Growing up in NSW and having road tripped extensively both the north and south coast regions, I’ve been to most of the best beaches in NSW.
But coming up with a list of my favourite beaches is never easy.
We are spoilt for choice on the east coast and there is a beach for everyone whether you are looking for a family friendly beach or to go surfing, swimming, walking, fishing, snorkeling, diving or even four-wheel driving.
Hitting the beach in summer is typically the best time of year, but in the quieter months many of these beaches are still spectacular and much less crowded.
So if I had to recommend a list of my favourite beaches in NSW that I have personally set foot on, below are my top eleven suggestions.
Don’t miss these 11 NSW beaches
1. Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay
Hyams Beach is famous. The Guinness Book of Records reports that Hyams has the whitest sand in the world. I didn’t know you could get sand whiter than at Whitehaven Beach in Queensland, but the sand at Hyams is definitely fine, soft and white.
Hyams is a quiet beach side town in the Jervis Bay region of south coast NSW, just 180km south of Sydney. It’s a great family beach and doesn’t have the highrise development like many north coast beaches. Be sure to finish off your visit by heading to the Hyams Beach Cafe for good food and coffee.
2. Red Rock Beach, Coffs Harbour
We have done the Sydney to Gold Coast road trip many times but up until this year had never been to Red Rock Beach, and had actually never heard of it until a friend in Coffs Harbour recommended it.
Red Rock is about a 30 minute drive north of Coffs Harbour and is one of those hidden gems that is tucked away 6 km’s off the Pacific Highway. It’s a beautiful sweeping beach with an impressive headland and these red coloured rocks that lead you into to the crystal clear water.
3. Palm Beach, Sydney
Palm Beach is Sydney’s most northern beach and possibly our favourite beach in the Sydney area. Scenically it’s incredibly beautiful with the golden sand stretching for 2 kilometres and the colours in the water move between spectacular shades of turquoise and aqua.
On one end is Barrenjoey Head where you can take an easy 1km bush-walk up to the old sandstone lighthouse for stunning views back over Palm Beach or across the Broken Bay region.
You don’t have the crowds you get at say Bondi or Manly Beach, and in winter it’s the perfect place to spot migrating humpback whales.
4. Greenfield Beach, Jervis Bay
Greenfield Beach is another pristine beach in the Jervis Bay region with that beautiful white powdery sand. Another family friendly beach perfect for swimming with clear aqua water and small waves, and it’s a top spot for a beach side BBQ.
And it’s here that you can start the sensational White Sands Walk which is one of our favorite coastal walks in NSW.
5. Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay
When I first set eyes on Green Patch Beach I was blown away. I’d never heard of this beach or Booderee National Park where it is located, and it was just as spectacular as Hyams in nearby Jervis Bay. Are you getting the hint yet that the Jervis Bay region has some amazing beaches?!
The water, whilst a little cool for swimming in September was clean and clear and the sand soft and beautiful to walk on. We spent two nights camping in the campground right on the beach which offers a real bush camping experience. Be sure to walk around the headland from Green Patch and explore the amazing Scottish Rocks.
6. Main Beach, Byron Bay
Byron Bay is that legendary beach side town on the NSW North Coast famous for surfing and an alternative lifestyle. If you’re a surfer, Byron actually has 5 great beaches to choose from but it’s Main Beach which sees most of the visitors walking, swimming and enjoying a beach side BBQ.
Whist at Byron, don’t miss the Lighthouse Walk to Australia’s most easterly point.
7. Wategos Beach, Byron Bay
Just around the corner from Byron Bay is beautiful Wategos Beach. This beach is protected by the headland which makes it an awesome beach for swimming AND riding a long-board with the gentle waves and long rides.
There’s a BBQ area to enjoy or make yourself up a picnic and sit on the beach admiring this picturesque location. You’ll also pass this beach on the coastal Lighthouse Walk, but if you have the time spend at least a few hours here.
8. Pebbly Beach
Located in Murramarang National Park on the NSW south coast, Pebbly Beach is probably most famous as the place to see wild kangaroos hopping around on the sand. They are used to human interaction and there’s a chance you can get up close and personal. Our kids loved it and the turn-off is about 10 kilometres south of Termeil.
Pebbly Beach is a popular camping area with a good surfing beach and bush walks within the park.
9. Seal Rocks
If you are planning a Sydney to Brisbane road trip I highly suggest a stop at Seal Rocks, a quiet fishing village offering clear bays for swimming, snorkelling, boating and fishing. This beach is just perfect, and much quieter than your usual east coast beaches. Seal Rocks is also a great place to go camping.
And why not treat yourself to a few nights in a Lighthouse Keepers Cottage with amazing ocean views?
10. Bronte Beach, Sydney
There are many great beaches in Sydney but another of our favourite’s would be Bronte Beach in the eastern suburbs. It’s a beautiful beach with a small main street giving it a great vibe.
We always stop at Bronte when we do the Bondi Beach to Coogee coastal walk and just love it as a family beach. The rock pool is awesome for the kids to swim in, the HUGE grass and BBQ area is a bonus for families, and there are no pubs nearby so no drunkenness and disorderly.
11. Bondi Beach
I always hesitate to put Bondi Beach on any list because as a beach it’s not one of my favourtie’s, but hey it’s Bondi and one of Australia’s most famous beaches and you should go there at least once!
Actually, the more I go there lately the more I appreciate it. It’s the starting point to our much loved Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, and I don’t think you could get any more Australian than learning to surf at Bondi.
The people watching is first class, and the views from Bondi Iceburgs as you sip on an afternoon beer are legendary.
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