Manly Beach (north shore) and Bondi are the two popular beaches close to down-town Sydney.
Bondi Beach - You can get to Sydney's iconic beach by catching a train to Bondi Junction, then a bus to the beach. There's heaps of restaurants and bars to relax at, and the beach is patrolled by surf rescue if you want to go for a dip.
Manly Beach - For $12 AUD return you can catch the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay. It will take you on the water past the famous harbour bridge and Sydney Opera House. From there you hop off and it's a five minute walk to Manly beach!
I personally prefer Manly beach because it's more laid back, and the ferry ride gives you some spectacular view of Sydney, including the Prime Ministers Kiribili residence on the north shore.
An important tip - keep your belongings safe if you go for a swim, or you might be catching your flight in only your bathers! over 10 years ago
If you have transport available (hire a car for a day from the airport), then I would strongly suggest you make the very scenic trip up to Palm Beach - home of the stars, the very northern most beach in Sydney. Palm Beach has 2 sides - one sheltered in the Pittwater inlet and the other facing the ocean. You can watch the seaplanes taking off and landing on Pittwater (or if you have the time and money, take a flight over Sydney) and catch some sun with the rich and famous set. It is a stunning place to visit, you won't regret it! over 10 years ago
Yes, Palm Beach for sure, and walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse for a spectacular 360 view!
And in Manly, follow the beach to the right, all the way down to Shelly Beach (great snorkeling spot), and stroll up to the lookout on the headland for a great view of the northern beaches. over 10 years ago
Bondi Beach is overrated.
Manly Beach, Shelly Beach, or Freshwater (all in the same area) are great. Bronte is quite beautiful and Coogee is a fantastic beach.
Sydney beaches pale in comparison to their neighbors to the north. Check out Merewether, Nobby's, or Redhead in Newcastle or Dark Point in Tea Gardens/Hawk's Nest. about 7 years ago