One of the best perks of living in an amazing city like Sydney is that there is no shortage of beautiful beaches.
With dozens of different beaches to choose from, between Palm Beach in the north and Cronulla in the south, Sydney is indeed a great destination for swimming, sunbathing and surfing.
While some of these beaches are famous around the world and draw big crowds on warm days, there are also still lots of quiet and secluded beaches to enjoy in Sydney.
10 Great Sydney Beaches
Here is our selection of 10 of the most popular and best beaches in and around Sydney.
Once you’ve visited all the beaches in Sydney, there are many more beaches to discover further out along the coast of New South Wales!
1. Bondi Beach
It’s no surprise that Australia’s most famous strip of sand, Bondi Beach, tops this list of best Sydney beaches. Most people love this beach, while others hate it, but fact is that Bondi is an icon in Australia.
With great swimming ans surfing conditions, lots of cafes and restaurants, a large picnic area and even an outdoor gym, Bondi is an awesome place to hang out for the day.
Bondi Beach is the definition of the Australian beach culture, with a long and rich history, and a listing on the Australian National Heritage List.
The Bondi surf life saving club deserves a special mention, officially recognised as the oldest surf life saving club in the world, having been around for almost a century.
Don’t forget to visit Bondi Icebergs, a landmark in Bondi where you can enjoy a great meal and a cold drink against the backdrop of the ocean.
Just as iconic is the Bondi Icebergs Pool, located literally right next to the ocean. Swimming in this historic pool is popular all year round, even in winter when die-hard locals happily do their laps.
2. Manly Beach
Manly and Bondi are perhaps Sydney’s most popular and best know beaches, and opinions are divided on which one is the best. But they are in fact quite different, so we prefer not to choose one over the other.
Manly has two main beaches, one facing the Harbour with mostly calm waters and the other one facing the ocean with stronger waves.
Just around the corner of Manly’s main beach is Shelly Beach, a small secluded strip of sand with calm water and excellent amenities.
3. Palm Beach
The Palm Beach peninsula is one of the most famous beach suburbs in New South Wales, located 41 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD.
Due to its somewhat remote location, it’s a reasonably quiet beach suburb compared to, for example, Bondi Beach or Manly Beach. This is a different story during sunny weekends though, when the area fills up very quickly with day trippers.
The water at the beach facing the ocean can be a bit rough sometimes due to strong winds, whereas the smaller beach facing Pittwater on the other side of the peninsula has much quieter water and is perfect for a relaxed swim.
When visiting Palm Beach, don’t forget to visit the Barrenjoey Lighthouse up the hill. The views from there are absolutely stunning.
4. Coogee Beach
Often referred to as the smaller version of Bondi Beach, Coogee is a popular and characteristic 400m strip of sand facing Coogee Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. While not the best beach for surfing, the water is usually very suitable for swimming.
Goldstein Reserve, the large parkland area located right behind the beach, has great facilities such as tables, barbecues, picnic shelters and trees that provide plenty of shade.
South of Coogee Beach are two private baths that are worth visiting. Surrounded by coastal vegetation and grassed areas, the McIver’s Baths complex consists of a large concrete sea pool, a sunbathing area, change rooms and a small clubhouse. McIver’s is one of the last remaining women’s-only sea pools in Australia.
A bit further south you will find Wylie’s Baths, a large ocean tidal pool that has been in operation since 1907. For a small entrance fee, you can hang out here all day and enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean and Wedding Cake Island.
The best way to get to Coogee is via the famous Bondi to Coogee walk, a beautiful 6km coastal walk offering stunning ocean views from start to finish.
5. Freshwater Beach
Popular with surfers, Freshwater is a 350m long strip of sand located just north of Manly Beach. Swimming can be somewhat hazardous here because of the waves and rips, but surfing conditions are usually excellent.
Freshwater is part of the Manly-Freshwater National and World Surfing Reserve that recognises the historical, cultural and environmental values of famous surfing beaches.
6. Whale Beach
Whale Beach is a picturesque, 600 metres long strip of sand in the Northern Beaches region, close to Palm Beach. Not as well known as its bigger neighbour, Whale Beach is usually much quieter and has a pleasantly secluded atmosphere.
Just like many other beaches in Sydney, Whale Beach also has a man-made rock pool. Whale Beach Rock Pool is 25 metres long and is located at the southern end of the beach.
Whale Beach is around 600 metres in length and is surrounded by two 40 metres high sandstone headlands, Little Head at the north end and Careel head at the southern end of the beach. The views from both headlands are absolutely beautiful.
7. Bronte Beach
Bronte is another popular beach destination in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, only a short walk away from Bondi, with a large park and lots of trendy cafes behind the beach.
The water at Bronte offers great surf conditions, and also has a lap pool for amateur swimmers, and a natural rock pool for a fun splash.
Bronte Beach is a lot smaller than Bondi Beach and also a bit more family friendly.
Please be mindful though that the water can be quite dangerous at times, so it’s essential that you follow the directions of the much needed surf life savers.
8. Cronulla Beach
The Cronulla Peninsula south of Sydney has no shortage of beautiful beaches, making it a popular weekend destination for many Sydney-siders.
Popular with surfers, North Cronulla Beach is a beautiful 400m long strip of sand facing Bate Bay. Swimming can be hazardous due to the strong rips that are almost always present
The North Cronulla SLSC has an iconic club house located right behind the beach, next to Dunningham Park with a large playground and a few popular cafes and restaurants nearby.
From North Cronulla it’s only a short walk along the shore to Cronulla Beach, a small family-friendly strip of sand backed up by a nice park with great facilities and lots of cafes nearby.
9. Balmoral Beach
Balmoral Beach is a picturesque Sydney Middle Harbour beach with calm waters, a swimming enclosure and excellent picnic spots.
The Esplanade right behind the beach has lots of cafes and restaurants on offer, while the grassy areas are perfect for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.
Due to its sheltered location, the water always seems to be calm which makes it great for swimming. You can also be a little more active and go stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking or snorkeling.
There are also lots of hiking options in the area, with one walking track connecting with Taronga Zoo on the other side of Sydney Harbour.
If Balmoral Beach happens to be a bit too crowded, try next door neighbour Chinamans Beach, which is usually a lot quieter.
10. Maroubra Beach
One of Sydney’s most popular surf beaches is Maroubra, located south of Coogee. The beach is long and wide so that there’s always a free spot, even on warm and sunny days.
Maroubra has excellent facilities such as free parking, toilets and showers, a large playground and many cafes and restaurants to choose from.
Maroubra Beach is surrounded by open space. To the north of the beach are Jack Vanny Memorial Park, Mahon Pool and the rocky headland. South of the beach are Arthur Byrne Reserve and headland, and Broadarrow Reserve is to the west.