Elizabeth Beach, Boomerang Beach and Blueys Beach fringe Pacific Palms – an easy-going locale seemingly unaffected by the natural majesty that surrounds it. And beyond the town’s small strip of cafés and shops, relaxation and adventure await in equal measure.
For many years Pacific Palms flew under the radar as a getaway destination. And while it’s no longer the best-kept secret lingering beyond the northern fringes of Newcastle, Pacific Palms retains all the charm of a lazy beach town.
An easy two-hour drive north of Newcastle leads you to Pacific Palms. Though it gets busy over summer, the abundance of space means there’s plenty of coastline for all. But if you do want the beach all to yourself, plan a mid-week escape instead. Stay close to the shops at Blueys and you will be able to take in most of the town on foot.
Some compare Pacific Palms to the way Byron Bay used to be. Visit to judge for yourself – here’s where to eat, drink, relax and explore while you’re there.
Try to leave work early so you’re lakeside for sunset. Once you’ve checked in, make local institution Hueys at Blueys your first port of call. This pizzeria makes its tomato base and dough from scratch; and this freshness lures in the crowds. Call ahead to order on Friday night, because it does get busy.
Take your pizza to go, pick up a few drinks from Blueys Cellars and Deli next door and head around to the Pacific Palms Recreation Club. Just out the front of the club is the best place to watch the sunset over Wallis Lake and ease into the weekend.
Whether adventure or idle relaxation is on the agenda, breakfast and coffee at Drift is the ideal prelude to the day. If catching the waves is your top priority, rise before breakfast and beeline for Cellito Beach, where crystal clear water gives way to waves that lure in surfers from far and wide.
After breakfast, you’re perfectly positioned to stroll through town. There is a handful of shops to see, including Heidi Beau for boho clothes and homewares, and Blueys News and Supamart for your supplies (be sure to try the popular sourdough from Smiths Lake – if it hasn’t sold out, that is). While you’re there, make a mental note of Kembali Café to return to for lunch or dinner later in the day – expect Indonesian classics like nasi goreng and plenty of vegetarian options.
The Pacific Palms Visitor Information Centre is also in town, with willing volunteers offering up local secrets on the best places to drop a line, kayak, bushwalk and surf. A popular activity of choice is the Booti Hill and Wallis Lake walking track. Give yourself around two-and-a-half hours to walk this loop, which takes in beach, headland vistas, rainforest and the lake. Keep an eye out for whales when you reach the headland and bring your swimmers too, as there are some stunning spots to take a dip along the way.
In the afternoon, stop by Blueys Cellars and Deli for picnic provisions and head beachside. Even in peak times, evenings in Pacific Palms are quiet – the perfect opportunity to really slow down and recharge.
The quiet mornings at Pacific Palms are best appreciated with a stroll along Boomerang Beach. And if you’re visiting on the last Sunday of the month, stop by the buzzing Pacific Palms Community Market for regional produce, knick-knacks and entertainment. Then soak up any favourite spots one last time before hitting the road. You may be on your way back to Newcastle, but there’s still plenty of beach time ahead of you at Seal Rocks.
Along the way, stop off at Gate and Bee for an early lunch. The home-style café fare made from local produce is perfect Sunday comfort food – and it’s worth leaving room for a slice of homemade cake too. Savour it all outside on the deck overlooking the forest before browsing the range of natural skincare, flowers and pantry provisions inside. If you’ve got kids in tow, this spot welcomes families with open arms.
Finally, sign off your weekend adventure at Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse at Seal Rocks. This lighthouse overlooks a stunning stretch of coastline, and the easy walk to get there weaves through some lush scenery. Higher than average rainfall is responsible for this verdant setting, so you may encounter some drizzle when you visit, but the views are worth it all the same.
Pacific Palms - Top 5
Savour the Breakfast Burger and a coffee at Drift
Conquer the famed surf at Cellito Beach
Take in the Booti Hill and Wallis Lake walking track
Order the Blueys Bliss pizza at Hueys at Blueys
Watch the sunset over Wallis Lake
As seen in Swell Issue 1.