Did you know there are around 70 surf beaches in Sydney? That means there’s definitely one to suit your skill level, from grommet through to experienced. But let’s face it, being at the beach in Sydney isn’t really about surfing. There’s a whole load of other stuff happening, especially at the most popular beaches. Whether it’s pumping iron with Bondi’s muscle men or rollerblading along Campbell Parade, playing beach volleyball half naked or hanging out with the beautiful crew in Manly.
But here’s a tip: it’s the lesser known, further flung beaches that will make your jaw drop. Anyway, back to surfing. ‘Freshie’ (Freshwater) is where it all began in Australia back in 1915. And it’s the *best* beach in Sydney in my opinion. Without a doubt though, the busier beaches provide the most entertainment and enjoyment. So here’s how to fill your dreamy beach days in Sydney…
Eastern Suburbs Beaches
Bondi – Tamarama – Bronte – Clovelly – Gordons Bay – Coogee – Maroubra – Malabar – Cronulla
Bondi is Sydney’s most famous surf beach. Less than 20 minutes from the CBD, it’s super easy to get to by bus. It’s also hip(ster) and crowded for the same reason. Check out the art gallery at the Bondi Pavilion. If you’re hungry, head to the ‘restaurant row’ of Campbell Parade. There’s also some fantastic eateries off the main drag (who work harder for their customers because they don’t get the same foot traffic). The famous Icebergs Club is at the southern end of the beach adjoined to the Bondi Baths. You’re also at the start of the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Then there’s the Marine Discovery Centre, surf schools and the stylish Bondi markets. Don’t forget to leave some time for laxin’ on Bondi Beach too!
I love the Adina Apartment Hotel Bondi Beach tucked away in the back streets of Bondi, but still only a 5 minute walk to the beach. Request a room overlooking the rear courtyard. They’re quieter and get the morning sun.
If you’re only in Sydney overnight, ditch the airport hotel and head to Brighton-le-Sands (about 5 minutes drive away). Stay at the Novotel Brighton Beach which has direct beach access via an overhead walkway to the area once known as Seven Mile Beach.
Cronulla is your all-rounder in terms of beach lifestyle and watersports. One of the longest beaches in Sydney, you can go surfing, fishing, rowing, whale-watching or bushwalking in the Royal National Park. Because Cronulla Beach is so close to the National Park, there are often dolphins and turtles in its waters.
Manly – Queenscliff – Freshwater – Curl Curl – Dee Why – Long Reef – Fishermans – Collaroy – Narrabeen – Mona Vale – Newport – Bilgola – Avalon – Whale Beach – Palm Beach
One of the best things to do in Sydney is take a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. Walk through the mall and shopping area of The Corso to reach the spectacular palm-lined Manly Beach. It’s a great area for families – shops, cafes, weekend markets, bike hire and a protected swimming beach with rock pools. You can also visit the Manly SEALIFE Sanctuary to see sharks, stingrays, turtles and fish being handfed in the 5 million litre Oceanarium. Or take the plunge and book in for an Xtreme Shark Feed!
If you’re with family stay at the Quest Manly – their Two Bedroom Apartments accommodate up to 5 guests. The hotel is located adjacent to the Manly ferry terminal and within easy walking distance to the beach and pedestrian plaza. If you’re trying to impress, however, you’ll need a chic hotel. The boutique Sebel Manly Beach fits the bill.
Palm Beach is Sydney’s most northern shores. It’s residents are seriously cashed up, so it makes for some excellent house-gawking. Our tips? Dine at Jonahs (Whale Beach). Take a yacht charter or FantaSea ferry trip. Or if you’re a soapie junkie, a Home and Away tour is a must!
Sydney is a lively city during the week, but once business hours are over, the CBD is pretty quiet. Head out to one of the beach areas and relax for the weekend, then return to the city refreshed and ready to hit the shops and sightseeing!