Photographer Julie Adams Spends The Weekend At Great Mackerel Beach

Given how gruelling long-haul trips with young kids can be, it’s no surprise that we’re all about the mini-break...

A couple of nights away is all you need to refresh and reset (even if it’s not an easy feat actually getting out of the house). Forget the housework. Forget the emails. Forget running around doing errands. It’s all about quality time with your family. Over the summer break, photographer Julie Adams visited Pittwater’s idyllic Great Mackerel Beach, a short drive north of the Sydney, and stayed at The Little Black Shack. An original timber and sandstone fisherman’s cottage, it sits on the water’s edge and has been lovingly restored into a picturesque beach and bush hideaway. We were lucky enough to get a snapshot of her magical holiday.


What are your summer essentials?

My biggest summer essential is definitely an escape to look forward to and some time with my family. When it comes to packing, I’m all about lightweight cotton shirts and dresses, flats, a big hat, sunnies, a good book, my camera and if it’s a beach house holiday, I always pack candles and some table linen. No matter how simple holiday meals are, it’s always nice when they feel like an occasion.

What did you do at Great Mackerel beach?

We were only there for the weekend, but I wish we were there for the whole week! The little Black Shack has the most spectacular, expansive views and although you are straight across from Palm Beach, you almost feel like you are (blissfully) stranded on your own island! We were completely lulled into a sense of laziness which included sleep-ins, mornings dips before breakfast, relaxing days on the beach, fishing (they even have rods and bait in the freezer – there is nothing that The Little Black Shack hasn’t thought of), reading and cooking on the outdoor fire.

What are some of your most vivid memories from that weekend?

I hadn’t told the kids where we were going only what they needed to pack, so for me, even the arrival was memorable. Taking the little ferry from Palm Beach and the girls guessing where we were going, it was very sweet. Arriving at Great Mackeral Beach itself is really gorgeous. The old wooden jetty and the books in the waiting area – something so nostalgic about the whole experience.

Then the moment I walked into The Little Black Shack, I just remember feeling mesmerised by every detail so beautifully rustic and authentic, but not a thing you could possibly want for. It’s not a place you could replicate – it’s the owner’s own vision and it’s full of soul.

Enjoying sundowners on the terrace and drinking in that view (from every window) is the most vivid memory, along with Vivienne catching her first fish and Blair cooking the girls’ favourite meal (rosticciana, a traditional Italian pork food from the region of Tuscany) on the open fire.


Favourite summer dish?

I’d say spaghetti alle vongole with a delicious glass of vino bianco. I love a little reminder of Italian Summers. Silvia Colloca’s recipe is my go-to!

Favourite summer drink?

Either a Campari with freshly squeezed blood orange or an Aperol spritz.


Best part about getting away for the weekend?

Leaving the house and all those reminders of chores I haven’t done, minimal packing and enjoying the present.

What is your favourite time of day to get your camera out?

Whenever I see something/or a moment I think is beautiful, I’m off hunting for the camera (which is a bit like the keys – I can never remember where I last put it!), but without doubt afternoon light is my favourite.

All images: Julie Adams. Go to