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The best beaches to hit up in Sydney this summer

Bondi Beach

When you think of Australia, there’s one thing that comes to mind: drop bears. But, really, you can’t imagine the land down under without picturing beautiful blue ocean and breathtaking sandy beaches. To help you make the most of Sydney’s summer, we’ve put together an insider’s guide to the best beaches: from the most popular beaches to the hidden coves.

Fortunately, many of our best beaches can be reached easily by public transport, making them super travel-friendly for tourists or beach-goers without a car. When heading to the beach, remember to always swim between the flags and listen to lifeguards. If it’s an unpatrolled beach, you can keep up to date on conditions by visiting Beach Safe for the latest info. And don’t forget to slip, slop, slap with an SPF 50+ sunscreen to avoid the dreaded sunburn. Now, on with the list!

1. Bondi Beach

It doesn’t get more iconic than this. One kilometre of golden sand, endless waves, a stunning oceanside pool and a bustling promenade just metres from the beach. What more could you want? If you’re happy to put up with the masses, this tourist’s paradise is worth a visit – and can be reached by a quick bus ride from Bondi Junction train station.


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2. Manly Beach

Another must-visit, Manly Beach is known for its lush white sand, perfect surf conditions and relaxed vibe, making it one of the most popular northern beaches. Manly can be reached by ferry from Sydney’s Circular Quay. Take a pre-swim hike by walking the picturesque Spit to Manly route – more on that later – or pop into neighbouring Shelly Beach or Freshwater Beach for a quieter day by the shore.

3. Coogee Beach

Home to many expats, Coogee Beach is known for calm surf, beach volleyball and an easy-going crowd. Not to mention, two stunning ocean pools with Wylie’s Baths and McIver’s Ladies Baths. Like Bondi and Manly, Coogee is the backdrop to a vibrant boulevard of restaurants and bars. Regular buses from the Sydney CBD make Coogee an easy option for tourists.

4. Palm Beach

If you’re a fan of Aussie TV show Home and Away, you may recognise the sandy shores as the backdrop for the fictional town of ‘Summer Bay.’ This Northern Beach staple is relatively quiet compared to Bondi or Manly, but it’s still a popular spot. Before jumping into the water, take a hike to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse for a scenic view of the beach.


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5. Cronulla Beach

Cronulla is a favourite among locals down south and tourists alike. Cronulla is the only Sydney beach that can be reached directly by train, and is wheelchair accessible with a free Beach Wheelchair and Mobi Mat service. The bustling bars, cafes and shops along the water are an added bonus, making this spot one of our busiest on a hot summer’s day.

6. Tamarama Beach

Due to the small size of the inlet and the deep water, Tamarama has strong surf and is prone to rips. It’s a stunning beach, surrounded by parklands, but it is considered a ‘surfing’ beach more than a swimming beach. We’d recommend keeping an eye on the conditions and listening out for announcements from lifeguards before dipping your toes in the ocean.

7. Clovelly Beach

A unique spot with concrete platforms and promenades on either side of the sandy bay, this is a family-friendly beach with plenty of room for soaking up the sun. The layout makes it feel more like a giant ocean swimming pool, with typically calm conditions. You can reach the beach by bus, or there’s a large free car park on the southern side.

On a foodie note: when you’re in Clovelly, be sure to check out Out Of The Blue for what *might* just be the best fish and chips in Sydney.


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Sydney’s quiet beaches

1. Chinamans Beach

With calm, crystal clear waters, Chinaman’s Beach is family-friendly and perfect for those who prefer swimming in flat ocean.

2. Curl Curl Beach

Unlike Chinamans Beach, Curl Curl in the north is known for having some of the biggest and best waves in Sydney. Though this beach is known for its swell, making it a popular destination for local surfers, the south side is popular with families and children as it has an ocean swimming pool.

3. Narrabeen Beach

Heading even further north, sun-seekers will stumble across Narrabeen Beach and Lagoon. The sandy shoreline stretches more than 3km, meaning there’s plenty of room for everyone! You can also check out nearby beaches Turimetta and Collaroy if you feel like extending your time in the area. Like many of our beachy suburbs, a trip to Narrabeen isn’t complete until you’ve visited the local pie shop, in this case a small café called Upper Crust.

