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Best Beaches in Sydney, Australia

As you pack up your board shorts and bikini for your next vacation, it is always crucial to take some time to research potential places to visit. Sydney is a vibrant city in Australia known for its yacht-studded harbor, superb beaches, and iconic venues like the Sydney Opera House. So on your next visit to Sydney, Australia, here are some of the must-visit beaches in the area.

Manly Beach

Manly Beach is one of Australia’s more famous and beautiful beaches, and is located a short ferry ride away from Sydney. It is known for its surfing, snorkeling and diving, as well as white sandy beaches perfect for lounging and tanning. Manly Beach was named Australia’s best beach in 2018 by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards. An excellent way to explore Manly Beach and all it has to offer is by renting a bike and exploring the bike paths and off-road trails around the beach.

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Shelley Beach

Shelley Beach is a family-friendly beach as it is wave-free 99% of the time and is part of the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. Since the waters are incredibly calm, it is a popular spot for snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, or letting the kids play in the shallows.  Shelley Beach can get quite busy at times, although not typically as busy as Manly Beach, so it is recommended to come earlier in the day so you can get parking and a spot on the beach.

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Freshwater Beach

Freshwater Beach is located in Freshwater, a northern suburb of Sydney, and is notable for being wedged between two headlands that produce excellent, consistent waves for surfers. Freshwater Beach holds a spot in Australian surf history as being where Hawaiian ‘Duke’ Kahanamoku popularized surfboarding in 1915 when he carved a board from local timber and demonstrated the craft in front of a crowd. Nowadays, a life-sized statue of Duke Kahanamoku stands on the northern headland to commemorate his legacy and overlook the beach. Besides having a rich surfing history, Freshwater Beach is a family beach that is patrolled by lifeguards and even has its own surf lifesaving club.

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Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach is an excellent place for easy snorkeling, moderate cliff jumping, or sheltered picnicking in the grassy, treed area. Not only does it have an enclosed swimming area, so people do not have to worry about sharks, but the beach is also patrolled, meaning everyone can fully relax and enjoy the day. Balmoral Beach is easily accessible via bus and features change rooms with showers and toilets. Although it is not a beach for surfing, the pristine, white beaches and vibrant atmosphere have some people calling it the best bay beach in Sydney.

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Store Beach

Store Beach is a hidden tropical gem that is around 10 kilometers from Sydney’s central business district. Store Beach is only accessible by boat or kayak and is an excellent place to stop, take in the sun, and have a picnic. Since it is so secluded, there are no provided amenities, and dogs are not allowed because it is a breeding area for penguins. Sometimes, in an extremely low tide, you might be able to walk on the rocks to reach the beach, but that is not recommended.

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Clontarf Beach

Clontarf Beach is a family and dog-friendly beach that features a netted swimming enclosure, playground, and plenty of grassy areas for picnicking or sitting in the shade. Clontarf Beach can get fairly busy thanks to its ice cream kiosk, which draws large crowds on hot days. Its shallow, calm waters and clear beaches are great for teaching children to swim or lying out all afternoon soaking up the sun.

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Chinamans Beach

Chinamans Beach is a relaxing sandy harbour beach set amongst tall coastal parklands. It is typically far less congested than other beaches and features pristine sand, clean and refreshing waters, and a grassy park with trees and a playground for children. Chinamans Beach is also dog-friendly, and overall, many people who visit recognize it as one of Sydney’s premier inner harbor beaches.

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South Steyne Beach

South Steyne Beach is one of the three main sections of Manly Beach and can get fairly busy, especially on hot days. It is so popular since it is near the hustle and bustle of Sydney, and on weekends and busy days the local surf club patrols the beach. You can rent different beach equipment to use, such as stand-up paddle boards and kayaks, and South Steyne Beach is dog-friendly as long as they stay leashed.

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Quarantine Beach

As the name suggests, Quarantine Beach is a secluded, lesser-known beach that is part of the National Parks. You have to walk down to Quarantine Beach through Quarantine Station to reach the marvelous white sand and clear waters. Although there are not too many shaded areas, Quarantine Beach is excellent if you prefer privacy during your time at the beach.

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Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach is a great multipurpose beach that is only about a 15-minute car ride from Sydney. It has not only surfing, an enclosed swimming area in the ocean, and a swimming pool, but also a large park with picnic tables and BBQs available to use. Bronte Beach also features updated amenities like change rooms with showers and toilets. Occasionally, the beach can get busy on weekends, but typically, people escape to Bronte Beach to enjoy the pristine beaches and clear waters and avoid the larger crowds.

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Milk Beach

Milk Beach is another hidden gem in Sydney and is perfect for date nights thanks to its sandy beaches, blue waters, and secluded location. It is a small beach hidden between rocky outcrops and dense foliage with a unique view of the city. This lesser-known beach is easily accessible, but it is unpatrolled, meaning there are no nets or lifeguards, so there is a risk of being attacked by jellyfish or sharks. Milk Beach is ideal for people seeking a more private spot to take in the sights and observe Sydney from.

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