An Outsider’s Guide To The Northern Beaches


Words | Brooke Mason

*DISCLAIMER: This piece is satirical. All descriptions are exaggerated for entertainment value.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with Sydney’s Northern Beaches. That place on the coast with all the beaches? Here we’re all your ‘typical Aussies’. Beachy blonde surfer dudes, and girls with flawless tans, all with nothing to do but lay by the beach and catch some waves and rays. Maybe this is true to some extent, but there is much more to it.

There are many things you can’t avoid while living on the beaches. Here’s what to expect:

EVERYTHING is expensive and we’re all poor, pretending not to be. At every cafe, restaurant and bar, you’ll find gluten free, dairy free, vegan meals. As I’m sure many of you are aware, these don’t come cheap, but ironically we don’t have many other options. We created this norm for ourselves being hippie trendsetters and all.

We live in a literal bubble. I’m not proud of it, but this basically means that we’re not usually very concerned about what happens elsewhere, and we rarely leave. Everything seems so far away and we have all we need!

Home & Away is filmed on the beaches too, and guess what? Many of us have probably been an extra at some point (don’t judge. It pays well and we’re all looking for our 5 minutes of fame okay). You will definitely run into some familiar faces, or maybe become one yourself.

You have noticed the private/public school divide…I’m sure this isn’t only a Northern Beaches thing, but it’s hard to ignore the gap between private school and public school kids in high school. In private high school, you don’t talk to the public school kids, and you only date the boys who go to your ‘brother school’. How do you meet these boys you ask? Only at the most anticipated event for every 13 year old schoolgirl: the year 7 dance, where you get to stand in the corner, huddled up with your girlfriends while watching the boys line up to straight-arm dance with the strange girl in school. I’ll leave it at that.

You’ll find you can’t visit Warringah Mall without running into a horde of 15 year olds ‘snuggling’ and swearing while sitting on the couches scattered around the centre. You’ll also likely avoid the mall for this reason. 

Another thing we’re all fortunate enough to witness over here is Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers. Yes you read that right. You may be enjoying a day at the beach, when out of nowhere you spot something blindingly white in the distance. As it gets closer, you’ll notice it’s none other than Tony Abbott in nothing more than speedos to cover his junk. Thanks Tony, I’m scarred for life.

An uber home from anywhere outside the beaches (or even inside if you’re coming from Avalon), will cost you an arm and a leg. No seriously. I once spent $150 on an uber home from the city. Not cool.

Living on the beaches you will have heard of Lady Wakehurst, and know not to drive down the winding Wakehurst Parkway after dark. The myth suggests that she will show up in your rear view mirror, and you’ll crash if you drive on the road after dark. Ironically, this road is a major thoroughfare for the Northern Beaches, and the detour will take an extra 20 minutes but we’re not taking that risk.

I couldn’t possibly sum up the Beaches in so few words, but if you want to know more, you know where to find me.