This little stretch of sand at the end of South Head peninsula is a clothing-frowned-upon beach – though technically it's been clothing-optional since Neville Wran made it so in 1976. It can be a bit of a boys' club of you're gay and looking to cruise and you can expect stink-eye if you choose the option of actually wearing clothing, but this is mostly a welcoming beach. Nude straights frequent the sand too. Note, this is one for the exhibitionists – many gay blogs and gay travel sites note that tourists often come here to gawp.
Head past the families and children who tend to dot Congwong Beach out at La Perouse and onto the paved walk that meanders through the brambles behind it – or across a more treacherous mound of rocks that abut the water – to reach this secluded, unofficially clothing-optional beach. There's an easygoing vibe that's miles away from the prance-and-preen contests that always seem to happen out at North Bondi. The water here is calm and perfect for a skinny dip. Plus: the Streets ice cream boat pulls up on occasion to proffer treats.
Beyond the world of queer, clothing optional beaches, make sure you also visit the outcrop of Clovelly Beach where you can laze about on massive rock formations like a LGBTIQ seal.
A safe space since 1876, the Coogee Women’s Baths are the last women’s only ocean pool in Sydney. Here Muslim women throw off their hijabs, and lesbian couples rub shoulders with nannas doing daily laps.
Murray Rose Pool (formerly Redleaf Pool) can be found in Double Bay's Blackburn Cove and provides swimmers with a safe harbourside tidal enclosure. There’s a wrap-around deck, which makes for a lovely walk and begs for a dive into the cool water, where you can swim to a floating pontoon that's perfect for sunbathing. Feeling peckish? Head to the kiosk on the hill, grab a snack and take in the views of Sydney's wondrous harbour.
North Bondi is where the locals go to swim and hang out, leaving the main stretch of Bondi Beach to the visiting tourists and backpackers (whom the life guards and savers are also busier rescuing). It's also a verrry popular spot with the boys, who tend to show off their gym efforts with aplomb here all year long, and especially on hot, summer days, when this area is jam-packed with glistening, muscular bodies in the smallest budgie smugglers you can imagine. Not for the insecure (or the pale).
Obelisk Beach is one of Sydney's few legal nude beaches, so if you're feeling the natural vibe, then get to strippin'! You'll need to park up the hill and walk a fair way to get here – it's at the bottom of a long series of steps, and as far as beaches go, she's a small one. But it's worth it for the gorgeous views of Camp Cove and Parsley, Watsons and Vaucluse Bays in the distance.
This pretty spread of sand around the corner from Bondi is a good choice for those who want to avoid being overrun by families and children while they sunbathe, and good for groups who want to have a barbecue or picnic – the grassy area up the back has covered kiosks for eating, or there's a café on site. This is also a key locale for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Getting into the water? Be careful for the rips, which can be intense, especially on the western edge of the beach.