With over 100 city beaches in Sydney to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming in deciding which one to go to. So, we’re bringing you 35 of the best beaches in Sydney by public transport which are just in the city. There are so many beaches just outside Sydney that we’ve summed them up in our top 10 secret beaches.
The Sydney beaches we’ve specifically chosen from as far south as Cronulla and as far north as Curl Curl Beach AND all of the beaches include public transport options so anyone can visit them.
THIS IS THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SYDNEY BEACHES!
Expect to find the following Sydney beaches in this post:
⇒ Sydney beaches which are easy to get to via public transport
⇒ Family friendly beaches in Sydney
⇒ Some of the most popular beaches in Sydney
⇒ The iconic surfing beaches in Sydney
⇒ Beaches with no waves in Sydney for swimming
⇒ The best local beaches in Sydney
⇒ Dog friendly beaches in Sydney
⇒ Quiet beaches in Sydney
⇒ Nudist beaches in Sydney
⇒ Some of Sydney’s best harbour and ocean swimming pools
As a Brit writing this article, I’ve specifically mention whether the beach has flat swimmable water, rather than the kind of knock you out waves that we (meaning myself) can’t handle. So if you’re looking for beaches you can swim in Sydney, look no further, I’ve mentioned them in this post as well!
Find out if your favourite city beach in Sydney has been included in this list!
If you’re new to Sydney, we recommend you buying a beach tent because the sun is so strong, you won’t be able to stay out at the beach for very long without shade.
Table of Contents
Best Sydney Beaches In Northern Beaches
The northern beaches are locally known as having some of the best beaches in Sydney so here’s some of our favourite beaches in the Northern Beaches as far north as Curl Curl because we’re trying to stay within the city area.
1. Manly Beach
Northern BeachesStarting with one of the most famous beaches in the whole of Australia is Manly Beach. This beach gets absolutely jam packed on weekend as it holds the best transport option probably in the world to get here via the Manly ferry from Circular Quay. Time it right with sunset on the way back and you’ll get some cracking shots of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Manly Beach is a great beach for people wanting to learn to surf and there’s loads of great places to eat, perfect for a great day out for the family.
Tips: Check out Barenaked Bowls for one of the best acai bowls in Sydney and 4 Pines for a drink after a hard day in the sun.
Busy rating: *****
Type of beach: Manly Beach is known for small waves for beginner surfers, locals and tourist swarm to this beach and there’s a well known population of Brits, backpackers and Aussies living there.
How to get to Manly Beach: You can catch the Manly fast ferry from Circular Quay which takes between 18-20 minutes and costs $18.90 per adult.
Or you can take the iconic normal Manly ferry which takes 30 minutes and costs $7.50 each way with your Opal Card.
Northern BeachesOne thing we love about Manly beach is the beautiful coastal walk over to Shelly Beach. If there weren’t crowds, Shelly Beach could easily be a contender as one of our favourite beaches in Sydney.
Shelly Beach is a brilliant spot for snorkelling and learning to dive. If you’re interested in diving, it costs $199 for an introductory dive course with Pro Dive.
Type of beach: This is a great beach for families and people who don’t like waves. It’s also a great beach for snorkelling and diving or just people watching from The Boathouse restaurant.
How to get to Shelly Beach: Follow the same info for Manly Beach and walk over to the far right of Manly Beach and you’ll see a path leading around the rocks and over to Shelly Beach (it takes no longer than a 10 minute walk from Manly). If you’re driving, parking could well be a nightmare but there’s a paid car park at Shelly Beach, just make sure you get there as early as possible.
Northern BeachesLittle Manly is a great beach if you’re looking for a smaller, quieter beach where the locals hang out. There’s also the Little Manly Beach Kiosk open from 8am-4pm everyday serving up breakfast, lunch and snacks (ice cream included!).
Busy rating: ****
Type of beach: Small beach and much quieter than Manly, good for families with calm waters to swim in, a cafe and toilet facilities.
How to get there: It’s a 15 minute walk back over to the wharf side from Manly Beach to get to Little Manly and takes equally the same time if you’re coming from Manly wharf as well.
Northern BeachesCollins Flat Beach is one of those tiny beaches that feels like you’ve found a little gem in Sydney. Located near to Little Manly Beach the water is quite shallow with zero waves so you can bring the kids along. There’s also a rock known as jump rock which is along the walking track from Little Manly on the way over, popular for those not scared to jump in (just be super careful if you attempt it).
