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The best beaches in Sydney (NSW)

The best beaches in Sydney (NSW)

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? Sydney’s beaches also 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 

Undoubtedly the most famous beach in Australia, Bondi Beach is a must-visit for any traveler to Sydney. With its golden sand and turquoise waters, this beach is perfect for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. It is also surrounded by numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops.

This well-known beach is also recognized across Australia as a renowned surfing spot. Surfers ride the waves here all year round. Whether you are an experienced surfer or a complete beginner, we recommend diving into the water without delay.

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

Finally, a beautiful coastal walk connects this beach to Coogee Beach. Spanning 6 km, it takes about 2 hours to walk and takes you past small beaches and offers stunning panoramas.

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.

Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach is a beautiful beach located east of Sydney, highly appreciated by locals and tourists for its relaxed atmosphere and picturesque landscapes. It is ideal for families, swimmers, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of more popular beaches like Bondi.

The beach is well-patrolled with lifeguards present throughout the year, making it safe for swimming. Additionally, at one end of the beach, you will find Giles Baths, a natural pool carved into the rocks, perfect for those seeking a more sheltered swimming experience.

How to get to Coogee Beach?

Coogee Beach is easily accessible by public transport or car from central Sydney:

  • By Bus: Several bus lines serve Coogee Beach from Sydney’s CBD, including routes 373, 374, M50, and 353. These buses frequently depart from locations such as Circular Quay and central Sydney.
  • By Car: Coogee is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Sydney, depending on traffic. There are several parking areas at Coogee, including a large parking lot near the beach, but they can fill up quickly on weekends and public holidays.

Manly Beach

Located in the northern suburbs of Sydney, Manly Beach is another popular destination. Accessible via a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, Manly Beach offers a relaxed atmosphere with a beautiful stretch of sand and good waves for surfing. The promenade along the beach is lined with pine trees and is ideal for a leisurely stroll or enjoying the small cafes.

How to get there

Manly Beach is easily accessible from central Sydney. You can take a ferry from Circular Quay for a scenic crossing of Sydney Harbour to Manly. The ferry ride also offers stunning views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the coastal scenery. It’s a must-do at sunset for a breathtaking experience.

Shelly Beach (Manly)

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.

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.

Freshwater Beach

Freshwater Beach is a charming and relatively quiet beach located in the northern suburbs of Sydney. It is especially popular among families and surfers, offering a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s more popular beaches.

Freshwater Beach holds a special place in the history of surfing in Australia. It was here that the legendary Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku introduced surfing to Australia in 1914, by crafting a surfboard from a piece of local wood and giving a demonstration to the local population. This moment is commemorated by a statue of Duke located near the beach.

Freshwater is known for its excellent surfing conditions, with waves that are suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers. Surf competitions are often held here, attracting surfers from across the region.

The beach is patrolled during the summer months, making it safe for swimming. There is also a seawater pool carved into the rocks at the northern end of the beach, offering a safe alternative for swimmers.

How to get there

Freshwater Beach is easily accessible by car and public transport. There is parking available, but it can be limited during weekends and on busy days. Local buses also serve the area from downtown Sydney.

Photo by Jon Callow on Unsplash

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!

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. 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.

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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