The Harbour City has gorgeous beaches around every corner, so pack your swimmers and a towel and don't forget to slip, slop, slap.Less
Earning the crown as Sydney's very best beach is this well-known surf shore in Sydney’s Northern Beaches adjacent to Manly. It’s a popular hangout for locals and out-of-towners alike, found just a short walk from Manly Wharf and with regular connections to the CBD. It’s got all the elements of a truly great beach: exciting waves, accessible by public transport, solid family-friendly vibes, and little nooks and crannies to explore.
With refreshingly cool water and picture-perfect suspended bridge overlooking its secluded shore, Parsley Bay is a gem of a beach hidden in Sydney’s east. It's definitely one of the prettiest numbers on this list, and it's got a bounty of native fauna and flora for you to explore.
Tucked between Bronte Beach to the north and Gordon's Bay to the south, Clovelly is a small beach lying at the mouth of a narrow bay between two rocky ridges. If sand is not your favourite, you’ll be pleased by the large patches of concrete where you can roll out your towel.
This secluded beach is a lot more chilled than the nearby sandy stretch of Manly Beach. The whole area is a nature reserve, so look out for protected water dragons on the walk from Cabbage Tree Bay and blue gropers in the waters, which are popular for snorkeling and diving.
Impressively, this deep cove boasts not one but two ocean baths – the rockpool at the north end and a dual basin lap pool at the southern point that allows cold water wusses to enter gradually before submerging completely.
While Bondi claims the fame, this 1.1 kilometre bay with a world-famous wave culture is the OG home of Surfing NSW. Beyond the thundering waves favoured by the likes of Kelly Slater, the Bra is hemmed by windswept dunes, wild bushland and a rocky headland – yet is close to many eating and drinking options.
This beautiful cove north of Manly is the birthplace of modern surfing in Australia thanks to a 1914 demonstration by Duke Kahanamoku, a visiting Hawaiian Olympian. It has some of the most reliable breaks in the city and being away from a big shopping hub means it’s one of the Northern Beaches' more relaxed and scenic beaches.
Garie is surrounded by densely forested hills, but thanks to the Surf Life Saving clubhouse, you’ll still have access to toilets, changing facilities and even (cold) showers. Surf conditions are bodacious here, although these waves are best left to the more experienced tube-chasers as there are only lifeguard patrols 9am-5pm in December and January.
Murray Rose Pool (formerly Redleaf Pool) can be found in Double Bay's Blackburn Cove and provides swimmers with a safe harbourside tidal enclosure. There’s a wrap-around deck, which makes for a lovely walk and begs for a dive into the cool water, where you can swim to a floating pontoon that's perfect for sunbathing.
Manly’s beach is such a luxuriously long stretch of golden sand that it’s divided into three sections: Queenscliif at the northern tip, North Steyne and South Steyne. It’s a popular surf break (home to the Manly Surf School), and very well guarded (year-round) so there’s always a safe stretch for swimming.