Northern Beaches CouncilEconomic profile
Skip to content

Northern Beaches Council

About the area

Location and boundaries

The Northern Beaches Council area is located on Sydney’s northern beaches, between 10 and 30 kilometres north-east of the Sydney CBD. The Northern Beaches Council area is bounded by Cowan Creek and Broken Bay in the north, the Tasman Sea in the east, Sydney Harbour and North Harbour in the south, and Middle Harbour and the Ku-ring-gai Council area in the west.

Included areas

The Northern Beaches Council area includes the suburbs and localities of Allambie Heights, Avalon Beach, Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Bayview, Beacon Hill, Belrose, Bilgola Beach, Bilgola Plateau, Brookvale, Church Point, Clareville, Clontarf, Coasters Retreat, Collaroy, Collaroy Plateau, Cottage Point, Cromer, Curl Curl, Currawong Beach, Davidson, Dee Why, Duffys Forest, Elanora Heights, Elvina Bay, Fairlight, Forestville, Frenchs Forest, Freshwater, Great Mackerel Beach, Ingleside, Killarney Heights, Ku-ring-gai Chase, Lovett Bay, Manly, Manly Vale, McCarrs Creek, Mona Vale, Morning Bay, Narrabeen, Narraweena, Newport, North Balgowlah, North Curl Curl, North Manly, North Narrabeen, Oxford Falls, Palm Beach, Pittwater, Queenscliff, Scotland Island, Seaforth, Terrey Hills, Warriewood, Whale Beach and Wheeler Heights.

Economic region
Northern Beaches Council area

Land use

The Northern Beaches Council area is mainly residential and national park, with some commercial and industrial areas, and some rural areas. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 250 square kilometres, including substantial areas of water frontage, coastal foreshores, beaches, islands, national parks, bushland and reserves.


The Northern Beaches Council area is served by Barrenjoey Road, Mona Vale Road, Pittwater Road, Sydney Road, Warringah Road and ferries from Circular Quay.

Settlement history

The area was explored in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip. European settlement dates from 1796 after Broken Bay was surveyed. Development was slow, due largely to the area being relatively isolated, the terrain being difficult, and access being only by ship. Land grants were made from 1810, with land used mainly for timber-getting and farming. Land remained mainly rural, with numerous small communities established. Some growth occurred during the 1880s and 1890s, as access was improved. Land continued to be used mainly for farming, grazing and orcharding, with some fishing, boat building and timber-cutting industries. Growth continued in the early 1900s and the interwar period, when the coastal areas became a popular holiday destination, with many guesthouses, weekenders and holiday homes built. Significant residential development occurred from the 1950s, along with industrial and commercial development during the 1960s and 1970s. The population increased gradually from the early 1990s, rising from under 207,000 in 1991 to nearly 234,000 in 2011.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Northern Beaches Council area were the Guringai Aboriginal people.