Beyond Bondi

Bondi Beach is probably Sydney’s most famous sandy shore but there’s so much more to see. This guide will take you beyond Bondi to discover some of the other beachy beauties Sydney has to offer.

1. Manly

If Bondi is the young hipster’s choice then Manly is its cool older sister. It plays host to festivals such as Manly Jazz Festival in the Spring, markets every weekend and Friday evenings until 28th March you can head to the Manly Food Markets and enjoy some good grub, live music and the sea breeze in your hair. Besides always having something on (check out the range of events it has to offer hereit is a beautiful area all year round.

If you’re travelling by ferry you’ll land in the wharf area where you can pop to the art gallery and museum which is open Tuesday to Sunday and completely free. Discover some of the cafes and restaurants around this area or walk up The Corso to find yourself on the beach. Along your walk pop into one of the many hotels for a beer avec sea view or a surf shop if you want to find out about lessons and equipment hire.

Although it can get pretty busy, especially on the weekends or at festival time, it’s a quieter and more laid back vibe to Bondi. There’s still plenty going on, and lots of beautiful beach bums and backpackers, but it doesn’t have the party scene that Bondi is famous for.

If you’re one for walking, think about doing a coastal route up to…

2. Curl Curl

Only a 45 minute walk from Manly, this pretty little beach is perfect for families and beach bums alike searching for a much quieter and serene alternative. There’s less of a ‘scene’ here like you’ll find in Manly or Bondi but if you’re looking for great views, quiet sunbathing or clambering over some rocks and a sea dip then I can’t recommend it more.

The north end of the beach is great for swimming and bodyboarding and there are life guards on patrol with advice on safety. If you’re living the Australian surfer dream and hoping to catch some waves, the area in front of and south of the lagoon is your best bet.

Although there are no dogs allowed on the beach itself, behind the lagoon there’s a dog exercise area which has great views and is a good place for a picnic if you’re packing your own lunch. From the CBD you could get the ferry over to Manly Wharf then catch a bus to North Curl Curl or hop on the bus direct from the city which goes via Neutral Bay and takes about an hour.

3. Dee Why

I am a little biased towards Dee Why because it is the first place I really felt lost in paradise. The beach was almost deserted save for a few surfers catching the Sunday morning waves. Jumping the waves with my fellow earlybirds then laying on the warm sand is a treasured memory for me; it really hit me that I was living my Australian dream.

Now, a lot of people feel this way about Dee Why and it can get pretty busy. It’s popular with even the most hardcore of surfers but is also lovely for a leisurely day trip. If you’re into your sports, Dee Why plays host to a variety of events such as the Beachley Classic and Ocean Thunder, both surfing tournaments, and the ever popular yearly Sun Run. Warringah also celebrates New Years Eve and Australia Day on Dee Why so if you’re north of the bridge for the holidays, head to Dee Why for sun, sand and scenery.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants with incredible views over the water, although none of them particularly budget friendly. My advice is pack a picnic and set yourself up and one of the many tables where I’m sure some seagulls will become your new best friends. If you’ve got the kids with you, there’s a fenced children’s playground on the adjoining Ted Jackson Reserve or for big kids, try your hand at outdoor table tennis (hint: the wind is not your friend).

For the wanderers among you, I recommend the walk from Dee Why to Manly. It takes an hour and twenty minutes and passes through Curl Curl (see above) and, depending on your route, Freshwater. There are exquisite views the whole way round and where else in the world can you visit four beaches in one morning then after lunch jump on a ferry and be back in the big smoke in thirty minutes?

4. Balmoral Beach

Balmoral is a small gem. It’s great for families or quiet afternoons and due to its small stature there’s an intimate feel where you can get chatting to all sorts of people whilst munching on some hot chips or an ice cream from the beach-side stall. There’s also an exquisite (but reasonably pricey) cafe cum restaurant called The Boathouse which is worth the few extra dollars for the view alone. There’s other great cafes too with a lot of character and service with a smile!

If you really want to push the boat out and treat yourself or someone special to some divine fine dining, Bathers Pavilion is a must. To really impress, book into the restaurant for delicious French cuisine. Expect to pay $50 for your main meal which can then be walked off along the sandy Mosman shore. If you’re looking for something lighter (and more affordable) they have a cafe where you can sit back, soak up the relaxed atmosphere and tuck in to their wood-fired pizzas, fresh salad or seasonal seafood and meat dishes.

You’ll find that Mosman is an area full of young families so most places cater for children, including the two spots I’ve already mentioned. If your lunch is more of a DIY affair, you can sit in the shade and enjoy people watching whilst white boats bob along in time to the waves or. It’s a great relaxed atmosphere that never disappoints even when it’s super busy!

For more advice on what to do when you’ve run out ideas of things to do with the little ones, head over to my article Seven boredom-busting ideas for kids in Sydney.

5.Maroubra, Bronte, Tamarama

The famous Coogee to Bondi walk spans between two beautiful and famous beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Crowds flock to walk along the scenic coast and look out over the Pacific Ocean, trying to spot dolphins along the way. Some of the beaches you pass along the way, including Maroubra, Bronte and Tamarama, are beautiful in their own right. Head there for a beach run, coffee by the ocean and watching the locals surf and skateboard.

Maroubra has a kilometre stretch of beautiful sand and is popular with visitors and locals trying to catch some waves. One of Australia’s only National Surfing Reserves, it was named after the Aboriginal word for ‘like thunder’, which is describes the sound of the waves thumping against the shore. There are cafes, picnic spots, surf rental and BBQ facilities as well as the added bonus of being so easily accessible from Sydney CBD via bus or car.

Tamarama is a cute oasis nestled between two headlands. Coveniently located between Bronte and Bondi, this little alcove is rarely as busy and is usually a stop of for people taking the walk. The surrounding parklands are really peaceful and play host to the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.

Bronte is probably the busiest of these three Sydney beaches, but for good reason. Popular with surfers and swimmers alike, this smaller gem is great for getting into the ocean. If the surf proves too much for you, there are two rock pools, one natural and one man-made, which are ideal for kids or less confident swimmers and snorkellers. There are plenty of cafes and kiosks around for a bite to eat but there’s certainly something to be said for just sitting back and soaking up the scenery.

What do you think? Did I miss anything out? Let me know in the comments section or Tweet it to me @susiezoo 🙂

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