As a first proper "travel" post I thought a little overview on my top 3 favourite beaches should be appropriate. As it is summer there, beaches is the number one destination for the weekends. Of course, I haven't have the time to see all (or more) beaches in 5 months. I will be back in the city in January, and will keep you up to date if I discover other gems that will steal my heart.
1) Palm Beach
2 hours away from the CBD (Town Hall bus station, L90), going there by public transport is quite of a commitment. Since I don't drive however, this is the only way I can access the beach. When you arrive there, everything is different from most Sydney beaches. I am not local, but I have heard Northern beaches are the prettiest, and I wasn't disappointed. Not crowded at all, you feel like you've taken the place to a Paradise land far far away from Sydney and perhaps, from Australia. There is plenty of space for you to lie down on the golden sand and have a dip in the warm water. As it is not touristy, don't expect bunch of shops or restaurants. There are only a couple but it is enough to get refreshment. (Photo 1)
If you walk all the way down the beach and turn left to a small little pathway, you end up in front of a different beach, looking more like a fresh water lake. It is however not a lake but another opening of the sea, way calmer than the other side. The latter has strong current and winds, perfect for wave lovers like myself or surfers of course. The calm area is nice, and has nice boats, as well as fishermen fishing for pleasure. (Photo 4)
If you continue that path straight, you will find the little stairs to go up where the lighthouse is. The view is absolutely stunning (Photo 2 and 3). As you can see, there is a lovely lookout which has a view on both side of the beaches. The left side being the windy side and the right side being the calm area. The lighthouse is also classified as a National Park; the hike isn't too hard so a must do!
Way better than Bondi (I will write an article on it) to my mind, Manly is the best summer destination for me. 1 hour bus ride from Chatswood (136, stand B) or 20 minutes ferry ride from Circular Quay, Manly beach will blow your mind on sunny days and will ruin your wallet. Full of nice cafés, restaurants and surf clothes boutique, there is everything for everyone. Grab a coffee or a Pressed Juice ($10 each) in the morning and lay down on the warm sand for the rest of the day. Don't forget to swim in the swimming area because currents are really strong in Manly, to the benefits of the surfers. If you fancy a beer in the afternoon, bottle shops are around the corner but I usually love to have a nice and huge froyo from Yogurtland. If you ask for my favourite flavour I would say plain! There is nothing better than plain yogurt to match with all the toppings. Cheesecake and Expresso/Hazelnut are worth trying though.
Last but not least, Manly is very populated in blue bottles so be careful!!
3) Watson's Bay
Not really a beach in itself (a bay indeed), Watson's Bay is one of my favourite spot really close to the city. About 20 minutes of rapid ferry ride and you're there. Ferry ride in Sydney is absolutely the best rides you could ever have, giving you a stunning view on the harbour and the so famous Opera House. On the way, you will also pass Rose Bay on the way, where you can stop if you want. There are no "beaches" in the sense that you will lie on the sand and sunbathe, apart from little spot on the land. However, it is perfect to walk along the trails and have a great view on the city (Photo 2). There are also a number of secret spots where you can take nice photos and admire the owners of boats, having a party. On the other side of the land, have a look at the lighthouse and lie on the grass upon the cliffs. The Gap is very famous and the waves are crashing hard on the rocks, which is very nice to look at. If you went there in the morning, don't forget to have a lunch at the oldest fish & chip's place, near the harbour where the ferry dropped you.