Balmoral Beach is a top pick by locals, because though ocean waves pound outside Sydney Heads, Balmoral sits tucked safely inside with its calm water and sandy beach. Surrounded by fig trees and expensive houses, the lovely Bathers Pavilion has a restaurant and cafe if you get sick of the sun and sand, and it’s only a short way from the center of the city. It's been a popular beach since the 1930s and is a conservation area.
Another popular harbour beach is Neilsen Park, considered one of Sydneys hidden gems. Don't be put off by its alternate name: Shark Bay. This beach and many others have an underwater shark net protecting it from any dangers that may lurk in the deep.
Southern Ocean Beaches:
Northern and Southern beaches can be divided by the famous Sydney Harbour Heads. These rock outcroppings stand tough against the pounding of the ocean waves, and though the Heads do take most of the beating, the waves at these ocean beaches can be a little more powerful. Never fret, however, as you'll experience firsthand the phenomenon of the ocean swimming pools. Forged from the natural rocks and a bit of concrete, these pools are filled by seawater, with the waves breaking into them at high tide. It's just like swimming in the sea but much, much safer.
Bondi, perhaps the most famous of Sydney beaches – it's the one that always gets on TV and into movies – is a kilometer of golden sand, with the iconic lifesavers (also known as clubbies), in red and yellow, and surfers both golden brown and pasty white. Bondi has its famous Icebergs pool and swimming club, dating back to 1929 when the lifesavers needed to keep fit throughout winter without braving the roiling seas.
A little further down the coast to the south are Bronte and Clovelly. Bronte has an ocean pool, the usual Sydney cafes, and trees and hills full of apartments with views to die for. Many of the apartment buildings are older style and sometimes almost affordable – if you are in the movies, or have otherwise stumbled over a large pile of cash.
Northern Ocean Beaches:
On the other side of the famous Sydney Harbour Heads are the northern beaches. Manly is probably the most popular and is easily reached by ferry from Circular Quay. Little Manly Beach is often cited as one of the best beaches for kids to swim, and for having picnics in the grassy park. Nearby Shelly Beach, also inside the Heads, is a good place for diving with lots of marine life and calm waters.
Further north along the coast, you get to the beaches whose names just mean surfing and beach culture: Curl Curl, Narrabeen, and Dee Why.
Tours & Tickets
See Sydney's spectacular icons, such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and World Heritage listed Opera House, from the comfort of your lunch time harbor cruise ... Read more
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
Capture the essence of Sydney on this afternoon coach tour of the city’s many famous attractions, including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and ... Read more
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
See Sydney's most famous icons in just one morning! Cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge, for views of the world renowned Sydney Opera House at various vantage ... Read more
Duration: 3.5-hours or 6-hours
See it all on a panoramic private tour of Sydney that takes in Ku-ring-gai National Park and the lovely Northern Beaches, as well as all the sights of central ... Read more
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)
Experience Sydney’s spectacular coastline on a guided 7.5-mile (12km) walk through Sydney Harbour National Park that includes a gourmet picnic lunch. Your ... Read more
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)