Freshwater Beach, the best beach in Sydney for learner surfers and body surfers

The best beach in Sydney for learners

Freshwater Beach is not just family-friendly, I would go out on a limb to say it’s the best beach in Sydney for learner surfers and people still getting comfortable with swimming in waves.

Freshwater Beach generally has a small to medium swell and its gradual descent makes it kid friendly, too!

Surf beach of choice

Track through the sand dunes to Freshwater Beach
Track through the sand dunes

I fell in love with Freshwater Beach when my kids were young and still frightened of waves. Before I discovered Freshie, my kids would cling to me like monkeys when we were in the surf – which wasn’t a great way to enjoy a swim.

But the water at Freshie deepens gradually, making it the perfect place to bring kids, or newcomers to surf beaches, to get their feet wet.

The shallow water allows kids and novice beachgoers to get used to the ocean bit by bit, and enjoy the thrill of body surfing in the breakers. And really young children can have fun with their buckets and spades along the shore without being knocked over by a large wave – although you will still need to watch them.

I’m not a fan of big swells, but do love the thrill of catching a wave, so Freshwater Beach is always my surf beach of choice.

Bolt like Usain

How is Freshwater different from other beaches? .

Well, from my experience, some beaches (Narrabeen, Newport, Bronte, Tamarama… to name a few) make you run the gauntlet through breaking waves and a deep trough to get to the surf.

With a naturally occuring gutter running along the shoreline, you need to Bolt like Usain and try and avoid the shore break – or risk being picked up by it and dumped back up the beach. (Now my kids are older, they actually jump in the shore break for the thrill of it.)

If you do make it through to the other side of the trough, you are likely to be in neck-deep water. Fine if you’re a competent swimmer. If not, Freshie is the beach for you.

Let’s go surfing now

Freshwater Beach, the best beach in Sydney for learners

If you’re a confident surfer, head to the southern end of Freshwater Beach. Here there are plenty of decent sized waves to catch, and a nice rip that will take you behind the breakers.

For those with boogies boards or are learning to surf, head to the northern end. You’ll find loads of parents here pushing kids on foamies onto waves.

The water at the north end is shallow nearly all the way to the ocean pool (unless it’s high tide), and the waves are perfect for the L-plater.


During low tide, the rocks under the northern headland make a great place to sunbake, or put your mini-marine biologists to work looking for crabs, anemones and small fish.

If the water is calm, then it is definitely worth a snorkel off the rocks and around the 50m ocean pool.

Past the pool and at the end of the headland is a wide rock platform that makes a great place to play. My kids love climbing on the rocks here – although I’m not always that comfortable when they are climbing close to the water’s edge.

You often find anglers fishing from here too, and the views to north and south are breathtaking.

Fishermans Walk

Freshwater ocean pool

In need of a walk? Head up the stairs by the ocean pool and follow the footpath around the headland to Fishermans Walk. I love this walk. It’s short, easy, relaxing and provides panoramic views over Curl Curl Beach.

Sandstone benches along the way provide somewhere to sit for a rest or just to contemplate. It also makes an excellent viewing platform to watch large swells smash against the rocks below.

Getting here

Sandwiched between Queenscliff and Curl Curl, Freshwater Beach is not exactly straight forward to get to. If you are coming from the city, turn right into Kenneth St from Condamine St. Follow Kenneth right around, past the Manly Andrew Boy Charlton Pool and through the roundabout. Turn right into Oliver St, then right into Lawrence, and right again into Kooloora, at the end of which you’ll find a car park.

Sunday mornings are very busy at many Northern Beaches beaches, so if you can’t find a car space here, head back down Kooloora, turn right into Albert and right into Evans and right again at the Diggers Club. You’ll see a car park to your right, this is just above the ocean pool and a short walk to the beach.












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