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8 Best Beaches in Sydney Recommended by Our Local Team

Surfers running on beach Sydney

From the sparkling bling of Bondi to pretty Palm Beach and every stretch of sand in between, Sydney is home to some of the best and most famous beaches in the world. Whether you're a local or a tourist yearning for an Aussie surf lesson, our local team has curated the 8 best beaches in Sydney for you.

Balmoral Beach

Bathers' Pavilion Balmoral beach
Photo source: Bathers' Pavilion

Located next to Mosman in North Sydney, Balmoral Beach is one of Sydney's most beloved and picturesque harbor beaches. The tranquil waters of Balmoral Beach owe their calmness to its location nestled between two heads, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and sailing. If water and sand aren't your thing, you can bring your own picnic hamper and unwind in the charming parklands adjacent to the beach.

While you’re here: Check out the heritage-listed Bathers' Pavilion overlooking the beach. Constructed in the late 1920s, it has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation, offering various dining options. For a more relaxed dining experience right by the water, head to The Boathouse Balmoral Beach, conveniently located on the beachfront.

Bondi Beach

lifeguards decorating Christmas tree Bondi beach
Photo source: North Bondi SLSC

The most famous beach in Sydney, Bondi – despite its reputation as a tourist trap – is loaded with restaurants, cafes and activities for both locals and tourists alike. Relax on the sand, take a swim in its iconic ocean pool, attend a yoga class with a view of the ocean, or indulge in a cocktail at one of its beachside bars – Bondi has something for everyone.

For first-time visitors, Bondi is arguably the most famous location in Australia to try out a surfing lesson. Take a look at the wide range of surfing lessons and schools available here.

While you’re here: Check out the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, a beautiful cliffside trail along the edge of the Australian continent that skirts past several famous Sydney beaches. Alternatively, head to the Bondi Markets on weekends for a few hours of shopping and eating.

Bronte Beach

cost view of Bronte Beach Sydney
Photo source: Waverley Council

Located just a kilometer away from Bondi, Bronte Beach is the preferred destination for families, boasting a grassy park equipped with barbecue facilities and picnic tables. The beach itself is compact, stretching only 250 meters in length, making it ideal for keeping an eye on all the kids.

While you’re here: Bronte Beach and Bondi Beach are connected by a coastal walk that is fully accessible to wheelchairs and prams. You can head into Bondi to grab a coffee or continue south on the coastal trail that snakes its way past some of Sydney's most famous beaches.

Coogee Beach

aerial shot of the ocean pool at Wylie's baths sydney
Photo source: Wylie's Baths/

Way more chilled than its neighbor Bondi, Coogee Beach is a family-friendly destination where locals and tourists mingle. Featuring historic ocean baths and green parks ideal for picnics, you'll find a laid-back, friendly family beach vibe here with plenty of space for everyone.

While you’re here: Check out Coogee’s ocean pools at the southern end of the beach. Steps from Grant Reserve lead to McIver Baths, the last ocean pool in Australia reserved for women and children only. Wylie’s Baths has an elevated timber deck overlooking the ocean and pool and Ross Jones Memorial Pool is next to the surf lifesaving club, bordered by sandcastle-like concrete turrets.

Cronulla Beach

aerial view of south Cronulla beach
Photo source: Sutherland Shire Council

This is the only beach in Sydney that can be reached directly by train, and it will take you about 45 minutes to get there from Sydney CBD. Due to its consistent swells, Cronulla is ideal for families and surfers of all levels.

While you’re here: Behind the beach is a large, grassed area with plenty of shade and a playground. You'll find many relaxing there after a long day at the beach, enjoying fish and chips, ice cream or gelato.

Manly Beach

People sitting on surfboards
Photo source: Manly Surf School

Up there with Bondi as one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Manly Beach is best known for being the beach where the world’s first surfing contest was held and its magnificent Norfolk pine trees lining the foreshore.

For those wanting to learn how to surf, there are plenty of surf schools that can introduce first-timers to the waves. Manly Surf School has been offering lessons since 1983, catering to both children and adults, as well as seasoned surfers.

While you’re here: Take the Manly Ferry to or from the city. The famous Manly Ferry provides a scenic 30-minute ride between Manly Wharf and Circular Quay in the city, passing Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. If you are lucky, you may see some of our seasonal visitors including dolphins and humpback whales.

Milk Beach Vaucluse

view of sydney from milk beach
Photo source: Timeout Magazine

Nestled at the base of Hermit Bay within the Sydney Harbour National Park, Milk Beach is a small, isolated beach encircled by the Heritage-listed Strickland House. Milk Beach offers a breathtaking view of Sydney CBD, making it one of the city’s worst kept secrets.

While access to Milk Beach is limited, it can be reached via public transport, boat and car, but be aware there's limited off-street parking.

While you’re here: Go for a stroll along the Hermitage Foreshore trail and get scenic vistas of Sydney Harbour.

Palm Beach

people in front of surfboards on beach
Photo source: Palm Beach SLSC

Palm Beach is the furthest beach from Sydney CBD on this list, but many consider it one of the most beautiful. Home to secluded beaches and clear, turquoise waters, the narrow peninsula surrounds itself with water on three sides: Pittwater, the Pacific Ocean and Broken Bay. The beach offers ideal conditions for surfing, swimming, sailing, and various other activities, including being the famous setting for the long-running Aussie TV soap, Home and Away.

While you’re here: If you're a die hard Home and Away fan, the Official Home and Away Tour is a great way to see the sights of "Summer Bay". For day trippers that want to explore the area, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse is well worth the trek to get the outstanding views of Palm Beach and the local surrounds.


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