When it comes to beaches, it’s hard to find a city that is Sydney’s equal.
Around 100 beaches are speckled around the harbor and along the coast, both north and south of the Harbour Bridge. The only vex for travelers and locals can be picking the best one.
Luckily, Sydney’s climate affords an adventure to most over the warmer seasons. To make it easy, this list of 15 is arguably the best of the best. Manly Beach
The lifestyle Mecca of Manly, often referred to as "God's Country." After alighting from the 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, there’s a sign at Manly Wharf that reads: “Five miles from the city, a million miles from care." Such is the lifestyle of “God’s Country.”
A cosmopolitan mall and promenade add to the sight of young, hip, beautiful and sun-kissed bodies. A day trip here is enough reason to consider relocating to the northern beaches. Whether it’s from the beach itself, or one of the nearby cafés, Manly is a pleasing place to catch a wave or simply to people-watch.
Manly Beach, South Steyne, Manly.
Just south of Bondi, Tamarama is a challenging swim, but a great view in more ways than one. Known as ‘Glamarama’ for the eye-catching locals sun-baking on the beach –- it’s traditionally been a haven for the gay and modeling communities.
Parking near the beach is impossible, but it’s worth the fight because the beach is as beautiful as the locals adorning it. Being small and intimate adds to the feeling that this is an exclusive beach reserved for the lucky ones.
A word of warning, though: it’s also one of Sydney’s most dangerous beaches, with two rips coming in from either side of the bay. While this makes it a haven for surfers catching waves from the northern head adjoining nearby McKenzies Beach, it can be tough if you’re not a strong swimmer. Tamarama Beach, Tamarama Marine Drive, Tamarama.
Iconic Bondi Beach, where cafés and restaurants are dotted around the district. Australia’s most famous beach is more than 100 meters wide and stretches for well over a kilometer. This allows plenty of space for the overwhelming amount of tourists -- and locals -- that park themselves along the sands. On a good day every grain of sand is covered with bodies, with crowds swelling into Bondi Park and into nearby bars and cafés.
It’s sometimes criticized for being too big, too busy, and too touristy –- but it’s also the hot spot for fashionable Sydneysiders and travelers and lots of fun.
Bondi Beach, Campbell Parade, Bondi.
The family-friendly Bronte Beach has the best barbecue spot in Sydney. Bronte’s sea pool offers a protected ocean swim and is regarded as one of the best in Sydney -- and much like beach culture itself, it’s free.
The nearby parkland has spacious barbecue areas for gatherings and is the most family-friendly beach in the eastern suburbs. On public holidays, the park becomes a sea of frenzy as parties take place.
Bronte’s east-facing beach picks up plenty of swell and swimming can be tricky at times thanks to the bulky headlands and underwater rocks. Waves can dump close to the shoreline.
But the vibes and views on offer make it ideal for those looking to laze around on the popular beach.
Bronte Beach, Bronte Marine Drive, Bronte.
Nielsen Park Beach
Adjoining a national park, the harbor beach feels secluded. It still calls itself the city’s “hidden secret” despite near-impossible parking and a crowded beach, but Nielsen Park is a little gem. The more adventurous can walk along the harbor foreshore through a national park to reach it.
It feels secluded, even though it’s packed, and has a quaint charm because it’s not touristy -- you won’t find a backpacker in sight.
The views back across the bays to the city center are impressive. A net, which makes it a family picnic or snorkeling special, encloses the swimming area.
Nielsen Park, Greycliffe Avenue, Vaucluse.