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The best beaches in Sydney

The best beaches in Sydney

Sydney enjoys weather that is particularly suited to chill days on the beach and water sports. Summers are hot in the city, while winters are short and mild. With approximately 340 days of sunshine per year and close proximity to an array of beautiful beaches, how could you not be tempted by Sydney? What is both surprising and confusing in the capital of New South Wales is that you will even find beaches right in the city centre!

Sydney’s beaches have an amazing reputation for surfing and are frequented by local and foreign surfers alike. Lifeguards, anti-shark nets, picnic and changing facilities, parking, equipment rental… you will find everything you need on your visit.

Bondi Beach 

This beach, whose reputation is second to none, is regarded throughout Australia as a top class surf spot. Surfers conquer the waves all year round, from morning to night. Whether you are a seasoned surfer or just a beginner, we advise you to jump into the water without further delay. Beginners will have access to surf lessons in one of the schools on the beach. For your safety, professional lifeguards patrol this long stretch of golden beach all year round. Bondi Beach is located right in the centre of Sydney. It is a quiet and relaxed corner of the city where there are a number of trendy shops and restaurants.

A beautiful coastal promenade connects this beach to that of Coogee. The picturesque track takes you to a height where you can admire the ocean and the pretty sandstone cliffs. It’s 6km long and takes about two hours to walk. It will bring you through small beaches where you can enjoy the clear blue water and relax on the warm sand.

At Bondi Beach you will also find several swimming pools by the sea, known as The Bondi Icebergs Pool, where you can do lengths without being disturbed by the waves.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Bondi is to take public transport, particularly the bus. That way you won’t have to worry about finding a parking space. You can of course bring your car if you want, but be aware that this is a very busy spot!

The beach is 7km from the centre of Sydney. The 379 bus departs from Martin Place Station every 5 minutes. The journey time is 20 minutes and tickets are very affordable. Trains also run from Central Station to Bondi Junction station. If you travel by train, you can board a bus to the beach once you arrive at the station. From the airport, which is about 10km away, you can get a SkyBus shuttle to downtown Sydney, where you can get a train or bus.

Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach, with its big green park on the edge of the sand, is an ideal place to spend the day. Here you will find facilities for picnicking, as well as barbecues, in front of the magnificent view. The beach is not very big but is a famous spot for thrill-seeking surfers due to its strong swell! If you want a bit more peace and quiet, head south to Bronte where the Bronte Baths and Bogey Hole are located. The Bronte Baths is a saltwater ocean pool (a great experience!) with free entry, while Bogey Hole is a natural pool formed by rocks. If you want to take a bath, be careful of sharp rocks under the water.

How to get there

Bronte Beach is a 1km walk south of Bondi Beach. As a result, it is also easily accessible from downtown Sydney. You can take public transport from Town Hall station. From Bondi Junction station there is a direct bus route.

Shark Beach

With its turquoise waters and golden sand, Shark Beach is the jewel of Sydney. The beach is at Sydney Harbour, in Nielsen National Park. Its name could be worrying but don’t worry – it’s not actually a “shark beach”. In addition, anti-shark nets have been installed and protect a huge swimming area during the summer months. The beach is also well equipped, with its picnic areas shaded by large fig trees, outdoor showers, beautiful walks and panoramic views along the beach. You can practice many water activities here, such as snorkelling, surfing, sailing, kayaking, etc.

How to get there

You can get to Shark Beach easily via public transport. The 325 bus departs from the city centre and stops at Greycliffe Avenue. From there you just have to walk 5 minutes along the beach. The journey takes 30 to 40 minutes and buses leave every half hour. This beach is not animal friendly, so you’ll have to leave your dog at home!

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach is located in Manly, in the heart of the protected marine reserve of Cabbage Tree Bay. As its name suggests, Shelly Beach is covered in seashells crushed into small pieces, which gives it its unique charm. Scuba diving lovers particularly like this place because there is a wide variety of marine life, even at shallow depths. Snorkelers also like to plunge their amazed eyes into this world of a thousand and one colours. A walking track runs along the promontory and offers walkers spectacular views to the north. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of the cliff in Sydney Harbour National Park – the view is simply magical. Many facilities are available at Shelly Beach: showers, toilets and changing rooms as well as electric barbecues, perfect for a picnic with family or friends! There’s even a cute little cafe called The Boathouse where you can get a snack if you forgot your picnic. You will find burgers, fish and chips, smoothies, ice cream and many other meals and snacks to take away and enjoy while looking out at the sea.

