Whether it’s the perfect wave you’re after or a spot of peace and quiet, Sydney has hundreds of beaches to choose from. Among the most popular beaches are Bondi, Coogee, North Narrabeen, Manly, Cronulla and Maroubra, but popular doesn’t always mean the best.
Here’s a look at the best Sydney beaches to explore:
Affectionately called ‘Glamarama’ by the locals, Tamarama is a beach where the uber cool go to sunbathe and relax. Just 1km south of Bondi and only a couple of hundred meters north of Bronte Beach, Tamarama is a small cove wedged between two protruding sandstone headlands. Be aware, however, that Tamarama is home to some very dangerous rips.
Milk Beach is a small and isolated beach that feels like your own private hideaway. Off the beaten track, Milk Beach is within the Sydney Harbour National Park and offers dramatic views of Sydney. Access to Milk Beach is limited.
A small and tranquil beach, Clovelly is a great place to snorkel and spot moray eels, blue gropers, and more. Particularly popular with family groups and the elderly, Clovelly is considered a safe swim for novice swimmers.
Just a 15-minute stroll from busy Manly is the less crowded Shelly Beach, a hotspot for local divers. The beach forms part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a protected marine reserve, and the showers, toilets, kiosk, and bbq’s make it a popular spot for family picnics.
A relatively quiet beach, Jibbon Beach offers two spots for fishermen to reach deep water and its crescent-shaped sandy strand fronts the bush.
Located just a stone’s throw from the surfie suburb of Avalon, Clareville Beach is a front seat to Pittwater. Featuring a long stretch of sand and smooth water, this delightful bay is perfect for families, paddleboarders, and sunbathers alike.
A favourite for local families, Shark Beach is located in the Sydney Harbour National Park and is protected by shark nets. Offering plenty of shade and spectacular views, Shark Beach also offers an esplanade and extensive park.
Just a short walk from Manly is the beautiful family-friendly Freshwater Beach, the rumoured birthplace of Australian surfing. There is also an eight-lane 50-metre saltwater pool.
Sitting between two spectacular headlands and located in the affluent town of Point Piper, Lady Martin’s beach is a long and often secluded stretch of beach. Privately owned, so access is extremely limited.
With stunning harbour views, Watsons Bay makes for perfect photos and an authentic Sydney experience. Doyles on the Beach is one of Sydney’s best-loved seafood restaurants and food can be worn off with a picturesque stroll on the Coastal Walk.
Steeped in history, Watsons Bay is home to several buildings that date back to the 19th century, including the beautiful St Peter’s Church.
If you’re after a relaxed dip, there are no waves to be seen at Chinaman’s, one of Sydney’s safest beaches. At just 250-metres, the stretch of sand is small, but breathtaking.
An idyllic harbourside beach, Redleaf Beach is located in the prestigious Double Bay precinct and offers swimmers a large tidal enclosure to swim in. The wrap around pontoon is lovely to walk on, and the cafe is a great place to take in the Harbour Bridge views.
For kids, Congwong Beach is perfect, being just a short 100 metre stroll from the car park and offering safe swimming. Located opposite Botany Bay, Congwong Beach has little surf, but it does offer a ‘clothes optional’ section. La Perouse is also a great spot to tour former military fort Bare Island.
Bronte Beach is another place where the cool hang out, and celebrities such as Heath Ledger and Sarah Murdoch are among the famous people that have called it home. Three Blue Ducks offers one of the best breakfasts in Sydney, and there’s plenty of smoothie stops on Bronte Road.
Balmoral Beach is surrounded by palatial homes, expensive yachts and great views of the harbour. Popular with dog walkers and rollerbladers, Balmoral offers shark nets and a spectacular Bather’s Pavillion.
One of Newport’s best features is a broad flat rock platform at the south end of the beach. The full-size saltwater lap pool is also a big hit with the locals, and with the main stretch of shops within metres of the sand it’s the perfect place for food and fun with the family.
An aquatic reserve that aims to protect marine life, Cabbage Tree Bay is popular with underwater photographers, snorkellers and kayakers. Fishing is not permitted.
Dee Why Beach is a fun place to be and is home to such first-class sporting events, as the Beachley Classic, Sun Run and Ocean Thunder. It’s also a popular place to be on Australia Day and New Year’s Eve. Featuring a great kids playground, colourful ping pong table, awesome swell and great cafes, Dee Why offers something for everyone.
A perfect stretch of white sand, Long Reef is home to a protected headland that makes a great vantage place for spotting migrating whales. Long Reef also offers a golf course and reliable breaks.