Dee Why

Dee Why, a suburb of northern Sydney, is located 18 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district. It is the administrative centre of the Warringah Council, and along with Brookvale is considered to be the main centre of the Northern Beaches region. Dee Why is contained in the drainage basin of Dee Why Lagoon.

The main commercial area in Dee Why is centred on either side of Pittwater Road, the main arterial road on the Northern Beaches, and continues down the streets leading to the beach as well as upwards along Fisher Road. The Strand, running along the southern Dee Why beach front, is a major commercial area, and features apartments, cafes, restaurants and bars overlooking the beach.

Public transport: ferry to Manly, bus No. 136, 159; or bus No. 176, E76 from Wynyard; or train to Chatswood, bus No. 136.

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Dee Why Beach: Its broad expanse of clean sand and reputation as one of the safest of Sydney's northern beaches has contributed greatly to this beach's extreme popularity. Fortunately, the strip of sand is wide and backed by a variety of facilities for both surfers and families alike. A rock pool in the south is a haven for children and swimmers who don't want surf. UBD Map 178 Ref F 5. The Strand, Dee Why.
Facilities: patrolled by lifesavers, changerooms, toilets, grassed areas, picnic facilities, children's playground, shops, many restaurants and cafes nearby.
Public transport: ferry to Manly, bus No. 136, 159; or bus No. 176, E76 from Wynyard; or train to Chatswood, bus No. 136.

Long Reef Beach: Long Reef Beach is located at the northern end of Dee Why 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

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.
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Alleyne Avenue Reserve

A tiny reserve accessed from Alleyne Avenue which offers views across Narrabeen Peninsula, Narrabeen Lakes, the Collaroy Plateau and nearby beaches. UBD Map 158 Ref F 1. Limited facilities. Alleyne Avenue, Brookvale. Public transport: train to Pymble, bus No. 195 to steps off Pittwater Rd near Nareen Pde; or ferry to Manly, bus No. 156; or bus No. 184, 187, 190 from Town Hall station; or bus No. E84 from Wynyard; or train to Chatswood, bus No. L60 from Chatswood station.

Gov. Phillip Lookout

This lookout is located at the top of Beacon Hill, which is the highest point in the region of Sydney's northern beaches. Views of almost the entire eastern half of the Sydney region may be had from the summit which is approximately 152 metres above sea level. Views extend from the southern outskirts of Sydney, west to the Blue Mountains and north to Gosford and the Central Coast. The skyline of the city is seen to the south, ships, pleasure craft and occasional migratory whales can be seen out to sea in the east. The lookout is popular with locals on New Year's Eve when the firework displays across Sydney Harbour are clearly visible, approximately 11 kilometres to the south. UBD Map 177 Ref J 6. Gov. Phillip Lookout, Beacon Hill, Warringah Road, Brookvale.
Stony Range Botanic Garden

: Established in 1957 on the site of an old quarry and located just south of the Dee Why town centre. The garden, which contains plants from all over Australia as well as those indigenous to the area, has four main sections, the rainforest gully, the sandstone heath on the site of the quarry, the Federation Cascades built in 2001 to commemorate the centenary of the federation of Australia, and the primitive plant section, with examples of plant species that have survived for millions of years. The garden is open from 8am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day, and admission is free.

Dee Why Lagoon

Dee Why Lagoon provides habitat to a range of animals, including local and migatory birds. It is listed on the Register for National Estate for the Warringah area as being of local significance and was declared a wildlife refuge in 1973. It supports three endangered ecological communities; the Sydney Coastal Estuary Swamp Forest Complex, Sydney Freshwater Wetlands and Coastal Saltmarsh in the Sydney Basin. There is a nature trail through the refuge, around the back of the sand dunes, which allows visitors, residents and school groups to enjoy the birdlife that the wetlands support.

Bicentennial Coastal Walkway

The Bicentennial Coastal Walkway from Queenscliff to Palm Beach leads from North Curl Curl Beach in the south, along the cliffs of Dee Why Head and down to the southern end of Dee Why 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.


Narraweena is a neighbouring suburb. Its name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'a quiet place in the hills'. The selection of an Aboriginal name for State Housing Commission developments was common practice in the 1950s when Narraweena was developed to cope with the increased demand for housing in post World War II Sydney. Since the 1980s Italian migrants from Pazzano have organised an annual Santo Salvatore's fiest, with a statue very similar to the original that is taken from the catholic church of Narraweena around the suburb and back.

Cromer/Cromer Heights

Cromer Heights

The nearby suburbs of Cromer and Cromer Heights are named after a small town in East Anglia, England. Originally known as Dee Why West, the local golf club asked for the name to be changed in 1940 to Cromer, as the town in England of that name has a splendid golf club. The Dee Why golf Club's 100 acres was part of the original grant of 1841 to Father John Joseph Therry.


