Sydney surf beaches

Highlights

Surfboards and Sydney go hand in hand. Catch a wave (or learn to) on one of Sydney's spectacular surf beaches. Beginners can learn to surf year-round at one of the many accredited surf schools – check out programs in Manly, Bondi and Maroubra – and experienced surfers can enjoy some of Sydney's legendary surf breaks.

  • Bennets Beach, Surfing in Sydney
  • Surfing in Sydney, Curl Curl

Sydney's surfing hot-spots

Australian open of surf, Manly, Sydney

Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku popularised surfing on his visit to Sydney in 1914-15, first hitting Australian waves at Freshwater in 1914. His original board is still on display at the Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club. Since then, Australia has produced many World Champion surfers.

Sydney has approximately 70 surf beaches that cater to all levels of surfing skill, from small waves for beginners to big breaks for the more experienced and adventurous. Four Sydney beaches feature on the National Surfing Reserve Register, a list of iconic surfing spots in Australia: Manly, North Narrabeen, Cronulla and Maroubra.

One of Australia's most famous surf beaches is Bondi Beach, less than 20 minutes on a bus from Sydney's city centre. You'll find serious surfers at the southern end of the beach, while boogie boards and bodysurfers occupy the northern end, whilst visitors to the area all enjoy the myriad bars and cafes by the waterfront.

Further south is Maroubra, a kilometre-long curve of sand that attracts surfers, swimmers and families.

The Cronulla area comprises four beaches Wanda, Elouera, North Cronulla and Cronulla and has a lively surf scene with local board-riding communities and lifesaving clubs. You can find several cosmopolitan eateries in Cronulla, with many cuisines from around the world to choose from.

Sydney's Northern Beaches, from Manly to Palm Beach, offer some of the city's prime surfing spots, including Freshwater, Narrabeen and Dee Why and Curl Curl.

  • Learn to surf with Let's Go Surfing at Bondi, Image Pierre Toussaint

    Learn to surf in Sydney

    You can learn to surf at an accredited surf school on one of Sydney's favourite beaches. There are great programs at Bondi, Manly and Maroubra. Beginners can learn the skills to catch their first wave, and more experienced surfers can polish their skills.

  • Australian Open of Surfing

    Australian Open of Surfing

    With Sydney's beaches having a great reputation for surfing, it's no surprise Manly hosts the Australian Open of Surfing. As well as watching the world's best surfers compete, the festival includes skateboarding, BMX riding, live music and fashion stalls.

  • Surf life saving event at Freshwater Beach. Image David Druce

    Home of surf culture

    Australian surfing was popularised at Freshwater Beach in 1914 by Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku. Just a short walk from Manly, this 300-metre long beach today hosts a number of surfing events and has a 50-metre, eight-lane saltwater pool at its northern end.

Enjoy Sydney's beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips

Surf Life Saving

Always swim between the red and yellow flags; surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It's also a good idea to always swim with a friend.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. You are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.

 

Check conditions before you go. You can also find patrolled beach by visiting beachsafe.org.au.

 

  1. Avalon Beach

    Avalon Beach

    Over the last decade or so Avalon has become the favoured "sea-change" destination for Sydney-siders looking to adopt the surfer lifestyle. As a result, the board-riding community here is large and enthusiastic but...

  2. Bondi Beach

    Bondi Beach

    Bondi Beach is Australia's most famous beach. Bondi's mixture of lifestyles would suit most visitors, whether you're drawn to the fashionable northern end or the surf-crazy south. You'll find that Bondi is one of the...

  3. Bronte Beach

    Bronte Beach

    Bronte is just over a kilometre’s walk south of Bondi. The beach itself faces east and picks up swell from any direction, but bulky headlands to the north and south and clusters of underwater rocks make conditions...

  4. Coogee Beach

    Coogee Beach

    Coogee Beach is a great beach with calm surf and is family-friendly. The promenade area has restored historic buildings and nurtured parklands.Most of the facilities are located at mid-beach with...

  5. Cronulla Beach

    Cronulla Beach

    Cronulla, in the Sutherland Shire on Sydney's southern coast, is the only Sydney beach that can be reached by train, meaning you can visit without the headache of finding a carpark. North Cronulla...

  6. Dee Why Beach

    Dee Why Beach

    Dee Why plays host to many of the northern beaches main events including Australia Day and New Years Eve fireworks. It also is the site of numerous first class sporting events such as the Beachley...

  7. Freshwater Beach

    Freshwater Beach

    A stunning family beach wedged between two headlands, Freshwater is a short walk north from Manly. A coastal walk further north will take you to Curl Curl. The north headland provides excellent...

  8. Long Reef Beach

    Long Reef Beach

    Long Reef is a perfect stretch of white sand.At the north end there is Long Reef Headland, a protected aquatic reserve, and a golf course. A walk to the top of the headland can often be rewarded by views of...

  9. Manly Beach

    Manly Beach

    In company with Bondi, Manly Beach is Sydney’s most iconic strip of sand, named by the State’s first governor Arthur Phillip in 1788 for the impression made on him by “the confidence and manly behaviour” of the area’s...

  10. Mona Vale Beach

    Mona Vale Beach

    Mona Vale is effectively two separate beaches separated by a broad ocean rock platform. Waves that roll in along the southern edge of the platform surge into a gully that allows them to break smoothly and with...

  11. Newport Beach

    Newport Beach

    Newport faces due east so is open to swell coming from any direction. A jumble of rocks 250 metres south of the north headland known as The Peak shapes two separate breaks that attract a highly skilled local surfing...

  12. Palm Beach

    Palm Beach

    Palm Beach is the exclusive, high-end of Sydney's long stretch of the Northern Beaches; it is everything you'd expect from the insular-peninsula amid the playground of the nation's rich and famous....

  13. Queenscliff Beach

    Queenscliff Beach

    Queenscliff is the northern headland of Sydney’s famous Manly Beach, possessed of an offshore “bommie” which can handle waves up to seven metres. In a mighty swell, this is where you’re likely to find some of Manly’s...

  14. Shelly Beach

    Shelly Beach

    Shelly Beach is located in Manly and forms part of Cabbage Tree Bay, a protected marine reserve which lies adjacent to North Head and Fairy Bower. With a maximum depth of approximately 12 metres, Shelly Beach has...

  15. Tamarama Beach

    Tamarama Beach

    Tamarama Beach sits between two prominent headlands on the Bondi to Coogee Walk, with 80 metres of shoreline. It has great surfing condtions, but it is prone to strong currents. It is surrounded by parklands. There is...

Displaying 32 of 15