4. Newport Beach

A relatively quiet beach in Sydney’s north, Newport is home to local surfers who take on the swell on the north end, while swimmers and body-boarders relax in the waves in the middle of the beach. With barbecues and picnic tables, it’s also a great spot to have a picnic with friends. Make a day of it and beach-hop to neighbouring Bilgola, Whale or Avalon Beach.


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5. Spit to Manly Walk

Yes, you guessed it, this is not a beach. This is a popular coastal walking track we Sydney-siders like to hike, due to its breathtaking scenery and the many chances to swim along the way. The 10km route takes you from the Spit Bridge to Manly Beach, weaving through stunning small beaches like Fairlight, Castle Rock, Clontarf and Reef Beach along the way.

6. Wattamolla Beach (Royal National Park)

Down south in the Royal National Park, Wattamolla has emerged as a favourite for Sydney-siders looking to explore the great outdoors. Take a hike through eucalyptus bushlands and you’ll arrive at this breathtaking golden beach with striking green waters. While you’re in the area you can see nearby Garie Beach and the Figure Eight pools in the park.

Like all national parks, the Royal National Park is prone to closure in Summer when threatened by bushfires. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their updates here.


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Sydney’s secret beaches and hidden bays

1. Blackwoods Beach

Down south near Cronulla, Blackwoods is a quieter option for those familiar with the area. With strong rips and no lifeguards on duty, it’s a beach for strong swimmers and surfers. Side note: it’s also a ‘clothing optional’ beach.

2. Camp Cove

One of Sydney Harbour’s hidden gems, Camp Cove is easily accessible from Watson’s Bay Ferry Wharf. The calm waters are perfect for a chill swim and the beach has a relaxed atmosphere. Keen to explore the region? Take a walk on the South Head Heritage Trail, which begins on the northern end of the beach.


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3. Gordons Bay

South of Clovelly and Coogee, this pocket-sized bay is a secluded oasis for those in the know. Plus, avid snorkelers and scuba divers can take a swim along the Gordons Bay Underwater Nature Trail for a little adventure.

4. Parsley Bay

Parsley Bay is an Instagrammer’s paradise, thanks to a suspension bridge connecting two sides of the bay. Resting above the water, it’s the perfect spot to take a look back and snap a shot of the white sandy shoreline. Dip your toes in the crystal clear waters, before drying off on the Parsley Bay bushland walking circuit (a 15 to 20-minute loop).

5. Collins Flat Beach

This secluded bay is a local favourite in the suburb of Manly, and a 30-minute walk from the Manly Ferry port. The idyllic nook has harbour views, lush surrounding greenery and, once again at the risk of repeating ourselves, beautiful still blue waters. What can we say, Australia has some stunning, colourful beaches!


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6. Resolute Beach

Up north in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, this beach should be on every Sydneysider and tourists bucket list. The emerald green water and the peaceful sandy shore is the perfect spot for a picnic and a swim! Take the Resolute Track or Resolute Loop Trail to reach the beach.

7. Sirius Cove

Buried behind trees in residential Mosman, Sirius Cove is a picturesque bay. It’s a family favourite – and dog friendly – cove just a short walk from Sydney’s famous Taronga Zoo.

8. Shark Beach

Spend the day beach-hopping on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk in Vaucluse. You can kick things off at Shark Beach, or do the trail in reverse and finish your walk with a dip in these calm, blue waters. See Milk Beach and Queen’s Beach along the walk if you really want to make a day of it!

9. Maitland Bay Beach

Nestled in the Bouddi National Park, this beach is about a 1-2 hour drive from the Sydney CBD. It’s a perfect day trip destination, though at this point we’re not in Kansas Sydney anymore – we’re on the Central Coast. You’ll find the beach at the end of a 2km return walking track through bushland. You can swim, relax after your hike and even spot the PS Maitland Shipwreck in low-tide.


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