Sydney is one of those places in the world that can boast of its beautiful, white sandy beaches. Facing the Pacific Ocean, from Palm Beach in the north down to Cronulla in the south, the picturesque beauty and great surfing conditions of Sydney beaches are typical of what you’ll find along most of the Australian eastern seaboard.
The more notable Sydney beaches such as Bondi, Coogee, Manly, Cronulla, Bronte and Clovelly can be enjoyed all year round, with delightful cafes and eating places, spectacular views and interesting walking tracks.
Sydney Beaches at a Glance
From family fun to world surfing destinations, whether you just want to relax and enjoy the view, or bring out the iron man in you, these Sydney beaches will satisfy every need.
Palm Beach Escape
Palm Beach sits on a beautiful peninsula an hour north of Sydney with the ocean on one side and tranquil Pittwater on the other. Palm Beach is the perfect place for dining out, with options ranging from luxurious Barrenjoey House to the shabby-chic Boathouse. Fans of the iconic Australian TV show Home and Away will know Palm Beach for its starring role as Summer Bay.
If you enjoy surfing or coastal walks, head to Palm Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches for great surf and easy walks along the beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Palm Beach wharf makes the perfect fishing spot for the kids and you can all unwind at a waterside cafe.
The northern section of Palm Beach boasts great surfing conditions, while the southern end of the beach offers a protected environment for swimming. It houses a 35m ocean pool ideal for laps or paddling with children in the shallow end.
Bondi Beach Lifestyle
At any time of the year, Bondi Beach is a buzzing morning, late afternoon and night-time scene. Enjoy a tasty coffee and some breakfast before walking the Bondi to Coogee coastline. Take in a long, lazy lunch in one of the suburb’s excellent restaurants. Among the dining options is Sean’s Panaroma, a landmark of Bondi culture. It offers a mix of classic Italian and Australian dishes as well as superb views of the beach and ocean. At the other end of the beach, you’ll find Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, with its stunning views. Join the queue at Gelato Messina – it will give you time to make your choice from the daily ice cream specials board. Finish a perfect day in Bondi with a cocktail as you rub shoulders with popular Sydney stars who call this beachside icon home.
Surfers of all skill levels head to Bondi Beach to try out the waves. If you’re a beginner, there are several excellent surf schools that offer lessons year-round. Protected areas make it easy for novices to learn, while the more experienced surfers head to the south end of the beach.
If you prefer golfing to surfing, you can mix in a spot of whale watching between May and November from the nine-hole, cliff-top golf course.
Bronte Beach and Clovelly
Located between Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach and the beautiful beach havens of Coogee, Clovelly and Bronte are two seaside gems of the eastern suburbs. These less-populated beaches are no less beautiful than their neighbours, and have been long-time local favourites.
One of the best ways to explore Bronte and Clovelly is to follow the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney’s most famous ocean-front walk. A slice of Sydney that is great for surfing and people-watching, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk also plays host to Sculpture by the Sea, a free beachside sculpture exhibition which has been held to much acclaim every October.
Coogee Beach for Laid Back Lifestyle
Coogee is a lovely suburban beach 40 minutes by bus from the city centre, It delivers all the laid-back trademarks of Sydney’s beachside lifestyle. A year round favourite, you’ll find plenty of things to do including walks, swimming, surfing and snorkeling. Or relax on the white sands. There are cafes, restaurants and pubs serving delicious food and cool drinks.
Coogee is one of Sydney’s oldest beachside suburbs and has the last remaining women’s and children’s ocean bath in Australia. A buzzing cafe, bar and restaurant scene makes Coogee a popular destination for delicious food and spectacular ocean views.
Beach culture is at the heart of this suburb and the patrolled beach makes for great swimming under the supervision of surf lifesavers. For a relaxing swim in calming waters, Coogee also has two ocean baths; Wylie’s Baths, just a few hundred metres south of Coogee beach, and McIvers Baths, the last remaining women’s and children’s ocean bath in Australia, perched on the headland between Coogee Beach and Wylie’s Baths.
Maroubra for Surfing
Famous for its consistent waves, Maroubra Beach is a popular destination for experienced surfers and beginners keen to learn from the local experts. The beach is 40 minutes by bus from the city centre. You can take a bus from Hyde Park, opposite Bathurst Street.
Located between Malabar Headland National Park to the south and Jack Vanney Memorial Park to the north, the beach is popular with families who are drawn to the beach’s picnic areas, shaded playgrounds and safe rock pools. The Bay Hotel is nearby as well as surf shops and cafés.
Maroubra Beach is the best surfing beach in the eastern suburbs, popular with experienced surfers who enjoy the consistent reef and beach breaks. A decent swell brings three or four beach breaks to life, and on a happening day, board-riders are spread along the length of the beach.
Cronulla for Outdoor Lifestyle
An iconic Australian beach, Cronulla is on the register of National Surfing Reserves and is a favourite with families, swimmers, and surfers alike.
A laid-back beachside suburb, Cronulla’s outdoor lifestyle includes water sports such as surfing, sailing, kayaking and fishing. For bushwalkers, a ferry ride from Cronulla across the sparkling Port Hacking to the pretty village of Bundeena is a wonderful way to get to the Royal National Park.
Near Cronulla train station is the Tonkin Street Public Wharf, where ferries depart for Bundeena and the Royal National Park, among the oldest national parks in the world. Cronulla Ferries also offers various cruises of Port Hacking and the Hacking River including a three-hour discovery tour where you’ll learn about colonial explorers, historical settlements and local Aboriginal cultural heritage.
The Royal National Park and nearby Heathcote National Park, in Waterfall, are two of Sydney’s best wilderness areas for bushwalking, picnicking, fishing and camping.
Manly for Family Activities
Manly offers a harmonious balance of carefree beach life and urban sophistication that makes it one of Sydney’s most popular playgrounds. Whether you are looking to surf, swim, shop or wine and dine, you’ll be able to thoroughly immerse yourself in Manly. For spectacular views, take a ferry from Circular Quay across majestic Sydney Harbour to Manly Wharf.
Manly’s long ocean-side stretch of sand, running all the way from Queenscliff Beach to North Steyne Beach and Manly Beach, has long held a strong attraction for walkers, bathers and surfers alike. The smooth waves make it the perfect place to try your hand at surfing.
By ferry from Circular Quay, near the Sydney Opera House, it is 30 minutes across the deep blue Sydney Harbour to Manly Wharf. Those who fully succumb to the sunny charms of the area can find a wide variety of accommodation to suit all needs, from plush hotels, homely bed and breakfasts to apartment options.
Mona Vale for a Northern Adventure
Mona Vale is effectively two separate beaches separated by a broad ocean rock platform. Waves that roll in along the southern edge of the platform surge into a gully that allows them to break smoothly and with considerable power. The undertow this creates can be troublesome to swimmers, so it’s just as well the gully is right beside the surf club’s patrolled swimming area.
Heading south towards Warriewood, Mona Vale opens up as a series of fun, uncrowded beach breaks known as Cooks Terrace. The bay to the north of Mona Vale proper is called The Basin, and here you’ll find a small right-hand reef break, perfect for cruising on a long board. The rock platform which splits the beach in two has a 25 metre ocean-fed lap pool (free entry) and a smaller pool for the children.