Head south to Cronulla for a relaxed day of beachside bites, small bar sips and coastal trails with rock pools and rich history. You'll feel far away from the city in this surfside haven in Sydney’s south.
Cronulla, part of ‘The Shire’ as the locals call it, is a place of surf lessons, casual dining and sandy feet with a free-spirited lifestyle and hidden dining gems. With four kilometres of coastline and four different beaches – Wanda, Elouera, North Cronulla and Cronulla – it’s bursting with outdoor adventures from kite surfing to kayaking and whale watching. Spend a sunny day tucking into fish and chips by the sea, strolling the Cronulla Beach Walk or stocking up on surf supplies and beach-lifestyle brands. Cronulla is just a 20-minute drive to the dramatic and diverse Royal National Park brimming with rainforest, waterfalls, secret swimming holes and picnic spots. Cronulla has just about everything for the perfect daytrip destination from Sydney – catch the train and take inspiration from our snapshot of things to do.
Explore Cronulla’s beautiful ocean pools
Dine on fresh seafood overlooking the sea
Take a boat cruise out onto Port Hacking River
Hike a coastal trail laced with rich history
Finish the day with live tunes and a cocktail at the legendary Brass Monkey
One of Cronulla’s biggest attractions is that it’s the only Sydney beach directly accessible via train, which means you don’t have to worry about battling traffic or finding a parking spot. It’s a 50min ride from Central Station.
Once you arrive by train to Cronulla, it’s a short stroll to Cronulla Beach, known as South Cronulla to locals. Coming out of the station, walk towards Beach Park Avenue, which will lead you right to the beach in about five minutes. From there, go ahead and choose your own beach adventure – catch some waves, take a stroll along the Esplanade or simply relax on the golden sand. Perhaps grab a coffee from Barefoot on the Beach café – it’s right on the beach.
Cronulla is home to five ocean pools tucked along the coastline and the tidal pool at Cronulla Beach is close to the Esplanade. It’s an immense tidal pool (think Olympic sized) with a sandy bottom and lovely flat rock formations and natural pools surrounding it. Swim where the locals swim and soak up the fresh air and sunshine.
Dining in Cronulla is all about ocean views, light and colourful brunches and innovative cocktails. Next Door is the perfect combination of everything that Cronulla cuisine is all about, and it’s right on South Cronulla beach. The all-day brunch menu traverses the globe, with everything from falafel to sashimi and jalapeno, to classic Australian barbeque flavours. Try the falafel salad with chilli jam, the nextdoor fried rice or a classic Beaumont breakfast with poached eggs and chorizo.
Work off lunch with a walk to Bass and Flinders Point to learn all about the history of these intrepid explorers and their rowing boat, Tom Thumb II. Follow the Esplanade past the Cronulla Lifesaving Club and Zimzala restaurant. Look out to sea and spot Shark Island and walk past the beautiful green space of Shelly Beach. Once you reach Oak Park ocean pool, it is a little further to Bass and Flinders Point, which has a detailed monument about the famous explorers from Captain Cook’s ship, who mapped out Port Hacking way back in 1796.
Before the sun sets, take a cruise along Port Hacking river with Boats and Baskets. You’ll cruise out in the fresh salty air to a sandy spit, Deeban Spit and Jibbon beach depending on the weather. Just sit back and relax, have a swim or just marvel at the beauty of this peaceful place. Sip a glass of champagne then head back to the coastline for pre-dinner drinks before a big night out in Cronulla.
Head to Cony’s Small Bar for aperitivo – this cute petite drinking hole Grind Espresso Bar by day and transforms into a sweet little cocktail bar by night. Nibble on South American-style tapas and order one of their uniquely flavoured cocktails – try the Watermelon Sugar High or the Lychee Blossom.
For dinner, The Pines is the dining space du jour with a fashionable Hamptons-style interior and even more fashionable crowd, with windows facing the ocean. Executive chef James Metcalfe has worked in Sydney and London for more than 25 years in double hatted and Michelin-star restaurants. Settle in on the Beach Bar Terrace with freshly shucked oysters with Champagne granita, local NSW lamb or Noosa spanner crab, or the decadent macaroni cheese with lobster.
Your night is just about to vibe up with a gig at The Brass Monkey – one of those rare long-running live music venues that still draws the crowds every weekend with its vibrant line-up of local and international rock and jazz, comedy acts and electric atmosphere. Housed in an old-fashioned basement lounge, the food (think generous Mediterranean tasting plates) and efficient service is also a bonus.