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New South Wales beaches

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Australia's coastline has endless beaches. From Queensland to Tasmania to Western Australia, top and bottom, each has something special to offer. Getaway's presenters went in different directions to find the best of the best. Not just the beach itself but places to stay and eat and things to do.


Jason Dundas started at this world-famous kilometre of sand. On summer days when the water is around 21°C and air temperatures soar, more than 40,000 people flock to Bondi to cool off in the surf or ocean baths.

Campbell Parade runs the length of the beach and has some very trendy restaurants, bars and apartments. You don't need to spend a fortune to have a good time, though. The North Bondi RSL is a local institution, just a stone's throw from the water and has stunning views of the beach and ocean.

Blue Wave Bistro has a great variety of seafood dishes, steaks, burgers, pastas and salads and tempting desserts. The club holds poker challenges and trivia contests, live bands entertain, there are raffles, $7 steak nights and the Sunday seafood buffet is not to be missed.

When you're looking for a bed — and of course one close to the action is the go — Bondi Beachouse YHA was Jason's pick of the backpacker bunch.

It has multi-share and double rooms, movie and games rooms, self-catering kitchen, barbecue, rooftop balcony with fantastic views and free use of snorkelling gear, surf and body boards.


Over the Sydney Harbour Bridge or by ferry across the sparkling waters is Manly. The 3km-long surfing beach on the ocean side is made up of North Steyne, South Steyne and Queenscliff. The harbour side where ferries berth has a netted pool and calm water, so there are activities to suit everyone.

Manly is home to beach volleyball, surf competitions, an international jazz festival, food and wine festival and loads more. There's no shortage of bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and backpacker hotels.

Skating was popular there in the late 1800s when Manly Pier had a rink and a half-pipe. The skateboarding scene has been active there since the 1970s and in 1989 inline skating was introduced. It has a skate-friendly atmosphere and it is permitted in most places, except never on The Corso. The path between Marine Parade and Shelly Beach if off limits on weekends and public holidays.

You can hire blades from Bill Vertucci's shop Skater HQ. They offer group and private lessons and are great for birthday parties, school gatherings and corporate bookings.

Before heading back to town you could stop for a drink and bite to eat at the Manly Wharf Hotel. It's right on the edge of Sydney Harbour and is a hit with locals and visitors. It truly reflects a relaxed coastal lifestyle. Decorators have cleverly blended pebbles, bamboo, white benches and cool blue and green hues. In winter, two open fireplaces make it cosy.

The hotel has four bars with a wide choice of wine, beer and mixed cocktails and an extensive food menu.

Hyams Beach

Kelly Landry drove 2.5 hours south of Sydney to the little town of Hyams Beach on Jervis Bay which is six times bigger in volume and four times bigger in area than Sydney Harbour. It has the bluest water and an entry in Guinness World Records for having the whitest sand in the world.

The 400m-long beach is part of the Booderee National Park and camping is popular with families. There are sites at Greenpatch, Bristol Point and Cave Beach. Whale and dolphin watching, fishing and diving are some of the activities and when it comes to family holidays, it doesn't get any better.

There's just one shop: Hyams Beach Café and General Store. Once a sleepy little service station selling burgers and chips, it is now a trendy cafe specialising in seafood and gourmet dishes using produce from the local area.

Former Sydney Swans defender Brad Seymour has transformed it and serves dishes such as citrus cured salmon, braised duck curry and oven-baked flathead. Burgers are still available but even they have had an up-market makeover. Delights from Maggie Beer, Simon Johnson and Manner from Heaven are used, and everyone loves Brad's coffee.

Breakfast starts at 8am, lunch at 11am and during summer an à la carte restaurant operates four nights a week. It's popular, so be sure to book well in advance.

While you're there check out the quality Papaya homewares and a small selection of day dresses from Brad's wife Melissa's collection, as well as other labels.

For somewhere to stay, check out Currambene. The two-hectare property has a choice of a B&B suite for four, and three beautifully named cottages: Clementine for up to eight people, Clairabelle sleeps up to six and Claire, a romantic cottage for two. Each has a wood fire, two-person spa bath, private outdoor entertaining area and fully equipped kitchen and laundry. There is also a pool.

The property backs on to Currambene Creek and guests can visit the family alpacas and American ponies in company with three golden retrievers.

Crescent Head

Kelly packed her bathers and headed to Crescent Head on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. If you love to ride a board, this place is paradise. It's been named one of Australia's top five surfing destinations. Year-round the ocean's swells attract wave lovers from around the world.

Crescent Head has it over most other beaches thanks to its headland creating 300m-long wave breaks.

Instead of (or after) a surf, the Crescent Head Country Club and Golf Course is a must-visit. It's been running since 1956 and has the best location, right on the headland. It is a six-hole course so if you want to play 18 holes, around you go three times.

One hole requires players to hit the ball over a cliff face that drops directly to the ocean. If you miss you can always blame passing whales or dolphins for distracting you. Lights allow night playing and there is also a bowling green.

A couple of once-ugly cement water towers have been artistically transformed by local students, the Lions Club and the Aboriginal community.

The club's two restaurants serve Australian and Chinese meals.

Just down the hill, right beside the beach, is the Crescent Head Holiday Park. It has villas, bungalows and cabins and powered sites if you BYO accommodation.

The beach is patrolled in summer and Killick Creek has clean, safe swimming. Activities at your doorstep include tennis courts, skateboard ramp and well-equipped playground as well as shops, banks, service station and everything you could need.


Bondi, Crescent Head, Hyams and Manly beaches.


Bondi Beachouse YHA multi-share rooms start at $33 per person, doubles are from $65, double ensuites from $78. All bedding and ice-cream treats on Mondays are included.

Manly's Skate HQ rollerblade hire is $20 an hour for adults and $15 for children. Tandem cruiser bikes are $25 an hour. All protective gear and helmets are provided. They are open every day between 9am and 6pm.

Currambene Cottages at Woollamia start at $150 a double a night between May and September. All linen is included.

Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay camping at Green Patch starts at $10 a day.

The Crescent Head Country Club and Golf Course costs $12 for six holes.

Virgin Blue has one-way fares to Sydney from:

  • Canberra $85
  • Melbourne $89
  • Brisbane $92
  • Hobart $105
  • Adelaide $115
  • Darwin $229
  • Perth $239

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789

Bondi Beachouse YHA
Fletcher and Dellview streets
Bondi Beach 2026
Ph: (02) 9365 2088

North Bondi RSL
118-120 Ramsgate Avenue
North Bondi 2026
Ph: (02) 9130 3152

Skate HQ Manly
Shop 2/49 North Steyne
Manly 2095
Ph: (02) 9976 3833

Manly Wharf Hotel
Manly Wharf East Esplanade
Manly 2095
Ph: (02) 9977 1266

Hyams Beach General Store & Café
76-78 Cyrus Street
Hyams Beach 2540
Ph: (02) 4443 3874

Currambene Cottages
775B Falls Road
Woollamia 2540
Ph: (02) 4447 8570

Crescent Head Holiday Park
Pacific Street
Crescent Head 2440
Ph: (02) 6566 0261

Crescent Head Country Club
1 Rankine Street
Crescent Head 2440
Ph: (02) 6566 0268

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