Sydney is famous for many things, like the iconic Royal Opera House, fantastic seafood, and, of course, excellent beaches.
With over 100 beaches in the Harbour City area, finding the right one for you can take a bit of trial and error. Thankfully, there is something for everyone, no matter how alternative your tastes are.
One thing the best beaches in Sydney all have in common is spectacular views that are as stunning and memorable as anything you’ll find in the Sydney Art Gallery.
Here is a list of the best beaches in Sydney. We’ve included a mix of famous and obscure spots that represent the city’s diverse beach culture. The only problem you’ll have is deciding which one to visit.
We can’t talk about the best beaches in Sydney and not mention Bondi. It’s one of the world’s best-known beaches, and for a good reason. White sands and crystal clear waters make the beach a taste of paradise, but it’s more just than a venue for rest and relaxation.
There is so much to see and do at Bondi beach. The eclectic mix of backpackers and locals is a sight on its own, but the beach offers plenty more. If surfing is your thing, you can rent a board and take some lessons.
Visit Bondi during the right time of year, and you can spot whales swimming close to the shore. Additionally, there are some great markets nearby. Moreover, there are some amazing cafes and coffee shops near the coast too. The “Bondi Bubble”, a reference to the self-contained nature of the Bondi area, is a real thing. You could easily spend days exploring the local coffee, food, and souvenir shops.
How to get to Bondi Beach: Bondi beach is about 6 kilometres from Sydney’s central business district (CBD). Take the 333 bus from Martin Place Station and walk from Bondi Street.
Thanks to its vibrant alternative scene, Tamarama Beach is affectionately known as Glamorama Beach. It’s a short walk from Bronte Beach (see below), and it’s worth a trip if you are looking for something a bit different.
Tamarama isn’t a huge beach. At just 80 metres long, it can easily feel crowded on a busy day. The soft sands and great waves make it an attractive option, so if you want to get some space, arrive early.
It’s not just the incredible coastline that makes Tamarama Beach worth visiting. There is a nearby park, a playground, and a barbeque area too. So it’s a good spot for the family.
You can swim at Tamarama. However, strong currents and unpredictable surf make the waters unsafe at times. So keep an eye out for alerts and warnings.
How to get to Tamarama Beach: The quickest way to get to Tamarama Beach is by using a combination of the train and bus. Jump on to the T4 from Martin Place and get off at Bondi Junction. From there, you can take the 333 to Bondi Rd and walk.
Palm Beach is one of the best beaches in Sydney. Its mesmerising stretch of golden sands and turquoise waters makes it one of the best examples of natural beauty in the country. The views are so incredible that they’re worth a visit alone.
Fans of the soap opera Home and Away will already be familiar with Palm Beaches’ scenic beauty. There are many great restaurants and cafes in the area, too, making it a great spot for a day trip.
Surfing is a big part of Palm beach. You can rent a board at the beach, but if other water sports are your thing, you can go swimming, kayaking, or boating.
How to get to Palm Beach: Getting to Palm beach takes about an hour and a half and involves taking the 190 from Wynyard Station on Carrington St and connecting with the 199 at Newport Park.
Bronte beach is one of the best beaches in Sydney for family activities. It’s located in the eastern suburbs, not far from Bondi beach, and it offers access to excellent sands, a park, a playground, and some lovely shaded areas.
Surfing is a big part of Bronte beach’s appeal. However, the swells are pretty large, so it’s not a place for the inexperienced. There is an ocean-fed pool between the south headland, which makes Bronte a favourite spot for families with younger children.
How to get to Bronte Beach: You can access Bronte Beach by bus or train from Sydney Central Station. The bus routes are 362 or 367; the train lines are the SCO and T4.
Manly Beach is just behind Bondi as Sydney’s most famous coastal spot. It’s about 3 km long, so there is plenty of space available, even during the holidays.
One of the most notable aspects of Manly beach is the great surf. Between South and North Steyne and Queenscliff, there is a submerged reef. These natural features are responsible for creating incredible waves.
The area has a rich surfing tradition going back over 100 years. As a result, it’s home to several surf schools, like Manly Surf School. You can also find other great activities, like snorkelling and diving in Cabbage Tree Bay.
There are lots of other things to do at Manly Beach besides getting in the water. It’s a great spot for BBQs, picnics, cycling, and walks. There are also lots of great eateries too, with fish and chips being one of the more popular cuisines.
How to get to Manly Beach: The best (and most fun) way to get to Manly Beach is by Ferry. It takes about 20 minutes from Circular Quay, and the journey itself has plenty of scenic delights. The bus from Wynyard Station takes around 45 minutes.
Coogee Beach is another classic spot and most certainly one of the best beaches in Sydney for families and tourists. It provides a mix of experiences, with good surf, ocean pools, parkland, BBQs, and an excellent and relaxed atmosphere.
There is a lot to see and do at Coogee. It’s a lovely laid-back suburb with many restaurants, bars, and cafes. The local seaside pools are a treat, with McIvers Ladies Baths an excellent spot for women and children who want to take a dip.
