The Land Down Under is known for its pristine beaches and laid back, surfer lifestyle, so of course when you visit you have to visit at least a handful of the most popular ones. From the most popular of locations, like the iconic Bondi Beach, to the lesser-known locations, like Shelly Beach, where you can a really great day of relaxation in.
Our Sydney experts have put together a list of the top 5 beaches to visit and what to see there.
Naturally Bondi Beach is number one on our list, as it’s the most popular and most-visited beach in all of Australia. The crescent-shaped, white sand beach offers some of the best surf, unreal views of the iconic Bondi Icebergs, and a neighborhood of great hole-in-the-wall boutiques and eats.
When visiting Bondi, we recommend getting there early so you can get a spot on the beach. From the sun-soaked sand, you’ll be able to watch the locals ripping through waves and see humpback whales swimming past during the annual whale migration (May – November). Hop in the water for yourself and try your hand at the local sport!
Aside from soaking in the sun and getting in some quality swim time in the bright blue ocean, you should also take some time to explore the Bondi neighborhood. For starters, take a long stroll along the entry way of the beach and snap photos of the never-ending wall of murals and street art. Then head out past the beach and shop around the stores and restaurants for a real taste of Bondi’s artistic culture.
You can – and should – spend a whole day here. From a coastal walk that connects Bondi and Coogee (another of our top-rated beaches), to dinner on the water at Bondi Surf Club, you’re in for an awesome time at Australia’s favorite beach.
Getting in: Discover Bondi Coastal Walking Tour tickets and Bondi Surf: 2-Hour Surfboard & Wetsuit Rental tickets are included on Sydney Explorer Pass.
Coogee is another great spot adored by visitors and locals alike. You can walk here all the way from Bondi’s coast, or you can hop on the bus and zip outside the city center to experience these relaxing vibes.
The beach town is one of the oldest in Sydney, with the only remaining women’s and children’s ocean bath in the entire country. These baths are small natural pools that sit on the edge of the water, protected by rocks and sand walls. Wylie’s Bath and McIver’s Bath sit right on Coogee’s headlands and offer great views of the entire ocean.
Coogee is also a great place to snorkel and surf. Just about a mile north you can visit the sheltered Clovelly Bay, a well-known snorkeling spot. Sign up for a surf lesson or bring your own snorkel gear and get to know what’s underneath the bright blue waters. The entire beach is lifeguard-patrolled too, so it’s the perfect place for the whole family to take a dip.
Manly & Shelly
For the young, hip and carefree, Manly beach is the ideal destination. Manly is a suburb right outside of Sydney that’s easily accessible by the famous Manly Ferry. Grab an Opal Card and hop aboard the boat for a day in this cool little ‘burb.
Manly Beach was the site of the first-ever World Surfing Championship in 1964, and it hasn’t lost any of its surfer charm since then. You’ll still see locals tearing up the waves amongst the divers and snorkelers.
At the northern end you’ll find the Queenscliff headland, an area that boasts an off-shore, submerged reef that creates a natural wave pool – perfect for surfing. On the other end, you’ll find Shelly Beach, a sheltered area where you can snorkel, swim, and barbecue on the public grills.
After a day at the beach, make sure to walk around the town too. Manly is somewhat of a mini-Sydney, with tons of shops, bars, and restaurants to visit.
Just like the other beaches, Bronte beach has great eating spots that you can enjoy while soaking in the sun. It’s also the perfect place for kids, with plenty of family-friendly places to swim and play.
This stretch of beach is only about a half mile away from Bondi, so it’s easy to do both in one day. Bronte’s rocky coast makes for great surf, but even better, it forms the perfect natural pool that’s safe for kids. The small pool sits right on the beach and stays shallow!
If the natural pool doesn’t peak your interest, you can swim in the lap pool that overlooks the ocean and coastline of Sydney.
For those looking for a calmer place than the great blue ocean, try Gordon’s Bay. This teal-colored oasis is tucked between Clovelly and Coogee and is home to a 1,640-foot underwater trail. It’s definitely worth a visit!
This natural underwater trail is perfect to follow on a snorkeling expedition. It will guide you past reefs, sand flats, and kelp forests! The shallow, clear waters make it the perfect place to splash about for swimmers of all skill levels.
The bay is predominantly surrounded by rock, so take your pick and set up shop on one of the many options – it’s the perfect spot for sunbathing. After your day at the bay, explore the surrounding suburb and grab a bite to eat at Out of the Blue, a top-rated burger joint.
Get a discount on your beach hopping
We hope you add at least one of these beaches to your Sydney travel itinerary. Don’t forget, you can save up to 45% on surf board rentals and tours of some of Sydney’s most famous beaches with The Sydney Pass.
Or, pick and choose things to do in Sydney when you build your own Sydney Pass and save 20%, guaranteed when you buy 2 or more attractions.
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