Clontarf Beach and Reserve: The Ultimate Guide
Sandy Bay Road, Clontarf NSW 2093
Area: Middle Harbour
If you are looking for a beautiful and safe spot to take your kids this summer, then Clontarf Beach is perfect.
Clontarf Beach is part of Sydney’s Middle Harbour and is located 5km from Manly. It is a great place to spend a day with the family. The netted tidal pool is perfect for young swimmers, and there are plenty of picnic tables and BBQs if you want to do some cooking. If you’re in the mood for a quick bite to eat, or just a tasty coffee, be sure to check out either of the two cafes near the park. The playground is sure to keep the kids entertained and the beach is great for swimming, standup paddle-boarding, boating and fishing. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, there are plenty of secluded spots to relax in. Whether you’re after a fun-filled day or a relaxing afternoon, Clontarf Beach is the perfect spot.
I discovered Clontarf about 20 years ago, when my son was only a toddler. We spent many days on the beach and made some lifelong friends who we met while hanging out in this fabulous spot.
Clontarf Beach and Reserve at a Glance
|Park / Reserve:||Yes|
|Shade:||Yes – Under trees|
|Swimming:||Yes – At the beach, no waves|
|Cafes / Restaurants:||Yes 2 cafes|
|Toilets / Showers:||Yes|
|Parking:||Paid and free parking|
Stand-up paddle boarding
Things To Do at Clontarf Beach
The reserve has so much to offer for kids and adults of all ages.
If you have young children, they will enjoy:
- watching the Spit Bridge go up and down
- waving at boats and yachts that cruise by
- swimming in the safe and protected beach pool and
- playing at the recently upgraded playground
- building sandcastles
Older kids can:
- collect seashells and
- observe starfish which can often be seen near the shore
- play cricket or soccer
- throw a Frisbee
- play badminton
- fly a kite
Teenagers will have a lot of fun:
- swimming and sliding on Jungle Float, which is often docked at the beach.
- stand-up paddle boarding
Adults / parents / couples will love
- great coffee at one of the beachside cafes
- relaxing in the shade
- floating on an inflatable
- having a nap
If your family includes furry friends, then bring them down to the Clontarf Dog beach, where they can run and swim without a leash.
The dog beach is located a short walk from the main reserve. Please note however, if you bring your dog back to the playground area, your dog will have to be on a leash.
On the weekends and especially in summer Clontarf can get quite busy, so get there early.
The park has many large trees which provide shade throughout the day, but if you prefer to spend the day on the sand, bring a beach umbrella or tent.
The beach has no waves and is ideal for kayaking, standup paddle boarding or just floating around.
Food at Clontarf Beach
Bosk Kiosk and Restaurant
Previously known as Clonny’s on the Beach, Bosk Kiosk and Clontarf is located near the children’s playground. It offers a range of sandwiches, toasties, burgers and seafood. Coffee, fresh juices and smoothies are also available.
For the health conscious, you will find vegetable bowls and seasonal fruit granola.
Bosk Kiosk also caters for the little ones with cheeseburgers, fish, chips, toasties and fruit cups amongst some of the favourites
The kiosk is generally open Monday – Thursday 9am -4pm and Friday – Sunday 9am – 5.30pm
If you are after a full meal, then check out the restaurant menu, which includes everything from garlic prawns and calamari to lamb and pork belly.
You will also find some mouth watering deserts including chocolate fondant, sticky date and affogato.
For group bookings of 10 – 30 people, the restaurant offers a number of set menus.
Sandy Bear Café
Located at Clontarf marina and overlooking Clontarf beach, Sandy Bear Café offers casual dining with exceptional ocean views.
Breakfast is served until 11.30am and includes muffins and pastries, croissants, bacon and egg rolls.
Lunch is served from 12noon with Soup of the day, poached chicken sandwiches and salad bowls amongst some of the favourites.
BBQ or Picnic
Bring your own food and set up at one of the many picnic tables located around the reserve. Or bring your own table and chairs and claim a spot under one of the big trees.
Electric BBQs are also available, but be sure to get there early to claim one.
Much to the delight of children, in summer you will often see an ice cream boat coming to the shore.
Toilets and Showers
You will find a toilet block behind Bosk kiosk with showers and change rooms. There are also outdoor showers near the netted tidal pool.
Manly Scenic Walkway
Clontarf is part of the Manly to Spit coastal walk so if you enjoy walking, this is a must do trail. Depending on how much time you have and your fitness level you can choose one of several walks.
