Let's face it, a big draw card for visiting Sydney is the world famous Bondi beach. And whilst it's a beauty, there are so many others to choose from.
The best beaches in Sydney
Staggeringly, there are over 100 different beaches to choose from, and they're all different. It's what makes this city one of the best in the world and why so many people choose to emigrate here. So to help you out, we've written a blog on our top 10 beaches in Sydney.
Some of these are really well known and some are a little off the beaten track. Whether you're a beachbum, surfer or hiker, there's a beach for you on this list.
1. Manly Beach
The beautiful beach suburb of Manly can feel a world away from the rest of Sydney. In truth, it's just a short and very scenic 30 minute ferry ride. Here the pace slows down and everybody is pretty chilled. It's not unusual to see people walking around barefoot in the supermarket.
Lined by pines, the beach is incredibly picturesque and big enough that you will always find a bit of space to lay your towel. If you get tired of all that lounging around on the beach then you can head two minutes into town for a coffee or bit of lunch.
Bondi is one of those places that polarises people. Some love it, some hate it, but it's hard to deny it's famous for a reason. We love coming here early in the morning to watch the sunrise over this stunning stretch of sand, surrounded by the grass-topped cliffs and clear blue water.
We've seen dolphins from the cliff tops many times and have even been lucky enough to spot whales. It's almost home to the start of one of Sydney's greatest walks.
3. Curl Curl
Curl Curl beach is one of our favourites of the beaches north of Sydney. It's rockpool is a favourite haunt of drone photographers and it's generally pretty quiet. The cliffs make a really lovely backdrop and it's another particularly special spot at sunrise.
4. Palm Beach
Palm beach was made famous by soap opera Home and Away and it was always the symbol of quintessential Australian life. The beach is absolutely huge and if you walk a little further from the main drag (towards the lighthouse) it gets much quieter. It's a beautiful spot and if you take the short 15 minute walk up to the lighthouse you'll come across one of our favourite instgrammable spots.
5. West Head Beach, Kuringai-Chase
If you're looking for a beach that feels cut off from civilization and fringed by national park, then visit West Head Beach in Kuringai-Chase National Park. Getting here requires a short walk (around 1km return) - and there's plenty of steps - but this wild beach is worth the effort.
The majority of the year it will be completely empty, but on a weekend in summer you'll be joined by Sydney-siders taking a break from the busier inner city beaches. The trail starts at a West Head lookout, a beautiful viewpoint looking out to Palm Beach and Barranjoey lighthouse.
6. Garie Beach, Royal National Park
Garie Beach is a long windswept beach in Royal National Park. It's a fantastic spot on a summer's day. The waves here a bit stronger than most of the other beaches, but the setting is hard to match. To get here you need to drive through Royal National Park, down a winding road through dense forest, the beach is surrounded by hills covered in Eucalyptus trees.
It's also a stop on the Coast Track, so anyone wanting to stretch their legs can hike up one of the cliffs to Eagle Head Rock for another stunning view or tackle the whole 27km track and use Garie beach as the perfect place to picnic on route.
7. Burning Palms, Royal National Park
Burning Palms is about as far away from civilisation as you can get in Sydney. There are no roads, to get there from the nearest car park you need to walk a few kilometres through the forest. All down hill on the way there, not as much fun on the way back up!
The beach is pretty wild and very beautiful, few people make the effort to go here for the beach itself. However, the nearby Figure of Eight pools have become insta-famous and so there are many more people walking along the beach than there used to be. It doesn't detract though, it's still a fantastic beach.
8. Tamarama Beach
Tamarama is a favourite of surfers as the sea can be a little choppy, but non-surfers will also find plenty to like, you can still take a dip in the shallows. It's the second stop on the Bondi - Coogee walk and has a nice coffee shop to grab a bit of lunch and enjoy the view or bring a picnic. The beach may not be the longest, but its pretty wide and offers a decent amount of space.
Families will enjoy the playground at the back of the beach.
9. Coogee Beach
Another favourite with Sydneysiders, Coogee is the less touristy version of Bondi. Why Aussies praise Coogee but slam Bondi is confusing, but it's another huge beach set in a beautiful location.
It's also home to the Coogee Pavilion which offers cocktails, beers, food and indoor table tennis.
10. Bilgola Beach
Bilgola Beach is a local secret and when you get here you can see why. The beach is beautiful and we've loved visiting for sunrise; watching the local surfers ride the waves and swimmers in the epic rockpool, built into the base of a nearby cliff. It's a fab beach and easily combined with a trip to Palm Beach, parking is limited so it's best to come early.
If you want to find out to see how to plan a trip to Sydney then check out our following blogs:
- Instagrammable spots in Sydney
- When is the best time to visit Australia
- The best places to see wild kangaroos close to Sydney
- Best things to do in the Blue Mountains
- The best Sydney sunrise and sunset spots
- Ultimate guide to Sydney
- Cheap things to do in Sydney
- The best beaches in NSW
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Which beaches in Sydney have you been to? Which would make your favourites list? Let us know in the comments.