Long Reef Headland and Fishermans Beach
Long Reef Headland makes a great place for sightseeing, dog walking and whale watching, while Fishermans Beach at its base is a pretty cove for swimming, snorkelling and pelican watching! On days when there is a bit of wind you will also see a few colourful paragliders floating above on air currents.
The track from Fishermans Beach up to Long Reef Headland is a popular spot for walkers and dog owners. It provides spectacular views to the north as far as the central coast and the south to Manly. It also has a great vantage point to watch whales during their migration up and down the NSW coast (between April and November).
Dogs of all shapes and sizes are taken on this walk. We don’t own a dog, so it’s a great way for our kids to pat loads of canines and scratch the “I want a dog” itch. By law, dogs on the headland are to be on a lead. An off-leash area is found between the golf course and the playing fields.
When you get to the summit, you can return to the carpark in one of three ways. 1. The way you came (the shortest mode). 2. Walk down the steps to the bottom of the headland and walk around the base (a lovely walk but not advisable if the tide is very high). 3. Head south past the golf course towards Long Reef Beach, taking a hard right to return when you arrive at the surf club.
If you have a dog, then you won’t be able to take it down the track to the base of the headland as it is a protected aquatic reserve. Little penguins were known to frequent this area once but unfortunately in past years dogs have decided to make a meal of them.
Once you get to the base if you look carefully you will find an Aboriginal shell middens. These shells are protected, along with all plants and animals, which means you can’t take anything with you – living and dead! The only thing that can be taken is fin fish from a handheld line.
If it’s low tide, take a walk along the rock platform all the way to the point. Some places can be pretty slippery, so take care. You may also need to roll long pants up as some sections are deeper than others.
If you have mini marine biologists who like checking out micro aquatic sites for crabs, small fish, urchins, shells and marine plants, this little adventure is well worth the effort.
Then continue around the sandy shoreline back to Fishermans Beach. Another rock platform is located on the north side of the headland, so if the easterly platform is underwater, you may be able to explore this one.
So named because it was the homebase for fishers in times gone by (in fact one fisherman’s hut still stands). Fishermen’s dingies litter the bank just near a fish-cleaning table. Another table is found further along the beach near the boat ramp. These tables are a favourite hangout for pelicans when the boats come in – and a great chance to get up close and personal with these magnificent birds.
Fishermans Beach starts at the headland and ends at Collaroy ocean pools and is usually a nice gentle place to swim. So if you or your family don’t like to swim in waves, I would be heading here. In fact, when the swell is massive all along the Sydney coast and all the beaches are closed, this is one of the few places you can go for a dip. Be aware however there are no lifeguards here.
Because of the rockplatform and generally calm water, it is also a popular place for snorkelling, scubadiving, windsurfing and paddling.
It is also perfect for less active activities like enjoying a picnic lunch under a shady tree with a gorgeous view!
If you’re coming from the south, drive along Pittwater Road past Dee Why for about 1km until you reach Anzac Avenue. Turn right. There is paid parking along Fishrmans Beach as well as further up the headland. There is also a bit of parking further along the bay at Florence Avenue.