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Must-See Sydney Harbour Swimming Spots

Sydney Harbour AerialsCREDIT: Destination NSW

The sheltered Sydney Harbour is dotted with stunning sandy beaches.

#ilovesydney

Must-See Sydney
Harbour Swimming Spots

Sydney Harbour Aerials CREDIT: Destination NSW

The sheltered Sydney Harbour is dotted with stunning sandy beaches.

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

Explore the coves and bays of Sydney Harbour to discover Sydney’s surprising and serene harbour beaches. Grab a patch of sand with a view and enjoy the city from a different perspective.  

Bathe in the beauty of Balmoral Beach 

Balmoral Beach, in the upscale North Shore suburb of Mosman, is one of Sydney’s prettiest places to roll out your towel. Just a 20-minute drive northeast of the city centre, here you can rest your lazy gaze on the rock pools, moored yachts, surrounding bush, and out to the Heads, the entrance to Sydney Harbour. This wide bay in Middle Harbour offers sailing, kayaking and shark net-protected swimming areas. You’ll share the Moreton Bay fig-lined promenade with cute dogs and children on rollerblades as you pass fine-dining options Bathers’ Pavilion RestaurantThe Boathouse and Public Dining Room, as well as the popular fish-and-chips takeaway Bottom of the Harbour. Add on a visit to nearby Taronga Zoo and leave time to browse Mosman’s boutiques.  

Throw in a line at Chinamans Beach 

Named for the Chinese market gardens that once occupied the area, Chinamans is Balmoral’s quieter little sister, just a 10-minute drive further north. The 230m stretch of sand is bordered by Middle Harbour, Clontarf Reserve and low rock formations, which are great fishing spots. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular, and the grassed, three-hectare Rosherville Reserve, behind Chinamans, offers a playground for the kids and plentiful shady picnic and barbecue areas. 

Have a dip in the pool at Fairlight Beach 

Take the half-hour ferry ride from Circular Quay to Manly and relax on the harbour beach there, or push on past the expensive real estate and panoramic water to Fairlight Beach, a 15-minute stroll further around the harbour. Smooth your feet on the 80m sliver of white sand before you take a dip in the tidal harbour pool or splash with the kids in the paddling pool. Fairlight forms part of the 10km, coast-hugging Manly to Spit Bridge Walk, which takes about four hours and is the perfect appetite- and thirst-builder for lunch or a drink at the superb Manly Pavilion. 

Balmoral Beach, Mosman CREDIT: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Balmoral Beach, Mosman

#ilovesydney

Balmoral Beach, Mosman CREDIT: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Balmoral Beach, Mosman

#ilovesydney

Doyles on the Beach, Watsons Bay CREDIT: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Doyles on the Beach restaurant at Watsons Bay

#ilovesydney

Doyles on the Beach, Watsons Bay CREDIT: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

Doyles on the Beach restaurant at Watsons Bay

#ilovesydney

Eat fish and chips at Watsons Bay 

One of Sydney’s must-do ferry trips (a 25-minute journey from Circular Quay) takes you to Watsons Bay, on the South Head peninsula in the city’s well-to-do Eastern Suburbs. The sandy beach in this protected cove is perfect for stand-up paddleboarding or to launch a kayak, or to just let the little ones splash about before lunch or dinner. Beside the wharf is Doyles on the Beach, a famous spot for fish and chips, as well as top-end seafood dining. High tea at Dunbar House and lunch at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel are other local favourites. 

Eat ice-cream at Camp Cove 

Also accessible from Watsons Bay ferry wharf is the family- and wheelchair-friendly Camp Cove. These calm, clear, protected waters are ideal for paddleboarding, snorkelling and scuba diving. Enjoy the million-dollar views with a far less expensive ice-cream from the much-loved local kiosk, and stride out on the easy, 1km South Head Heritage Trail, which takes in old gun emplacements, Hornby Lighthouse and exceptional harbour and ocean outlooks. 

Enjoy a picnic at Nielsen Park 

Boasting spectacular harbour aspects from Shark Beach, and sprawling fig trees on generous grass, Nielsen Park, a 25-minute drive from the city centre in the Eastern Suburbs oasis of Vaucluse, is your Sydney picnic nirvana. Grab a coffee, snack or lunch at The Nielsen and walk along the Hermitage Foreshore to take in stunning sights of the Harbour City. History buffs will love the guided tour of stately, 1850s-built Greycliffe House. 

Swim at Northbridge Baths  

Popular with lap swimmers from sunrise to sunset, Northbridge Baths, a 15-minute drive north of the city in the Lower North Shore suburb of Northbridge, are also a big hit with young families. Your little ones can wallow and splash in the shallows, bigger ones can jump into the water off the boardwalks, and much bigger ones can chill on the shaded grass and fire up the barbecue.

The Nielsen, Vaucluse, Sydney CREDIT: Kimberley Low

The Nielsen restaurant and café at Nielsen Park in Sydney’s Vaucluse.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

The Nielsen, Vaucluse, Sydney CREDIT: Kimberley Low

The Nielsen restaurant and café at Nielsen Park in Sydney’s Vaucluse.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Camp Cove, Watsons Bay CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun setting over Camp Cove, Watsons Bay.

#ilovesydney

Camp Cove, Watsons Bay CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun setting over Camp Cove, Watsons Bay.

#ilovesydney

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