Summer has well and truly arrived in Australia with temperatures reaching a record breaking 50 degrees (126!). As the temperature rises, girls walk around with bikini’s so small side boob becomes a terrible fashionable accessory, and the men wear short shorts, some of which are so high I could quite easily perform a visual testicular health screening. One Saturday sitting just shy of 36, I thought a visit to Sydney’s most famous beaches was in order after a long long Scottish winter, so with guest writer David, here is the low down of the most iconic beaches in Sydney.
Bondi, pronounced Bond-eye, is quite easily one of Australia’s most famous beaches – it’s absurdly crowded. On the bright side, it’s a great beach to get swept out in a rip, pick up a backpacker, buy over priced cafe food, swim unwillingly with a shark or fry the top few layers of your skin in the Australian sun (aka a tan). If I haven’t talked you out of it, Bondi is located in the Eastern Suburbs about 8 km from the Sydney CBD. It’s the location of Bondi Rescue, a crap Australian documentary style TV programme centred around young sweaty buff things saving tourists who fail epically at swimming in strong currents.
Bondi is in one of the most affluent areas of Sydney earning the beach a reputation of being slightly pretentious. People go to Bondi to be seen and parade around half naked (after cramming in 500 sit-ups and posing for the obligatory bathroom selfies and updating their FB status to “Bondi babes look out for the gun show cuming ur way lmao!!”) but the beach is so busy you become invisible, unless you become an object of some perv’s desires.
Bondi is a good beach to go to if you are in Australia and want some action. It’s tourist central, it’s in a gorgeous area and still despite everything I have said (the truth) it still has a good reputation for being a great beach to hang out and is well guarded by life savers. Tip: If you visit in October/ early September, the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition sees the coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama littered with sculptures of all shapes and sizes.
Coogee Beach is renowned for being a good swimming beach, and the suburb of Coogee itself is particularly popular for tourists living in Sydney, especially backpackers. The beach gets extremely busy on Christmas, Boxing and New Years Day with an informal gathering of backpackers celebrating time away from home. Coogee is easily accessible by city buses, and is the start of a coastal walk that winds all the way up to Bondi, passing by Clovelly, Bronte and Tamarama along the way. The walk is 6 kilometres in distance, so setting aside two hours is suggested. Take a bottle of water, a camera, sunscreen and an iPod just in case the 6km with your friend of family is just too much. (It usually is, right? After 2km you try to “accidentally” lose them)
Located to the north of Sydney, a trip to Manly is well worth it for the ferry ride alone. The Manly Ferry takes about half an hour from Circular Quay and is effectively a cheap harbour cruise, passing by the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House before crossing Sydney Heads, the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
A pedestrian walkway – known as The Corso – links Manly Wharf to Manly Beach (about 500 metres) and provides shopping and cafes by day. At night The Corso doesn’t have a great reputation, known for alcohol-fuelled fights and violence. The introduction of a lockout by pubs and clubs a few years ago has gone some way to improving this image though.
Also based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs to the south of Bondi and Coogee, Maroubra Beach is roughly 1km long. A number of Australia’s surfers are from Maroubra, as the hometown of the Bra Boys whose documentary of the same name looks at the true-life struggle of local surfers Sunny, Koby, Jai and Dakota Abberton. From a broader perspective, the documentary explores the “international reputation for hard partying and rough justice” held by the Bra Boys, a Maroubra Beach gang founded to protect local youth from other gangs. It’s slightly rougher than some of the other beaches mentioned and the surfing crowd can be notoriously possessive. The thing to watch though are the waves are more dangerous in this area than Bondi.
To the north of the Harbour Bridge, Balmoral is a sheltered beach with fine white sand. A wide esplanade runs along the length of the beach with old Moreton Bay figs planted along one side and the beach the other side. The Balmoral Baths provide a netted area for swimming. Watch for the notorious parking inspectors who are known to be ruthless. Notable events held at Balmoral Beach include Bard on the Beach, an outdoor performance of Shakespeare, and the Balmoral Burn, a fun run up the super-steep Awaba Street held by the Humpty Dumpty Foundation.
What’s your favourite Sydney beach?
*Guest Writer was David Wright. David is a Sydney local and works for Travel Insurance Cover