Beach Life in Sydney
If Sydney was famous for anything other than its Gay Life and friendly people, it would have to be her sparkling beaches.
Sydney is among cities of the world whose inner suburbs front onto exceptional ocean Beaches. Even in the brisk winter, one cannot visit Sydney without at least enjoying a drink or a meal overlooking the blue Pacific from one of Sydney many spectacular beaches. Naturally, Sydney's warmer months from September to April, are the ideal times for visiting Sydney's beaches.
Most beaches are patrolled, and it is highly recommended that you swim between the flags to avoid the powerful "rips" (currents flowing back from the beach out to sea). Other common-sense safety measures should be observed, such as not swimming alone, and of protection against the harsh Aussie sun. Remember to apply and REAPPLY sunscreen. There is no better way to spoil your first week in Sydney than with Sun Burn.
It goes with out saying that many Sydney Beaches attract young people and families, however this should not deter you from such a breathtaking natural feature of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Sydney's Beaches occupy miles of coastline, north and south of the headlands, or "the Heads" between which Sydney Harbour flows out into the into the Pacific Ocean.
The Southern beaches extend from the world famous Bondi Beach, south through Bronte Beach, Coogee Beach, Maroubra Beach all the way to Cronulla Beach. The energetic and cosmopolitan lifestyles fringing these beaches offer a perfect mix of modern urban living with the relaxed pace of the beach.
Glorious Manly Beach begins the chain of Northern Beaches, stretching serenely many miles through Curl Curl, Longreef, Narrabeen, Collaroy, Newport, Avalon to the northernmost Palm Beach. These beaches contrast from their southerly brothers with fewer tourists, and their distinct local charm. Lifestyle is very laid back, with an almost 'country' air to it. Houses are set back on large blocks featuring the customary Aussie front and back yard, a showcase for gardens and BBQ's.
Sample the taste of both beach styles and see if you can feel the difference.
And don't forget the secluded Harbour Beaches. These beaches naturally do not experience the surf of the ocean Beaches, but their protected swimming conditions offers its own rewards.
Some of Sydney's Harbour Beaches are among the "Gayest" Australia has to offer.
Being Gay at the Beach
Sydneysiders are pretty open-minded, however there are special beaches where one can be very comfortable, being openly gay. The most "gay" of these beaches are the 2 Nude Harbour Beaches - Obelisk Beach and Lady Jane Beach. After many years of flouting the law, Sydney sun-lovers and Naturalists, have got their way and the governing bodies have finally sanctioned nude bathing on these beaches. The vast majority of those who patronise these nude beaches are gay and the straights are in the minority.
Obelisk Beach is a favourite of the gay and Lesbian sun-lover, boatie and "bush-walker". It is a secluded beach on Sydney's north side of the Harbour, near affluent Mosman.
Unless you are one of the lucky Sydney-siders to own a boat or had the good chance to pick-up one of these boat-owning Sydney-siders on Oxford Street the previous night, getting to Obelisk Beach requires a bit of a trek.
A water taxi will take you, or you can get there by land taxi. Both these options are expensive from the south side of the Harbour - where most of the Gay Action takes place. By Bus from Wynyard Station, take the 244 bus to Balmoral Naval Base (the last stop on the line) from bus stand A/B on the corner of Margaret and Carrington Streets in the City. This bus departs hourly from 09:29, then 10:29 etc.
Once there, walk through the parking lot on the right side of the road and brave the bush track to the beach. Some call this walk, the Enchanted Forrest Trek and many a Troll can be seen lurking in the shadows. It is not easy to find the beach, as pathways meander in all directions. You will pass many a pilgrim on these paths. Though it appears all are on a determined mission, most will stop to point you in the general direction of the beach.
The other way to the beach is to walk about 100 meters down Chowder Bay Road and keep an eye out for steps leading down to the beach. This is a more direct route to the beach and is recommended to the first timer as he is less likely to be way-laid, bush-whacked or side-shunted.
Once at this picturesque harbour beach and a place has been scratched in the sand to place the essentials, the decision will be whether to fully disrobe and let it all hang out, or to maintain that tan-line and a modicum of modesty by slipping into the bathers. Either way, no one seems to take much notice and that nerve-racking feeling that comes with being the newest arrival at the beach, soon subsides as you become a kindred spirit to the beach spectators, discretely perusing the surroundings through mirrored sunglasses.
If spending the day on the beach make sure to take your essentials and other supplies, as there are no shops for miles. It is suggested that WATER and SUNSCREEN are the barest minimum.
One of the famous Sydney Harbour Ice Cream Boats, (usually manned by someone who looks like he moonlights as a fashion model) may pass through the beach a couple of times in the afternoon on exceptionally sunny Summer days, but this cannot be counted on.
It is suggest that valuables such as video cameras and passports NOT be taken to the beach as there is no where to deposit them if the call of the Enchanted Forrest be heeded.
Obelisk Beach is well protected in all but a Southerly Wind. As the Beach faces South, white-caps can be swept up by a strong "Southerly", making life a little unpleasant for the beach goer. In this case, the mostly-straight, nude beach on the other side of the peninsular, Cobblers Beach, has its numbers swell markedly.
Though the inhabitants of Cobblers Beach are mostly a male/female couple mix, this beach attracts the curious straight man and may be worth a look in.Obelisk Beach is a favourite of Gay and Lesbian boat owners.
It usually isn't necessary, but most fly a rainbow flag, in case the all male crew popping Champagne corks and gyrating to the bass of dance music, were not evidence enough that "here sails a gay craft".
