New South Wales and, in particular, Sydney is known for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches, and with so many to choose from; how do you know where to find the best place to visit when you only have a short time in Sydney? So, anyone who lives in this part of the world, gets asked “where do I find Sydney’s best beaches?” on a regular occasion. However, it is not as easy to answer as you may think, so instead of giving you just one, we have decided to collate a list of some of the best locations across Sydney.
Table of Contents
The Best Sydney beaches with Sydney Harbour views
Balmoral Beach is a real gem! It is more like a bay than a beach, making it the perfect place to swim, especially for the little ones, with Crystal clear water, beautiful soft sand, grassy park areas for families, a playground for the kids, and lots of choices for places to eat. Unfortunately, parking is expensive and is limited, so get there early if you can!
Recommendation: If you decide to visit this beach for breakfast or lunch, you must try The boathouse, not just for the delicious food but for the incredible views overlooking the water.
You might not be able to see the Sydney Opera House from here, but you can see a spectacular harbour. You can also try your hand at stand up paddling, consider swimming in the crystal clear water, and perhaps lay on the warm golden sand and of course, eat fish and chips from the iconic Doyles. So arrive by ferry and spend an afternoon at the Watson Bay Boutique and see for yourself why so many people come to this gorgeous part of Sydney all through the year.
Recommendation: Spoil yourself and book a table at Doyles on the Beach restaurant. What better way to spend an afternoon or evening eating delicious seafood overlooking the water?
This pint-sized slice of heaven with soft golden sand and glistening aqua colour water is one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. Most people opt for a massive beach with many amenities; however, if you are like me and want a quiet, more intimate place to swim, this is the place for you. Camp Cove is approximately five minutes walk from Watsons Bay ferry, and its calm waters will entice even the sceptic of swimmers to pop in and go for a dip.
Recommendation: Come by ferry and enjoy the whole experience of this fantastic little beach. Bring your snorkelling gear and enjoy a day looking at the beautiful marine life in the pristine waters of Camp Cove.
Milk beach has fantastic Sydney harbor and Sydney city views! It is also part of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk. This beach might be smaller and quieter, but it definitely packs a mean punch when it comes to knock out views. Tucked away in Hermit Bay, this little beauty is a great place to grab a picnic basket and spend the day. There are no toilets or cafes here, so you really are secluded – which makes it even more special.
Recommendation: Visit heritage-listed Strickland House in Sydney Harbour National Park. Here you can explore the magnificent building and its gardens.
If you are only ever going to head to this part of Sydney once, this is the beach to visit. Why? Because it pretty much ticks all the boxes, from picnic areas to gorgeous harbour views, it has it all. Neilson Park is great for families as it is one of the few beaches in this area with a shark net. Although there is ample on-street parking, it does fill up pretty quickly, especially in summer.
Recommendation: If you are planning on making a day of it and would like to explore this area a little more, start the Hermitage Foreshore Walk at Vaucluse and end in Neilson Park, with a swim in one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches.
The Best Sydney beaches in the Northern Beaches district
This famous Sydney beach is most well known for filming Home and away, a long-running Australian tv program. However, this beautiful stretch of golden sand has a lighthouse that is worth a visit. With the most amazing views from the Barrenjoey lighthouse, you can see both the ocean beach on one side and, in contrast, the calmer side of Pittwater on the other – totally worth the small hike.
Recommendation: Try a location tour of Home and Away with an experienced guide, who can answer any questions you may have about this iconic location.
Another of Sydney’s most popular beaches with tourists is Manly. Travel from Circular Quay by ferry, and you will soon realise the journey is just as unique as the final destination. There is something special about Manly, whether it is the fantastic length of golden sand or the many restaurants and cafes to eat at along the shoreline. This busy beach area gives you the option of waves on one side and calm Sydney harbour on the other.
Recommendation: Try your hand at snorkelling at Manly and Shelly Beach with a professional guide. They will be able to show you the best place to find the prettiest ocean life!
The Best Sydney beaches in the Eastern Suburbs
Bondi beach is one of Australia’s most iconic locations, with celebrities being papped here, movies being filmed here, and many bars and well-known restaurants located here; who doesn’t want to visit Bondi Beach? Although many complain that this well known Sydney Beach is overcrowded with too many tourists, you can not deny its beauty. Much bigger than most beaches in the Eastern Suburbs, with an outdoor gym, skatepark, playground and bbq areas, there are many things to see and do here.
Recommendation: You can not go to Bondi without visiting Bondi Icebergs. The view is fantastic, and the food is delicious.
Bronte might be lesser-known, and it also might be the quieter beach on this coastal front, but it is for that reason, this beach is one of the best in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. All the beaches are linked, and all the beaches have a different feel to them. Although this beach is excellent for surfing, it can be challenging at times for swimmers. So if you are only after a great location to have a quick dip and spend the rest of the time watching from the sand, then this is your beach!
Recommendation: Enjoy a dip at Bronte rock pool (one of my favourites), known for having one of the oldest winter swimming clubs in the world, take a dip in this famous rock pool and see why people have been coming here all year round for decades.
Coogee Beach is a great place for families, with calmer waves than its neighbours; you will see your little ones having fun for hours (it also has a fantastic playground)! With ample spots to picnic and barbeque, a day at Coogee is a day enjoying what Sydney’s beaches are all about, and it is high up there on the “must-do” things in Sydney during Summer. With two fantastic rock pools at either end of the beach, this little charmer will steal your heart forever.
Recommendation: The Coogee to Bondi Walk is gaining in popularity with newly created signs and pathways to enjoy the most amazing views; you need to try this great coastal walk at least once in your life.
This beach is a little unique as it still has the charm of Sydney without the bells and whistles that other more popular beaches have now. With restaurants and cafes to keep you well-nourished on your day at the beach and a few kiosks to ensure you don’t have to walk too far. You also have a skate park, playground and loads of areas to picnic and barbeque. If you walk a little further up the road, you will find one of the best rock pools in Sydney. It is an excellent beach for surfing, and if you swim between the flags, it is a perfect place for a beach with a few sound waves.
Recommendation: Walk the Maroubra to Malabar Coastal walk for an uninterrupted first-class view of the ocean.
The Best Sydney Beaches in The Sutherland Shire
There are some beautiful beaches in the Sutherland Shire, but nothing beats the stretch of golden sand of Cronulla Beach; why? Because it has everything, you need for a day at the beach. There are loads of places to park, an indoor swimming complex, an outdoor rock pool, picnic areas, loads of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, and a train station across the road. Include a couple of playgrounds for the kids and a beautiful coastal trail that spans down to Oak Beach Park, and then bingo; you pretty much have a day full of things to keep everyone busy.
Recommendation: Spend an afternoon sipping cocktails overlooking the water at Cronulla RSL. The food is good, the view is sensational, and the cocktails are delicious.
You can be mistaken for never having heard of this pretty little area in the Sutherland Shire. Most will have heard of Shelly Beach in the Northern Beaches, famous for its snorkelling, but this little oasis has something special too. The rock pools here are what most locals come from; they are free and fabulous to do laps. There are great little cafes nearby and a kiosk, so no need to walk to Cronulla for your basic needs.
Recommendation: The Cronulla Coastal Walk is busy any time of the year but specifically during summertime. Don’t let that deter you, as it is a great place to finish your coastal walk and a highly recommended place to drop the blanket and picnic basket.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!
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