Most cities are lucky to have even one great beach. Sydney? We have more than 100. But we’ve got more than just quantity going for us: it’s the sheer diversity of Sydney’s beaches that make us one of the world’s great coastal cities.

We have beaches with pumping swells and beautiful breaks; sheltered, hidden harbour coves that are perfect for picnics; and dozens of inlets and bays filled with keen ocean swimmers doings laps – regardless of the time of year.

Then there’s the fact that most of Sydney’s best beaches are true, accessible city beaches. Cronulla has its own train station, and it’s pretty incredible – for locals and tourists alike – that you can take a ferry trip from the heart of the CBD’s financial district to Manly in just over 30 minutes.

And while there are plenty of tourist traps to dodge, many of Sydney’s best restaurants, bars and cafes can be found right by its best beaches, too. There are dining institutions, such as Sean’s and Icebergs in Bondi, Bather’s Pavilion in Balmoral and Jonah’s at Whale Beach. Then there are reinvigorated classics, such as Mimi’s at the Coogee Pav, or the Harbord Hotel, over in Freshwater. Not to mention the countless beach-fronting cafes that can sort you out with a coffee after your morning swim.

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Bondi Beach

Undeniably one of the best beaches in the world, Bondi brings it all home. Its sand and surf are unrivalled and its thriving hospitality scene counts institutions such as Bondi Icebergs. Start here for a famous coastal walk that leads all the way to Coogee.

Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach

Manly Beach

Sydneysiders and expats flock here for a reason: waterfront dining, beachside pubs and some of the best conditions for surfing and swimming. The ferry ride from Circular Quay is essential.

North Steyne, South Steyne, Manly

Cronulla Beach

Colossal pines, a huge stretch of sand, some truly brilliant surf and plenty of bars and eateries worth staying for. It’s also the only beach in Sydney with its own train station.

Mitchell Road, Cronulla

Garie Beach

This rugged stretch offers swimming, beach fishing and excellent conditions to surf in. Best of all, you’re still technically in Sydney. It's the highlight of any good day trip to the Royal National Park.

Garie Road, Royal National Park

Avalon Beach

The one-time residence of pro-surfer Kelly Slater. The small-town energy of nearby Avalon village draws in sea-changing Sydneysiders by the barrel-load.

Barrenjoey Road, Avalon

Gordon’s Bay

A spectacular rocky cove on the Bondi to Coogee walk. It's a little bit bohemian with a splash of Mediterranean energy. Come here to experience the best of both worlds.

Gordon's Bay, Coogee

Shark Beach

No sharks, just good times and Vaucluse vistas towards the city skyline. This beach is right next to Nielsen Park, making this one of the city’s best recreation areas.

Promenade Road, Vaucluse

Coogee Beach

The last stop on the famous coastal walk from Bondi, Coogee has two of the most decked-out beachside boozers in the city. Not to mention some of the best swimming in the east.

Arden Street, Coogee

Shelly Beach

The side-story to Manly’s main attraction is a favourite for swimmers and families looking to have a picnic. It forms part of an aquatic reserve teeming with marine life, so bring your snorkel.

Marine Parade, Manly

Bronte Beach

The often rough conditions are redeemed by a sparkling ocean pool and some gorgeous parkland. One of the best places to picnic in the eastern suburbs.

Bronte Road, Bronte

Freshwater Beach

The birthplace of Australian surfing; “Freshie” is ever-popular for its consistently good breaks year round. Also home to a northern beaches icon, the Harbord Hotel.

Beach Street, Freshwater

Tamarama Beach

Rough conditions don’t hinder locals from sprawling across Tamarama’s pristine sand. “Glamarama,” as it’s known, is just one beach over from Bondi on the coastal walk leading all the way to Coogee.

Tamarama Marine Drive, Tamarama

Clovelly Beach

Part beach, part swimming pool – Clovelly is two concrete promenades either side of the bay. There’s a family-friendly shore, plus a kiosk and lap pool thrown in for good measure.

Clovelly Road, Clovelly

Balmoral Beach

Bordered by lush greenery, middle’s harbour’s jewel of a beach is picnic nirvana. Balmoral is also home to an institutional Mosman eatery.

Balmoral Beach The Esplanade, Mosman

Narrabeen Beach

Seasoned surfers prefer Narrabeen over Collaroy – Narrabeen is the northern stretch of the same coastline, with more advanced conditions and a sizable lagoon for paddleboarding.

Ocean Street, Narrabeen

Collaroy Beach

A hotspot for beginner surfers. This fully accessible beach has excellent facilities plus one of the city’s great art-deco monuments, the United Cinemas.

Pittwater Road, Collaroy

Maroubra Beach

World-beating surfers cut their teeth in Maroubra’s wild waters. It’s one of the best surfing beaches in Sydney, but not one for amateurs.

Marine Parade, Maroubra

Palm Beach

The longest-serving cast member on beachside soap opera, Home and Away. Home to an iconic lighthouse and some of the best surf on the peninsula.

Ocean Road, Palm Beach

Camp Cove

This spot is in the top tier of Sydney's city beaches – complete with premium views of the city skyline. It's also the inspiration behind the name of a popular Melbourne rock band.

Camp Cove Beach, Watsons Bay

Whale Beach

The northernmost beach on the Barrenjoey Peninsula – the name is a red herring (whales are, sadly, not a common occurrence) but you can expect reliably good surf and a petite ocean pool instead.

Whale Beach Road, Whale Beach

Bilgola Beach

A compact surf spot halfway up the Barrenjoey Peninsula, with stellar conditions and a swimmable rock-pool at the southern end.

The Serpentine, Bilgola

Little Bay

Tucked away behind a golf course, this sheltered cove is delightfully swimmable from one end to the other. Don’t forget your snorkel.

Pine Avenue, Little Bay
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