7 spots to cool off in the Sutherland Shire this summer

South Cronulla Beach

With the warmer weather now here and summer on its way,  it’s hot and you want to cool off. Why not try a different spot next time you head down for a swim?

Here’s some refreshing ideas:

1. Darook Park | Cronulla

Nestled away in South Cronulla, surrounded by residential streets, this wonderful spot can easily be forgotten!

The good?

  • Flat water – inner Port Hacking beach
  • Large shallow sandbar on low-tide, good for young kids
  • Semi-protected from summer north-easterly winds
  • Lighter crowds than Gunnamatta Bay

The less good?

  • Hard to find parking
  • Limited space fills up quickly on hot summer days
  • Un-patrolled

2. Boat Harbour | Kurnell

Boat Harbour may not be a huge secret, but on it’s day, is definitely one of the best swimming locations in the Sutherland Shire. Choose your day carefully, as this location can become very crowded with large 4WD’s on the sand.

The good?

  • No waves – in all but huge conditions
  • Beautiful horseshoe bay
  • Few people on weekdays

The less good?

  • Isolated – access on by 4WD over sandhills, 20min walk from Kurnell NP, or 4km walk from Greenhills Beach, Cronulla.
  • Lack of shade, showers, toilets or other facilities
  • Can be busy with 4WD’s on weekends, public holidays
  • Unpatrolled

3. Simpsons Bay | Bundeena

Bundeena is beautiful. Hop in the car and enjoy the drive here via the Royal National Park. Better yet, hop on the ferry from Cronulla and enjoy the views across the Port Hacking river.

The good?

  • No waves (inside the Port Hacking) – great for kids
  • Scenic ferry ride from Cronulla – great for a daytrip
  • Quiet setting, not too busy

The less good?

  • Limited parking on busy days
  • Quite a trek if all you’re after is a 20 minute cool-off swim

4. Blackwoods Beach | Cronulla

People often haven’t heard of Blackwoods Beach. Many of those people have probably walked right past it dozens of times as they stroll along the Cronulla Esplanade. This is Cronulla’s only official ‘clothing-optional’ beach and is situated directly below the cliffs between Shelley Beach & South Cronulla Beach.

The good?

  • Shire’s only clothing-optional beach (forgot your swimmers?)
  • Partially hidden, doesn’t attract large crowds
  • Beautiful, rocky surrounds – interesting formations, pools and marine life
  • Generally sheltered from small, summer waves
  • Access – 5min walk from Cronulla Station, plenty of parking in Sth Cronulla (but arrive early on weekends in the Summer)

The less good?

  • Very dangerous in medium-larger swells
  • Unpatrolled
  • Strong rips
  • Shifting sandbars at different times of the year
  • Submerged rocks

5. South Cronulla Beach | Cronulla

South Cronulla Beach, is the Shire’s most sheltered surf-beach. Tucked away in the southern corner of Bate Bay, “Southies” is sheltered from both southerly winds and waves, making it great for swimmers and young families. It’s popular and for good reason.

The good?

  • Generally the Sutherland Shire’s safest surf-beach
  • Protected from southerly swells and winds
  • Large flagged swimming area
  • Neighbouring rockpools if the conditions are unsuitable for beach swimming
  • Large sandy area, plenty of space for families
  • Access – 2min walk to Cronulla Station, parking is okay (go early!)
  • Waterfront cafe options for the non-swimmers

The less good?

  • Not suitable for fibreglass surf-craft (flagged area takes up the majority of the beach)
  • Can get busy
  • Exposed to afternoon NE sea breezes

6. Stanwell Park Beach | Coal Coast

Just 40 minutes from Southern Waters Legal’s Cronulla office, Stanwell Park may not be in the shire, but it’s surely worth the journey. Just be careful in the water though. While beautiful, Stanwell Park is a powerful and dangerous beach with strong rips, gutters, shifting sandbars and direct exposure to southern ocean swells.

The good?

  • Beautiful backdrop where the Illawarra Escarpment meets the sea
  • Long, white sandy beach, plenty of space to spread out
  • Fewer crowds than Sydney beaches
  • Semi-protected from summer N/NE sea breezes
  • Great grassy picnic options in ‘Stanwell Park’
  • Patrolled during Summer

The less good?

  • Sudden drop-offs regular
  • Strong rips and currents often present
  • Fully exposed to Southerly swells and winds – a “wave magnet”
  • Dangerous for inexperienced swimmers
  • Prone to cold-water currents (often a few degrees colder than Cronulla)

7. Sutherland Leisure Centre | Sutherland

Summer isn’t always that…summery. When it’s hot, humid and the afternoon storms hit, why not take shelter at Sutherland Leisure Centre? The pool has recently reopened after a $3.3 million dollar upgrade and has a variety of attractions for all ages within the family, including giant water inflatables every weekend during summer.

The good?

  • Great wet-weather alternative
  • No cold-water, 25 degrees all year round
  • Lots of parking or a 5min walk from Sutherland Station
  • 5 pool areas – options for all ages and abilities
  • Grassy area, gym, spa and sauna on site
  • Hot showers after your swim

The less good?

  • Chlorine water just isn’t the same as salt water
  • Gets busy on weekends and during school holidays
  • You’ll have to pay to get in – $8.70 for adults, $6.70 for children aged 3-16, free for toddlers under 3 years

So go on, get out there! Just take care whenever entering the ocean and if unsure of your ability or the conditions, always check with a lifeguard.

What do you think? Where is your favourite spot to cool off? We would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to submit your comments below or comment on our Facebook Page or LinkedIn.