Collaroy, 22 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district, is part of the Northern Beaches region. This area was originally part of Narrabeen but was renamed after the collier S.S. Collaroy ran aground on the beach in 1881 during a storm. It was refloated and later wrecked on the Californian coast in 1889. Most of Collaroy s development has occurred since the mid twentieth century.
Collaroy is home to one of the Salvation Army's largest conference and outdoor education centres in the area. The centre caters for many conferences of the Salvation Army as well as other churches, schools, community groups and businesses. It can cater for up to 440 people and has fully catered camp programs. Collaroy/Narrabeen is frequented by diverse bird and aquatic animal life including Sea Eagles, Pelicans, Terns, Ducks, Yellow-crested Cockatoo. Dolphins and whales can be seen during migrating season. In 2005 a young New Zealand Fur Seal was discovered washed up on the beach. Exhausted but alive, the Seal was nursed back to health by wildlife officers and then released.
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Collaroy Beach: Pittwater Road, Collaroy. The southern section of a 3 km long stretch of open beach backed by a series of parks and reserves. The southern end, which has a sheltered rock pool, is the safest for children, the surf gets progressively stronger the further north you go. Its openness can be a disadvantage on windy days but its facilities and ease of access by both car and public transport make this former camping area a popular destination for north shore beachgoers.
Facilities: patrolled by lifesavers, changerooms, toilets, kiosk, electric barbecues, picnic facilities, close to shops
Public transport: ferry to Manly, bus No. 155; or bus No. 183-85, 187-90, L90 from Town Hall; or bus No. E84-89, L84-89, L88 from Wynyard; or train to Chatswood, bus No. L60. Alight at Pittwater Rd, Collaroy
Long Reef Beach: Long Reef Beach is located at the southern end of Collaroy Beach. Long Reef is not as well known as other Northern Beaches locations. The beach is nestled between nature reserves and extends for almost 2km from the base of Long Reef Point to Dee Why Point and is backed by Dee Why Lagoon. The beach faces the southeast and picks up any east to southeast swell making it one of Sydney's higher energy beaches. The waves average 1.6 m being highest in the south and centre, decreasing north of the Long Reef surf club owing to waves breaking on the outer reefs. Between Long Reef surf club and Dee Why Point are usually eight strong rips, including the particularly hazardous rip that flows out against Dee Why Point. The rips and their feeder currents usually form a continuous trough with currents heading into the rips.
A great place for a family picnic, pack a lunch and cook a BBQ on the free electric barbecues, situated between the beach and car park. Plenty of grassy areas available to set up and enjoy a quiet picnic or set up a game of friendly cricket.
Facilities: kiosk, public toilets, showers, viewing platform, picnic area, electric BBQs
Long Reef Point is a prominent 36 meters high shale headland that protrudes 2 km seaward, and is surrounded by wide intertidal rock platforms, with reefs extending to the north and south of the point. Located between Dee Why and Collaroy it comprises three protected areas: Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, Long Reef Wildlife Protection Area, and Dee Why Lagoon Wildlife Refuge. It is a popular spot for walkers and provides expansive views to the north as far as the central coast and the south to Manly. At low tide you can walk over the rock platform and look in the rock pools. Long Reef Aquatic Reserve protects the point's two rocky shores. The northern rocky reef area is protected from southerly swells by the prominent eastern headland, while the larger eastern platform is more exposed. Different organisms occur in these two areas. Long Reef Aquatic Reserve protects the marine invertebrates on the rock platforms as well as subtidal marine plants and animals.
The lookout at the highest point is a popular spot for watching Humpback Whale migration between April and December each year. Years ago there was a tunnel cut through the rocks of the headland, ostensibly to mine for copper. The tunnel and long been closed over. More information >>
The locality was designated as a separate suburb in 1977 with a postcode of 2098, but was reassigned as a locality within Collaroy in 1984. In 2011 Collaroy Plateau, along with Wheeler Heights, was re-established as a suburb by the Geographical Names Board of NSW, after lobbying by the community, who had never ceased considering it to be a suburb since its loss of that title in 1984. Collaroy Plateau has some of the most spectacular views on the Northern Beaches. Various parts of Collaroy Plateau overlook Collaroy Beach, Long Reef Beach, Narrabeen Beach and Narrabeen Lagoon.
Collaroy and Long Reef Point from McLean Lookout
There are a few high place along the northern beaches coast where it is possible to view up and down the coast, this is by far the best. The view is uninterrupted north to Narrabeen and south to Collaroy and Long Reef Point on this popular residential coastal strip.
Location: Hilma Street, Collaroy.
UBD Map 158 Ref E 9.
