Things to do by the beach


Summer beach action

Sydney comes alive in summer, with its vibrant beach culture. There are countless ways to have fun at the beach, from taking to the water, sunning on the sand or finding a nice beachside cafe or bar.

  • Surfing, Bondi Beach
  • South Steyne, Manly

Things to do in Sydney's summer

Snorkelling at Shelley Beach, Manly. Image James Pipino

Sydney is the perfect destination during summer holidays, effortlessly mixing the buzz of a large city with a cosmopolitan beach culture. With so many things to see and do by the sea, you can make the most of this beach lifestyle with friends and family. 

Build sandcastles, take a dip, snorkel, dive, play some beach volleyball, run along the sand, take a scenic coastal walk, sunbathe the beachside activities are only limited by your imagination.

Always wanted to hang ten? Summer is the perfect time to learn to surf at one of Sydney's many famous surf beaches. Get started or hone your skills at surf schools in Bondi, Manly or Maroubra. Many of the city's beaches have surfboards for hire, too.

Want to try something a bit different? Stand-up paddleboarding is a great way to see the beach and keep fit! Several spots around the city offer instruction and board hire, including Manly, Bundeena and Mosman.

Looking for something to do when you rinse off the salt and sand? Visit one of the many waterside cafes and restaurants around the city. In Manly, you'll find food and drink aplenty by the water. Afterwards, visit Manly Waterworks to enjoy the waterslides or to the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary to check out the marine life.

If you prefer to scope out marine life with a snorkel or a tank, Manly is also a great place for underwater adventures. Gordon's Bay near Clovelly is another top spot for beneath-the-surface encounters. Book in for a Snorkel Safari if you want an expert guide to help you.

While you're enjoying yourself at the beach, remember to play it safe. Regularly reapply your sunscreen and always swim between the yellow and red flags where the surf lifesavers patrol.

Keep in mind that many attractions have school holiday deals, giving you and your family the chance to explore more of the city for special package offers.

Get fit outdoors

Kayaking at Cabbage Tree Bay in Manly, Image Andrew Gregory

It's the perfect time of year in Sydney to get outside for your exercise. Kayaking is great for your core, cardio fitness and strength training. If you like your sun salutations, find a beachside yoga class. Try Mysan Yoga at Manly, the Mosman Yoga Co-op at Balmoral Beach, or Yoga by the Sea, which offers seaside classes at Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama. Pedestrians can set out on one of the city's longer coastal walks, or go for a run around the harbour. If you're really keen, get in the harbour for the Great Sydney Swim in January.

  • Beaches, Sydney

    More outdoor summer fun

    There is plenty of outdoor summer fun in Sydney in Summer. Visit the Sydney Markets for a bit of open-air shopping. On a warm summer evening, pack a picnic and watch a film at one of Sydney's outdoor cinemas. Venues include the Royal Botanic Garden, Bondi Beach, Centennial Parklands, and Sydney Olympic Park.

  • Chowder Bay, Sydney

    Things to do at Chowder Bay

    Secluded Chowder Bay, along with Middle Head and Georges Heights, form the beautiful Headland Park near Mosman and Balmoral. There are plenty of things to do in the bay's calm waters, including swimming, paddling, snorkelling and diving. After your time in the water, enjoy a harbourside meal at Ripples at Chowder Bay or high tea at Gunners Barracks.

  • Cycling, Manly

    Running and cycling in Sydney

    Cycling is popular in Sydney, with some great shared pedestrian and cycle paths around the city and harbour. All you need is a bike, a helmet and you're set to go. Bike hire is available at a number of locations around the city. Favourite pathways include a winding 35 km through Homebush Park near Sydney Olympic Park, the 7 km 'bay run' around the harbour via Rozelle and Drummoyne, and a ride around beautiful Centennial Parklands.

Swimming safety information

Swimming safety information

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty; you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent; particularly if the area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming.