, Whale Beach (coll. 'Whaley') is perhaps prettier still, with the headland between the two site of some of Sydney's loveliest rock pools. An afternoon clambering around here is something that cannot be recommended highly enough.
The reality of modern Palm Beach is far indeed from the fictional universe of Home and Away's Summer Bay. Although the Palm Beach area is indeed laid back and casual, it is also very rich – residents include a number of sporting and film stars, alongside a more anonymous, but equally wealthy brigade of besuited city-workers. Nonetheless, if you scratch the surface of the area, you can find evidence easily enough of the area's history as a holiday village, with shacks and weekenders still standing, some on pieces of real estate worth millions.
While Whale Beach and Palm Beach are the two jewels in the crown of the Northern Beaches, other areas of note North of the Harbour worth checking out are the famous and easily accessed Manly, nestled in near the Sydney Heads, along with the local's favourite Freshwater, and the surfing mecca Dee Why.