Duckenfield: Iron screw steamer, 368 tonnes. Built London, 1875. Duckenfield was a classic 60-miler that operated over the 60 miles from Newcastle to Sydney, predominantly carrying coal. In a moderate southerly and poor visibility Duckenfield was on route to Sydney with a load of coal, coke and copper ingots when it struck Long Reef on 24th May 1889. Captain Hunter and a crew of 13 abandoned ship while the 36.6 metre vessel lay on the reef but one sailor drowned. The Duckenfield then drifted off the reef and sank. Subsequently, a team of divers began salvage operations which lasted over a year but were never completed. The engine remains the dominant feature on the wreck site which has become a popular diving location.
Collaroy: The locality of Collaroy takes its name from the Collaroy s misadventure here. The Collaroy was an iron hulled paddle steamer constructed at Liverpool, United Kingdom in 1853 by John Laird and Company, UK. The vessel was on its regular voyage from Newcastle to Sydney when it ran ashore in thick fog at 4.15 a.m. on the night of 20th January 1881. With five trips per week, the vessel was regarded as safe and reliable. The cargo comprised 7 bales of wool, 170 bags of potatoes, 200 hides, 40 casks of tallow, 40 pigs and 30 sheep. The livestock was successfully landed and driven into a paddock close to the wreck. All twenty-four passengers (including 14 saloon and ten in steerage) were successfully brought ashore with their luggage in the starboard lifeboat, in three or four trips. Attempts to re-float the vessel were abandoned when a sandbank formed on the seaward side, making it almost impossible to drag the steamer out to deeper water. The steamer lay ashore for almost four years until successfully dragged off the beach, refloated and towed to Sydney for major repairs.
Euroka: The iron paddle steamer Euroka, was a 170 tonne vessel built at Balmain, Sydney in 1897. It was converted to a collier and began operating on the Sixty Miler run between Newcastle and Sydney. After loading coal at Lake Macquarie, for a voyage to Sydney, the steamer grounded several times, finally putting to sea on the morning of the 19th October 1913. Once at sea, water was noticed entering the engine room. Steam was billowing from below deck when Captain Benton gave the order to abandon ship off Narrabeen, Sydney. Five hours later, the crew of nine arrived safely in Sydney. The abandoned Euroka drifted onto the reef at the north-eastern point of Long Reef and became a total loss. Wreckage is spread over a considerable area in five metres of water along the northern side of Long Reef.
Greyhound: Wooden screw steamer, 87 tonnes. Built Sydney,1886. Abandoned and foundered after colliding with floating wreckage near Long Reef, entangling the propeller, 4th May 1894.
Mimmie: Wooden cutter, 30 tons. Lost south side of Long Reef, NSW, 13th June 1868.
Myola: Iron screw steamship, 655 tonnes. Built England, 1913. Having loaded 675 tonnes of coal for the North Shore Gas Company, the steel steamer Myola left Newcastle on 1st April 1919, bound for Sydney. Encountering heavy seas, the steamer made steady progress but a list to port was noticeable. Captain Higgins had been forced to replace his ordinary crew, quarantined in Sydney after an Influenza epidemic. When off Long Reef near Sydney, Myola was struck by a very heavy wave, the impact caused the cargo to shift. Urgent distress signals were fired into the night but it was impossible to launch the lifeboats due to the extreme list. The boats were cut away and the crew dived into the water. The steamer South Bulli, following behind, observed the distress flares and launched their lifeboats, the crews spending over an hour in the wild sea picking up survivors. Four of Myola s crew drowned. The wreck was discovered in 1994 lying on its port side in forty-eight metres of water off Long Reef.
This walk consists of a series of headland pathways and lookouts connecting the ends of each beach form a continuous coastline route which stretches along Sydney s northern coastline between Manly and Palm Beach. It can be walked as a whole or in individual sections. The links on this page focus on the northern sections of the walk that fall within the Pittwater Council area. The walk begins at Barrenjoey Headland, just beyond Palm Beach, Sydney s most northern coastal beach. The track exhibits the coastal heath ecosystem that used to be spread all over the Warringah area, and has been extensively regenerated since 1991.
As most access to Pittwater was by ship, Barrenjoey Headland and Palm Beach were a focal point during the early settlement of the area. During the early part of the nineteenth century, it was mainly being used by fishermen. However a number of smugglers also called it home.
The name Collaroy comes from an Aboriginal word meaning long reeds . This area was originally part of Narrabeen but was renamed after the collier S.S. Collaroy ran aground on the beach in 1881 during a storm. It attracted many curious onlookers and picnickers during its time here and the beach and surrounding area became known as Collaroy. The vessel was refloated and later wrecked on the Californian coast in 1889.
Land was first released here, for grazing, in 1816, its first occupants being the Jenkins family and later The Salvation Army. Its name was adopted after the steamer Collaroy ran aground just north of Long Reef in 1881. Though the steamer was able to be refloated, Most of Collaroy s development has occurred since the mid twentieth century.
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Coastal Walking Track