I thought I might write a little bit about where I spent most of my summer: at the beach! One of the best things about Sydney is that we have more than a hundred word class beaches on our doorstep, and I finally have time to visit/revisit them all. Here’s a few of my top picks.
Manly is Bondi’s little sister, where many Sydneysiders go to avoid the mass of tourists at the more famous beach. Manly is only a half hour ferry ride from Circular Quay (which is half the fun in itself) but there is also parking around the area if you are lucky. Manly is probably your best bet if you like having many lunch/dinner options as there are a plethora of choices on the Corso as well as along the beach itself. A little further north there is a really good burger place called ‘the Salty Rooster’. While Manly can sometimes get a little crowded it is also a rather large beach so you are bound to find a spot.
Now the same can also be said about Coogee, that it is kind of like Bondi’s little sister albeit without swarms of tourists. Waves are always pretty decent, but what is unique about Coogee is that if you want something a little more calm you can visit the rockpool at the far north corner of the beach. Also the cliffs above give some really nice view of the beach and the surrounding headlands to the south. This is also the endpoint/starting point of the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk which is a simply must do.
#3 Gordon’s Bay
This is probably Sydney’s best spot for snorkelling/diving, on a good day the waters are very calm and good for swimming as well. The water is also very clear, allowing you to see all the fish swimming around the bottom (you might be lucky to see a blue groper or ray!) It is also quite a secluded spot, hidden from all the tourists although it can get a little busy on the weekends where it is a different but good vibe with many people bringing out beers, sun loungers, speakers and inflatable pool chairs. Access is also only on foot although there is parking at nearby Clovelly Beach, bring some thongs as the rocks may be a little tricky to navigate.
#2 Hyams Beach
Note: this one actually is not in Sydney, but a 2h 30m drive south just past Nowra.
Hyams Beach holds the title for world’s whitest sand, backed by the guinness book of world records. And it certainly does not disappoint. A couple of friends and myself stayed down near Jervis Bay for the Australia Day long weekend, and on a particularly warm and sunny day we visited the renowned beach. It was quite popular today, parking was scarce but the beach was not packed too much to be a worry as there is plenty of room on the sand. When people remark on the clarity of water of a beach, the expression ‘crystal clear’ is often heard – well Hyams Beach is the next level, whatever that may be.
#1 Freshwater Beach
Always good times here, its never too busy and within walking distance of some excellent lunch spots and cafes. The water is also comparably very clear on most days, even rivalling Hyams as mentioned before. Since the gradient of the beach is quite stretched out you can easily have a pick whether you want to have a swim/surf around the waves or just float on the calmer waters only a little further out. It’s always perfect for relaxing and would gladly go to Freshie every day of the week, weather permitting.