Bondi is the heart of Sydney beach culture. All year round there’s surfers catching waves and leathery folks going out for their sunrise swim no matter the weather. At its busiest you’ll be lucky to find a place to lay your towel, so once you’re done visiting the delicious Bondi Farmer’s Markets and taking in the views at the Bondi Icebergs, head down the Bondi to Coogee walk.
The walk takes you through 5km of stunning coastline, including the iconic Tamarama and Bronte beaches, and through the Waverly Cemetery. Spooky as it may seem, you’ll find the resting place of Australian legends like poet Dorothea Mackellar, Jules Archibald (of the Archibald prize,) legendary beer brewer Edmund Resch and writer Henry Lawson in the grounds.
Once you reach Coogee Beach, walk a further 10 minutes on the coastal walk to Wylie’s Baths, an ocean pool cut into the cliff face and hidden from view by towering trees. There’s a $2 entry fee, used to maintain the grounds and keep the on-site café going, so make sure to bring along your change – you can even join in the morning yoga or pilates session for the ultimate wellness experience. If you’re a woman, you can head to the mystical McIver’s Ladies Baths, the last remaining womens-only ocean pool in Australia, right next to Wylie’s.
Thought a beachy sunset was impossible on the East Coast? Think again friend! Milk Beach faces west, towards the sunset and towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. One of the few public beaches where you can see all of Sydney’s most famous landmarks in one place, you can soak up the views in the comfort of your favourite inflatable beach accessory.
The closest amenities are at the nearby historic Strickland House, but on weekends you’ll need to hike the Hermitage Trail up to Shark Beach for your nearest ‘loo or coffee hit!
How to get there: Catch the 380 bus from Bondi Road towards Watsons Bay, right by Bondi Beachouse YHA. Jump off at the Old South Head Cemetery and walk 2km down New South Head Road and Vaucluse Road to the Hermitage Foreshore walk. There’s some great lookouts and coffee shops on the way, perfect to for a lazy stroll down to this hidden gem
Nothing quite beats the Manly Corso on a hot day. There’s live music, delicious treats, and the shopping strip goes all the way to the main Manly Beach. If romantic picnic spots, secluded swimming pools, and a secret beach waterfall are more your style, set your sights on Collins Flat. With stunning views of the harbour, you can walk to the nearby Quarantine Station or hop a bus to the North Head National Park for unmissable views of Sydney.
How to get there: Jump on the 135 bus from the main Manly Wharf towards North Fort and walk down Collins Beach Road. If you’re heading from Sydney Collaroy Beachouse YHA, head on the 199 bus from Pittwater Road and ride all the way to Manly Promenade. From there you’re a short half-hour walk from hidden beachy bliss!
Speaking of hidden bliss, you can’t get much more hidden than Resolute Beach. Nestled in the heart of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and across the waters from the famous Palm Beach and Barrenjoey Lighthouse, this beach is only accessible by foot, so pack your hiking boots!
For the true adventure seeker, you can walk the whole Resolute Loop Trail that will take you past the even more secluded West Head Beach, and past the famous Red Hands Aboriginal Rock art.
How to get there: Make like you’re going to Palm Beach and head on the L90 bus from Sydney Collaroy Beachouse YHA, then jump onto the Bennets Wharf Ferry to Mackerel Beach. From there, taken the Mackerel Track 30 minutes along the coast, and you’ve made it.
If you’re driving, head up to the Resolute Picnic Area, and wander down the Resolute Trail until you see the sea!
Explore the best of Sydney’s beaches on both sides of the bridge from the luxury of a private room - don’t forget to #YHAOz in your photos to share the travel inspo.