OK, so flights to Australia are long. So long that you’ll be able to get through the entire in-flight film list. But all the hours in the air will be well worth it when you finally touch down. Chances are your arrival point will be Sydney, Australia’s largest, most cosmopolitan city, and it won’t disappoint. The sprawling metropolis buzzes with enough life and bustle to make your jet lag magically disappear. But one thing many overlook as they explore the city’s rich cultural activities is the huge number of breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Sydney has mile after mile of white-sand coastline. In fact there are so many different coves and bays on offer, it seems every Sydney-sider has their own favourite. But where should you head for first? Here are five favourites.
Best for people-watching – Bondi
Attracting up to 40,000 visitors a day in peak season, Bondi is Australia’s most well-known beach, and no trip to Sydney should be without a visit. But don’t expect to be rubbing shoulders with just your run-of-the-mill sunworshippers. The kilometre stretch of sand is a complete melting pot of beautiful people, budgie-smuggler clad iron men, joggers and yoga enthusiasts saluting the dawn, with a sprinkling of eccentric hippies thrown in to the mix. And there’s lifeguards, too – a must-see if you’re regularly glued to Bondi Rescue back home.
Best for family fun – Balmoral
Sydney beaches are well-known for their huge surf, but while big waves may be an adrenaline-junkie’s dream, they’re every parent’s nightmare. That’s why Balmoral beach in the suburb of Mosman is ideal for families. As pretty as a picture postcard, the lack of surf makes it great for little ones to swim or paddle in and there’s also a playground if they don’t fancy a dip. By all means take a picnic, or you could go there to enjoy some of the fish and chips Balmoral is famous for.
Best for snorkelling – Clovelly
Think the Great Barrier Reef is the only place in Australia to catch some underwater action? Think again. Sydney has its own fascinating watery underworld. One of the best of these can be found at Clovelly beach. Sheltered enough so the sand doesn’t get churned up, the fish to spot here is the beautiful blue groper– or a ‘bluey’, in Ozzie parlance. Saturdays can be busy enough to impair your view, so try to go during the week. There are a few sea-dwelling creatures you may not want to get close to, but don’t worry, Clovelly has a shark net too and they’re rarely spotted here.
Best for letting it all hang out – Little Congwong Bay
Looking for a clothing-optional beach to top up your all-over tan? Look no further than Little Congwong Bay. With beautifully clean, safe waters and some great local bars and restaurants in easy reach (once you’ve put your trousers back on), this little slice of naturist heaven is just a short walk over the rocks from the main Congwong beach. Just don’t forget to apply your sunscreen to those sensitive areas.
Best if you want to be alone – Lady Martin’s beach
A deserted beach? In a city with a population of over four million? Well it can be done. Lady Martin’s beach is found in one of the city’s most affluent suburbs and despite its undoubted beauty, one of its main attraction is how hard it is to find. The stretch of sand is accessible only by a narrow lane adjacent to the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club – which is just as posh as it sounds. You may be the only people there, but if you are joined by other sun-worshippers, chances are they’ll be one of the jet-set who come here to see and be seen.
Photo courtesy of craigbbaker