Marked by hordes of havaiana-ed pilgrims heading to the beach, hands slick with mango and an endless schedule of cricket, the Australian summer is most remarkable for our pursuit of simple pleasures in the face of fierce temperatures and looming natural disasters. Of all Australian summer traditions nothing beats the salty smack of fresh ocean air and the refreshing glug of a chilled beer by beach. With this in mind here's a guide to the best beach and bar combos to sample this summer:
The cliff-top heritage-listed Scarborough Hotel appears nondescript from the front but step through to the courtyard and be granted a gob-smacking view of the coastline. A little bit Hawaiian, a little bit Hells' Angels, this family-friendly pub is definitely worth the 50-minute jaunt from the city. With its rock pools and spacious esplanade, Bulli Beach is ideal for a barbie with the family.
As sexy as it looks on TV, Palm Beach impresses even the snobbiest beach-goer. Whether stalking Home and Away stars, oogling million dollar shacks or gawking at the views from Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Palm Beach doesn't disappoint. Hire a kayak or even a party pontoon from Barrenjoey Boathire and really make a day of it. Only a one minute walk away, enjoy the chilled out tunes of a live jazz band on weekends at the tropical plantation-style Beach Road Restaurant and Bar.
Only 80 metres long and wedged between two sharp headlands, Tamarama is a charming respite from the Bondi crowds. Glamorous and exclusive, Tamarama is the place to get your paparazzi face on. Dangerous rips make it a beach best suited to sightsee-ers, rock pool explorers and sunbathers. For the hipsters, The Stuffed Beaver is the place to get a drink. This bar is a peanut-shell covered hangout for the young and gorgeous with an American menu and sports bar feel.
Excellent surf breaks and Royal National Park surrounds make Cronulla an adventure-lover's destination. Getting an A for convenience, Cronulla is walking distance from the train station. For an unpretentious, old-fashioned Aussie pub, head to Northies. Live music, pumping crowds and a beachfront view make for a rip-roaring night.
Iconic Manly beach is a buzzing destination. Locals and tourists fight for space, pounding the pavement visiting shops and restaurants, rollerblading down the promenade or relaxing on the sand. Taking you back to your school carnival days, some of the best free entertainment you can get is watching the weekend nippers competitions. You'll be barracking for some stranger's kid in no time. Serious beer drinkers will delight in the offerings at 4 Pines Brewing Company. A labour of love for its owners, the microbrewery has received accolades aplenty and offers a casual but classy drinking destination.
Stuffed Beaver is more Bondi than Tama and it's hardly a beach bar given it's on Bondi Rd. You also forgot The Bucket List which is right on Bondi Beach and arguably the best addition to the bBondi bar scene ever.