Where To Catch The Sunrise This Spring From Bilgola To Palm Beach

By Jonathan Fletcher

Last week we welcomed Spring and it has been a cracker of a start! We’ve had some particularly warm days, the sun is rising earlier, the cherry blossoms have burst and though the water remains on the icy side, the ocean is calling us in.

On Father’s Day last weekend one thing I did to celebrate with my kids was to catch the morning sunrise.

On a clear spring morning, there’s no better way to start the day than catching the sunrise. A favourite thing to do for many “Avalonians” is to turn up at dawn with a coffee, surfboard or camera and watch as the day arises over the ocean. Beyond the bends there are a few favourite viewing spots, I thought I’d give a little report of the experience from each of them, from Bilgola Beach to Palm Beach.

  • Current Time of Sunrise – 5:59am
  • Sun’s position in the sky – Current 90° or due East
  • Water Temp – 17 degrees celsius

South Av (Avalon Beach) – Location Link

This is probably the most popular spot beyond the bends to greet the morning. If you want to drive and park you’ll need to get there early, it tends to fill up well before the sun hits the horizon.

It’s no wonder it’s popular, the sunrise from this spot is glorious, whether sitting on a rug on the grass headland, hanging by Dave’s coffee Kombi with coffee in hand or perched on the back of your car. 

Most mornings it’s buzzing with families, photographers, surfers and tradies. Whether you want to meditate, get psyched for a surf, watch others surf, chat to some locals or just sit and drink your coffee in peace, this certainly is an idyllic way to get your day started.

Whaley (Whale Beach) – Location Link

Whale Beach is a quieter, more remote destination but no less spectacular. This time of year the car park is still sparsely occupied in the mornings, there’s a handful of joggers, dogs with their owners and maybe a lone surfer or two.

From Whale Beach you will watch the sun rise between the headlands and over the surf break as it illuminates the enormous pine trees. If you want some solitude and don’t mind driving the windy road early in the morning this is a peaceful and majestic way to start the day. If you like your coffee first thing, do bring your own… currently there is no coffee van and the closest cafe Whale Beach Deli opens at 7am.

Palmy (Palm Beach) – Location Link

Another essential sunrise experience is Palmy. In the early hours of the morning, the show that Palm Beach puts on is breathtaking.

Whether it’s from the more secluded north end…

…or the southern end closer to the esplanade.

Kiddies corner is hidden from the sun this time of year, but if you stand out on the rocks as the fisherman do it will rise directly behind you.

At the moment it isn’t super busy, there is plenty of parking, but as the days get warmer and holiday’s approach so begins the influx of people. The south end of Palmy is great for ocean swimming and also has a 50m ocean lap pool. The waves are usually small, great for surfing the sunrise with kids and often also with the dolphins. The cafe on the esplanade 2108 Espresso opens at 8am, so if you’re there early you’ll need to bring your coffee with you… but I promise once you turn up it’s very difficult to leave!

Bilgola Beach – Location Link

When you drive down the Serpentine you feel like you’re entering into a tropical paradise, you’d never know you’re still in Sydney once you arrive at Bilgola Beach.

There’s a real community atmosphere down here first thing in the morning. At the south end of the beach swimmers are lapping the ocean pool, there are people walking, swimming, surfing, SUP-ing and taking photos.

Groups gather around the cafe nestled into the beach ‘Zubi’s at Billy’s’ which is open from 5:30am during the week and 6am on the weekend.


The sun rises to the North on this smaller beach.

Other Sunrise Lookouts – 

North Bilgola Lookout 

Careel Headland Reserve Lookout 

Whale Beach Road Lookout 

Sunrise Reserve 

Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Professional photos courtesy of local photographer Craig Fallshaw. More of Craig’s images can be seen on his website WickhamLane.

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