January in Sydney is when the ultimate Aussie heat arrives and all anyone wants to do is cool off with a nice dip in the water and a day at the beach. As Sydney is lined with beaches from north to south, it won’t be hard to find a spot to set up. To get you heading in the right direction, here are a few suggestions of the best beaches to go to — whether you’re looking to hangout on an iconic Aussie beach, spend a day with the whole family or escape the city for a smaller town feel.
Bondi Beach is the iconic Sydney beach where the beautiful and the tanned dot the shores. Layout your towel on Bondi’s sand if you’re looking to hang with the trendy Sydney beachgoers. Before making your way to the beach, have a coffee at one of the many cafés overlooking the water (such as The Crabbe Hole), or get a head start and go straight to the sand. Either way, make sure you grab a prime spot for the day as soon as possible, since Sydney is renowned for its early risers. Tan on the beach — but don’t forget your SPF, the Aussie sun is at its strongest now — go for a dip and bask in the Bondi cool surrounded by beach babes, surfers, skaters and hipsters. Once it’s cooled down a bit, take a walk around the coast toward Coogee for amazing views of the water and headland. Also, stroll the streets of Bondi and check out the many cafés, shops and more.
Manly Beach is perfect for the whole family. Just a ferry ride from Circular Quay, this suburb presents a great beach area with an abundance of clothing and souvenir shops, restaurants, pubs, and other family-friendly venues. With two main beach areas — one an inner-harbor beach, the other a surf beach — Manly has plenty of sand to offer. Take the scenic 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney and arrive at Manly Wharf on the tranquil inner-harbor beach end. Here, you’ll find calmer waters and a buzzing atmosphere of restaurants and shops. If you’re looking for bigger surf, take a stroll through the pedestrian-only Corso. This shopping area, lined with palm trees and bustling with restaurants, bars and stores, brings you to a huge stretch of sand where sunbathers and surfers enjoy the Pacific Ocean. As a key spot for families, Manly offers many water activities for everyone. Sign the kids up for surf lessons with the Manly Surf School, or take a family snorkeling tour with EcoTreasures Manly Snorkeling, Walk & Talk Tour to learn about the Australian marine wildlife off Manly’s Shelly Beach.
The Northern Beaches
If you’re looking to escape the city completely and dive into the Australian small beach town vibe, head north of Sydney’s central business district to the Northern Beaches such as Curl Curl, Dee Why and Palm Beach. Here, you’ll find beaches with less people and more surf. Curl Curl offers the best of both worlds: On the north end of the beach, the water is calmer and better for kids and cautious swimmers (great for snorkeling and discovering the natural wildlife), while the southern end offers big waves, where serious surfers venture into the swell. A bit farther from Curl Curl sits Dee Why, which just so happens to be another hotbed for surfers, though there are also rock pools in case you’re looking for a calmer swim. To really experience Dee Why like a local, venture up from the beach along Oak Avenue to the very best fish-and-chips shop in town, Dee Why Seafoods. Order to-go and dine on the grassy promenade overlooking the shore for the quintessential Aussie experience. Finally, Palm Beach is the northernmost beach of Sydney. Loved by surfers and families alike, this beach town has much to do from surfing and sailing to fishing and coastal walks. A main attraction is the Barrenjoey Lighthouse accessible by a half-mile walk. At the top of the lighthouse you have views of the nearby Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and along the northern coastline of Sydney.
Photo Courtesy of iStock-Kim Pin Tan