Once you go to one of the beaches/bays in Vaucluse, nothing else in Sydney compares. The suburb located next to Edgecliff houses some of Sydney's more wealthier parties, so you expect that their beaches are just as good! Indeed, Milk Beach is the best place to be on a warm summers day. With a direct view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and some of the clearest waters you can come across, this little piece of heaven remains unknown by many Sydney siders making it a really quiet spot. If your after a more family friendly beach, a short drive up to Neilsen Park is in order where you will find Shark Bay perfect for picnics and larger groups of people. (Attached is a photo I look of the view at Milk Beach)
My favourite would have to be Balmoral Beach. It is so picturesque that it looks like it's from a story book. Across the road are a number of places to eat, and along the beach are so many green spaces that it's perfect to have a picnic. You'll often see weddings happening there, as it is just that pretty.
I know, super tough. A tug-o-war between Bondi and Manly. I think Manly Beach is great, except for those pesky seagulls if food is around. Love playing beach volleyball there, and surfing those big waves. A great beach to walk. Also love the walking trail between Manly and Shelly beaches.
Sydney has so many amazing beaches. Some great for their restaurants, others quiet and isolated. We usually go to different beaches for different reasons.
When visitors come to Sydney I usually take them for a ferry ride to Manly beach. I like the vibe of Manly and the seaside restaurants and cafes are excellent.
I also like Bondi Beach and the places that sell fish & chips there are the best in Sydney. However the real joy of Bondi is the walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach and beyond. I know all the surfers have moved to Coogee but I still don't really see it as anything special.
Another favourite is Palm beach. Not only is there the beach but you can take ferries to isolated bushwalking locations, go kayaking or sailing in the sheltered cove. Also people will be impressed when you tell them you went to Palm Beach (some people in Sydney are a little pretentious like that).
For middle harbour beaches I love Balmoral. It is a great little location and a favourite place to go to watch the sunrise.