Where: Around Sydney, East Coast Australia
When: Starts hotting up around November, and is pleasant year round
Happenings: Everything from shooting soaps to surfing
Remember to Bring: Your best bikini for serious partying!
The beach vibe is an integral part of the Sydney culture, providing the perfect antidote to the hectic inner-city lifestyle. With 37 beaches in the city of Sydney and an amazing 169 beaches in Greater Sydney, there’s just no escaping the sun, sand and sea. Indeed, why would you want to?
Each sandy stretch is unique, and whether you’re interested in surfing, swimming, scuba diving, jet boating, BBQs, peace and quiet, talent-spotting or simply soaking up the sun, there is a perfect beach for you in Sydney.
Arguably the most famous beach in Sydney, Bondi is also one of the most popular with Sydneysiders and tourists alike. Located in the eastern suburbs of the city, the surfing breaks are legendary, and people travel from miles around to surf, swim or stretch out on the beach and watch the action.
Nearby, Campbell Parade offers a wide range of cafes, bars and boutiques for your entertainment, should you get bored of sunbathing! The coastal walk from Bondi to Waverley Cemetary is highly recommended, passing through a range of beaches and providing some stunning views. Amazing how many Sydneysiders have learnt to take those views for granted, taking their morning and evening runs along this track without pausing, and often at breakneck speeds!
With over 18 beaches on the Manly peninsula, residents and visitors are spoilt for choice. Manly Beach is one of the most popular, and is certainly the place to be if you fancy a spot of volleyball! The Corso Plaza next to the beach again provides alternative entertainment for the beachgoers, while an Outdoor Arts & Crafts Market is set up every weekend and public holiday on the beach front, selling a whole host of local handicrafts.
Famous for its starring role as Summer Bay in the Aussie soap “Home & Away”, Palm Beach is a long and beautiful stretch of sand, stretching out along a peninsular to Barrenjoey Head.Situated at the far end of North Sydney, there are several activities on offer here. Surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving and swimming are the most popular, or see if you can spot some filming going on!
Situated on the opposite side of the Barrenjoey Head from Palm Beach, the sheltered Station Beach by Pittswater Bay provides a peaceful retreat perfect for those who just want to relax. The water is generally very calm here, so surfers and boogie-boarders must look elsewhere for entertainment.
The next beach up from Bondi is known as “Glamourama” to the locals, courtesy of the beautiful “Martini-esque” crowd it draws. Sunbathing and swimming are the main sports here, as this is the place to see and be seen.
Another popular beach, the emphasis here is on family days out, with fun and games galore. Often rather crowded, there is nonetheless a great atmosphere here, and it is possible to rent out public BBQs for 15 minutes at a time for your very own barby on the beach!
North of the Harbour Bridge lies Obelisk Beach. Small and well-hidden, the beach is popular with nudists and topless sunbathers. Join them if you dare!
The Sydney Surfing Scene
Is surfing the national sport in Australia? Sydneysiders certainly believe it is. Surfers from all over the world come to enjoy the East Coast breaks, but if you want to join them there are certain rules you must be aware of. Surfing can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, and sometimes even if you do. In the 2001-2 swimming season 64 people died in Australian waters and over 11,000 rescues were made by the Australian Surf Rescue Patrol.
– Be aware of the risks of getting caught in a rip current, which is a large amount of water at the shoreline that rushes back to the open sea in a narrow path, taking with it anything that happens to get caught up in it. If you do get caught in one, don’t panic! Wave your arm above your head and yell to grab the attention of the Surf Rescue patrol on the beach.
Armed with surf rescue boards, and with a range of rescue equipment at their disposal, including inflatable rescue boats, firs aid kits, jet boats, oxygen resuscitation units and even helicopters, the Surf Rescue volunteers are trained to the highest degree to ensure Aussie beaches are safe places to be.
– Always check the flags on the beach to see where the safest places to swim or surf are. The safest place to swim is always between the red and yellow flags, marked out every morning by the Surf Rescue Patrol and checked throughout the day. Outside this boundary you run the risk of being hit on the head by a surf board, as surfers have to keep to the other side of the flag.
If you would like to learn to surf there are plenty of companies in and around Sydney who will teach you the basics and get you out there practicing. Some companies organise surfing trips which include camping experiences, beach BBQ parties and a whole host of other experiences for a set fee. Such trips welcome rookies and hardened surfies alike – all you need is a passion for surfing, a hundred or so Aussie dollars, and you’re there.
The Surf Rescue
For those of you with doubts about the safety of Sydney’s waters, this site should put even the most nervous at their ease, and provides some useful safety tips.
Sydney Surf Experience
Join an all-inclusive “surfari” adventure trip of a lifetime, including camping, from $149 AUS per person.
Sydney Safe Surf Schools
The first Surf Schools to be established in Sydney, this has an excellent reputation and offers both short and long term courses on quiet Marouba Beach for people of all abilities.
Surf reports for the whole of Australia are updated daily on this comprehensive site, which also reveals some beautiful beach views in the photo galleries.
One of the best local companies for scuba diving experiences, Atlantis Divers is based on Palm Beach, where some magical wildlife can be found beneath the waves.
By Rowena Forbes