If relaxing on the beach is your idea of fun then Sydney, Australia could be the perfect vacation destination for you. With over a 100 beaches in and around Sydney, deciding which one to go to first may be the hardest part of your daily plans. Let us save you some time as we break down our list of the top ten beaches in Sydney.
1. Bondi Beach (Bon-dye)
Bondi is one of the most visited tourist sites in all of Australia. With sun-kissed golden sands, turquoise waters and perfect waves, it’s easy to see what makes Bondi Beach a must see. Surfers of all skill levels head to Bondi to try out their skills on the waves and if you’re a beginner, don’t worry there are several excellent surf schools that offer lessons year-round. Lifeguard protected areas make it safe and easy to learn surfing at Bondi. The more experienced surfer’s head to the south end of the beach to show off their skills for the crowds. If you would rather just soak up the sun and enjoy the views, pods of whales and dolphins have been sighted in the bay during the months of migration and fairy penguins, while uncommon, are sometimes also seen swimming close to shore amongst surfers. Numerous festivals and events such as the annual Miss Bondi beauty pageant have helped to make Bondi Beach a popular tourist destination. This beautiful beach has even inspired poets including Brook Emery, Joanne Burns, and Les Murray. When the sun goes down, Sean’s Panaroma and Iceberg’s are just two of the most popular evening venues, with their breathtaking ocean views, but there are many other bars and clubs to keep you going into the wee hours of the night.
2. Tamarama Beach
Originally known as Dixon Bay by early European settlers, the name was changed to Tamarama in the 1800’s. Tamarama is affectionately nicknamed Glamarama by locals, mainly because it is known as the beach where the beautiful people hang out as well as where inspiring trend setters come to sunbathe and swim or just simply come to be seen. Because of its deep water, small size and eastern direction, Tamarama is dangerous for most swimmers even in a moderate ocean swell and therefore is sometimes closed off from swimming. Tamarama is actually considered the most dangerous patrolled beach in New South Wales, with more rescues per thousand bathers than any other of Sydney’s beach. The beach and adjacent park form part of the exhibition space for Sculpture by the Sea, a free annual event that takes place in late spring that is renowned as one of the most popular outdoor artistic exhibitions in Australia.
3. North Wollongong Beach
“It’s on in Wollongong,” as the locals like to say, and it is easy to see why. With a mix of seaside living and small town charm, there is no shortage of things to do around Wollongong. Tourists can partake in skydiving onto the beach, hang-gliding or even paragliding. Enjoy Harley and Ferrari joy rides or play a few rounds of golf on a beachside course. Nearby Lake Illawarra offers a choice of sailing, waterskiing, canoeing and fishing. There are also 60kms of cycleways along the coast, so hire a bike and go explore Wollongong on two wheels with the whole family.
4. Clovelly Beach
Initially known as Little Coogee, this beach’s name was changed to Clovelly in 1913. Clovelly Beach is a small and serene beach located at the end of a narrow bay. Concrete platforms and promenades constructed on both sides of the bay make this a popular sun bathing spot. There are easy access steps into the water, making Clovelly Beach more like a giant ocean pool than a beach. It’s safe for the kids, and despite the ocean swells surging into the inlet, visibility underwater is great, making this a very popular snorkelling site with a wide range of underwater marine life to explore, including “Bluey”, a large local Blue Groper that the beach is home to. On the other side of the parking lot is the entrance to the Gordons Bay “Underwater Nature Trail” that is a 500m underwater chain guiding divers past reefs, sand flats and kelp forests.
5. Manly Beach
Manly Beach really is Sydney’s premier seaside suburb. This little gem is hidden between an inner-harbour beach on one side and a popular Pacific Ocean surf beach on the other. Providing worry free fun with sheltered swimming in a netted ocean pool makes this an experience the entire family will love. The trip to Manly should not be missed, as there are a ton of activities that can be enjoyed by everyone. Walk, roller-blade or cycle from Manly Beach to Freshwater Beach and then take in a ghost tour at Q Station. Follow this up with some casual dining. You will have plenty of options since Manly is home to an assortment of fine restaurants that offer great food with stunning views.
6. Freshwater Beach “Freshie”
Just a short walk north from Manly lays Freshwater Beach, better known as “Freshie”. This cozy sheltered bay beach is located between two headlands which produces excellent waves that aren’t too rough. Freshie was made famous just over 100 years ago on January 15, 1915 when surfboard riding was first introduced in Australia by Hawaiian surfer ‘Duke’ Kahanamoku. Duke carved a board from a piece of timber and demonstrated surfing for the amazed crowd. Once you have worked up an appetite head to the back of the beach where you find the “Pilu at Freshwater” restaurant, and just down from there is the Harbord Beach Hotel and pub, known locally as the “Harbord Hilton” by the owners of some of the Freshwater camps. Wishing to link Manly and Freshwater, they created a cave and a walkway, which is still used today. What is now called “The Wormhole” is the tunnel linking Manly and Freshwater that was blasted out.
7. Shelly Beach
With a maximum depth of around 12 metres Shelly Beach in Manly, is one of the most spectacular small coves along Sydney’s east coast and forms part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a protected marine reserve with a large variety of marine life which can viewed in shallow water making Shelly Beach popular with Scuba Divers and Snorkelers. Take a stroll around the bush track, which offers more amazing views, or if you’re in the mood for some formal dining, there is a restaurant on the beach named “Le Kiosk”.
8. Palm Beach
Palm Beach or “Palmy” as it is more commonly known, is fantastic to surf or take leisurely strolls around, especially along the beach to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Palm Beach wharf makes for the perfect fishing spot for the kids and you can all unwind by a waterside cafe. At the southern end of the beach is a 35-metre ocean pool, which is deep enough for laps but has a shallow end with rolling waves that’s perfect for kids or beginners. The northern end of the beach is where the experienced surfers show off their skills. Be sure to watch for celebrities since Palmy is home to the rich and famous. In fact the top-rated Aussie soap opera “Home and Away” is filmed here.
9. Bronte Beach
Bronte is a family-friendly beach nestled in by sandstone cliffs and a lush green park. The beach itself faces east and picks up swells from every direction. The clusters of underwater rocks tend to make conditions challenging, especially for swimmers, however those same rocks create a sheltered natural pool ideal for parents with young children. An ocean-fed lap pool tucked in beneath the south headland provides one of Sydney’s finest saltwater swim experiences.
10. Coogee Beach
Known as a haven for families, couples and travellers alike. Coogee has golden sands, a picturesque coastal walk as well as a protected Marine Reserve that is loved by snorkelers as well as scuba divers. Coogee Beach has several ocean baths. You can even make some time after a refreshing swim and lay on a comfortable massage bed, enjoying the relaxing effects of skillful hands while listening to the peaceful sounds of the ocean nearby. Wylie’s, McIvers and Giles Baths, are a few of the favorites. When you’re not enjoying the water, wander along Coogee Bay Road to enjoy a wide variety of nearby cafes and restaurants, which are guaranteed to have something for everyone’s dining tastes.