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Beach Lifestyle in Sydney

Beach Lifestyle in Sydney
The best of Sydney at the beach

Chowder Bay, Mosman. Image James Pipino

With so many beaches and bays close to Sydney's city centre, it's no wonder that Sydneysiders choose to enjoy a summer holiday at home. You'll find them starting the day with a run along a beach, taking a leisurely walk, going surfing or enjoying a coffee at a beachside cafe.

Enjoy some of the world's most famous beaches, such as Bondi and Manly, with their unique combination of surfing, shopping and beachside dining. Or find your own patch of sandy paradise, from Tamarama to Coogee, Dee Why to Palm Beach.

There are many secret beaches dotted around Sydney Harbour and the eastern coastline such as Jibbon Beach in the Royal National Park - to enjoy space, shade and the sounds of the sea.

If you prefer to add some action to your time by the beach, why not learn to surf or scuba dive-or take advantage of all the activities available on one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. Go sailing, take a Sydney Harbour cruise, take up kayaking or paddle boarding, or enjoy the thrill of a high-speed jet boat.

Sydney's secret beaches

These quiet secluded beaches are unknown by many Sydneysiders, making them perfect places to get away from city life for a break. From romantic harbour inlets like Milk Beach in Vaucluse to family-friendly Sirius Cove in Mosman, find your secret Summer hideaway.
Milk Beach at Vaucluse, Image James Pipino

Outdoor pools

Sydney's many saltwater pools are the perfect alternative to summer surf-great for lap swimmers, toddlers or just floating around. Some, such as Andrew Boy Charlton, are a short walk from Sydney city centre while others are an easy ferry-ride away.
MacCallum outdoor pool, Cremorne. Image Hamilton Lund

Summer activities

Make the most of this Summer and take up a new watersport. Fancy paddleboarding around the harbour, kayaking between bays or snorkeling with local marine life? Get some insider tips on things to do in Sydney in Summer.

Things to do in Bondi Beach

North Bondi ocean pool. Image James Pipino

Australia's most famous beach is also the closest ocean beach to the centre of Sydney, about a 20-minute ride by bus. As well as the essential ingredients-great waves, golden sands, and deep blue ocean-Bondi has a beach style all its own.

Bondi Beach has waves to suit all levels of experience. It's a great place to learn to surf as the beach has protected areas for the novice. If you're an experienced surfer head to South Bondi, where southerly swells load up across a rocky reef and unfurl as powerful right-handers, to the joy of a mostly short-board contingent of locals and visitors. Sandbanks around the middle of the beach shape two or three separate left-and-right breaks.

For the quintessential Bondi experience, book a lesson with local surf school Let's Go Surfing or join locals for an early morning swim. Then dry off with a walk along the Bondi to Coogee Coast Walk to more beaches at Tamarama, Bronte and Coogee.

Bondi also has a vibrant cafe and restaurant culture. Campbell Parade, which runs along the back of the beach, is a near-continuous strip of outdoor cafes, gelato bars, gourmet burger bars, tapas and more.
Shop and surf at Bondi Beach
Shopping on Gould Street, Bondi. Image Pierre Toussaint

Bondi is a mecca for beach and swimwear shopping. On Campbell Parade there's a string of swimwear shops, including Labyrinth, Mambo and The Big Swim stocking brands such as local heroes, Hotel Bondi Swim, Zimmerman and Anna and Boy. An institution since 1981 is Bikini Island, also on Campbell Parade. At nearby Bondi Junction, you'll find more swimwear at Westfield Bondi Junction.

Beachside film festivals

Flickerfest kicks off the summer movie season under the stars at Bondi Beach in early January each year, screening the best short films from Australia and the world. Bondi Openair Cinema runs from 29 January to 11 March 2012, also at the beachside Bondi Pavilion.
Bondi Open Air Cinema

Bondi to Coogee coastal walk

The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk winds south from Bondi Beach, past sea-sculpted sandstone with spectacular ocean views at every turn. Stop off for a dip at Tamarama Beach or enjoy a good coffee at Bronte's cafe strip.
Bondi to Coogee Coastal walk. Image Pierre Toussaint

Nightlife in Bondi

As night approaches, slip into something a little more glamorous and watch the sunset with a cocktail at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Perched on the southern tip of Bondi Beach, it's one of the city's most spectacular drinking and dining spots.

Things to do in Manly

Snorkelling at Shelly Beach, Manly. Image James Pipino

Beautiful beaches, tranquil bays, coastal walks, and buzzing cafes and bars-Manly combines the best of Sydney's beach lifestyle with a relaxed village feel. Getting there is half the fun when you catch a ferry from Circular Quay-just 30 minutes later you're at Manly Wharf, with its serene harbour beach and waterfront restaurants and bars.

Take to the surf at one of Australia's iconic beaches. Manly Surf School has classes for beginners and advanced surfers throughout the year.

