gay beaches and pools in sydney

Gay Friendly Beaches

Sydneysiders are pretty open-minded, however there are several beaches where one can be very comfortable, being discernibly 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 curious boys and girls.

Those heterosexuals who would place themselves in such surroundings are often among the most enlightened of their species and offer little judgement of the goings-on, at those beaches.

Obelisk BeachObelisk Beach

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 Mosman. Unless you are one of the lucky Sydney-Siders to own a boat, Obelisk Beach is difficult to get to. A water taxi will take you to Obelisk 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, City. This bus departs hourly at 0929, 1029 etc. Once there, walk through the parking lot on the right side of the road and brave the bush track to the beach. 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.

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. Once at this picturesque harbour beach and a place has been scratched in the sand, 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.

If you are going to spend the day there, do take the essentials as there are no shops for miles. It is suggested that water, and suntan cream are the barest minimum. One of the famous Sydney Harbour Ice Cream Boats, may make a stop at the beach, a couple of time 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.

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 of Champagne corks and low bass of dance music, were not evidence enough that "here sails a gay craft". If you are an out-doors person visiting Sydney, a trip to Obelisk Beach is highly recommended. Access by Chowder Bay Rd, Sydney Harbour National Park, Georges Heights

Lady Jane BeachLady Jane Beach

This small, north-facing beach, tucked just inside the harbour of South Head, (the entrance to Sydney Harbour from the vast Pacific Ocean), is about as secluded as a harbour beach can be on the populous south side of the harbour. Like its sister beach - Obelisk directly opposite on the North side, Lady Jane has now become an officially sanctioned, clothing optional recreation area. This is the outcome of many an intrepid nudist risking fines for bearing it all in less tolerant times.

This beach is easier to access for the for most gay visitors who are probably holed up in one of the many Eastern Suburbs or City hotels. But herein lies its downside. 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. 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 silent but interested audience is almost guaranteed. Having said all that, 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 has taken the slightly more secluded rocky shoreline east of the beach in pursuit of out door 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 Watsons Bay Wharf and from there a 15 minute walk around the shoreline will bring you to steps down to the beach. Probably the nicest way to arrive at Watsons 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 Watsons 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 who do not seem at all perturbed by a table of "boys sipping cocktails".

North Bondi Beach

Directly in front of the North Bondi Surf Club. If you’re looking out to sea the unofficial gay area is to your left. On the right though, you'll find gay groups right along the 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. The most popular time for a gay time on the beach is a sunny afternoon. North Bondi is Sydney's only beach 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 BeachTamarama Beach

The next beach south is Tamarama Beach. Known throughout the 80's and 90's as 'Glamarama', Tamarama Beach has now returned to its natural state. As gays have moved north, the straight locals have reclaimed this tiny picturesque 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 however, a treacherous beach and is often closed for swimming. The shoreline is only 30 metres wide and the surf rolling in, needs somewhere to get out. The 361 bus passes through from Bondi Junction and will take you to Tamarama Beach.

McIver's Baths at Coogee BeachCoogee Beach

Coogee Beach is further south again and can be reached by the 378 bus via Bondi Junction. One of the attractions is the women only Women's Pool at the south end, just along the cliff. Coogee Women's Baths (McIver's Baths) At the southern end of Coogee Beach, Coogee Women's Pool is lesbian heaven: a women-only space featuring a beautiful ocean pool, deck areas for sunbathing, great views, and small entrance fee. For over 70 years the pool has been open exclusively to women.

McIver's Baths is also used by older women, pregnant women, nursing women, Muslim women, etc. It is known as a place where women can feel safe and don't have to deal with unwanted attention from men.

Redleaf PoolRedleaf Pool

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 enclosure provides a swimming area of approximately 90m x 60m. The kiosk provides shaded seating and a spectacular outlook across Double Bay.

Redleaf pool has free entry and is located at 536 New South Head Road, Double Bay, under the Woollahra Municipal Council building.

Boy Charlton PoolBoy Charlton Pool

A $10 million refurbishment has made this harbourside pool the place for inner-city summer swimming, especially with gay men. It was a popular bathing spot long before the British arrived, and public sea baths first opened here in 1860. In the early 1920s famous Aussie swimmer Andrew 'Boy' Charlton achieved many of his triumphs here – including, aged just 16, beating European champ Arne Borg, setting a new world record in the process.

Today, the baths offer an eight-lane, heated 50m pool, learners’ and toddlers’ pools, a sundeck and a café. The pool’s harbourside edges are glazed, allowing swimmers unparalleled views across the sparkling bay. Bus 411. The pool also offers a cafe upstairs and yoga classes with amazing views.

Open daily from 6:00AM to 8:00PM. Entry is AUD$5.60 per adult or AUD$15.00 for a family.

Cook & Phillip Aquatic CentreCook & Phillip Aquatic Centre

Located in the heart of the Sydney CBD near St Mary’s Cathedral, Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre provides world-class swimming, fitness, sporting and recreational facilities within a picturesque parkland setting. There are basketball courts, a small gym, lanes for laps and a great splash pool.

If you are happy to look and not touch, there is always plenty of eye candy. "Wet and Scruffy" an Aussie Bear pool party, has been held here after seven.

Monday - Friday 6:00am - 10:00pm, Saturday - Sunday 7:00am - 8:00pm, Public Holidays 7:00am - 8:00pm

Entry to the pool and fitness centre is AUD$17.00 per adult or pool only for AUD$6.20.

Obelisk Nude Beach

sydney beaches for gays and lesbians

If Sydney is famous for something other than its Gay Life and friendly inhabitants, its her sparkling beaches.

Sydney is among the few major world cities, whose inner suburbs front onto exceptional Ocean Beaches. You can't come to Sydney, even in the brisk bright winter and not at least enjoy breakfast or lunch overlooking the blue Pacific from one of Sydney's many waterfront restaurants. Naturally, the warmer months, which stretches from September to late April are the ideal times for visiting the beach.

Most beaches are patrolled by lifesavers / lifeguards, however it is highly recommended to swim between the flags to avoid the powerful "rips" ( the out flowing current that takes the water that crashed onto the beach as waves, back out to sea ). Several other common-sense safety measures should be observed, such as not swimming alone and of course the big trap to the unsuspecting is the harsh Aussie sun. There is no better way to wreck the first week of you Sydney stay than in pain from Sun Burn.

Remember to apply and re-apply
plenty of sunscreen!

It goes with out saying that most Sydney Beaches attract a family style clientele, however this should not stop you from checking them out as they are a breathtaking natural feature of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

With miles of Coastline, Sydney's Northern and Southern Beaches are divided by the "Heads" or opening Sydney Harbour makes into the Pacific Ocean. Sydney's Southern beaches, starting with world famous Bondi Beach and moving southward to Cronulla Beach, are very populous, energetic and Cosmopolitan. The life style offered by this environment provides a perfect mix of modern urban living with the relaxed pace of the beach.

North of the Harbour, Spectacular Manly Beach begins the string of exceptional beaches stretching many miles to the northernmost Sydney beach - Palm Beach. On the north side, the lifestyle is very laid back with an almost countrified feel to it. Houses are set in large blocks, featuring the famous Aussie front and back yard, a showcase for gardens and BBQ's.

Try to experience a glimpse of both beach styles and see if you can feel the difference. Do not forget the secluded Harbour Beaches. Naturally these beaches 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.

Got any great suggestions?

We are always looking for ways to improve the information on our sites. If you have a great experience in Sydney and think it would be fun for other gays and lesbians who may vacation there, let us know.

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