Another little unknown gem about Collins Flat Beach is there are resident PENGUINS in the area. That’s right, Penguins – we couldn’t believe it either! Just don’t feed them or leave any litter on this beach or any other beach for that matter.
FYI – there’s no facilities at Collins Flat Beach – the closest cafe and toilets are located at Little Manly Beach.
Tip: There’s another beach next door to Collins Flat called Store Beach but you’ll have to walk all the way around to get there which takes 30 minutes.
Type of beach: Flat water, secluded beach with no facilities.
How to get there: It’s a 5 minute walk from Little Manly Beach or if you’re going to drive, you might be lucky to try and park at one of the three parking spots on Collins Beach Road.
Northern BeachesFreshie as it’s known by the locals is one of Sydney’s best surfing beaches. It’s known as THE beach where surfing actually originated in Australia thanks to Hawaiian surfing legend ‘Duke’ Kahanamoku. He who showed the Aussie’s what surfing is in a demonstration in 1915. To this day there’s a statue of the famous surfer on the north side of the beach to remember the historic day.
Freshwater is also a bit quieter than Manly and the waves are always consistent due to the sandbanks which protect this beach in between the headlands.
Type of beach: Surfing beach
How to get to Freshwater Beach: It’s a 30 minute walk from the far right side of Manly over to Freshie, or from Manly Wharf you can jump on the 139 to Warringah Mall and jump off at Crown Road or 136 bus to Chatswood and jump off at Queenscliff.
If you ever do the Manly – Spit 10km walk, you’ll walk past Fairlight on your way out of Manly. Fairlight Beach is a little quieter gem in Manly with 80m worth of beach, calm waters and toilet facilities.
Tip: Keep on walking along the Manly – Spit track and you’ll find Forty Baskets Bay and Reef Beach which we can pretty guarantee you’ll get to yourself.
Type of beach: A locals secret haven from busy Manly beach.
How to get to Fairlight Beach: It’s a 13 minute walk west of Manly Wharf to get to Fairlight Beach.
Northern BeachesWashaway beach is one of the lesser known (if known at all!) beaches in Sydney. If you’re looking for total seclusion right in the middle of Sydney, it doesn’t get much better. This is also a clothing optional beach and you may have to sunbake on the rocks, depending on the tides, but it’s worth it if you’re after some peace and quiet and of course, space.
Type of beach: Clothing optional beach but it’s a beautiful and secluded beach! I wouldn’t take kids there as there’s a slight drop to get onto the beach and not ideal for kids.
How to get to Washaway Beach: If you’re going via Manly, take the 132 bus to Warringah Mall and get off at Alma St. It’s then a 13 minute walk to Washaway Beach. Otherwise it should take an hour from from Wynyard Station. Just take the 180 bus to Balgowlah, then the 132 bus to Alma St.
If you’re driving, it’s 30 minutes from Town Hall and you should be able to find on street parking quite easily.
Northern BeachesClontarf is probably the BEST family beach in Sydney. Situated next to the Spit bridge in Middle Harbour, it’s got the perfect flat water and a shark net to swim safely in. A lot of families flock to Clontarf as it’s got a great playground, a kiosk to grab some food and picnic areas. You’ll be able to keep the kids entertained all day!
Type of beach: Family beach
How to get to Clontarf Beach: From Wynyard Station take the 180 Collaroy Bus for 27 minutes and jump off at Balgowlah Golf Club. It’s then a 17 minute walk from there.
The Lower North Shore has some amazing quieter beaches in Sydney to visit unlike the more popular Easter Suburbs. Expect some of the best family beaches in Sydney, secret beaches and the best swimming pools you’ll ever see anywhere in the world!
10. Chinaman’s Beach
Lower North Shore
Chinaman’s Beach is one of the Sydney secret beaches and the funny thing is it’s literally around the corner from the busy Balmoral Beach. We love Chinaman’s Beach as it’s got flat water which is perfect for families and for those of us who aren’t a fan of waves 🙂
Type of beach: Perfect for families, people who are looking for a quieter beach and flat water.
How to get there: Take the 178 from Wynyard Station to Spit Road and it’s a 10 minute walk from there. You can also get there if you’re doing the Manly – Spit coastal walk as well.
