Local Guide For Fairlight Beach

Fairlight Beach, a tranquil family-friendly beach just minutes from Manly Beach, is a hidden gem among Northern Beaches locals. This small, sheltered beach is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Fairlight Beach is a cherished spot for locals who seek serenity and a relaxed beach experience.

Can you Swim At Fairlight Beach?

Fairlight Beach is a great place to swim, with a protected feel, a gradual slope, and minimal waves most of the time. You can swim in the rock pool or in the open ocean, and you’re likely to see plenty of fish, especially at high tide.

However, on big southerly swells, the beach can experience decent-sized waves. So always check the ocean conditions before visiting.

The beach is not patrolled, so always be aware of your own limitations, don’t take unnecessary risks, and keep an eye on kids at all times.

Fairlight Tidal Rockpool

Fairlight Beach has a tidal rock pool that naturally fills up as the tide rises. However, on hot summer days, the water can become stagnant and slimy with seaweed. The council cleans the pool regularly, but it’s closed during cleaning.

The pool is great for kids, but it’s over 1.5 meters deep at one end, so incompetent swimmers should be careful.

Here are some tips for swimming safely in the Fairlight Beach tidal rock pool:

  • Check the water conditions before swimming. If the water is slimy or stagnant, it’s best to avoid swimming.
  • Be aware of the depth of the pool. The pool is over 1.5 meters deep at one end, so incompetent swimmers should be careful.
  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Don’t swim alone if possible.

Things to watch out for when swimming at Fairlight.

Never jump into the water head, first because many rocks are scattered around throughout the beach, and some part of the rock pool is shallow. And, there are numerous sea urchins near the rock pool, so best to avoid this area.

Is Fairlight Beach Good for Snorkelling?

Fairlight Beach is a great spot for snorkelling, with calm waters and a variety of marine life to see. The ocean floor is relatively even and doesn’t have any sudden drops, making it safe and enjoyable for snorkelers of all levels.

Some of the marine life you can see at Fairlight Beach includes:

  • Breams
  • Luderick
  • Drummer
  • Grouper
  • Parrotfish
  • Dolphins (on rare occasions)

Please be respectful of all marine life and avoid touching or feeding any of the animals.

Are You Allowed To Do Fishing At The Fairlight Beach?

Line fishing is allowed at Fairlight Beach, but spearfishing and collection are prohibited. There are a variety of fish species to be caught, including bream, luderick, small grouper, and drummers.

Due to the uneven ocean floor and seaweed, it is recommended to use a float when fishing most parts of the beach.

I recommend fishing from the rocks rather than the beach due to heavy foot traffic, especially from children. However, when the weather is cold or at night, the beach is relatively quiet, so you can fish anywhere.

Here are some additional tips for fishing safely and responsibly at Fairlight Beach:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid fishing near swimmers or other beachgoers.
  • Use appropriate bait and tackle for the fish species you are targeting.
  • Dispose of your fishing line and other trash properly.
  • Respect all marine life and avoid catching or harming any protected species.

Can you Surf At Fairlight Beach?

Fairlight Beach has a small opening in the headland that allows southerly swells to come in. The waves are surfable when they get to 4-5 feet tall. They are short-duration left-handers that break around the pool.

It is important to note that Fairlight Beach is a reef break with irregular bottoms that break on a shallow reef. For these reasons, I would not recommend using your regular board at Fairlight Beach.

Fairlight Beach is not suitable for beginner surfers.

Parking At Fairlight Beach

Parking near Fairlight Beach can be challenging, especially during the summer months. There is no beachfront parking, and surrounding streets are two-hour free parking zones with very limited availability.

This is because Fairlight Beach is tucked away and surrounded by apartments and unit blocks, leaving little room for visitor street parking.

Tips for visiting

  • Use public transport if possible – 15 15-minute walk from Manly Wharf.
  • Avoid good summer weekends.
  • Be prepared to walk a short distance after parking

Is there a Shark At Fairlight Beach?

There have been no reported shark attacks at Fairlight Beach. If you want to learn more about shark attacks in Sydney, read here.

Accessing The Fairlight Beach

Fairlight Beach is slightly tucked away but easy to find. You can access it from Lauderdale Avenue, with multiple access points to Fairlight Walk, part of the Spit to Manly Walk. The beach should be easily visible from the walking path.

If you’re using public transportation, it’s only a 15-minute walk from Manly Wharf. Alternatively, there are several public bus routes to Fairlight Beach.

Here are some specific directions to Fairlight Beach:

  • From Lauderdale Avenue, turn onto Fairlight Walk.
  • Follow Fairlight Walk, until you can see the beach.

If you’re taking the bus, you can take the 162 bus from Manly Wharf to Lauderdale Avenue. From there, follow the directions above. Alternatively, you may ride the ‘Hop, Skip and Jump‘ free shuttle service to get to the beach.

Surrounding Beaches

Manly Beach

Freshwater Beach

Bondi Beach


I have spent the last 15 years in Northern Beaches in Sydney and loves beaches. I have raised three beautiful children, all loving beaches and waves. I hope you share the same passion.

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