Things to do in Sydney

Best Beaches to visit in Sydney, Australia

Get out your sunscreen and swim gear — Sydney beaches have swimming opportunities and golden sand to spare.

Big cities and beaches don't always go hand in hand, but Sydney is an exciting exception. With a short trip from the central business district (CBD), a lineup of spectacular beaches waits to welcome eager tourists and locals alike.

Sydney beaches are clean, patrolled by lifeguards, and impeccably maintained. Most can be accessed via public transportation, so there's no need to worry about parking, traffic, or taxi rides.

No matter when you're visiting, a trip to the beach is one of the best things to do in Sydney. Before you set out for the day, it's important to create an itinerary. Local beaches are scattered along a long stretch of coastline and often separated by long distances. A bit of planning can help you make the most of your time.

Eastern Suburbs

The eastern suburbs of Sydney are home to some of the most sought-after real estate in the city, and the beaches are a big part of the appeal. The 6 km stretch from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach is lined with a series of breathtaking spots to swim, surf, and sunbathe.

If you're staying in the CBD, these are some of the most accessible beaches in town.

1. Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is the most famous beach in Sydney — and maybe all of Australia. This picturesque spot features a wide, crescent-shaped strip of sand and expansive views. If you're looking for a party vibe, Bondi Beach is the place to be. Crowds of locals and tourists flock there in the summer to swim and surf.

When the weather is cooler, traipse south along Bondi Beach to Bronte Coastal Walk to enjoy the view of the Bondi Icebergs Club and its iconic seaside pool. The club is also home to one of our favorite Sydney restaurants with a view.

It's easy to reach Bondi Beach from the CBD, even if you don't have a car. Take a bus from Circular Quay, or hop on a train to Bondi Junction and walk or bus the rest of the way. Plan to get there early if you want a prime spot on the sand, as the beach fills up quickly in the summer.

Photographer: Belle Co

2. Coogee Beach

The southernmost of the eastern Sydney beaches, Coogee Beach is known for its great swimming and soft, golden sand. It's often busy, but the atmosphere is quieter than Bondi Beach. In fact, this beach is a favorite among local families.

For the ultimate relaxing experience, spend a few hours floating in the protected rock pools at the southern end of the beach. When you're ready for a bite to eat, the bars and restaurants across Arden Street have plenty to offer.

Coogee Beach is accessible by bus from downtown Sydney. Feeling energetic? Put on some sturdy shoes, and hike north along the cliffs on the 6-kilometer Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. The scenery is spectacular, and it's a great way to see Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Bondi beaches.

3. Tamarama Beach

Tucked into the cliffs just south of Bondi Beach, Tamarama Beach is the perfect spot for sunbathing. Due to the unpredictable conditions, you won't see many swimmers. Most people come to enjoy the peaceful vibe. Since there are no bars or restaurants on the beach, it tends to attract a quiet crowd.

We love this beach for a preshow nap in the sunshine. It's easy to spend an entire afternoon reading and admiring the view. There's a bus stop at Tamarama Park, but the beach is also an easy walk from both Bondi Beach and Bronte Beach.

Looking for the best Instagram pic? Climb around the rocky outcroppings on Tamarama Point for the perfect angle.

4. Bronte Beach

Walk a few minutes south from Tamarama Beach, and you'll happen upon Bronte Beach. Just as beautiful as Bondi Beach but decidedly more relaxed, it's one of the best beaches in the eastern suburbs. This is the kind of place where families enjoy picnics in the large, grassy beach park while sunseekers stretch out in the sand.

You can swim with caution at Bronte Beach, but the Bogey Hole at the southern end may be more appealing. A ring of rocks creates a swimming hole, a favorite among local children. It's right next to the Bronte Baths, a popular ocean pool.

Public transportation links are available nearby, but most routes require a bit of a walk to the beach itself.

Photographer: madeleine ragsdale

5. Clovelly Beach

Just south of Bronte Beach, a long, narrow bay extends deep into the cliffs. At the far end is tiny Clovelly Beach, one of the best swimming spots in eastern Sydney. You'll feel the city fade away as you walk down to the sand, where a border of lush trees acts as a barrier. Bring your snorkel gear to check out marine life, or simply enjoy a leisurely swim.

The beach itself is extremely narrow, but don't let that dissuade you. You can always spread your beach blanket on the concrete piers that line the bay. The nearest bus stops are located off of Arden Street, a 10-minute walk from the sand.

Photographer: Andy Wang

Northern Beaches

If you're a surfer, the northern beaches are where you'll find it. Non-surfers can also find their fair share of things to do. This area is overflowing with laid-back vibes and classic Sydney beach culture.

6. Manly Beach

Manly Beach is another of Sydney's most famous beaches. It has its own aesthetic, thanks to the row of massive Norfolk Island pine trees that separate the city from the sand.

This has long been a popular beach for surfers. Beginners come to learn on the southern end, while the pros head to the northern Queenscliff area. The beach is 1.5 km long, so there's plenty of space to relax and go for a swim.

The trip to Manly Beach is part of the fun. Head to Circular Quay, and hop on the Manly Fast Ferry. The ride offers beautiful views of the city, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House. Since the ferry takes just 18 minutes, our performers love to pop out to Manly to relax before a show.

7. Freshwater Beach

Although it's just a quick walk north of Manly Beach, Freshwater Beach has a completely different vibe.

Set between two rocky headlands, this large, sandy beach offers accessible swimming for people of all skill levels. You'll also spot boogie boarders and beginning surfers. The beach is so kid-friendly that the parking areas tend to fill up quickly with families on weekends.

Walk along the cliffside path on the north end of the beach to find a rock pool. Swim laps, or simply hang out on the side and gaze out at the view. Keep in mind that public transportation is limited in this area, but you can always grab a taxi or walk over from Manly.

