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Our top picks: best beaches within one hour of Sydney

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Our top picks: best beaches within one hour of Sydney

The humble day trip has taken centre stage in 2021.

Travelling overseas is off the cards for a little while longer (some even saying it’s unlikely to resume this year).

But instead of spending our days pining for the Greek Islands or Hawaiian beaches, we’re taking this as the perfect opportunity to explore our very own backyards.

Domestic travel is back, but you don’t even need to head to the airport to have an awesome summer adventure.

Nope, summer celebrations can be even closer to home. This week, we’re sharing some of our favourite beaches that are less than an hour away from Sydney proper.

Did your favourite make the list? Any hidden gems you think we should know about? Let us know on Instagram.


Wattamolla Beach

  • Distance: 50km
  • Driving time: One hour
best beaches within one hour of Sydney

Exactly an hour south from Sydney, Wattamolla is a secluded lagoon-like beach situation in the middle of the Royal National Park.

In addition to swimming, there’s a picnic area, a beautiful waterfall to visit, as well as the Providential Point Lookout, where you might be lucky enough to spot whales or dolphins!


Garie Beach

  • Distance: 53km
  • Driving time: One hour

Just a little further than Wattamolla Beach you’ll find Garie Beach. 

There are a ton of things you can do here, including hiking, camping, fishing, and surfing. 

Want something a little more low-key? Head inland for a few kilometres and enjoy a picnic and spectacular views from Governor Game lookout. 

Marley Beach

  • Distance: 55km (to Bundeena)
  • Driving time: One hour
Marley Beach

Still in the Royal National Park, Marley Beach is accessed by foot from Bundeera Drive. The round-trip is approximately 8km so be sure to adequately protect yourself from the sun and pack lots of water.

The reward at the end is stunning ocean views at one of metro Sydney’s largest beaches.

Marley Beach is also close to the famous Wedding Cake Rock, a sandstone rock formation near Bundeena. The rock is a tourist hot spot and just a 20 minute walk from Marley Beach. To protect visitors from the fragile and unstable cliff edge, a security fence has been erected.  

Palm Beach

  • Distance: 44km
  • Driving time: One hour

Palm Beach might not sound familiar to you... but does the name ‘Summer Bay’ ring any bells?

Yep, Palm Beach - an hour north from Sydney - is the real-life location of Home & Away’s fictional coastal town!

The narrow peninsula is famous for its waves in the north, but there’s also a ton of family-friendly activities too, including:

  • Visiting the Barrenjoey lighthouse
  • Packing a picnic to enjoy under the pine trees
  • Swimming in the protected area
  • Shopping at the monthly market

You can even book a Flamin’ Galah tour - where you might even see the iconic Aussie show being filmed.

Shark Beach

  • Distance: 8.9km
  • Driving time: 18 minutes

Finishing up in Sydney proper, less than 10km from the CBD in Vaucluse, you’ll find Shark Beach. 

While it’s a pretty ominous name, it’s kind of ironic since the beach is protected by a shark net.

The perfect spot for a wonderful day out with the family: you’ll sink into the soft white sand while the kids will love splashing around in the protected waters.

There’s lots of shade and plenty of options for food and drink, including Vaucluse House and The Nielson.


Final words

Wherever you choose to visit, make sure to leave no traces behind: take your rubbish home with you and don’t feed the local wildlife. Read this blog post for more simple tips you can do to protect your favourite beaches each time you visit. 

We also advise you to check the official websites so you’re aware of any closures or restrictions due to COVID-19, particularly in the national parks.