Just 1 kilometre from the shore, you can find the uninhabited Wedding Cake Island. This rock formation acts as an ocean barrier to protect Coogee Bay from the swelling water. The result is calm waters that make the area a superb place for snorkelling and scuba diving. If that’s your thing, you can also walk out to Gordon Bay for similar activities, plus a remarkable underwater nature trail.
How to get to Coogee Beach: Getting to Coogee Beach is fairly straightforward. If you’re visiting The Rocks, you take a tram from the nearby Circular Quay to Randwick station.
Marley Beach is one of the best beaches in Sydney for isolation and adventure. It’s located a bit outside the city, in the Royal National Park. But it’s worth the trip because of its wild, unspoiled beauty.
The Royal National park has 11 beaches. Marley is one of the best. However, unlike many of the coastal attractions on our list, Marley Beach is unpatrolled. With unpredictable tides and currents, swimming is a bit risky.
How to get to Marley Beach: If you want to visit Marley Beach, you need to walk from Bundeena. It’s an 8km return trip, so budget for a couple of hours. You can get to Bundeena by Ferry from Cronulla Train Station or by train (T4 & 971).
Lady Robinson’s Beach
Lady Robinson’s Beach is on the western part of Botany Bay. It’s the closest beach to Sydney Airport, and one of its major highlights is watching the planes leave and arrive.
The beach stretches about 6 kilometres and takes in a number of other suburbs, like Kyeemah, Brighton Le Sands, Monterey, Ramsgate, Dolls Point and Sandringham, and finally, Sans Souci.
The waves are fairly still because it is located in Botany Bay, which is enclosed from the ocean. Some nice activities here include swimming, kayaking, good walks, and even kite flying.
Walking the length of the beach is a popular activity. There is also a cycle path that runs the entire length. The views become more scenic the further you get away from the airport, with Sandringham particularly beautiful.
With lots of cafes dotted along the bay, it’s truly a fun day out for all the family if you’re looking for something active.
How to get to Lady Robinson’s Beach: You can get to Lady Robinson’s Beach in less than an hour from Central Station on Elizabeth Street. Take the 747E or the 303 to Gardeners’ Road and connect with the 303.
Avalon Beach is a 500m piece of coastline famous for great surf and a relaxing atmosphere. It’s great for swimming and body surfing, and the north end has excellent waves. Indeed, the area has such great surf that Kelly Slater lived nearby for about 15 years.
While the Avalon Beach area has become a favoured spot for surfers of every age (and ability), the site has lots to offer people who don’t plan on riding waves. There are some great cafes, bookshops, wine bars, and excellent seafood restaurants. Many of them are focused on the surfing lifestyle.
Finally, the area is good for barbecues and picnics, thanks to a well-shaded park that offers lots of protection on sunny days. There is a cool skate park nearby too. Finally, if you’re looking for great Instagram content, North Bilgola Lookout has spectacular views, making it well worth the walk.
How to get to Avalon Beach: Getting to Avalon Beach from Sydney is fairly straightforward. The trendy spot is just over an hour from the city if you take the B1 from Wynyard Station to Mona Vale and the 199 to Barrenjoey Road from there.
Nielsen Park, in the Vaucluse suburb in east Sydney, is a national park with incredible scenery and beautiful beaches. It’s been a favoured spot for local families for many years, in large part due to the calm waters of Shark Beach. Despite its name, it’s a perfect swimming spot due to its serene and sparkling waters. Thankfully, sharks haven’t populated the location since the 1800s, so you’ll be safe to swim.
With three large shaded picnic areas, Nielsen Park is a fabulous place for a day out. There are some nice coffee and ice cream spots where the park meets the sands, so it’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the views for all the family.
How to get to Nielsen Park: You can get to Nielsen Park from Kings Cross by jumping on the 325 bus towards Watson Bay.
Store Beach could be for you if you’re looking for something well off the beaten trail. It’s a real hidden gem located in the Sydney Harbour National Park.
The biggest reason why Store Beach is such an obscure treasure is that it can only be accessed by boat. A popular way of getting there is to hire a kayak and take the 30-minute trip from Manly Wharf. Despite being situated in the city, as you row out, you’ll feel like you are entering a completely unspoilt, exotic location.
Store Beach is also near the old Quarantine Station. Not that kind of quarantine, though. It refers to the 19th-century migrant centre where ships were held to stop the spread of infectious diseases from international travellers.
The beach is about 200m long, and it’s sheltered by beautiful bushland. When you get there you can swim and enjoy the incredible nature. Fairy penguins use this serene beach as a breeding ground, so you might spot a few on your trip, which is a real treat.
How to get to Store Beach: As mentioned above, accessing Store Beach requires hiring a kayak from Manly Wharf. The best way to get to Manly involves traversing the water, too: The Manly Ferry departs every 30 minutes from Circular Quay.
Now Over to You
So there you have it.
Those were the top Sydney beaches on our list!
Simply store your things somewhere safely in Sydney and you’re free to enjoy the waves!