Sydney is known for it's beaches and I've spent the majority of my days off exploring the great beaches of Sydney and what they each have to offer. Below, I've listed my favourite beaches and why I think they're so great.
Let me know what your favourite beaches are and if you think I've got it wrong!!!
5. Bondi Beach
Bondi is a Sydney classic. It's also easy to understand why. With a rolling beach, great transport from the city and amazing waves, Bondi attracts millions of tourists each year. We loved spending time here at the beginning of our time in Sydney and used the beach as a starting point for the famous Bondi to Coogee walk many times. Bondi has a large high street behind the beach with surf shops and food and bars, plenty enough to keep you entertained. The artwork on the boardwalk is also great to admire and we loved wacthing the skaters at the skate park just off the beach. We also enjoyed watching the surfers in the waves,.. and out of the sea.
Because of this however, Bondi gets busy. I've avoided the spot on particularly sunny days and opted for smaller quieter beaches as on some days it can be near impossible to find a spot on the beach. Bondi is a must see for anyone travelling through the city, however for those planning to stay longer in Sydney, I'd recommend making one of the smaller beaches below your go-to spot rather than joining the crowds. Try walking the Bondi to Coogee walk to spend time at one of the many beautiful beaches along this walk that usually have fewer crowds and therefore a better beach experience.
Our Favourite place to eat in Bondi - Funkin Pies! This is a vegan pie shop and is amazing. An amazing variety and awesome flavours. Meat eaters and vegans alike will love the pies here and the cute decor. Check it out if you're looking for a quick snack!
4. Dee Why
We only recently traveled to Dee Why beach. We wanted to see more of the Northern Beaches and Dee Why was a good choice. It was a quiet day on the beach which meant lots of space and a really quiet and peaceful atmosphere. The beach is surrounded by fields and cliffs on one side and it reminded us all of the UK and it's beaches. The water was also pretty nice with long sand banks meaning the water was shallow until pretty far out. There are walks from the beach on either side which is great for a little pre-beach stroll along the cliff and we took the path to Curl Curl which goes along the coast and gives great views of Dee Why as well as Manly and even the top of the Sydney skyline. This is the perfect beach if you want to get away from the city and relax. It's also good for surfing and swimming.
3. Shark Bay
We found Shark Bay when we walked between Rose Bay and Watsons Bay. This is a beach at the top of Vacluse Bay, accessible by car, bus or by walking the coastal path. It was a very family centered beach with a net around the swimming area to ensure safety. We had lunch here, and spent a few hours sunbathing and swimming. However, it was a great beach and perfect for swimming and playing around in the water. Even though we spent a smaller amount of time here, it was a great beach, off the tourist hot spot and filled with more locals. If you're looking for a beach with less crowds, more locals and safe swimming this is a great spot.
2. Camp Cove and Watsons Bay
Watsons Bay is one of the spots that we've spent a lot of time at. We've spent time at Watsons Bay, Camp Cove, Lady Bay Beach and the Watson Bay jumping area. All are popular amongst locals and less popular with tourists. We love the abundance of quiet beaches with amazing views of the city, fun spots to jump off into the water around by the ferry terminal, easy access to the city from either a bus or the ferry and great water to swim in.
We really see this as one of our spots in our group and all have enjoyed time spent at this area of Sydney. There's also walks from here to the lighthouse, coastal walks along the Pacific side of the city and cliff walks.
Our favourite spot for food in Watsons Bay - With little choice it's good that there's some real gems! The Beach Restuarant is great for a drink at sunset but is overpriced for food. However, we found a great spot for Thai food called Eastern Thai. Just on the small high street, the food was some of the best I've had in a long time and is very reasonably priced.
1. Shelly Beach
My hands down favourite beach in Sydney, Shelly Beach. Just off of Manly, Shelly Beach can be acesssed by car or by walking around a short coastal walk from the far left end of Manly beach. With calm clear waters its great for snorkelling and swimming. There's cliffs to climb and relax on, quiet beaches to lie on and good food. There's also coastal walks to North Head from Shelly Beach as well which are great to explore if you want some time out of the sun, they feature little bush walks. The first time I came here we stumbled across it by accident. We hired bikes and cycled from Manly to Freshwater beach with an exploration to Shelly. We loved it so much I came back for my 23rd birthday. Once again, it was quiet and the perfect spot for a birthday beach day.
Manly is equally beautiful but busy with strong waves and lots of crowds. Shelly is calm and relaxing. Head over here if you're exploring Manly and check it out, you won't regret it!
Although Shelly Beach has two dinner and lunch spots I would recommend heading back over to Manly and getting some food and cocktails from Havana Beach, the spot where I celebrated my birthday. Great service, great food and great (not to mention cheap!) cocktails. Altogether the recipe for a great day!
I hope you enjoy these recommendations, I know i'll be missing these awesome beaches when I leave Sydney in two weeks.