Cliff House teeters on the edge of Sydney’s east
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Perched on a headland almost equidistant between Palm Beach and Whale Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches, Palm Beach Villa enjoys commanding views of the Tasman Sea.
Almost like two interconnected houses separated by a courtyard with four king-size rooms plus extra beds for up to four kids, Palm Beach Villa is ideally set up for groups or more than one family to share. Although the house is architecturally designed, there’s nothing showy about it; the architect sought to “celebrate space and light” by using lots of glass, and the view is absolutely central. The interior is entirely white – there are white couches, white rugs, white bedspreads – which should appeal to fanatical minimalists (and horrify the parents of small children).
The swimming pool is fine for young children – and for adults to take a refreshing dip – but if you have plans to be the next Dawn Fraser you’ll need to find somewhere else to notch up laps. The kitchen has a huge marble benchtop and just about every implement you could need to cater for a large group. There are also two media rooms, with HDTV, DVD/Blu-ray, PlayStation 3 and CD players (one also has its own microwave), which are ideal for locking away unsociable teens. Oh, and there’s a large separate laundry for sandy beach gear..
High. This is one of the most luxurious places available to rent in Palm Beach (and that is saying something). The house is well thought out and the entirely blank decor is surprisingly soothing.
If you’re intending to self-cater you’ll want to plan well because Palm Beach does not have a supermarket (and the general store sells little more than hot chips, ice-creams and fizzy drinks). Stock up at the Woolworths in Avalon Beach on the way north and enjoy your meals on the balcony overlooking the sea (or, if the wind is blowing on the table, in the sheltered central courtyard). If you’re eating out, try The Boat House, a beach hut-style cafe that has an over-water verandah and serves great burgers and creamy milkshakes (1151 Barrenjoey Road). For something more formal, try Barrenjoey House (1108 Barrenjoey Road), opposite Palm Beach Wharf.
The beaches, of course. There’s the three-kilometre-long sweep of Palm Beach itself as well as one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets, The Basin, a pristine golden-sand beach that backs on to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, which can be accessed via ferry from Palm Beach.
Head north along Military Road, over The Spit Bridge and along Condamine Street until it becomes Pittwater Road and follow this to Palm Beach. Although it is only 41 kilometres from Sydney’s central business district, it can be slow going.
The villa is $1700 a night for two to four nights (seven-night minimum during December-January, Easter and school holidays).