Being a beach bum in Sydney: a guide

I love the beach. The sound of the waves, sand beneath my toes, sun warm on my face… bliss! 

So I decided to try and visit lots of the many beaches which Sydney has to offer in a quest to find my all time fave. It’s a work in progress but here’s where I’ve got so far:

Manly

A wide, popular beach which is packed with locals during the summer and the weekends. 

Great for spending a day sunbathing with friends then heading to In Situ for a cocktail and one of their pizzas. Still hungry? Then head to Chica Bonita for killer margaritas and delicious tacos. 

Coogee

I’ve spent lots of days on Coogee beach mainly because friends were there, but it’s definitely in my top three. It’s a friendly atmosphere, not too crowded and has the nice option of having a grassy area before the beach if you’re not in a sand mood. 

Don’t be put off by the now infamous Christmas Day partying which led to the alcohol ban. 99% of the time Coogee is so relaxed it’s horizontal. It also has a good selection of restaurant and cafes along the front to pop into for a smoothie when you’re feeling a little frazzled. 

The waves can be quite rough but they are fun to jump and try to body surf on. Try only if you’re a confident swimmer! 

Bondi


The first time I ever visited Bondi was as part of a mini coastal walk from Bronte to Bondi with a Base Hostel excursion. Obviously, I was super excited to see the famous beach and take that photo of Iceburgs swimming pool. 

But as I walked around the cliff top and turned the corner, I must admit I was a little disappointed. It just isn’t that special. 

As as I explored more and walked along the shop fronts, it cemented the fact that Bondi just isn’t for me! I know plenty of people who love it. They live locally in Bondi Junction (backpacker turf) and love the nightlife (which the be fair is good, just too far away from the city for me). So if you are visiting, of course go to see it but dont necessarily go for a whole day. 

Nice place to eat/drink: The Bucket List (try their Frosé (see the video above). Go for more drinks at The Tea Gardens Hotel.

The Bondi to Coogee Walk 


Fancy a beach day with a bit of exercise thrown in? The Bondi to Coogee walk takes about 2 and a half hours at a steady pace and takes you past lots of lovely beaches.

If you start at Bondi then reward yourself with cocktails at the rooftop bar at Coogee Pavilion. Alternatively, set off from Coogee with plenty of time early afternoon and be at Bondi to see the sunset. The water is filled with surfers and Australia has some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. 

Milk Beach


Milk beach is a tiny beach hidden away down a  road with no signposts or anything to tell you that you’re going the right way. You walk past a huge house, down a grassy slope and then suddenly you’re met by the most incredible view.

There’s not exactly much sand but if you do a little climbing there’s lots of space on the rocks to spread out your towel and settle in for a blissful afternoon of sunbathing and watching the rich kids of Sydney sail past on their yachts. 

This beach was quiet even on a Saturday and perfect for leaving behind the hustle and bustle of city life whilst still being able to see Sydney’s most famous landmarks. 

Shark Beach

Despite its name, you aren’t particularly likely to get eaten by a shark at Shark Beach thanks to the fact it has a large netted swimming area. This, combined with the fact that the water is deliciously warm in the summer makes it an ideal place to swim in Sydney Harbour.

Not my favourite beach in Sydney but that wasn’t helped by the very overcast weather on the day we went. I imagine it looks a whole lot prettier in the sunshine. Maybe I’ll have to give it a second chance…

Palm Beach

Palm beach is famous as the setting of the Much-loved TV programme ‘Home and Away’. It’s a little bit of a trek to get there (we rented a car) but it’s definitely worth the journey. 

We went on a week day and the beaches were practically deserted. Take a stroll along the sands and stop for coffee. Then when you’re feeling a little restless, climb the steep walk up to the lighthouse to enjoy breathtaking views. I remember reading somewhere that there are tours of the lighthouse so if that’s your sort of thing then book ahead. 

Take a picture of yourself gazing wistfully into the distance (not gonna lie, mine is my current Facebook profile picture) then actually soak up the views. 


Watson’s Bay


Hop on a ferry from Circular Quay and in no time at all you’re strolling down the promenade at Watson’s Bay. This residential area of Sydney is home to one of my favourite little beaches, Camp Cove, tucked away behind sleepy houses (which probably cost millions of $ because they are stunning). 

This beach is busy during school holidays and weekends because the water is so calm and perfect for children to play in. So pick a day early in the week if you really want to experience this beach at its best.

The other great thing about Watson’s Bay is the lovely walks you can do. Either through the National Park and up to the lighthouse or along the cliffs for some breath-taking views. Be warned though, if you choose to go see the lighthouse you might get a little more than you bargained for – the route takes you past Lady Bay Beach which is a nudist beach. 

Curb your growling stomach with fish and chips from Doyle’s Cafe or if your feeling faaaancy then splash out in their restaurant (often queues to be seated).  your growling stomach with fish and chips from Doyle’s Cafe or if your feeling faaaancy then splash out in their restaurant (often queues to be seated). 

Dee Why Beach


Dee Why is home to a lovely friend of mine and so therefore a visit to this beach was mainly for a good catch up and to nosey at his new apartment. However, it’s a beautiful, beautiful beach and deliciously quiet. 

I’m constantly green with envy watching my friend’s snapchats of his after work swims in the sea and I wish this was a beach I could visit more often. Unfortunately, it’s just too far away from the CBD and so although I would highly recommend, I doubt this is a beach I’ll get to visit again before I leave Australia. 

Next up on my beach quest: Shelly Beach

Where else should I visit? 

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