It may seem daring or even daunting, but take the chance and swim out to one of these boats to say hi or give a water temperature report...... who knows, you may get invited aboard for a beer. Naturally, the chances of an invitation aboard increase in proportion with your level of youth and beauty.If you are an out-doors person visiting Sydney, a trip to Obelisk Beach is highly recommended.
Lady Jane Beach
This small, north-facing beach tucked just inside the harbour of South Head is about as secluded as a Harbour beach can be. Like Obelisk Beach, directly opposite on the North side, Lady Jane Beach has now become an officially sanctioned, clothing optional recreation area. This beach is easier to access for most gay visitors who are probably holed up in one of the many Eastern Suburbs or City hotels. But, therefore, Privacy is a rare commodity at Lady Jane beach.
This beach seems to be on the itinerary of several organized tour companies and it is not unusual to have a busload of Japanese or Taiwanese tourists appear on the walk-way above, to gawk down on the nakedness below. The whirr of digital movie cameras can drown out the lapping of waves at these times. Likewise, Harbour tour-boats seem to venture very close to shore at this small beach. A noticeable list to the shoreward side of the craft usually develops as all occupants try to get the best voyeuristic vantage of the flesh ashore.
This beach is strongly recommended to the exhibitionists among you as a silent but interested audience is almost guaranteed. That being said, Lady Jane beach is still worth the visit and again, if you are modest, bathing suites are tolerated on this beach.
Lacking the heavily wooded bushland of Obelisk Beach, the dedicated gay naturalist takes to the slightly more secluded rocky shoreline, east of the beach, in pursuit of outdoor adventure. Anyone venturing into these parts should not be surprised to come upon gay men getting to know each other very well.
The best way to get to Lady Jane Beach is Buses 324 or 325 from the City. The bus will drop you off near Watson's Bay Wharf and from there a 15 minute walk around the shoreline will bring you to steps down to the beach. Probably the most appropriate way to arrive at Watson's Bay is by ferry from Circular Quay - the City’s harbour transport hub.
Take the opportunity before or after the beach to partake of fish and chips at the picturesque beer garden of the Watson's Bay Pub, with views back across the Harbour to the city. This is a very heterosexual domain, though the clients are mostly young and easy going straights who do not seem at all perturbed by a table of Boys sipping cocktails and perusing the eye-candy.
This attraction may warrant mention as both pool and beach, it is very gay and well worthy of a visit.
This long established harbour pool is meshed off from potential Harbour bities and offers care-free swimming to the Eastern Suburbs set – a mixture of old age European Australians - (many, refuges, flocking to these shores after world war 2), as well as the muscular and tanned boys of Oxford Street and surrounds.The pontoons are a favourite place for a little eye contact.
With every passing year Sydney's beaches provide a haven for hordes of gays sunning and frolicking on the sands. The emphasis seems to be on looking beautiful today, think about the skin tomorrow.
Most of the Beaches in Sydney's Easter Suburbs offer gay friendly environments for the sun and sea worshipper. No Nudity prevails on all Sydney's ocean beaches except, perhaps for North Palm Beach at the very north of Sydney's coastline. This years gay beach is North Bondi Beach, directly in front of the North Bondi Surf Club. Looking out to sea, this unofficial area is to the left, however you will find gay groups right along the beach.
North Bondi Beach
North Bondi is one of the safest beaches to swim and paddle. Bus numbers 380 and 382 take you direct to Bondi Beach via Oxford Street, or take the train to Bondi Junction and catch the same bus numbers to the beach.
A never ending stream of gorgeous local men and women parade along Bondi's promenade and the foreshore. The most popular time for a gay time on the beach is a sunny afternoon. Rows and clusters of tanned muscles adorn towels.
North Bondi is Sydney's only beach front that faces South, giving it protection from the prevailing North east breezes that fan our summer days. Where other beaches get blown out, North Bondi remains wind free. Avoid North Bondi in a "southerly " as you'll be blown off the beach - head for Bronte Beach, which faces north east and will provide protection.
Tamarama Beach (Glamarama)
The next beach south is Tamarama Beach, known throughout the 80's and 90's as 'Glamarama'. It was then full of gorgeous looking gay men, but Tamarama Beach has now returned to its natural state. As gays have moved north, the straight locals have reclaimed this tiny picturesque beach.
The 361 bus passes through from Bondi Junction and will take you to Tamarama Beach.
Gays still frequent small portions of the triangular sandy area. Tamarama has become home for a lot of gays who don't want to be involved in the scene that now exists at North Bondi. Tamarama is at times a treacherous beach and often closed to swimming. The shoreline is only 30 metres wide and the surf rolling in, needs somewhere to get out….. meaning strong rips (out-flowing water currents), will develop…….quickly dragging the unsuspecting gay boy out to sea. This will inevitably create a scene forcing a dramatic rescue by one of the very manly Lifeguards.
Continuing our journey south along the Sydney Coastline, just around the next bend, is the quaint, friendly and neighbourly bay of Bronte Beach.378 bus via Bondi Junction will get you to this beach.
This is where you'll see gay couples. Its a place for gay romance. You can hold hands, kiss discreetly, and look longingly into each others eyes without fear for threat of the straight locals. The only distraction will be the throngs of ethnic Australian men who pack the grassed areas off the beach with their families and BBQs and picnics. Dozens of informal soccer games are played and many more languages than English are demonstrative of the cultural divergence of suburban Sydney. A dozen little cafes line the street at the southern end of the beach.
In the dead of winter you'd think it was a summers day as the distant northerly sun warms the sidewalk's cafe tables.
Finally, if all those beaches are too much for you, jump into some cool gay culture -- literally -- by checking out a gay-popular public swimming pool right on the beach. One really good one for gay guys is the aptly named Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool on Mrs Macquaries Road.