Everything you need to know about Sydney beach culture

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If you’re Australian, chances are you live by the coast is 85%. Even those who don’t live by the coast have elevated the beach to a social icon, heading to shores for summer holidays, Australia day and other special events – and, along the way, most definitely a BBQ or ten. Here’s the down low you need for your fun in the sun.

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Vincent Albanese, Boomerang Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Vincent Albanese, Boomerang Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Australian culture = beach culture

Surprisingly more so for those of that, who grew up on the beach, but even those who grew up inland had the bronzed’n’blond ideals of Home and Away installed at a young age. We’re our most laconic on the beach, which is possibly the birth place of the idea that most Aussies are laid-back, stress-free yobs who have been ever-so-slightly touched by a post-stroke speech impediment, robbing us of the ability to fully sound out words – but that’s just the hot sun and the tinnies [cans] of piss [alcohol].

Eva Rinaldi, Bondi Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Eva Rinaldi, Bondi Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The beach belongs to everyone

Recognising that beaches are public places for all to enjoy, there are no privately-owned beaches in Australia. If you require an extra layer of protection from prying eyes (of which there really are none) at the beach,
and don’t mind looking a complete wanker [idiot], you could pick up a beach tent: a full four-person canopy extravaganza complete with peg set up.

Your towel is sovereign territory

On a massively-populated Sydney beach, your only claim to territory is the towel you lay down at the start of the day – no matter how daggy [uncool]. Don’t be too precious about your space – you may lose a little border land as neighbouring nation-state towels set up next to you – but you’ll find you’re offered the same open respect back as you’re putting out.

Wicker Paradise, Reserved Beach Towel via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Wicker Paradise, Reserved Beach Towel via Flickr CC BY 2.0

But watch your stuff

It’s been many years since we stopped leaving our houses and cars unlocked even when we weren’t around, but that sad fact is sometimes forgotten amongst the sand, where valuables are left with towel while its owners jump in for a quick dip. Especially if you’re swimming at a super-packed tourist beach, dune-to-dune with lily white Europeans leaving their matching white iPods unattended in the sun with a veritable ‘please take me’ tag. Of course, don’t forget…

There are other heaps of other Sydney beaches besides Bondi

Around 100 beaches are speckled around the harbour and along the coast. As a visitor to the sparkly city who made a light enquiry towards the ocean, you’ll be led excitedly to ‘bold! brashy! beautiful!’ Bondi. Oh, sure; it’s a nice beach, but, like – we don’t have to all crowd on the same one.To name just one: the continent’s most easterly point, Byron Bay, easily challenges Bondi.

Lifesavers are legends

Lifesavers – the stacks of bronzed muscle stuffed into ill-fitting swimming cozzies under red and yellow hats – are the real MVP of our shores. Thousands of trained volunteer surf lifesavers keep Australia’s popular swimming and surfing beaches safe every summer by providing beach patrols and first aid services; rescuing around 80,000 people from the waves since record keeping began.

Harold Litwiler, Lifeguard Shack via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Harold Litwiler, Lifeguard Shack via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Most all, don’t forget to slip slop slap with some high SPF sunscreen – the Australian sun can bite.

(Feature image: Yellow Bioman by Christopher Crouzet available at christophercrouzet under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Everything you need to know about Sydney beach culture was last modified: June 27th, 2019 by Josh Dare
Author: Josh Dare (3 posts)

Josh Dare is a Melbourne-based writer with an impressive collection of passport stamps after a self-declared ‘gap decade’ spent living in London (U.K.) and Toronto (Canada), travelling through Europe and North America on the dime/penny/euro/whatever these coins in my hard are, just go though and pick what you need!