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The best harbour beaches in Sydney

Sure, the ocean is pretty. But the sands of the harbourfront have an appeal all their own

A panoramic view of Camp Cove beach in Watson's Bay
Photograph: David Iliff
By Time Out contributors |

It's sunny outside. You want to go to the beach. But the drive to Bondi is looking like absolute hell. And besides, you haven't shown one of our (many) harbour beaches much appreciation lately. But which ones are worth the trip? We asked an expert – Caroline Ford, author of the new book Sydney Beaches: A History – for her opinion.

Things to do

Camp Cove

Watsons Bay
“My absolute favourite harbour beach. With its sloping shore and turquoise waters, it looks straight out of a tourist brochure. I love to enjoy a summer day by taking a ferry to Watsons Bay and enjoy an hour or two here before heading back to the pub for a drink and meal with views of the city.”
Things to do

Chinamans Beach

“A small, sheltered beach that looks across Middle Harbour. The huge Rosherville Reserve there is perfect for picnics, and dogs are allowed off­leash on weekdays. There’s even ample parking.”
Things to do

Parsley Bay Reserve

“I remember being mesmerised by this little bay as a child. The waters are almost always calm, [and] crossing the footbridge that runs high across the bay gives a sense of adventure.”
Things to do

Seven Shillings Beach

Rose Bay
“Lying here, you have spectacular views towards the bridge, and protected swimming is available on the other side of the fence at the Murray Rose Pool, which has that distinctive elevated walkway around the perimeter. Great beach for swimming, and perfect if you have young children.”
Things to do

Store Beach

“A hidden gem at North Head. I still can’t believe I could be so close to a city the size of Sydney and feel like I’m on a remote island in Far North Queensland – aside from the water temperature, of course.”

Find more places to park your towel

A wide shot of Bondi Beach showing crowds of people both sitting
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Attractions, Beaches

Sydney beaches

From the biggest stretches of sand to the smallest sheltered coves, check out our guide to everything Sydney's shores have to offer.

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