5 must visit beaches in Sydney

Freshwater Beach, Sydney
Freshwater Beach, Sydney. Credits: Luke Thompson

Sydney: a metropolis that combines one of the world’s most stunning coast lines with a buzzing, vibrant and diverse city. Listing the best beaches in Sydney is considered an impossible task. With far more than your average city’s fair share of beaches to choose from, one is definitely spoilt for choice! As a native Sydneysider, I take the business of beaches very seriously. In saying that, here is my selection of beaches and coves (in no particular order) which you can’t leave Sydney without visiting.

Bronte Beach
Like a comforting cuddle from your significant other, Bronte is hugged by high headlands and boasts excellent picnic spots with a mini outdoor gym for you to use at any time of the day. Whether you’re in for a tanning session, a refreshing swim or keen on jumping on your surfboard, Bronte has something for everyone. Only a short coastal walk from the famous and notoriously crowded Bondi beach, Bronte is a great option for those wanting to soak up the stunning views away from the chatter of the tourists and backpackers crawling Bondi. Grab a freshly squeezed juice or enjoy a Sydney brunch at one of the many sunny cafes which sit along Bronte Road and have magnificent views of the surf and beyond. Did I mention that Bronte also boasts a very Instagramable rock pool?

Bronte Beach in Sydney

Bronte Beach, Sydney

Bronte Beach in Sydney

Bronte Beach, Sydney

Shelly Beach
This little gem on the Northern Beaches of Sydney is not to be missed and is only a short distance from the famous Manly beach. Arguably, the best part about your visit to Shelly is the journey there. Jump on a ferry from Circular Quay in Sydney’s CBD and enjoy a blissful 30 minute ride direct to Manly, take a stroll through the bustling promenade followed by a quick 5 – 10 minute scenic coastal walk from Manly Beach and you’ll find yourself in heaven. With a maximum depth of only 12m, this beach offers a diverse mix of coral and marine life in shallow waters and is known as one of the best spots in Sydney for scuba divers and snorkelers. This north facing sheltered beach means you’ll always catch the gorgeous sunset but never be bothered by the wind and thus is a great choice for a picnic. Better yet, grab one of the six barbecues located behind the sand banks and make a day of it.

Shelly Beach in Sydney

Shelly Beach, Sydney

Freshwater Beach
Freshwater is a landmark beach which gave birth to the surfing culture that now dominates Australia. Way back in 1915, Hawaiian born Duke Kahanamoku famously fashioned a surfboard from a piece of timber and showed off his surfing skills to a riveted crowd. Freshwater is a great family beach with consistent waves perfect for surfing but also boasts a fairly long and safe shallow area for splashing around. The 50m, eight lane ocean pool is usually busy with lap swimmers, but venture a little bit to either side to explore the shallow rock pools filled with a diverse mix of sea creatures. If you’re feeling a little fancy, end your day at the award winning Pilu restaurant located practically on the sand banks and order their famous oven roasted suckling pig for two!

Freshwater Beach, Sydney

Freshwater Beach, Sydney. Credits: Luke Thompson

Freshwater Beach, Sydney

Freshwater Beach, Sydney. Credits: Tomo Hausler

Gordon’s Bay
Another great spot located in Clovelly; Gordon’s Bay is akin to your rocky secluded swimming spot in Southern Italy. Here, you’ll never need to worry about getting sand everywhere as visitors from all over Sydney spend the day perched upon the rocks lining this beautiful swimming spot. The Bay’s waters are always calm and sport a shimmering hue of turquoise, making it an unbeatable spot to spend on your lilo or exploring the crystal clear waters with your snorkel. Look out for vibrant starfish, anemones, cuttlefish and even baby sharks.

Gordon's Bay Sydney

Gordon’s Bay, Sydney

Palm Beach
Located an hours drive outside of Sydney CBD, this long stretch of sand is the most northerly one of the city. Most famously known as the shooting location for Australia’s beloved soap: Home and Away, Palm beach is a special stretch of coast line that has something for everyone; the north side boasting excellent surfing conditions and a protected swimming environment with a 35m ocean pool towards the south. Don’t forget to take a scenic walk towards the northern side of the beach up to Barrenjoey Head and around the lighthouse for excellent photo opportunities then explore the beach’s fine, golden sands and crystal clear waters. If all this exploring gets your tummy rumbling, make your way to the Boathouse for a lazy lunch or enjoy a cheeky Passionfruit Pavlova cocktail while soaking up the magnificent views.

Palm Beach, Sydney

Palm Beach, Sydney. Credits: Luke Thompson

I hope you have the chance to experience these beaches like a local. Comment below if you like the suggestions or have some other must visit Sydney beaches to share.

Psst. Do(n’t) tell!


About the author
Hi, i’m Emily. Born in Sydney, made in the world. I’m addicted to travelling and love throwing myself into exciting and sometimes uncomfortable experiences and adventures to ensure I always come out with the best stories. I’m currently living in bustling Dusseldorf, Germany and can’t wait to find out where the world will take me next! Follow my adventure on Instagram or Snapchat.

2 Comments

  • Mark Austin says:

    They all look gorgeous, if a little busy. Would you have any recommendations for somebody looking to get away from the crowds a bit?

    • Hey Mark,
      Balmoral beach is usually quiet during the week and very easily accessible. Close to that you will also find Chinaman’s beach. Milk Beach in Vaucluse is very secluded and definitely one I would recommend to you. If you’re in the area of the Northern Beaches then I would also suggest Warriewood Beach. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

      Happy swimming!
      Emily

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