Sydney's Top Beaches: Your Guide to the Best Shorelines

Sydney, Australia, is known for its stunning coastline and boasts a variety of beautiful beaches to suit different tastes.

From famous surfing spots to peaceful getaways, Sydney's beaches are not just for swimming and sunbathing; they offer a unique blend of local culture and natural beauty.

Peaceful Haven Next to the Sydney Beaches

In this guide, we'll explore some of Sydney's finest beaches, each with its own charm and attractions.

Whether you're into water sports or nature or simply want a relaxing day by the sea, Sydney's beaches have something for everyone.

1. Dee Why Beach

trees and bushes in the foreground

Dee Why Beach, nestled on Sydney's Northern Beaches between Collaroy and Curl Curl, is a cherished family destination. With a developed southern end offering an enclosed playground and ample seating, it's perfect for families with young children.

This patrolled surf beach is ideal for swimming, body surfing, and even surfing when the swell rises. Dee Why Point awakens with bigger waves, reaching up to 4 meters.
Beyond the beach, you'll find a variety of cafes, restaurants, and a gelato bar. It's a wonderful spot for family gatherings, and Dee Why hosts exciting events like Australia Day and New Year's Eve fireworks. Plus, it offers a range of amenities, including picnic tables, showers, and even a 50-meter rock pool.

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2. Milk Beach

Milk Beach, nestled within the historic Strickland House's embrace, offers a mesmerizing view of Sydney's skyline, making it one of Eastern Suburbs' best-kept secrets. Getting there is an adventure, whether by public transport, boat, or limited off-street parking. Once you arrive, a world of activities unfolds, from fishing and snorkeling to idyllic family picnics under the awning. 

You can also take a leisurely stroll along the Hermitage Foreshore to soak in the coastal beauty.

Facilities are charmingly rustic, with picnic benches nearby, although cafes are a bit farther. No showers are available at the beach, but you can find them nearby at Nielsen Park. Dogs and loud music aren't allowed, preserving the serene atmosphere. 

To reach Milk Beach, follow the Hermitage Foreshore Track, situated on the eastern edge of the Vaucluse peninsula. For drivers, be aware that street parking nearby can be limited, so arriving early is a smart choice. Enjoy this coastal gem's tranquility and stunning views.

3. Whale Beach

Whale Washed Ashore on Beach

Whale Beach, a secluded coastal sanctuary just south of Palm Beach, beckons with its serene charm set against dramatic cliffs. This hidden gem boasts sands with a distinctive rose gold hue and a welcoming rock pool frequented by early-morning swimmers throughout the year. 

The nearby presence of delightful cafes and restaurants adds flavor to the coastal experience, while hillside residences provide a scenic backdrop against the vast expanse of the blue ocean.  

The exclusive Strand at Whale Beach cradled between imposing rocky headlands, caters to both surf enthusiasts and families, boasting an inviting ocean pool and a well-equipped playground.  

Though natural shade on the beach is limited, the adjacent reserve offers respite under the shade of pine trees, complemented by picnic facilities and barbecues. 
Whale Beach, even without shark nets, maintains its status as a beloved destination, easily accessible via parking or a nearby bus stop—an idyllic coastal escape cherished by all.

4. Garie Beach

The coastal expedition from Garie Beach to Curracurrong Falls in Royal National Park is nothing short of a natural wonder. Beyond the breathtaking coastal vistas, it unveils one of Sydney's most exceptional treasures—Curracurrong Falls, a rare spectacle as the only waterfall in Sydney, and one of just three in all of Australia, that gracefully meets the sea.

To put its uniqueness in perspective, there are only 47 such waterfalls worldwide, making this site truly extraordinary. While I've encountered similar wonders in New Zealand, Curracurrong Falls takes the plunge directly into the boundless Pacific Ocean, setting it apart.

Our adventure begins at Garie Beach, where tranquility reigns amid a scattering of parked cars, a few surfers chasing waves, and fishermen casting their lines. The initial stretch of our hike treats us to a leisurely stroll along Garie Beach's vast expanse, home to silver gulls and crested terns. One particularly nonchalant feathered resident pays little heed to our presence.

5. Avalon Beach

Avalon, on Sydney's Northern Beaches, offers a delightful blend of history and natural beauty. Initially a vast land grant in 1833, it has evolved from coal mining dreams to become home to Palmgrove Park, a golf course, and a stunning row of Norfolk Island Pines along its beachfront. Avalon now hosts a resilient koala community, a reminder of Pittwater's rich wildlife heritage. 

Avalon Beach is a haven for aquatic enthusiasts, where you can enjoy refreshing swims, thrilling surfing, windsurfing adventures, and peaceful fishing. At the southern end, a rock swimming pool provides a unique water experience. For those seeking shade and relaxation, a nearby park area offers picnic spots and barbecues, providing respite from the Australian sun. 

Located just 35 kilometers north of Sydney's CBD, Avalon is surrounded by Clareville to the west, Whale Beach to the north, and Bilgola to the south. 

The community boasts various amenities, including an RSL club, a local cinema, bowling and sailing clubs, a golf club, supermarkets, shops, and charming cafes. Avalon Beach ensures a memorable coastal experience with its thoughtful facilities, inviting visitors to explore its unique charm.

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6. Manly Beach

Manly Beach, steeped in Australian surf heritage, is a captivating blend of history and vibrant allure. As the birthplace of the world's first surfing competition in 1964 and a designated World Surfing Reserve, it's a cherished sanctuary for wave aficionados.

This 1.5-kilometer expanse of golden sands, framed by majestic Norfolk pines, sweeps gracefully from South Steyne to North Steyne and Queenscliff. Below the surface lies a hidden treasure—a submerged reef, known as a bombora, sculpting waves that beckon top surfers from around the globe.

But Manly Beach isn't just a surf paradise; it warmly welcomes newcomers to the world of wave-riding. Surf schools abound, sending eager learners paddling vigorously to seize the thrill of elusive waves.

Safety is paramount, with vigilant lifeguards patrolling the area marked by yellow and red flags. The heart of Manly, North Steyne, beckons with volleyball nets, surfboard rentals, and a delightful array of cafes and amenities catering to every beach lover's desire.

A scenic foreshore walk begins at the beach's southern tip and culminates at serene Shelly Beach, a tranquil haven sheltered from the rolling waves, perfect for a soothing swim. Manly Beach offers an array of choices, whether you seek sun-soaked relaxation on its soft sands, daring surf adventures, or underwater explorations through snorkeling and diving.

The bustling beachfront boasts diverse cafes and restaurants, inviting you to relish delectable meals and sip coffee while immersing yourself in the captivating beachside atmosphere. Facilities are designed for your convenience, including handy beach showers, well-kept toilets, and change rooms located at South Steyne, adjacent to the Manly Surf Life-Saving Club.

Keep in mind that dogs aren't permitted on the beach, and parking is facilitated through the Pay and Display system along the beachfront, with the closest Council Car Park situated on Wentworth Street.


What is the nicest beach in Sydney?

Bondi Beach is often considered the nicest beach in Sydney, renowned for its golden sands, vibrant atmosphere, and iconic waves, making it a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.

Which Sydney beach has the clearest water?

Manly Beach is noted for its unusually pure water, which provides visitors with crystal-clear waves, making it a popular site in Sydney for swimming and aquatic activities.

Is Bondi or Manly Beach better?

Preferences vary, but Bondi Beach is famous for its iconic mood, surfing culture, and coastline walk, whilst Manly Beach offers a more laid-back feel, gorgeous scenery, and a delightful boat journey from Sydney.