While the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are undeniably Sydney’s most famous icons, there’s plenty more to explore in this amazing city. If the weather is nice (or just plain hot!), why not cool off at one of Sydney’s famous beaches.
Whether you’re looking for the best beaches for swimming or surfing, I’ve got you covered. As it’s located right on the coast, there are countless beaches to visit around Sydney.
If you’re ready to find your perfect Sydney beach, let’s dive in!
Overview Of Best Beaches In Sydney
Sydney beaches range from long sandy beaches with open sea excellent for surfing to sheltered coves swimmers will love. Depending on what you’re after, you will like different spots.
One of the best things to do is combine a beach day and a hike, as Sydney’s coastline is perfect for hiking, with many beaches along the trails.
Here are the beaches that have made our list:
- Bondi Beach
- Coogee Beach
- Balmoral Beach
- Bronte Beach
- Freshwater Beach
- Manly Beach
- Parsley Bay Beach
- Burning Palms Beach
- Resolute Beach
Bondi Beach must be the most famous beach in Australia. It is located about 7km east of Sydney making it one of the closest ocean beaches to the city, easily accessible by public transport.
What makes Bondi so famous? This iconic white sand beach is about 1km long, loved by surfers and swimmers alike. It is a great place to go for a swim, surf or just a stroll.
It is an excellent place for beginner surfers to learn the basics and for more advanced surfers to enjoy the powerful waves. On days when the waves seem too strong, you can swim in the saltwater sea baths on either end of the beach.
It is the only beach in Australia that is open year round, with activities such as surfing competitions, kite flying, festivals and markets.
Bondi has a village atmosphere with many coffee shops and quirky restaurants. It is also a starting point for the popular Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.
Next up is Coogee Beach, the end (or the starting point) of the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. It is one of the most popular beaches in Sydney, especially among families with small children.
Unlike its neighbour, this beach is more sheltered from the open sea, and the waves are much milder. You can swim in the sea or in one of the seawater rockpools on wavy days. McIver Ladies Baths on Coogee Beach is Australia’s only rock pool dedicated to women and children.
As it is a popular beach, there are many cafes and iconic “fish ‘n’ chips” restaurants around.
Balmoral is one of the best beaches for swimming in Sydney, as the sea is rather calm on this harbour beach. It is especially popular with families with kids, so if you’re looking for a serene space to relax, you might want to look elsewhere.
For those ready to embrace the energetic atmosphere of this family-friendly beach, there are numerous activities to try out – from Stand Up Paddling (SUP) to kayaking and scuba diving.
There are many cafes and restaurants along the Esplanade.
Bronte Beach might be the best all-around beach in Sydney. It is smaller than the nearby Bondi Beach, more laid back and family-friendly. This sandy beach is backed by cliffs and a park, perfect for those looking for shade on a hot summer day.
It is possible to swim in the sea, but on the days when waves are too strong, there is a rock seawater pool for protected swimming.
Bronte Park next to the beach has barbecue spots, so it’s great for full-day get-togethers with friends and family.
Freshwater Beach is one of the best surfing beaches around Sydney, and it is known as the birthplace of surfing in Australia. It is great for surfers of all levels, and shallow waters are great for those who want to cool down in the sea.
Swimmers can also enjoy a large, 50m rockpool in the north of the beach, a fantastic alternative for the days when waves are too strong.
A coastal walk along the Freshwater Beach will take you to another popular surfing beach, North and South Curl Curl Beach.
If you want to learn how to surf and you’re looking for a beach close to Sydney, Manly Beach should be on the top of your list. Just a short 30-min ferry ride from Circular Quay, and you’ll be there!
It is a great surfing spot. In fact, the world’s first surfing contest was held on Manly Beach in 1964. You can book a class at Manly Surf School and catch your first waves.
You’ll enjoy Manly beach even if you’re not surfing. There is a kid-friendly beach pool, lots of restaurants, rollerblading lanes and more! It’s one of the most fun places in Sydney for kids!
Manly Beach is the starting point for a spectacular 10km Manly to Spit Bridge walk.
Parsley Bay Beach
Parsley Bay Beach became Instagram famous for its picturesque suspended footbridge. The beach is part of the Parsley Bay Reserve, a calm green spot in the city with a children’s park.
The beach is kind of a hidden gem, and if you come in the morning on weekdays you might have it all for yourself. If you’re coming on weekends, be aware it is very popular with families.
The sea is calm, so it is perfect for swimming. With lots of trees around, it is easy to find shade and avoid the intense midday sun.
You can grab a coffee and a snack in a small cafe nearby.
Burning Palms Beach
Burning Palms is a perfect beach for those who want to get away from the crowds, and enjoy the untouched nature and tranquillity of the sea.
This beach is not easily accessible. You’ll have to hike to reach it, with the quickest route being 2km from the parking. That in itself deters many from coming, which means you might have the beach all to yourself!
This open sea beach is stunning, with incredible views, unique rock formations on either end and pristine sand.
Many people combine a visit to the beach with unique Figure 8 pools along the Royal Coast Track.
We’re closing this list with another remote beach, this time on the opposite side of Sydney. Resolute Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in Sydney. It is a sandy cove surrounded by lush greenery that looks like it belongs on a tropical island.
The beach is about 60m long and sheltered from strong waves, making it perfect for swimming.
There are two ways to reach the beach: by hiking or by boat from Palm Beach.
The Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is great for hiking. The trail to the beach is downhill when you go to the beach, but that means it will be an uphill trek to get back.
Summary: 9 Best Beaches In Sydney
And there you have it. The best beaches in Sydney that you can’t miss on your next visit to the Emerald city!
From iconic Bondi beach to locals’ favourite Coogee beach and remote beaches like Resolute beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice with beaches in Sydney.
Whether you’re a pro surfer, a beginner, or just want to splash around in the ocean and seawater rockpools, there is a perfect beach in Sydney for everyone.
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