Monday, April 16, 2012

Long lunch? Just get a seaplane home

  • Sydney restaurant offers sea plane rides
  • One-hour drive takes 10 minutes by plane
  • Costs $505 per person
Who needs to catch a cab home after a long lunch? Introducing transport for winners: the seaplane. 
A restaurant on Sydney's northern beaches is offering flights home via seaplane.

Jonah's at Whale Beach is one of a handful of restaurants in Sydney that you can get to on a luxurious day trip by plane.

A journey which would take about an hour to drive is only a ten-minute flight in a seaplane.

And everything looks different from above.

When we round the craggy cliffs of the Harbour at North Head near Manly, I'm surprised at how rugged and unwelcoming it looks.

The grass at Long Reef Golf Club, on the headland at Collaroy, looks a magnificent lime green.

We see the white dome of the Ba Hai temple at St Ives jutting out of the greenery in the distance.

A slim strip of white sand stretches out in front of us.

Narrabeen Beach, our pilot tells us, is the largest on the Northern Beaches.

The houses below look like Lego buildings.

We hit the area where the Hawkesbury River meets Pittwater and round Barrenjoey Head, flying over the lighthouse made famous by the television soap Home and Away.

Soon we are soaring above Pittwater, looking down on the hundreds of small white boats which dot the water along its bushy coastline.

We pass over Scotland Island, where we can make out just a few houses on the coast with jettys pointing outwards like fingers.

We land in a quiet bay with a beach lined with seaweed, a jetty at the end and bobbing white boats.

The take off and flight are smooth and we barely even feel we have landed, except for the huge splash of white foam and water.

A boat takes us to the jetty, where we are greeted by two small, fluffy, white dogs who quietly lap up our pats before we board the mini-bus to Jonah's for lunch.

Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Mick Jagger have dined at the iconic restaurant, which has 180-degree views over the Pacific Ocean.

There we soak up the vista from the tiled terrace looking down Whale Beach and see the many clifftop houses cascading down towards the sand.

White curtains blow in the breeze and sea-coloured artworks decorate the walls as we dine on a three-course meal from an a la carte menu.

Before landing back at Rose Bay on the return journey we do a quick bonus loop over the Harbour, soaring close to the Harbour Bridge and the white sails of the Opera House, shady in the afternoon light.

A Manly ferry pushes through the water beneath us, with its whitewash streaming from its sides and behind in a rough line.

Seaplanes land and depart from the Seaplane Base at Lyne Park in Rose Bay, in Sydney's eastern suburbs.  The base is a small departure building to the right hand side of Catalina Restaurant.

Four-hour fly and dine trips cost $505 per person, with a minimum of two adults, including seaplane flights and a three-course a la carte lunch. There are also fly and dine trips available to the Peats Bite on the Hawkesbury River and Berowra Waters Inn and Cottage Point Inn in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

More: Ph 1300 732 752


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