Blog & Insights
5 of the best Sydney beaches near you
Beaches are something we Sydneysiders take extremely seriously, so narrowing it down to the best 5 is an almost impossible task. But just like your coffee, there really is something to suit every mood. Whatever your beachy needs might be, Sydney is the one city that has the very best on offer all year round. So grab your bathers, slap on some sunscreen and get down to the water. There really is no place like it.
1. The surf – Freshwater Beach
When it comes to surfing, Sydney is the one city that has this sport on tap. The best part is that you really don’t have to travel very far out of the city to find the wave that’s right for you. Jump on the Manly Ferry and head to the popular Freshie Beach, immortalised by Duke Kahanamoku in 1915 when he introduced surfing to Australia. Sitting just north of Manly Beach, Freshie is known for churning out some of the very best in left and right handers. And for those that are just starting out, head up to the northern end of the beach at high tide for the perfect spot to find your surfing feet. A beautiful bay that is protected from the harsh northerly winds, Freshie also offers a saltwater swimming pool, rock pools and a tasty beachfront restaurant. Understandably popular in the holiday season for all that it has to offer, from beginner right through to pro Freshie Beach has got it covered.
2. The scene – Manly Beach
If you fancy some beach time but want a little bit more action than just sand and surf, Manly Beach is the resident top spot for exactly that. Just a short ferry ride from the CBD (taking in the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge all as an added bonus) you can step off the boat and immediately feel a million miles away from care. There’s even a sign to tell you so. Sporting a chilled holiday vibe all year round, Manly is brimming with cafes, boutiques, pubs and markets. Locals are relaxed and welcoming, more than happy to share this beautiful slice of paradise with visitors. Try a walk along the harbour walkway, book in for a surf lesson or peruse the many outlets along the pedestrianised Corso. Oh, and don’t forget to have a dip in the famous waters that hosted the world’s first surfing contest in 1964.
3. The swagger – Bondi Beach
With more swagger than smashed avo at brunch o’clock, Bondi Beach is top of the tree for all things big and brash. Sprawling over 100m wide and 1.2km long, this legendary stretch of beach represents all things Australian. Offering both beautiful scenery and beachside culture, Bondi is a year round attraction that regularly draws in locals and tourists alike to partake in the stunning surrounds. At just 7km from the CBD you can enjoy swimming, surfing, shopping and supping to your heart’s content. Take in a birds-eye view of the crowds with a cold drink at Icebergs, or join the parade of beautiful people on the Bondi-Coogee coastal walk for more spectacular ocean views.
4. The sea life – Shelly Beach
Nestled just around the corner from Manly Beach but with something entirely different lies the unique Shelly Beach. Located on the ocean side but handily protected from the waves, this little piece of paradise is a haven for snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming and sunbaking. With a host of marine life just wading distance from your beach towel, it’s the perfect place to park your gear, grab a snorkel and get involved. Expect to meeta variety of new friends including Maori Wrasse, Eastern Blue Gropers, Stingarees and Moorish Idols. Look out for those Wobbegongs hiding in the rocks and if you’re really lucky you may come across a sea turtle just chilling out near the shore. Feed up at The Boathouse before you leave and take a moment to breathe in the very best Mother Nature has to offer.
5. The secret – Bilgola Beach
Often overlooked by her better-known neighbours such as Avalon and Palm Beach, Bilgola is one top secret Aussie beach gem that is best known only to local residents. Until now, that is. Hidden away right down at the bottom of a winding hill, this quiet and unspoilt beach is one of the smaller beaches in the area and very easily missed. Happily so, some say. Consequently, it is mostly utilised by local families enjoying the southern rock pool and surfers keen to take advantage of the rips at the northern end. 35 km out from the CBD this is a trip you will remember forever. Ssshhhhhh.