The 5 best beaches in Sydney

With more than 100 beaches in Sydney and over 30 ocean pools along the coast, you’re spoilt for choice.

Every visitor to Sydney should dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean at least once. Australia boasts some of the world’s best surf beaches. But if you’re not keen on waves, there are also private coves and saltwater baths for swimmers who are not so confident.

Remember though, if you are not a strong swimmer, find a beach which is manned by our world-famous lifeguards. They aren’t just television stars, they are also there to save lives.


The most famous beach in Australia is also the closest to the Sydney CBD. This golden sweep of sand is regularly packed with locals and tourists soaking up the sun, splashing in the rock pools and catching the waves. Keep an eye out for the Bondi Rescue lifeguards who are keeping swimmers safe 365 days a year. There are fabulous cafes and cool shops around the famous promenade and it’s worth taking a surf lesson. But for those who want to get those Instagram shots, visit Bondi Icebergs to take a dip in the saltwater pool. Bondi is definitely one of the best beaches in Sydney.

Bondi in Sydney
The world-famous Bondi Beach.

Camp Cove

A calm harbour beach close to the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour, Camp Cove is a local favourite. It’s a great option for families (or those who aren’t confident swimmers) and the still waters are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Then stretch your legs along the pretty South Head Heritage Trail through the Sydney Harbour National Park, which runs just behind the sand. For the more adventurous, you can bring a kayak for a paddle or even scuba dive. The nearby kiosk also serves ice creams and drinks. And the best thing is the beach is wheelchair-accessible and boasts millionaire views that are hard to miss.

Family friendly Camp Cove, Watsons Bay.



A perfect slice of Sydney’s laid-back beach lifestyle, Coogee is another of the best beaches in the Eastern Suburbs. Sheltered by the rocky Wedding Cake Island offshore, the waters are reliably calm and great for both swimming and surfing. There are three ocean pools along the southern edge of the beach including McIver’s Baths, the only rock pool in Australia that’s open only to women and children. You can even try your hand at an underwater scooter tour to see some of the marine life or head to the Coogee Pavilion for a light bite to eat or for something fancier, you can do caviar bumps at Merivale’s Mimis.

People enjoying an afternoon at Coogee Beach.


The grandest of the harbour beaches, Balmoral has more than a kilometre of sand across two curved bays, fronting water that’s as still as a swimming pool. It’s perfect for water sports of all kinds; try snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and even sailing. You can explore one of the area’s many foreshore trails. There are lots of options in Sydney Harbour National Park and the Balmoral Beach to Middle Head Track. Here, you’ll see colonial fortifications and stunning views of The Heads – the harbour’s entrance. You can also walk along the foreshore to Taronga Zoo. This is another favourite as one of the best beaches in Sydney.

Overlooking Balmoral Baths and beach.


Stretching for more than two kilometres, you’ll always find a quiet patch of sand at Manly. The beach is recognised as a World Surfing Reserve and the incredible waves are suitable for beginners, experts and everyone in between. Walk around to Shelly Beach to snorkel in the protected crystal-clear waters that are teeming with fish and marine life. Manly Beach spans 3km so there is lots of space to spread out. But if you prefer looking at the water rather than diving in, take a walk or cycle alongside it.

Surfers enjoying a day in the water at Manly Beach. is the ultimate guide to visiting Sydney. It provides up-to-date information on attractions, places to visit, restaurants, shops, visitor information and transport. The site is published by Cruise Media Australasia, a Big Splash Media company. Editor-in-Chief and Publisher: Peter Lynch.

All map distance references are taken from the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay.
Images courtesy Destination NSW

Big Splash Media, Suite G01, 46a Macleay St, Potts Point, Sydney 2011

(02) 9356 8888

All rights reserved | Privacy Policy

© 2023 Copyright by Big Splash Media