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Best beaches in Sydney – a locals perspective

best beaches in sydney

Ask any local for the best travel tips in their home city and they won’t be the same as those in tourist brochures.  And for good reason.  Who want’s to go to a crowded, overrated spot when you’re trying to relax?  So for your next trip to Sydney here’s a list of the best beaches in Sydney from a local.

Freshwater Beach

Freshwater beach is a beautiful golden stretch of sand just north of Manly beach.  Sheltered by high cliffs on either side it is a great place for a leisurely swim.  Freshwater is a perfect locals spot to get away from the crowds.

Tucked away in a bit of a hard to get to place there is a reason why this beach is a lot quieter than those closer to the city.  If you’re still looking to catch a wave Freshwater does still get a nice break when the swell gets around the headlands.

You can find directions on public transport here:

Gordon’s Bay

This great little beach is sitting in the middle of the Bondi to Bronte walkway.  The first bay from the Bronte end is circled by spectacular clifftops and has crystal clear waters on a summers day.

By little beach, I really mean little beach.  The sand part of Gordon’s Bay gets full very quickly.  The good news is that there are plenty of rocky outcrops to sit your gear on while you dive into the waters.

Shelly Beach

Most people wouldn’t put Shelly Beach on the list of local’s beaches as it’s very well known.  But surprisingly a lot of travellers don’t know it exists.

Shelly Beach sits at the southern end of Manly Beach and you’ll need to walk 15mins or so to get there.  The walkway is absolutely stunning and you’ll find cafes along the way.  Watch out for Water Dragons – lizards that soak up the sun along the walkway to the beach.

Shelly Beach is also famous for snorkelling.  You can see a lot of tropical fish here so make sure you take your gear as it definitely deserves to be on a list of the best beaches in Sydney.

Dee Why

A bit further north is the small town of Dee Why.  Cafes and restaurants are huddled around this beautiful wind swept beach.

Sitting about 50min north of the CBD it’s a great place to get away from the rat race if you really want to spend some time relaxing.  Not only is it one of the best beaches in Sydney but it’s a great place to spend time with kids while in the city.

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