Sydney is home to over 100 beaches. It’s hard to believe such a major city can make such a claim, but the coast line weaves in and out to such an extent that you are never too far away from a stretch of pristine sand. Many of the best beaches in Sydney are just a stone’s throw away from its liveliest urban areas.
Two of the most famous – Bondi and Manly – are popular places to live and attract a large number of expats who have never before experienced the possibility of a daily dip in the sea. Others are small alcoves set along unbelievably gorgeous coastline. In fact, taking a walk along the Manly coastal path, you would be forgiven for thinking you’re hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest city.
COMPARE ACCOMMODATION DEALS
HotelsCombined aggregates the results of hotel searches from over 40 travel sites to bring you the best deals in the quickest time.
These are my top picks of the best beaches in Sydney:
Before I’d even had a chance to see much of Sydney, I found myself a flat share in Manly. I’d unwittingly struck gold. Having spent some time exploring, it’s still my favourite beach. It’s big and beautiful, great for surfing and close to many bustling shops and bars.
I haven’t actually made it up to Palm Beach yet, but it’s definitely on my list. Situated 41 km north of Sydney, it’s the northernmost beach of Sydney’s so-called Northern Beaches. You may know it better as ‘Summer Bay’ – the setting for one of Australia’s best-known soaps, Home and Away. Thanks to Toni from Reclaiming my Future for lending me the image below:
If your reason for visiting the beach is to claim a patch of soft sand and soak up the sun, then look no further than Bondi. This beach is so deep there is plenty of space, even on a busy day. Bondi doesn’t have quite the same remote appeal as some of the Northern Beaches, but it certainly provides plenty of entertainment.
Just around the corner from Manly is Shelly Beach. Sheltered from the unrelenting Pacific waves, Shelly is known as one of the best places in Sydney to go snorkelling and diving. While most of the larger beaches in the city have a swimming pool next to them, this is one of my favourites.
Dee Why is sufficiently far north to escape the tourist crowds that flock to the Northern Beaches on the Manly ferry, but still very accessible by bus. It has a great swimming pool and a beautiful natural rocky area to the right hand side. You can also enjoy lunch in one of the beachside restaurants.
Coogee got its name from the Aboriginal word koojah, which is a reference to the smell of drying seaweed. Thankfully, it is removed these days before it has a chance to stink out the beach. Although it has dangerous shore breaks, it’s a popular swimming spot and attracts those in the Eastern suburbs who want to escape from the more well-known Bondi nearby.
Given the nickname ‘Curly’, Curl Curl is a relatively deserted beach. Because there are no shops or restaurants nearby, people tend to go there much less frequently, which means you will have more space to yourself.
Another beach with a nickname, ‘Freshy’ is smaller than some, but still provides plenty of space for lounging in the sun. Make sure you don’t miss this statue of Duke Kahanamoku, a world sprint swimming champion who was touring Australia in 1914. Having originated from Hawaii, he brought surfing down under after fashioning a board from timber and demonstrating his skills to the local press.
MANLY SCENIC WALK
The Manly Scenic Walk is a 10 km stretch of footpath from the Spit to Manly, during which you climb along the cliffside of the peninsular and traverse many remote sandy beaches. There is even an area with old Aboriginal rock carvings in the shapes of fish and kangaroos. It took me 4 months to get around to experiencing this walk and I’m kicking myself for not having done it sooner. Every metre is stunningly beautiful and there are plenty of friendly lizards along the way, including one staring up at my sister in the picture below – if you look closely!
Have you spent any time in Sydney? What’s your favourite beach? Is it a popular surfing hot spot or one of the many tiny hidden alcoves dotted around the coastline?