11 of the Best NSW Beaches to visit

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, NSW, Australia
Hyams Beach

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 180 km south of Sydney.

It’s a great family beach and doesn’t have the high rise 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

Red Rock Beach, NSW, Australia
Red Rock Beach

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.

You can camp at Red Rocks

3. Palm Beach, Sydney

Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Palm Beach

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 1 km 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.

Palm Beach is the home of Summer Bay, the famous and long running TV show. You can join a popular Summer Bay tour of Palm Beach. 

There are few hotels in Palm Beach. You can find home rentals through Airbnb.

4. Greenfield Beach, Jervis Bay

Greenfield Beach, NSW, Australia
Greenfield Beach

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.

You can find Greenfield Airbnb rentals here.

5. Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay

Greenpatch Beach, NSW, Australia
Green Patch Beach

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, NSW, Australia
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

Wategos Beach, NSW, Australia
Wategos Beach

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 longboard 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

Pebbly Beach, NSW, Australia
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.

We stayed in these beach shacks.

9. Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks, NSW, Australia
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

Bronte Beach, Sydney, Australia
Bronte Beach

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

Bronte Beach in Sydney, Australia
Bronte Beach

I always hesitate to put Bondi Beach on any list because as a beach it’s not one of my favourites, 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 Icebergs as you sip on an afternoon beer are legendary.

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24 thoughts on “11 of the Best NSW Beaches to visit”

  1. I am definitely looking forward to visiting the Jervis Bay region for my birthday this year even more now! Bronte (love the natural rock pool) is definitely one of my favourite Sydney beaches along with Freshwater, Coogee and Balmoral – so many incredible beaches in Sydney!

    1. You will love the Jervis Bay regions Katie. Those beaches are as good as any I’ve been to in NSW, and up there with the best in Oz.

      There are a lot of great beaches in Sydney, and so many of them I haven’t been to for a long time, if ever.

  2. Great list, Craig!

    My favourites are Treachery Beach, Palm Beach, Burning Palms, The Basin (Kuringai NP), Bateau Bay, Shelly Beach in Manly, Bronte and Hyams.

    I have a long list of favourites, but there are still so many NSW beaches I haven’t been to yet! Byron Bay is my dream NSW beach destination.

    1. Hi Craig,

      Burning Palms is south of Sydney in the Royal National Park. You can’t drive there, so the only access is down a longish walking track (with spectacular views).

      A few people live at Burning Palms in delapidated old shacks from the Depression era. One of the owners saw us walking past and invited us in to have a look, and everything in it was like a time warp from 60-70 years ago, because the residents of the shacks are not allowed to renovate the them at all and must abandon them once they fall to ruins.

      The actual beach is incredibly beautiful and remote, with big waves. From the other end of the beach you can walk along the base of the cliffs to these really strange rock pools that are very deep, crystal clear and perfectly circular in shape.

  3. What a great wrap of beaches. Sitting here in cold WA the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is something that I’ve put on my bucket list, and Seal Rocks with a stay at the Lighthouse Keepers Cottage has definitely piqued my interest too 🙂

  4. Good choices. I would like to add Chinaman’s Beach at Evans Head and Broken Head beach. Both spectacular!

  5. Hi Craig
    Thanks so much for finding all these lovely beaches for us. Some I’ve never been to but am looking forward to seeing them soon. I’m am rather lucky though that I live at Jervis Bay and yes have seen the whitest sand at Hyams Beach. It’s super squeaky as well when you walk on it. We sure do live in a wonderful country.

  6. I love tropics in general and beaches in particular. Thank you for sharing this marvellous blog post with us. I loved the images you have shared out here. I did not know Australia was so beautiful. Impeccable photography too my friend.

  7. Stephen Carnell

    Don’t forget Killcare Beach (where we go four times a year) and Coogee (where we go nearly every weekend in summer).

  8. Wow, just found your website and am completely inspired. We have never been to Australia but are planning a trip next summer. We spend our weekends on the beaches of north Devon, U.K. & are looking for similar seaside towns and villages to stay & explore on our trip to Australia. Although we will be taking the Pacific coast highway route iv taken many of your ideas along route near to the main tourist places of Sydney, Coffs harbour & bryon bay on our way to Brisbane. If you have any other suggestions along this route for a family of 4 in a campervan I would love to hear. Best wishes. Nicky

    1. Hi Nicky,

      Happy to hear you will be visiting Oz. Here are our tips on those places you mentioned, and some other tips:

      Sydney – https://www.ytravelblog.com/what-to-do-in-sydney/
      Byron Bay – https://www.ytravelblog.com/12-reasons-byron-bay-great-family-destination/
      Coffs Harbour – https://www.ytravelblog.com/things-to-do-in-coffs-harbour-nsw/
      Sydney to Brisbane road trip – https://www.ytravelblog.com/sydney-to-brisbane-road-trip/

      And all our best Australia content can be found here – https://www.ytravelblog.com/travel-destinations/australia/

      Enjoy!

      1. Thank u so much, loads to consider, I need to consider if we cud squeeze in 2 nites in the jervis bay area around hyams and greenfields beach too, mayb before we head north from Sydney?? So much to do & only 3 weeks to do it in!

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