Sydney is incredibly blessed with some of the most famous and beautiful beaches in the world – all that sand, sparkling blue ocean and a water temperature that never dips below mild. It’s entirely understandable why spending the day at the beach is a favorite pastime of Sydneysiders. Whether it is summer or winter, you can always find a handful of people on any beach at any location throughout the city.
Sydney is blessed with well over 100 beaches in the city, ranging in size from a few meters to several kilometers, located along the city’s Pacific Ocean coastline and its harbors, bays, and rivers.
Underneath I will show you 7 of my favorite and most pretty beaches that are in Sydney. From the uber-popular Bondi, Manly, and Palm Beach to the small and oh so pretty Gordons bay or Balmoral Beach.
1. BONDI BEACH
I have to start this list with probably the most iconic and most famous beach of them all – Bondi Beach.
Taking a dip at Bondi Beach is an absolute must. This world famous beach cannot be seen without having a dip in the ocean. Now be smart and swim between the flags, otherwise, you might be staring in an episode of Bondi Rescue. Although the ocean looks (often) pretty mellow, it can actually be quite tricky underneath the surface. Dangerous rips can be found all over the beaches and the Boys in Blue know how to spot them (Hallelujah!)
This beach does get pretty crowded, especially in the summer, but there is always a spot available somewhere.
GETTING THERE | If you’re traveling from the city to Bondi Beach, the bus often runs from Circular Quay and will take approximately 45 minutes. This bus is usually the 380 or 333 bus, and is close to ferry wharf number 2 (opposite the AMP buildings and Customs House).
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2. GORDONS BAY
Isn’t she pretty?! This bay has some of the bluest water you have ever seen. Truly breathtaking. Quietly nestled between Clovelly beach and Coogee beach, Gordons Bay is a small and secluded oasis that is worth a visit.
This little hidden nugget is great for snorkeling, it also has loads of little fishing boats dominating the beach. There’s however not a lot of sand at Gordons Bay. Protected by an offshore reef, it is a popular dive spot, the calm waters hide a unique underwater nature trail.
It can be found during the Bondi to Coogee walk and is the least-crowded of all six beaches and feels somewhat secret.
3. SHELLY BEACH
Shelly Beach is only a short walk from the north end of Manly Beach. Easily accessible along The Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture Walk.
Walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach and enjoy the stunning ocean scenery. This is a short fifteen-minute walk which begins at the Manly Surf Club at the south end of Manly Beach. The walk hugs the coastline all the way to Shelly Beach.
Gain insight into Cabbage Tree Bay’s unique marine life, plants, animals, history and attractions through eleven unique sculptures along the way. Snorkeling here is amazing as the fish are very used to people joining them. This beach is perfect if you want to look at some sea wildlife, but not make it too crazy.
4. MANLY BEACH
Named TripAdvisor’s number 1 beach in Australia in 2018 – Manly beach.
Now Don’t get me wrong, the beach is pretty cool but there is no flipping way this is the number 1 beach in Australia. (It got voted this because it gets a Hugh volume of visitors each day, therefore more people leaving a review).
The large beach is a great place for surfing and swimming. A busy beach that captures the iconic beach life that typifies one’s perception of Australia and allows both an opportunity to participate or observe the goings on at Manly.
An obvious one, but you have to take a dip at the famous surf beach – if it is open. The day that I was there it was closed due to massive swell and dangerous currents. If you are a surfer you would have had the time of your life that day. You can hire a board per the hour for $15,- if you are keen.
5. PALM BEACH
The golden sand of Palm Beach stretches for more than 2 kilometers and the colors in the water move between spectacular shades of turquoise and aqua. Simply stunning.
At the southern end of Palmy is a more protected environment for swimming and a rock pool for those who want to swim laps or play with their kids in calm waters. Since it is winter (even though it was 21 degrees on the day that I went) it was very quiet at the beach and you can just feel the daily grind melt away ahhh heaven!
There are two toilets on this beach. One at the northern end and one at the southern end, so no need to worry… they’ll be no pooping in the bushes at this beautiful beach.
Palm Beach is the furthest point north of Sydney.
GETTING THERE | To get there from the city, you will have to drive or catch L90 bus from Wynyard Station. It is a 1 hour and 45-minute bus drive to bring some music or a podcast with you. Also for people who get motion sick, towards the end, the route gets pretty narrow and windy so I got a bit queasy. Maybe pop a pill if you get motion sick quickly. You don’t want your day ruined.
6. BALMORAL BEACH
Balmoral has more of a “locals” vibe to it, giving it a feeling of home, relaxation, and family-friendly faces. It may also have a local feeling to it for me because this is my local beach haha! although over time people have found out how wonderfully amazing this little gem is, as I have definitely noticed an increase in the crowds over the past 5 years, nonetheless it still feels very chill whenever I visit and is always a sight for sore eyes. There are also a few really yummy restaurants situated at Balmoral(so you def won’t go hungry ;), from the fancy pants bathhouse to the ever so instagrammable boathouse cafe, pizza, and your classic Aussie fish n chip shop mmmmm yum! nothing beats fish and chips at the beach!
GETTING THERE | This stunning beach is located in the middle of the neighboring suburbs of Mosman and Spit Junction and is very accessible to get to by bus. If you are coming from the city then there is a direct line from Wynard – the 247 bus or if you are coming from Chatswood or the surrounding neighborhoods then the 257 is available to you.
You can also do an amazing trek from Balmoral beach to Taronga zoo – which is not only an absolutely stunning walk but you also get to see a lot of Sydney’s history along the way too… check out my post on it here.
7. COOGEE BEACH
The eastern suburbs chill out zone yea duuuuude! With calm surf, plenty of space and the perfect beach for all to enjoy, there won’t be a person on the planet young or old who could find a fault with Coogee. She is also the end of the Bondi to Coogee walk or the beginning haha depending on where you start and is situated about a 20-minute bus ride from the city.
Coogee is also a very hip area with numerous restaurants, beer gardens, and ever-increasing boutique shops, so you can swim, then eat, then shop, then swim again with maybe what you just bought from the shops, then end it all with a delicious cold one! (this means beer if you don’t know 🙂
GETTING THERE | Hop on bus 373 or 374 from Hyde Park. It will be about a 40-minute bus ride to get to the beach. It will cost $3.58 with an Opal Card.
Disagree with my list? Share your favorite secret beach in Sydney below.
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