Right in the middle of Middle Head and just up the road from Balmoral lies one of Sydney’s best nudist beaches called Obelisk Bay. Come here for some peace and quiet and put your birthday suit on 😉
Tip: There’s another nudist beach nearby called Cobblers Beach which can get pretty crowded which is right around the corner from Balmoral Beach. There’s a great restaurant called Burnt Orange nearby if you’re hungry.
Type of beach: Obelisk Beach is one of Sydney’s best nudist beaches.
How to get there: From Wynyard Station jump on the 244 bus to Balmoral Naval Hospital for 30 minutes and it’s just a 3 minute walk from there. If you’re coming from Balmoral beach it’s a 25 minute walk.
Lower North ShoreClifton Gardens sits on the opposite side to Balmoral and is another contender as one of Sydney’s best family beaches. There’s a playground, kiosk and it also has flat water. Be prepared if you’re driving as the car park will cost you a whopping $28 for the whole day. Taronga Zoo is nearby if you fancy popping along before or after your beach visit.
Food Tip: Although there’s a kiosk, we really love the restaurant called Ripples which overlooks the beach.
Type of beach: Family beach
How to get to Clifton Gardens: Take the M50 bus from Town Hall for 30 minutes towards Taronga Zoo and jump off at Bradley’s Head. It’s just a six minute walk from there.
Lower North ShoreIt might not be a beach but Maccallum Pool is our favourite harbour pool in Sydney and definitely worth a visit. Located in the residential area of Cremorne, this ocean pool dates back to 1920s and although it might be only 33m long, it sure is beautiful. Expect incredible views of Sydney’s skyline and a lovely quiet spot for a bit of sun baking and swimming.
If there was a prize for the world’s best outdoor swimming pool, it would go to North Sydney Olympic Pool. We love this pool as it gives you those “I’m actually in Sydney” vibes and it’s a perfect spot to get a bit of sun and a swim (there’s various swimming lanes and one dedicated for the floaters who aren’t interested in swimming). It costs around $8 per adult to swim at North Sydney Olympic Pool.
Further west of Milson’s Point is the gorgeous Greenwich Baths. This is a great spot for anyone wanting to chill out and take a dip in this Paramatta River pool. We did notice they have an outdoor cinema at this beach from time to time as well.
Type of beach: Swimming baths on the Paramatta River
How to get there: Take the Cockatoo Island ferry from Circular Quay and get off after 20 minutes to Greenwich.
We’ve only listed one swimming pool in the CBD although there are a few to discover in the area.
18. Andrew Boy Charlton pool
Andrew Boy Charlton Pool is set right in the middle of the Royal Botanic Gardens and is perfect for a lunch time swim. This 50 metre salt-water heated pool even offers yoga lessons on paddle boards!
Swimming Baths Tips: There’s quite a few other swimming baths but notably also check out Dawn Fraser Baths, Sydney’s oldest swimming baths in Balmain and The Prince Alfred Park Swimming Pool near Central station in Surry Hills.
Type of beach: Andrew Boy Charlton is one of Sydney’s most famous outdoor swimming pools.
How to get to Andrew Boy Charlton Pool: It’s located right next to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in The Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Eastern Suburbs holds Australia’s most famous beach, Bondi! Although we think Bondi is a bit overrated, there are some other awesome beaches and quieter swimming spots in the area!
Be warned, parking in the Eastern Suburbs is notoriously bad. We recommend visiting by public transport as you could spend hours looking for a car park as most street parking is only for two hours.
19. Bondi Beach (Icebergs)
Eastern Suburbs beachesBondi is the most famous beach in Australia but is it really worth the hype? It can get extremely busy at Bondi but to us, the main selling point is Bondi Icebergs, the ocean pool. It cost’s just $8 entry for a swim and sauna and they even have live cameras on the Bondi Icebergs website so you can see what the weather is looking like and how busy it is!
Make sure you make the effort to visit Bondi at sunrise, it’s an amazing sight and absolutely packed full of people dog walking and exercising – you’ll wonder if it’s the middle of the day!
Food Tips: We love Speedo’s Cafe on the northern end of the beach for awesome healthy food as well as Bondi Wholefoods which is a bit further up into North Bondi.
Busy rating: *****
Type of beach: Bondi Beach is known for its surf so make sure you swim in between the flags. Make sure you check out Bondi Icebergs which is open to the public.
