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Sydney’s Best Family-Friendly Beaches

From Coogee to Palm and everywhere in between, we share Sydney’s best family beaches. Sun, sand and surf, the occasional ice cream and a takeaway fish and chips make for a perfect family outing for all ages.

Plenty of sand and nice waves make Manly perfect for families
Plenty of sand and nice waves make Manly perfect for families. Picture: Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

Manly Beach and Shelly Beach

Part of the charm of Manly Beach is that you can get there by ferry. Even in the summer holidays Manly retains its laidback charm; although you can expect plenty of beach volleyballers, beach toys and umbrellas up and down the sand, it never feels as jam-packed as some other city beaches. The swell is just right for littlies to enjoy a splash in the shallows and for older kids to get a decent swim in. Take the short stroll to Shelly Beach (be sure to watch out for little animal statues along the path!) for some great sandcastle building.

Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches

On hot summer days you can see as many as 60000 people cooling off at Bondi
On hot summer days, you can see as many as 60,000 people cooling off at Bondi! Picture: Bound Round

Ask any first-time visitor to Australia and Bondi will be the beach they’ve heard of. If you time it right, the annual Sculptures by the Sea exhibition which transforms Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama into a quirky maze of colourful and thought-provoking art. If you’d stay on dry land, try the well-loved coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee, maybe with a refreshing dip at the end.

Northern Beaches, Pittwater

The Northern Beaches include Curl Curl, Freshie, Dee Why, Warriewood, Mona Vale, Avalon, Newport, Whale Beach and Palm Beach. Many have ocean pools, bit for the real beach experience swim between the flags for a dose of surf. If your kids are up for a hike, drive to Palm Beach and climb up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse for spectacular views.

Shark Beach and Milk Beach, Vaucluse

These lesser known swimming spots come with a lovely walk
These lesser known swimming spots come with a lovely walk. Picture: Rachel Montgomery

This dynamic duo comes as a picture-perfect package deal. Shark Beach, with its deep waters, wide open vista and cute café is a magnet for families looking for a cool dip in its crystal clear waters protected by a shark net. A hop, skip, jump and boardwalk away lies Milk Beach. Small, secretive and with unparalleled views of the spectacular Sydney skyline and the Harbour Bridge, the shallow water is ideal for tiny tots wanting a splash.

Shelly Beach, Toowoon Bay, Blue Bay and The Entrance, Central Coast

Youll make a lot of new bird friends fast at the Pelican feeding
You’ll make a lot of new bird friends fast at the Pelican feeding. Picture in The Entrance Lake: Tirin Creative Commons

A day trip to the beaches and sleepy towns of the Central Coast is well worth it. Take a tent to a local caravan park or rent an apartment and you could make it a holiday. Shelly Beach, Toowoon Bay and Blue Bay have rock-pools to explore and sometimes sandbars for great boogie-boarding waves, and you can try prawning or pelican-feeding in The Entrance Lake. The Entrance also hosts a New Year’s firework show to rival that of Sydney Harbour – take a picnic rug, find a spot on the beach and welcome in the New Year as a family.


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