8. Curl Curl Beach

As you might guess from the name, Curl Curl Beach is one of the best beaches in Sydney for surfing. Intermediate surfers, in particular, flock here year-round. Not ready to hang ten? The beach is 1.2 km long and surrounded by a grassy area, so it's still a charming escape from the busy city.

If you're interested in swimming, head to the northern end of the beach. It offers a protected lagoon and a rock pool. Getting to Curl Curl is a bit of a journey, especially if you're hauling a surfboard. Fortunately, there's a bus stop near the southern end, and taxis are plentiful.

Photographer: Thomas Yohei

9. Dee Why Beach

Dee Why Beach is located next to a bustling suburb, making it one of the busiest northern beaches in Sydney. Buses stop along Pittwater Road, a 10-minute stroll from the beach.

You can swim at Dee Why Beach, but make sure you stay within the flagged areas. Locals often prefer the rock pools at the southern end of the beach. If you're bringing kids, there's even a separate children's pool and a nearby playground.

Surfing is the real draw at Dee Why Beach, especially around the point break. If you're visiting at the right time, you might even be able to catch one of the annual surf competitions that take place on the beach.

10. Narrabeen Beach

Narrabeen Beach is a bit of a distance from the Sydney CBD. Expect a 30-minute car ride or an hour on the bus, but it's worth the trip. Stretching for 3 km, it offers something for every beach-goer.

Families hang out at the lagoon on the north end, while surfers populate the North Narrabeen break. If you want to relax and swim, it's a breeze to find a quiet spot on the sand. To stay safe, keep an eye on the flags, and stay near the multiple lifesaving stations.

When the weather is rough, we love to head up to the northern end of the beach for a windy walk through the headlands. A rock pool near the point offers panoramic views of the beach. You can also kayak or paddleboard in the lagoon.

Photographer: Anthony Gomez

Southern Sydney

Southern Sydney offers a huge variety of beautiful beaches. Want a bustling suburban beach or a tidal pool? Check out the beaches around Cronulla. Prefer to get off the beaten path? Hop in the car and head south to Royal National Park, where the sand is pristine and the scenery is wild.

11. Cronulla Beach

Block out plenty of time for a trip to Cronulla Beach. It's easy to spend an entire day swimming, surfing, trying local restaurants, and exploring the shops along the esplanade.

There are a few areas to explore. The main Cronulla Beach is located in Cronulla State Park to the north. Backed by a large park area with dunes and greenery, it feels like a wilderness escape. As you walk south on the same strip of sand, you'll discover the more urban Wanda Beach, Elouera Beach, North Cronulla Beach, and South Cronulla Beach.

Cronulla Beach offers something no other Sydney ocean beach can match: It's accessible by train. Hop off at Cronulla Station, which is a few blocks from South Cronulla Beach. From there, you can walk north along the sand.

12. Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach, one of Sydney’s most unique beaches, is tiny but beautiful. This small stretch of rocky coastline is located in Shelly Park near Cronulla. A tiny sand beach borders a rock pool, creating a swimming spot for kids and adults. Beyond the sand, a spacious, grassy lawn offers extra room to relax.

For parents, this super-accessible spot is one of Sydney's best-kept secrets. Paved, stroller-friendly paths run directly to the pool. When the kids get restless, send them to the park playground to burn off some energy. It's fully enclosed and offers a range of equipment, so little ones can fly high on the swings like our aerial acrobats.

If you're coming from the CBD, the best way to reach the beach is by car. It's a long trip by train or bus.

13. Gunnamatta Bay

If you want a relaxed swim, head straight to the netted Gunnamatta Bay Tidal Baths. They offer an experience unlike any other beach in Sydney. You can splash around near the shore or walk out to the pool on the long wooden dock in Gunnamatta Park. It's surrounded by docks to keep out passing boats.

While Gunnamatta Bay doesn't offer much in the way of views, it's often less crowded than the rest of Sydney's beaches. The adjacent park has all the facilities you need, including a playground and bathrooms — and it's a quick walk from Cronulla Station.

14. Wattamolla Beach

The Wattamolla picnic area and beach is one of the few Sydney beaches that are only accessible by car. It's located inside Royal National Park, about 32 miles south of the CBD. But the drive pays off handsomely. You'll arrive to discover a lagoon, a forest-lined ocean beach, and an abundance of scenic paths to explore.

Visitors to Wattamolla Beach have plenty of activities to choose from. Pack your snorkeling gear, and swim along the rocky floor of the lagoon, or take a kayak or paddleboard to explore the waterfall at the far end. You can swim on the ocean side of the beach, but bear in mind that lifeguards are present only during the summer months.

15. Garie Beach

Sydney beaches are uniformly gorgeous, but the Garie Beach picnic area might just take the top honor. Tree-covered cliffs rise dramatically on either side of this sandy spot, giving it a wild, remote feeling. Make sure your phone is fully charged. If you're anything like us, you'll be snapping photos all afternoon.

Like Wattamolla Beach, Garie Beach is located in Royal National Park and is only reachable by car. Pack plenty of snacks and find a private spot to set up camp on the shore. In the winter, you can watch whales swimming off the coast; summer brings surfing and swimming. Try your hand at surf fishing, and you might even reel in something special.

Why Sydney’s Stunning Beaches Are a Must-Visit

Sydney beaches are an integral part of the city's culture. They're closely tied to the outdoor lifestyle and laid-back attitude that residents and visitors adore. From Bondi Beach's swarming shores to the rugged beauty of remote Garie Beach, each one offers a glimpse into the Aussie experience.

After days spent baking in the brilliant Australian sun, see the other side of the city at one of our groundbreaking shows in Sydney for an experience you’ll never forget.

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