Explore Manly by foot, rollerblade or bike, with pathways and coastal walks taking you further north to Freshwater Beach or around the headland to Shelly Beach, a lovely sheltered sandy cove with plenty of colourful fish to tempt snorkelers and scuba divers. If you’d rather gaze at the marine life from safer ground, Oceanworld Manly never fails to delight with huge sharks, giant stingrays, turtles and shoals of fish being hand fed.
Australian Open of Surfing
Surfing at Manly Beach. Image Joel Coleman for Saltmotion

Manly Beach hosts the annual Australian Open of Surfing in February each year. Be there to see the best in surfing as well as skating, great music, fashion and art in this action-packed event that attracts surfers from around Australia and the world. Manly Beach was chosen for its great waves as well as its reputation for being the birthplace of Australian surfing. The first World Surfing Championships were held at Manly Beach in 1964.

Learn to surf or paddle board

If you're new to surfing then Manly is the place to learn, and Manly Surf School provides all the gear for first-timers. Meanwhile, stand up paddle boarding is a unique way to explore Sydney Harbour and exercise at the same time.
Manly Surf School

Get active in Manly

Join in a game of beach volleyball, hire a bike and cycle along the coastal walkways or walk to Freshwater Beach. Why not hire a boat or kayak, and explore the coves around Manly at your own pace.
Kayaking at Manly, Image James Pipino

Waterside dining in Manly

Whether you're looking for a cafe on the beach for espresso, delicious takeaway fish and chips, or something more sophisticated, Manly's lively restaurant and bar scene has something for everyone - including beautiful views to linger over.

Sydney's surfing hot-spots

Surf life savers at Dee Why, Image Hamilton Lund

The first surfboard hit Australian waves at Freshwater in 1914, and Sydneysiders have taken to surfing ever since. From board-riding in thrilling swells to learning to surf safely, Sydney's surf beaches have it all. In fact, four Sydney beaches have made it to the National Surfing Reserve Register: Manly, North Narrabeen, Cronulla and Maroubra.

Australia's most famous and stylish stretch of surf and sand is Bondi Beach, less than 10km from Sydney city centre. Serious board-riders are found at the southern end of the beach, while boogie boards and bodysurfers are at the northern end.

Further south, Maroubra is a kilometre long curve of sand that appeals to surfers, swimmers and families alike. Cronulla includes four different beaches-Wanda, Elouera, North Cronulla and Cronulla, and has a lively surf scene with local board-riding communities and surf lifesaving clubs.

The northern beaches, from Manly to Palm Beach, offer some of Sydney's prime surfing spots, including Curl Curl, Freshwater, Dee Why and Narrabeen.

When you're surfing, stay safety-aware. Keep out of flagged swimming areas and never surf alone.

Australian Open of Surfing
Surfing at Manly Beach. Image Joel Coleman for Saltmotion

Manly Beach hosts the annual Australian Open of Surfing in February each year. Be there to see the best in surfing as well as skating, great music, fashion and art in this action-packed event that attracts surfers from around Australia and the world. Manly Beach was chosen for its great waves as well as its reputation for being the birthplace of Australian surfing. The first World Surfing Championships were held at Manly Beach in 1964.

Learn to surf in Sydney

Get all the board action you need at an accredited surf school on one of Sydney's favourite beaches. From Manly and Bondi to surf adventure tours to Byron Bay, you'll be able to learn the basics or hone your big wave skills.
Learn to surf with Let's Go Surfing at Bondi, Image Pierre Toussaint

Surf school in Bondi

Is there anywhere better to learn to surf than Australia's famous Bondi Beach? With fantastic waves and the ultimate beachside vibe, it's close enough to the city to make after-work surfing possible. Check out Let’s Go Surfing for details.
Learn to surf with 'Let's Go Surfing' at Bondi. Image Mikala Wilbow for Let's Go Surfing

Freshwater, Australia's first surf beach

This is where Australian surfing all began in 1914. And it still has some of the best surf in town, along with a playground and BBQ facilities. "Freshie" hosts many surfing events over Summer, including the Australia Day Carnival.

If you're on holidays in Sydney this Summer, grab your board and hit the waves. Learn to surf at one of Sydney's iconic surf beaches and get the skills you need for surfing thrills in Bondi, Manly, or many other Sydney surfing beaches.

Manly Surf School Hire has taught surfing to board-riders with all levels of experience since 1983. You'll find Manly Surf School year-round on Manly Beach, Palm Beach and Collaroy Beach.

Over at world-famous Bondi Beach, the dedicated and fully qualified Let's Go Surfing team can help you catch the waves of your dreams.

Take a surfing adventure tour, and combine surf lessons with an eco-trip to beautiful remote beaches and National Parks. Bronte-based Surf's Up School offers weekend surf retreats, five-day Sydney to Byron Bay tours and one-day Sydney 4WD adventures.

