Less famous than Bondi and not as touristy as its neighbour Coogee, Maroubra beach perches on a 1.1km long bay, surrounded by windswept dunes, wild bushland and a rocky headland. In 2006 it became the first NSW National Surfing Reserve, an acknowledgment of the beach's world-famous wave culture and its abundant natural gifts.
Maroubra means "good thunder" in the language of its original indigenous owners, referring to the sound of waves breaking on the shore. "We've got the biggest waves in the area, between two and four feet high, sometimes reaching up to 30 foot," says Maroubra lifesaver Trent Thomas.
Surfing in Maroubra began in the 1900's, along with the creation of Maroubra Life Saving Club. The surfing network really developed after the Second World War. Since then, Maroubra is a favourite spot for learning to experienced surfers. Only three weeks ago, surf legend Taj Burrow was spied enjoying the break.
When the beach became a National Surfing Reserve, seven-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater was moved to say: "It's great the importance of Maroubra in the surfing and beach community is getting its due. There's a surfing heritage and it will be nice to have it commemorated."
With all-year patrols and two surf life saving clubs, the Bra is one of the safest beaches in Sydney. But along with the constant flow of surfers, families also enjoy the beach, especially on week-ends. Clean sand and water with picnic areas, shaded children's playgrounds and rock pools. Homely cafes, restaurants and shops, make the Marine Parade a nice place to hang out too.
The local member is former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett and he's got big plans. "We want the rifle range on the Maroubra headland scrapped and returned to the people of Sydney," he vows. "It's a place of real cultural significance with battlements from WWII, the last of the unprotected Banksia scrub in Sydney's east and a lot of endangered plants on the headland."
With its casual charm, it's no wonder 2-3,000 visitors flock to the beach during the week, and up to 10,000 on hot weekends. Wild, untamed and beautiful, Maroubra is a perfect getaway from the hubbub of the city.
How to get there
Car: From the CBD, take the Eastern Distributor and then the Anzac Parade, heading south of the city, and continue on after Coogee onto Maroubra Rd or Fitzgerald Rd to reach the beach. Four hour metered parking is available at the Northern end, and it's free at the Southern end.
Buses: From Circular Quay buses 317, 353, 376, 377, 395 and 396 take you to Maroubra beach in 45 minutes. Otherwise express bus X96 takes you from Elizabeth St station opposite Bathurst St to Maroubra beach in 35 minutes.
All year round patrols. Shark nets from September to May. Watch out for those blokes with postcode tattoos though.
Toilets, showers, and free electric barbecues.
Want more? Check out our guide to Sydney's best beaches.