Mackerel Beach Might Just Be Sydney’s Best Kept Secret

  • Family

If it’s seclusion, a slower pace of life and the complete serenity you’re after, a trip to Mackerel Beach should make its way firmly to the top of your family ‘to-visit’ list. 

Aboard the old wooden ferry ‘Myra’ from Palm Beach, this stunning escape is just 43 km from the Sydney CBD and situated on the western shores of Pittwater in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. In short, it’s a tranquil slice of unspoilt paradise.

Mackerel Beach: Back to Basics

Mackerel Beach
Views from the Mackerel Beach Cabin via Airbnb.

Much like Dangar Island on the Hawkesbury River, a trip to Mackerel Beach will require a stripped-back approach, as the area boasts no roads, no cars, patchy internet access, wheelbarrows to carry your belongings in and a local population of just 40 full-time residents. 

Because of the nature of the place, you’ll need to really plan ahead if you’re taking a day trip over. The area boasts pretty much zero in the way of public facilities, which means no shops, cafes or public water facilities, hence the need to plan your day in advance and pack everything you might need in order to enjoy the day. 

Ferry to Mackerel Beach

When we say make a day of it, we literally mean it! Unless you own a boat, the only way to get to Mackerel Beach is via the Palm Beach ferry, making this adventure an all-day affair - trust us, it's worth it! Get there early to jump on the first ferry (usually leaving around 9 am) to make the most of this spectacular outing. 

Remember that there are no shops on the island, so pack all of the essential snacks you'll need and plenty of water. 

Accommodation at Mackerel Beach

Because of its limited facilities (which let’s face it, just adds to its charm), families can consider staying at one of the few guesthouses or Airbnb's that are available in the area. An idyllic pocket of quiet, stunning national park surrounds and a beautiful beach all make for a memorable weekend away. Who knew?!

The Little Black Shack can be booked on Airbnb.

The Little Black Shack offers super cosy and comfortable sustainable accommodation so you can experience life's simple pleasures in life. Perched perfectly within a stone's throw of the seashore, with the perfect vantage point to catch the sunrise over Palm Beach headland, the rustic cabin has been lovingly refurbished to create a a uniqur and restorative experience. There's hammocks and books, open fires and outdoor showers, alfresco dining and breakfast in bed, plus a natural wonderland at your doorstep bursting with beach combing, native wildlife and bushwalking.

With amazing views of the sea and surrounded by bushland, this private eco retreat is full of creature comforts, recycled and handmade furniture and an eclectic mix of nautical antiques and collectables. You can escape here from $500 per night with a 2 night minimum stay.


Palm Beach
Enjoy picturesque views all the way up to Palm Beach.

Because you're surrounded by national park, there’s more nature at Mackerel Beach than you can shake a stick at! The surrounding National Park offers some gorgeous bush walks to secluded beaches, ancient Aboriginal carving sites and incredible lookouts to soak up the beauty of the area.  Check out West Head lookout and the Red Hands Cave track for a slice of history with your walk. If you’re feeling less active, however, you can just take a leisurely stroll along Mackerel Beach or through the valley behind it where you will find friendly locals including wallabies and bush turkeys.

If that sounds like your thing, rest assured that the entirety of Mackerel is essentially one big wildlife sanctuary. You can expect to see kookaburras, magpies, butterflies and wallabies around the traps; something that kids especially will delight in. 

More Day Trips in Sydney

The Best Royal National Park Beaches to Visit
Dangar Island Offers A Slice Of Paradise For Your Next Day Trip
Secret Sydney: Darook Park Beach


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