Brook Sabin / Stuff
Barrenjoey Head overlooks Sydney’s northern beaches.
With over 100 beaches around its harbor and coastline, you don’t have to look far to dip your toes in the sand in Sydney – the hard part is deciding where to go.
Here are five of the biggest players in NSW’s biggest city, including famous TV stretches of sand, ferry-accessible surf spots and quiet harbor beaches perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Stone the flaming crows! You might recognize this beach from its starring role in the long-running Australian soap Far from home.
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Located a 45-minute drive from the city, at the end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the one-kilometre stretch is known for its soft golden sands, consistent waves and coastal walks.
The popular hike to Barrenjoey Lighthouse offers views of the peninsula. fans of Far from home will be disappointed to learn that Alf’s bait shop and Summer Bay restaurant are currently being demolished.
Another star of the small screen, from his own eponymous surfing TV series to a host of films and TV shows, Bondi is perhaps Australia’s best-known beach.
Travelers flock to this long, wide-open beach for its lively atmosphere and accessibility by public transport from Sydney’s CBD.
There’s plenty to interest beachgoers: swim between the flags, surf the south end, dive into the Icebergs ocean pool, drink wine and dine along the main street, or walk the Bondi to Coogee on top of the cliff.
For the ultimate day out, take the 30-minute scenic ferry from Circular Quay across Sydney Harbor to Manly.
The consistent waves at this 1.5km beach are a hit with surfers – the area is listed as a World Surfing Reserve for its history, culture and swell. The local surf club has been offering lessons since 1983.
Beyond the boundary of the Norfolk Pines are a lively bar and restaurant and The Corso shopping area.
The best beach in Sydney Harbor National Park is in the suburb of Mosman.
The soft sand is ideal for swimmers while the calm waters of the harbor are perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. The semi-circle enclosed ocean swim area is popular with young families.
Beyond the beach, take the 4km Middle Head Track to see historic gun emplacement and harbor views.
There are endless ways to swim at this always bustling south-east beach, which is often considered the tamer version of Bondi.
McIver Baths is a historic ocean pool perched on a rock platform, while Giles Baths is a natural rock pool located on the northern promontory. And then there’s another enclosed pool, Wylies Bath, next to the surf club and the gentle ocean swell itself.
The coastal walk offers an exceptional vantage point for spotting whales during their annual migration.