Safe Swimming in Sydney in Dec?

May 19th, 2009, 07:38 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
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Safe Swimming in Sydney in Dec?

Is it safe to swim in the ocean in Sydney area (& perhaps south from there) in Dec., in terms of the potentially lethal box jellyfish etc? Friends say avoid GBR during that time but what about southern Australia? I'm not wild about only swimming in a wetsuit, or taking changes, as I have a 9 year old and college kid to consider.

Also, any interesting non-urban day trips from Sydney that would amuse older kids?

Finally, if I have 12 days and start from Sydney - without extra flights - other good spots to visit?
horsekicks is offline  
May 19th, 2009, 09:10 PM
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In regard to swimming in Sydney, we do not have the box jellyfish here. Not sure about South Australia but I doubt it.
Peteralan is offline  
May 19th, 2009, 10:01 PM
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As mentioned no box jelly fish but there are other jelly fish that can sting, but with thousands of people using the Sydney beaches daily in December you have very little to worry about. The main thing is to swim between the flags.

When I've bee on the GBR in Nov / Dec it has been safe from box jelly fish as its too far out, definately you can't swim from beaches without nets or suits, but with so many great pools at nearby hotels, I've never felt the need to go in. I think a trip to Australia without a trip to the GBR is a big miss.

Geordie is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 03:42 PM
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Many thousands of Sydney people including children swim and surf on local beaches in summer; as observed above, always swim between the flags, where area is patrolled by life savers.

Sydney and points south and to at least 1500km north which includes northern NSW and SE-Central Queensland, are not affected by dangerous marine stingers, ie, box jelly fish and irukandji, which are found in coastal tropical waters of northern Queensland (including Whitsundays, Cairns/Port Douglas) between about Nov-May. Cairns city, Townsville and Airlie Beach(Whitsundays) have stinger-free artificial huge lagoon style pools and all resorts etc have their own pools. Many beaches have stinger-free nets, and once again only use a beach which is lifesaver patrolled.

Great Barrier Reef is at least 90mins off shore from most mainland points and considered safe from marine stingers, but just in case, all reef boats provide light lycra stinger-proof suits, which will protect you from sunburn, a far likelier hazard. December is usually a great month to snorkel or dive GBR, when seas are calm, underwater visibility is top and water is warm.
pat_woolford is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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There are no box jellyfish in Sydney waters but there are sharks, although most city beaches are patrolled (by helicopter even) for shark sightings. Last summer (i.e. the one we just had) there were a disproportionate number of shark sightings and attacks. If you want to be really safe, some of the harbour beaches (Balmoral Beach, near Mosman, and Nielsen Park, near Vaucluse) have shark nets. These are not tourist beaches, and there is little or no surf unless the weather is wild. Good for families but a pain to get to. I think there is a bus to Nielsen Park. Another alternative is to swim in the harbour pools (man-made pools on the edge of the beach, naturally and perpetually filled with sea water); for instance, you will find one at Coogee ( The fact that there are sharks is mostly not a deterrent to the hundreds of people who use Sydney's beaches.

Non-urban day trips - Blue Mountains (bushwalking), or Palm Beach (swimming, surfing).
lavandula is online now  
May 21st, 2009, 03:16 AM
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Mmm, just thought of another couple of trips: Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney's west, about an hour away from the centre (tame zoo with Australian animals but heaps of different animals packed into a small space - good if you are keen on seeing lots of wildlife in a short time) and Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast (about 1 - 2 hrs north of Sydney - I haven't been since I was a kid but remember that I saw snakes being milked; think there might also be larger reptiles like crocs and there are certainly other animals like roos and emus. There are a couple of zoos in the centre of Sydney (Taronga, Wildlife World), and Koala Park and Symbio on the outskirts. My favourite would be Taronga, it's the largest and IMO a world-class zoo.
lavandula is online now  

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