How to get there: From Museum Station you can get the 333 bus all the way to Bondi. Otherwise you can get the train to Bondi Junction and a bus from there. If you’re driving, try and find a park up in North Bondi for free. Be prepared because parking in Bondi is a nightmare!
Known as Glamarama, Tamarama is a beach nestled in between Bondi and Bronte along the famous coastal walk. Although it has strong currents good enough for surfing, there’s a playground, BBQ area and toilet facilities at this beach.
Secret Beach Tip: Mackenzies Bay next door turns into a beach once every seven years due to a huge sand dump from the ocean and becomes one of the smallest beaches in Sydney.
Type of beach: a tiny beach when it appears once every seven years!
How to get to Tamarama: Take the 333 bus from Museum Station to Bondi Road, then it’s a 10 minute walk. Alternatively it’s just a 15 minute walk from Bondi Beach.
21. Bronte Beach Sydney
Eastern Suburbs beachesBronte has to be our favourite Eastern Suburbs beach. We feel it has the most charm and has more of a local vibe than tourist one like Bondi. The ocean pool is absolutely beautiful and 100% worth a dip in. There’s a lovely park on the beach with built in BBQs to use and we love the small amount of cafes to choose from by the bus stand.
Food Tip: We love The Bronte Cafe and a bit further up the hill Bare Naked Bowls for their acai bowls. Also check out Three Blue Ducks for their healthy farm to table food.
Type of beach: Great for swimming and a possible surf. There’s a brilliant ocean pool there too.
How to get to Bronte Beach: Take the train to Bondi Junction, then the 379 to Bronte from there which technically shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. If you’re driving, park up on the streets behind the shops, this is the only place we’ve managed to find a random parking spot. You’ll have to move your car every two hours though.
Eastern Suburbs beachesClovelly Beach is a renowned family beach in Sydney which has a salt water swimming pool and is famous for the stone concrete slab as being a popular sun baking spot for the locals. It’s not as busy as Bondi or Coogee and is more of a locals favourite.
Type of beach: family beach
How to get to Clovelly Beach: Take the 339 or x39 from Museum Station to Clovelly and it should take about 35 minutes.
Eastern Suburbs beachesGordon’s Bay is known as a little castaway beach on the Bondi to Coogee coastal path. It’s also known as being one of the best snorkelling spots in Sydney too and much quieter than Coogee Beach next door.
Type of beach: Great for snorkelling
How to get there: Take the same bus as Clovelly above to get to Gordon’s Bay. There’s no actual parking at this beach but you can park just a few minutes walk away at Clovelly.
Eastern Suburbs beachesWe love Coogee beach and even though it’s pretty touristy, we love the ocean pools next to the beach more than the beach itself. Our favourites include Wylies Baths (you have to pay like $5 to get in but there’s a cafe, toilets and a massage parlour inside), McIvers Ladies Pool and Iver Rowe Rockpool (our favourite for being absolutely peaceful and quiet).
Busy rating: Coogee Beach***** but the rock pools are much quieter.
Type of beach: Coogee is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches and has something for everyone.
How to get to Coogee beach: The X73 or 373 buses will take you all the way to Coogee from Museum Station in about 30 minutes.
Mahon Pool in Maroubra is a gorgeous ocean pool where many people relax on the cliffs all day long. There’s toilets up the top and a great cafe over the road but you probably won’t know about it as it’s hidden from the main road.
Beach Tip: Visit Maroubra Beach next door is you’re looking for a surfing beach
Type of beach: An ocean pool
How to get to Mahon Pool: Take the 377 bus from Museum Station and get off at Torrington Rd at Marine Pde. Walk directly across the street and you’ll see the steps going down to the pool.
Eastern Suburbs beachesCamp Cove is one of Sydney’s most loved beaches near to Watson’s Bay. Although you sort of feel like you’ve just walked onto someone else’s property as there’s a row of houses lining the beach, it sure is a beautiful spot to swim in as the water is calm.
Beach & Food tips: Lady Bay nudist beach is just next door and it’s gorgeous! If you’re hungry, pop over to Watson’s Bay Hotel for some decent food and drinks, oh and THAT view of the Sydney skyline too!
Type of beach: Camp Cove is a quiet beach and great for swimming.
