My Favorite Airbnb A ThreeBedroom Apartment in Sydney's Ultimate Surf 'Burb
Zoe Westman
Places to Stay

My Favorite Airbnb: A Three-Bedroom Apartment in Sydney's Ultimate Surf 'Burb

The beachside abode had a wraparound balcony and incredible ocean views.

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A Sydney surf suburb apartment, 150 feet from the beach

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Australia nine times. I’m a native New Yorker married to an Aussie, and our travels to his homeland over the years have been some of the most memorable of my life: sailing and snorkeling in the Whitsundays, backpacking in the Daintree Rainforest, seeing Fairy penguins storm the shore at midnight on Bruny Island, Tasmania

But before any of these adventures begin, we always spend a week in the first destination we touch down in after getting off the plane: Sydney. This year in January, we finally returned after three years of travel restrictions, in celebration of my mum-in-law’s 80th, who lives in the city.

Sydney kinda has it all: the best city, the best beaches, the best coffee, the best avocado toast, the quirkiest population of exotic birds, and the embodiment of the Aussie lifestyle. But, if you need to get away from it all—while still having it all—you can drive 45 minutes to the city's ultimate surf suburb: Dee Why. This is where we decided to make our home base during the trip. A proper multi-night stay was a no-brainer, and with no hotels in the area, we booked an Airbnb.

Dee Why Beach was feet from the rental.

Zoe Westman

No visit to Sydney is complete without stopping in Dee Why. This was far from our first visit. Whenever we’re in town, a day trip is always on the agenda. This magic little beach town just north of Manly has a chill vibe that can’t be beat. Every time we return, I say to myself, “Man oh man do I want to live here.”

Set a block back from the main street, the yellow brick building was flanked by tropical foliage and delivered the classic surfy vibes I’d been dreaming of. It was easy to find and perfectly situated in the center of the action, with shops and restaurants to the right, dunes to the left, and the ocean in all directions as far as the eye could see.

The third-floor unit that greeted us—walkup, no elevator—was airy, cool, and had a touch of midcentury style. Three bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom, and a second full bathroom shot off from the hallway, which lead to the loft-like living area. It all was encircled by a wrap-around balcony with ocean views. The sparkling kitchen was fully stocked with an espresso maker, cookware, a water filtration station, and brand new appliances, including a state-of-the-art washing machine and dryer (the ultimate luxury in this apartment dweller’s opinion).

The hosts left fresh ingredients and snacks.

Zoe Westman

The spacious main bedroom had an ensuite bathroom.

Zoe Westman

A bounty of delicious food greeted us upon arrival. In the kitchen, a fresh loaf of bread, a handful of avocados, a bowl of tropical fruit, chocolate, popcorn, and eggs were all beautifully arranged beside some wonderfully fragrant frangipani stalks in bloom.

The town’s main drag, the Strand, was just out front, and had changed quite a bit since my last visit, in the best way possible. Where dining options were once limited to burgers and fries (or in my case as a vegetarian, just fries) there was a bevy of possibilities: Aussie coffees at the Italian influenced Bambolina Dolci & Caffe in the morning and a smattering of Thai, Italian, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Japanese choices for lunch and dinner. 

Zoe goes back to surfy Dee Why every time she visits Sydney.

Zoe Westman

The stretch of sand out front remained the same, thankfully: long and golden, with guarded swimming areas and reliable surf. On the southern end sat the glorious Dee Why Rockpool, built into the sea with the occasional wave crashing over the edge. Sunbathers filled the stadium-style stairs at the edge and spread out on the smooth sandstone rocks. Just beyond sat the entrance to the Dee Why to Curl Curl coastal walk, a stunning path through the cliff-top bush with amazing views of the coastline.

We walked north up the beach to the boardwalk leading to Long Reef, a wild and beautiful peninsula with fascinating rock pools to explore at low tide. It was wonderful making new memories in a place where I have so many years of treasured ones. I can’t wait until our next visit. See you soon, Dee Why.