If the kids want to get in on the wave action as well, join the locals at the surf lifesaving club for Nippers or Junior Lifesaving. They'll learn all-important safety skills so they can have fun on the beach all summer long. Pick up a few tips from the pros and watch the surf lifesavers run through their drills every weekend.

Sydney's best outdoor pools

Sydney's saltwater pools are a perfect alternative to Summer surf- ideal for lap swimmers, toddlers or just floating around.
Waterfront swimming pools in Sydney
Outdoor pool at Balmoral Beach, Mosman. Image Andrew Gregory

Sydney's many outdoor saltwater pools range from Olympic pools with modern facilities to shark-netted enclosures on the beach and beach pools washed by the ocean waves.

Sydney has a multitude of family friendly beaches. In the eastern suburbs you'll find Neilsen Park, or Shark Bay, with it's shady park (ideal for picnics), lovely kiosk, bushland walks and city views. The netted bay is perfect for swimming in summer. On the north side of the harbour, Balmoral Beach has a netted enclosure and is surrounded by shaded parkland, alfresco cafes, top restaurants and one of Sydney's best fish and chip shops.

City-workers keen to swim laps should hop over to Andrew Boy Charlton Pool in The Domain. This stylish inner city pool has prime position overlooking Woolloomooloo Bay. Swimmers at North Sydney Olympic Pool enjoy some of the best views in the world, looking across the harbour to Sydney Opera House. Set beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge and overlooked by Luna Park, it's a short ferry trip to Milson's Point.

Bronte Baths and Freshwater Beach Baths are lovely spots for a dip, set into the cliffs and washed by the waves. You can even enjoy a massage or yoga class at Wylie Baths, at the southern end of Coogee Beach.
Best city pools
North Sydney Olympic Pool. Image Robert Billington

You'll find Sydneysiders as well as visitors enjoying a swim at well-appointed pools, indoors and outdoors, close to the city centre. Victoria Park Pool is in a parkland setting near Sydney University while North Sydney Olympic Pool has the ultimate harbourside location, beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge. Pools that also have gyms, hydrotherapy pools and saunas can be found at Cook and Phillip Park Centre in the city and the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre near Darling Harbour.

Women's pool at Coogee

McIver's Baths at Coogee Beach is the last-remaining women's-only seawater pool in Australia after being built in 1886. Perched on a rock platform overlooking the beach, the baths are a private space where women can swim, have a massage and relax by the ocean.
Wylie Baths at Coogee. Image Sally Mayman

Unique to Sydney

Sydney's coastline is home to a series of beautiful pools that have been cut into the base of cliffs and rocky headlands.There are 30 between Palm Beach and Cronulla as well as 40 harbour pools. Don't miss Bondi Public Baths (now known as Bondi Icebergs) and Palm Beach Rock Pool.
Overlooking Bondi Baths at Bondi Beach, Image Pierre Toussaint

Catch a ferry for a swim

Cremorne's Maccallum Pool, from the 1920s, is in an idyllic harbourside location within easy reach of Cremorne Point wharf. Fairlight Pool is another popular harbour rockpool in a pretty sheltered cove close to Manly Wharf.

Explore Sydney by boat
Sailing on Sydney harbour with Eastsail. Image James Pipino

The best way to see and enjoy Sydney is from the water, and there are many ways to get on board. One of the easiest and most affordable is to catch a scenic Sydney Ferry from Circular Quay-cross the harbour to Manly and take in all the sights, hop around the coves of the eastern suburbs to Watsons Bay, or head west on a RiverCat down the Parramatta River

If you prefer on-board dining why not take one of the daily sightseeing harbour cruises, or a dinner cruise at sunset. If you fancy a faster pace, enjoy the adrenalin rush of high-speed Oz Jet Boating or Sydney Jet, with 270-degree spins and power-brake stops.

If yachting is more your style, learn to sail with EastSail or Sydney by Sail and make the most of Summer with twilight sailing and weekly races. You can also hire kayaks, boats and even houseboats from many spots around Sydney, such as Audley Boatshed in the Royal National Park and from Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River.

Things to do in Sydney's summer
Snorkelling at Shelley Beach, Manly. Image James Pipino

Sydney is the perfect Summer holiday destination, and with so many activities to enjoy you can make the most of the beach lifestyle while also learning some new skills.

The latest fitness craze is paddle boarding around Sydney Harbour, and Summer is the perfect time to strengthen those core muscles while you explore beautiful secret inlets and bays. You can hire a paddleboard from Manly Surf School Hire.

While you're in Manly, why not head over to the surf side for some beach volleyball action? Kids of all ages will love Manly Waterworks, and, if the waterslide action all gets too much, you can pop next door to visit Manly Oceanworld.

You might be surprised at how much marine life there is in Sydney. Explore this magical underwater world with a snorkel and flippers, or book some scuba diving lessons. Shelly Beach and Clovelly are good spots for spotting the local marine life.

Another peaceful way to explore the water is on a kayak, where you can join a guided tour around Sydney Harbour and Middle Head, or simply paddle at your own pace.

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