How to get there

Board a ferry at Circular Quay (pier 5 – ferry F1) and take your seat for a 40-minute crossing. Departures are every 20 minutes during the week, or every 30 minutes on weekends. You can use your Opal card to pay for your ride. Alternatively, you can take the B1 bus then the 142 hourly from Wynyard Station – Carrington Street. The bus changeover is at Manly Vale B-Line, Condamine Street. You will need to get off at the Manly Wharf, West Promenade stop. The journey takes 45 minutes.

Palm Beach

You will not be disappointed by this little slice of paradise! This beach is one of the most beautiful places in Sydney. The narrow peninsula of land is surrounded by beautiful turquoise water over almost 360°. Palm Beach is perfect for water activities such as surfing, sailing, swimming, kayaking, boating and more. It is at the northern end of the beach that surfers will appreciate the waves the most, while at the southern end the area is protected and therefore quieter. There is an ocean pool and pretty picnic areas under the pine trees for lounging in the shade and enjoying the scenery. Palm Beach is affectionately called “Palmy” by the locals. The locality extends over a little over 2 km from Little Head to Barrenjoey Head. We advise you to follow the path which winds up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, which is classified as a UNESCO heritage site. The panoramic view is amazing! You can observe two places that are worth a visit: Pittwater and the Kur-ring-gai Chase National Park. Try out the many water activities that the beach has to offer: kayaking, sailing… If you’re feeling peckish, we encourage you to try the delicious fish & chips at the Boathouse Palm Beach Cafe. Why not accompany it with a cold beer? You won’t regret it! [Note: The Boathouse is currently closed for renovations but will be reopening later in 2023.]

How to get there

From downtown Sydney, the B-Line bus will take you to Palm Beach in 50 minutes. The first leg of the trip is between Wynyard station and Warriewood, where you will take a second bus (the D200) to Northern Beaches, which is located directly in Palm Beach. If you want to save time, why not take a seaplane from Rose Bay? It will take you 20 minutes to reach your destination and only costs around $3.

[Bonus] 5 Secret Beaches in Sydney

Milk Beach – Vaucluse

Located in Sydney Harbour National Park, Milk Beach is a small, secluded beach. Here you can explore the heritage-listed Strickland House. You can fish, swim or simply relax while enjoying the view of the city, the Harbour Bridge or Rose Bay.

Access to Milk Beach is limited, however, it is accessible by public transport, boat or car. If you’re driving, be warned that there aren’t many parking spaces nearby.

Gordons Bay – Clovelly

Located between Coogee and Clovelly beaches, Gordons Bay is only accessible via the Coastal Walkway, which makes the place more private. With clear water and calm waves, it is definitely the ideal place for swimming or for snorkelling, scuba diving or fishing.

Congwong Beach – Botany Bay

Congwong Beach is located in Botany Bay National Park, just 15 km from the centre of Sydney. You can easily access the beach by taking Perugia Loop Road. A calm beach with clear water, Congwong is ideal for swimming and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney! You can also explore the National Park via one of the many walks accessible along the coast.

Wattamolla Beach – Royal National Park

Further south of Sydney, in the Royal National Park, Wattamolla Beach is a glorious oasis by the water. Here too, swimming, snorkelling and relaxation are on the program if you want to spend a nice day at the beach. Very popular with families, it is best to enjoy Wattamolla during the week because on weekends the beach can quickly become overcrowded.

Bungan Beach – Northern Beaches

North of Sydney, after passing Dee Why, Bungan Beach (Newport) is an essential stop. With cliffs and rocky platforms, Bungan will seem very different from the other beaches. It is only accessible by a steep path north of the beach. There are limited parking spaces, which preserves the little corner of paradise! The beach is not supervised during the week but lifeguards ensure the safety of swimmers and surfers during the weekends.

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