Most people love the beach.Whether it’s the surf, sunbaking, or the occasional spot of nudity, we Aussies clamour for the chance to be near a body of salt-water. With 83% of Australia’s population living within 50 kilometres of the coast, and one of the longest coastlines in the world, we certainly have ample opportunities to enjoy some sun at the beach. Oh, and get skin cancer while we’re at it.
Living in Sydney’s south-east, I am privileged to be approximately 4.5 minutes drive from both Coogee and Clovelly beaches. Coogee is quite nice, but everyone knows that, which is why it’s always busy. As for Clovelly beach…well, it’s too narrow, the water is a bit dirty, and the slabs of concrete on either side really clash with the natural beauty.
In spite of this, the waterside views In Sydney are quite remarkable. And I can see the ocean from my apartment, but only if I’m not currently in it
Having been to Bondi, and (the very-gay-and-desperately-macho-sounding) “Manly” beaches before, I can confirm that they are excellent. They are never going to be as good as a small-town beach, but for a place to swim that’s only minutes from the CBD and a stone’s throw away from heroin-addled hobos, these might be the best in Australia. Also, I’m told that Tamarama is the beach to go to for surfing. I’ll just have to learn how to surf first, so I don’t get into a fight with a Sydney’s version of Anthony Kiedis.
If you like beaches, but don’t like sand because your cleanliness borders on OCD, consider the Bondi to Coogee walk. All the fun of being at the beach and then walking away. I’m underselling it; the views on this walk are outstanding. I can’t think of another major city in the world that has access to a nature walk of this beauty.
And Bondi even has a reality show based around its beach. Perfect if you want to see English and Japanese tourists drown and then get resuscitated. Terrible if you like good television. I’m taking one point off Sydney for that.
Melbourne’s beaches range all the way from “filthy” to “bummer, dude”. In the bay, there is not one beach that is plungeworthy, especially after storms on Christmas Day in 2011 deposited a whole bunch of E. coli there. This caused almost every beach to be listed as “unacceptable” for swimming. And this is an ongoing thing: the EPA has advised Melburnians not to swim at beaches for 48 hours after any storm!
To find a decent beach in Victoria, you really need to get down to Bell’s Beach, Torquay or further down the Great Ocean Rd. Otherwise, there’s Portsea, Sorrento, or Phillip Island south-east of Melbourne. These aren’t really Melbourne beaches, though. These are day trips. And with Melbourne’s weather not known for its kindness (blog post coming!), I’m awarding this contest to Sydney, scoring 9 out of 10. Melbourne, on the other hand, gets a 4. When it comes to beaches, Sydney is a bikini-clad blonde, and Melbourne is a streetwalker with questionable STD results. Sydney for the win.