The track starts at the northern end of Spit Bridge and finishes in Manly
Manly to Spit Bridge
Manly to North Harbour Reserve
Manly to Clontarf Reserve
Manly to North Head
Sydney Harbour National Park
Alternative Dog Route
Some points of interest along the Manly Scenic Walk include:
- Fairfax Lookout
- Blue Fish Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery
- Sandstone wall from 1880s
- Manly Art Gallery & Museum
- North Harbour Reserve
- Wellings Reserve
- Forty Baskets Beach
- Reef Beach
- Crater Cove and Lookout
- Tania Park
- Aboriginal Engraving Site
- Grotto Point Lighthouse
- Castle Rock Beach
- Duke of Edinburgh Reserve
- Clontarf Beach
- Sandy Bay
- Aboriginal Shell Midden
- Fisher Bay
- Ellery’s Punt Reserve
Find out more about the Manly to Spit walk. https://www.sydneycoastwalks.com.au/spit-to-manly-walk/
If you’re looking for a romantic spot, Clontarf does not disappoint. Take a stroll along the beach with your loved one or bring a picnic and watch the sun go down over the horizon.
Weddings, Birthdays and Special Occasions
Looking for a wedding or special celebration venue? Clontarf Beach Reserve can be hired through the Northern Beaches Council Website.
Applications are required for any events with a large group of people (e.g. 50+) or that include the installation of structures such as jumping castles or marquees.
It is a good idea to submit your application at least one month in advance.
And if you are looking for a Wedding Celebrant on the northern beaches, check out
Getting to Clontarf Reserve
The best way to get to Clontarf is by car.
However, you can also get there by bus. If you are coming from the city, you can catch Manly Ferry and then a bus which stops at Alma & Moore Streets. From there it’s a short walk.
To help you plan your trip, go to NSW Transport website. https://transportnsw.info/trip#/trip
Is There Parking at Clontarf?
There are several places to park at Clontarf. The main car park has metered parking and during summer many people also park on the grassed area. Occassionally you can also find parking on Sandy Bay Road and if you don’t mind a short walk, there is parking on Peronne Avenue.
If you are looking for free parking, then head to Holmes Avenue, Monash Crescent and Allenby Street, all of which are a short walk from the beach.
Is It Safe to Swim at Clontarf Beach?
Clontarf is a very safe spot to swim but if you are really concerned about sharks and other creatures, you can swim in the netted tidal pool. You do need to closely supervise your children as the beach is not patrolled, however generally there are no strong currents, so you don’t need to worry about being carried out to the ocean.
A couple of years ago I was at the beach with a friend and we were snapping a few photos while we floated on our Hawaiian inflatables. Suddenly my friend stopped in her tracks when she saw a fin pop up behind me. She snapped the photo and then came to show me. It looked like a shark’s fin, but turned out to be a large fish.
Are There Sharks at Clontarf Beach?
There are sharks in Sydney Harbour including Middle Harbour where Clontarf Beach is located, but according to BHG there is no need to be alarmed, as there haven’t been any fatalities since 1963.
Learn more about how to stay safe from sharks https://www.bhg.com.au/shark-attacks-in-sydney-harbour.
If you are interested in learning more about sharks in Sydney waters, read Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment piece Sharks in Australian Waters. https://www.environment.gov.au/marine/marine-species/sharks
Are There BBQs at Clontarf Beach?
There are several free electric BBQs scattered throughout the reserve. If you are planning a family BBQ, it is advisable to get to the beach early, as the BBQs can get occupied quickly, especially on the weekends and during summer holidays.
Best Time to Visit Clontarf
Clontarf Beach gets busy during summer school holidays and on the weekends, so the best time to visit the beach is during the week, especially if you are hoping to get some quiet time.
Most families tend to gather near the playground, but if you head around the corner, you can find quiet areas with less people.
Flying a Drone
If you own a drone, Clontarf is a great place to fly it, providing you stick to the NSW CASA rules, ie
- at a maximum altitude of 120 m above the ground.
- You must keep your drone at least 30 metres away from other people.
- at least 5.5 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.
- only during permitting weather & within your sight at all times.
- away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders.
- avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.
- Respect personal privacy. Don’t record or photograph people without their consent.
Drone Video of Clontarf Beach courtesy of Horizon Productions
Ivana Katz is a Sydney based website designer and travel blogger. Having her own business has given her the freedom to explore the world. She believes travel is the best teacher and her passion for adventure, writing and photography has taken her and her son to some amazing places, including Hawaii, Canada, Fiji, Greece and Czech Republic. Ivana’s favourite thing about travelling is learning, discovering hidden gems and creating memories. She loves nothing more than inspiring other women to chase their dreams and explore the world with their families and friends.
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