Located 20 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district, Cromer is bordered to the north by Narrabeen Lakes. Dee Why West Recreation Reserve is located between Cromer Heights and Wakehurst Parkway. The reserve is a popular destination of bush walking, trail bike riding and mountain bike riding.


Collaroy, 22 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district, 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.

Brookvale is a neighbouring suburb to the south-west of Dee Why. The name of the suburb is derived from the names of two houses called Greendale and Brooklands, the latter of which was near three brooks. Greendale's owner was William Frederick Parker who carved his farm out of the heavy bushland of the valley with the help of convict labour. Brooklands House was built by Parker's son in 1877 on the site of Warringah Mall Shopping Centre. A small village named Greendale grew near the house, but its name was changed to Brookvale as there was already a Greendale in Sydney, near Bringelly. Steam trams arrived in Brookvale in 1910 at a time the area was developing into a residential area.

Curl Curl

Curl Curl and South Curl Curl are two beachside suburbs to the south of Dee Why. Their names are derived from an Aboriginal word thought to mean 'lagoon' which would refer to nearby Manly Lagoon . The first land grant here was made in 1818 to Thomas Bruin. The area was subdivided in the land boom of the 1880s into various estates, including Freshwater Heights and Curl Curl Heights. The southern part of present day Harbord was called Curl Curl Heights, but then the name was used to describe Queenscliff until the 1930s, being first recorded in 1899. Curl Curl North, which lies north of Dee Why Head, was renamed Wingala. Today, the name Curl Curl refers to the beach area of Queenscliff only.

Wheeler Heights

Narrabeen Lagoon Trail

The neighbouring suburb of Wheeler Heights is named after the Wheeler family, early pioneers. Brief history: James Wheeler was the an early settler, building a house here in 1836 on land previously owned by an earlier settler whose identity is not clear. Wheeler lived here until his death in 1890. He also owned land on the northern side of Wheeler Heights known as Fox's Flat. The remains of a stone weir from the former Wheeler Estate can be seen protruding from the shoreline of Narrabeen Lagoon near James Wheeler Place. The Wheeler Estate was broken up after the Second World War.

In 2011, Wheeler Heights, along with Collaroy Plateau, 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.

The Wheeler family name has been used in James Wheeler Place and the suburb name Wheeler Heights, while other street names of Wheeler Heights reflect the towns and villages of The Lakes District, Cumbria, England, as well as many of the geographical features of the landscape. The names of some of the lakes are the names of Derwent St, Coniston St and Windermere Place. Ambleside St and Penrith Ave are names of larger towns in the lakes district. The dales are a particular feature of the lakes district and have given their names to Ennerdale Crescent and Langdale Place.

Narrabeen Lagoon Trail: The Narrabeen Lagoon Bush trail stretches from South Creek and Middle Creek to Deep Creek. The 8.4-km trail around the Lagoon crosses two steel bridges and runs adjacent to the Sydney Sports Academy. The path and bridges allows bushwalkers, cyclists and joggers to travel in safety while being close to nature and enjoying the beauty of Narrabeen Lagoon.

History of Dee Why

William Cossar was the first person to own land in Dee Why. Cossar was granted 500 acres north of Dee Why Lagoon and 200 acres south of the lagoon. Cossar sold the land to D Arcy Wentworth in 1825 and Wentworth then sold it to James Jenkins in 1825. Elizabeth Jenkins left her land to the Salvation Army upon her death in 1900 after setting up an agreement where they acquired her land in return for an annuity paid to her family until the last member died in 1930.

The Salvation Army developed the Dee Why land into an industrial farm, a boys home, a home for girls and a holiday home for ladies. From 1913 the Salvation Army started to sell off its holdings. The Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club opened in November 1914. The first general meeting held by the Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club was in 1913 and their first surf carnival was in February 1914. The Dee Why Post Office opened in 1915, a public school opened in 1922 and a Catholic School in 1935. Dee Why Hotel opened in 1926. The Dee Why RSL Club opened and operated as a sub-branch from 1937. In the 1920 2s Dee Why was mostly a holiday destination boasting many holiday cottages and a campground.

The origin of the name is unsure, though numerous suggestions abound. According to some, it is derived from the aboriginal word "diwai", a waterfowl said to have inhabited Dee Why Lagoon. Another suggestion is that it refers to the Spanish caravel, "Santa Ysabel", which went missing in fog off Calao, South America in 1595, and according to folklore, was wrecked here. The first recorded use of the name was in September 1815, when Surveyor James Meehan recorded in his field book, "Dy Beach - marked a honeysuckle near beach". Meehan recorded difficulty accessing the area because of the heavy brush and swamp, and it is most likely he was using an abbreviation of the Greek word "dysprositos", meaning "difficult to reach". If this were the case, the name, like that of Bare Island at the entrance to Botany Bay, was recorded more of a description than for use as a name.

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