Issue addressed: Evidence that regular moderate-intensity physical activity confers substantial health benefits has been available for more than a decade. Recent studies suggest that the availability of evidence is in itself insufficient for the development of evidence-based public policy and that comprehensive translation mechanisms are needed. This paper explores the current sources of information about effective interventions among physical activity professionals, their awareness and uptake of evidence reviews, their use of the national physical activity network AusPANet and their beliefs about evidence-based policy and practice in physical activity. Methods: This Physical Activity Policy and Practice in Australia (PAPPA) study reports data from a survey of 115 key physical activity professionals attending the Sixth National Physical Activity Conference in Adelaide, Australia, October 2007. Respondents answered questions about awareness and use of evidence sources and about their beliefs regarding policy and practice in physical activity. Results: Only 37% of respondents could accurately identify the main policy messages on 'physical activity and health' as defined in the seminal US Surgeon General's report; 48% reported using the current 'Be Active Australia' national strategic framework on more than two occasions; and just over 35% reported using the most recent national evidence synthesis 'Getting Australia Active II'. Conclusions: The study identifies gaps in knowledge about physical activity and health, gaps in understanding contemporary policy and gaps in translation strategies. Notwithstanding the possible limitations of evidence reviews and syntheses as a determinant of policy and practice, it is apparent that the dissemination of physical activity guidelines and evidence summaries has been less than optimal in Australia.