The classic stereotype of the Sydney beach is one of golden sands, with ocean all the way to the horizon. But within the harbour, there are dozens of beachfronts that can easily hold their own next to their flashy sea-facing cousins. Within its sheltered estuaries, the waves are far calmer, making harbour beaches – such as Parsley Bay, Balmoral, Camp Cove and Store Beach – the ideal place for a swim or snorkel without the risk of rip tides or wipeouts. Many of these harbour shores are also wonderfully secluded, which is why several allow visitors to go nude, should your exhibitionist side need some fun in the sun.
There’s a good reason why Sydney is often called the Harbour City: this place is defined by its connection to the water. Which is hardly a surprise, given Sydney has a heck of a lot of H2O and a heck of a lot of ways to enjoy it.
Beyond the headlands, Sydney’s shores are dotted with some of the best beaches in the world, as well as picturesque coastal paths, buzzing seafront neighbourhoods, and between May and November, awesome whale watching. But the more sheltered waters of the Harbour have their own irresistible charms.
Whether you’re in it, on it, or simply admiring it, here are our top recommendations for the best ways to experience Sydney Harbour.