How to get to Camp Cove: Take the Watson’s Bay ferry from Circular Quay which should take 20 minutes. Then it’s just an 8 minute walk from there to get to Camp Cove.
Eastern Suburbs beachesIt doesn’t get more secluded than at Kutti Beach in Sydney. Once you actually find the entrance to this small beach, you’ll feel like you’ve found the best secret beach in Sydney! It’s actually right around the corner from Parsley Bay. Just make sure you get here early as it’s not a big beach at all.
Type of beach: Small, secluded beach.
How to get to Kutti Beach: Catch the 324 bus from Town Hall which should take about 40 minutes.
Parsley Bay is a beautiful spot to bring your floatie along and lounge around in the water for the day. There’s a gorgeous bridge which crosses over the top of the beach and it’s a popular spot for families. It’s also a great spot for free all day parking – result!
Type of beach: Quiet, flat swimming beach that’s so calm it’s a floatie heaven!
How to get to Parsley Bay: Take the 324 or 325 for 45 minutes from Town Hall to Watsons Bay and get off at Fitzwilliam Road at Parsley Bay. As mentioned parking isn’t too difficult to find and it’s free all day long!
Eastern Suburbs beachesShark beach is a very popular family beach but parking can be a bit of a nightmare here. The reason why it’s so popular is because there’s a beautiful big park on the beach and the water is very calm and flat. There’s also a lovely restaurant called The Nielsen which would be awesome for a date night.
Type of beach:Shark Beach at Nielsen Park is the Eastern Suburbs busiest family beach.
How to get there: Take the 325 bus from QVB to Nielsen Park which should take 45 minutes. Like we mentioned, if you drive over, the likely hood of getting a park is very, very slim.
Milk Beach is known as one of those secret beaches in Sydney as you have to walk through 19th century Strickland House to get there. It’s also on the Hermitage walking track and definitely worth checking out. Note this beach is pretty small but as it’s on the harbour the water is flat and the views over to Sydney harbour bridge are pretty spectacular.
Type of beach: Very small beach that’s worth just a quick visit for the views over to Sydney Harbour.
How to get there: The 325 takes 40 minutes to get to Vaucluse Road, then it’s an 8 minute walk.
31. Rose Bay (dog friendly beach)
Eastern Suburbs beachesRose Bay is a dog friendly beach and more of a lesser known beach to go to than some of its neighbours like Bondi. You can even rent out a kayak on the beach to explore the harbour from Rose Bay Aquatic Hire from $25 per person.
Type of beach: dog beach, also good for paddle boarding and kayaking
How to get there: Take the 324 or 325 bus from QVB to New South Road which should take 35 minutes.
Redleaf Pool now known as Murray Rose Pool after the famous Olympian is a popular swimming spot in Sydney and boasts one of the best enclosed harbour pools. There’s two pontoons out in the middle of the pool which you can swim out too. You’ll need to access the pool next to Woollahra Library. There’s also a kiosk onsite to grab some food and drinks.
Type of beach: Murray Rose Pool is one of Sydney’s best harbour pools, and it’s a great swimming and family spot.
How to get to Murray Rose Pool: The 324 and 325 bus will take you straight to Murray Rose Pool from the city.
South Sydney’s main hub is Cronulla beach famed for being a surfing beach. There are other beaches to visit along the way but the real gem is just over the water from Cronulla in The Royal National Park. We’ve stayed away from this area in this post because we wanted to talk about more accessible beaches in Sydney that are easy to get to with public transport.
33. Congwong and Little Congwong
Botany Bay & South Sydney beachesCongwong and Little Congwong are two beaches that often make it into the most secluded beaches in Sydney lists. Located on the southern end of the Eastern Suburbs in Botany Bay National Park, Congwong is the family beach whilst Little Congwong is a popular nudist beach.
Type of beach: Family beach (Congwong) and a nudist beach (Little Congwong)
How to get to Congwong Beach: The L94 and X94 will take you from Museum Station right to Congwong Beach in about 45 minutes.
South Sydney beachesBrighton-Le-Sands is pretty underrated but a lovely beach off the M1 highway between Cronulla and the city. We’ve spent plenty of days at this beach and particularly like Dolls Point area.
Type of beach: Family beach with no waves.
How to get there: Take a 20 minute train from Town Hall to Rockdale, then six minutes on the 479 bus to Brighton-Le-Sands.