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Tamarama Beach is a classic example of beautiful but dangerous. Known as one of the most dangerous beaches in New South Wales, potentially more so than that of Bondi Beach, this small cove is seemingly inviting to visitors. While its scenic landscape is one that's worth visiting, those looking to swim might want to hold off on donning their swimsuits and diving in. Lest one is an experienced local, swimming at Tamarama is not advised - especially with a General Hazard Rating of 8 out of 10.


With that being said, there are more reasons to visit this tiny stretch of beach that doesn't include swimming. It was once home to a seaside roller coaster, and has a history that spans back centuries. Here are some things to do at - and other reasons to visit - Tamarama Beach besides swimming.

The Discovery Of Tamarama Beach And Its Ever-Changing Landscape

Although it's not far from Bondi Beach, the unique thing about Tamarama is its constantly-evolving landscape. From the time it was discovered by settlers during the 1800s, back when it was simply called Dixon Bay, to where it sits today, it has undergone several major changes. During the 1800s, the beach was also given the nickname 'Gamma Gamma,' which translates to 'storm.' Anyone who has ever watched bad weather roll in from the shores of Tamarama can personally attest to the fact that clouds look especially menacing before reaching land.

By the 1860s, much of the land was owned by the MacKenzies, who had come to Tamarama - then known as MacKenzie Bay - from Scotland. During that time, much of the land was farmland with none of the development that is seen today. As more businesses popped up, eventually an aquarium and an amusement park opened at Tamarama - with one defining feature. The theme park had a roller coaster that rode straight over the surf, allowing passengers to watch monstrous waves roll onto the beach just below them. Unfortunately, a fire was responsible for destroying the pavilion and the aquarium in the early 1900s, and the amusement park, known as Wonderland City, eventually closed. This was to the delight of many locals, as the constant traffic to the tiny beach was more than just a hassle. In 1920, the New South Wales government purchased Tamarama Beach and renamed it Tamarama Park, thus protecting the land from further development.

The Changing Shoreline

Tamarama Beach not only has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous in Australia; it also has a reputation for its changing appearance. Every two to three years or so, winter comes and goes at Tamarama and leaves behind a sandy shoreline where it was once only rocky. Thus, the beach itself is only temporary - its sandy shores that are seen post-winter are not there all year-round, making the beach itself even more of a mystery. When there's no sandy shoreline, the beach is nothing but rocks and tide pools, appearing not in the slightest like a beach one would want to swim at.

The ever-changing shape of this beach has been attributed to the changes in swells, as well as the shifting currents and amount of sand that piles up when these tides do change, according to OZ Beaches.

Related: Australia's Best Beaches For Your Summer Getaway

Swimming & Surfing At Tamarama Beach

Depending on the day and the tides, one might say that Tamarama has the potential to be even more dangerous than its neighbor Bondi. The beach itself is only 80 meters in length but is a well-known spot for local surfers who know how to handle its powerful swells. Thanks to its length and location, the beach produces short but strong swells that can grow up to 15 feet due to the reef that can be found just offshore.

With that being said, there are almost always at least two rip currents present in the water at any given time. It's almost a given that one will always flow out past the northern rocks, but there could be more that are completely unbeknownst to swimmers. According to beachsafe.org, at least 150 rescues are done at Tamarama Beach alone, numbers comparable to that of North Bondi, but are dragged out at a rate of 5.5 per 1,000 swimmers. This number, according to beachsafe, is 10x the statistics of North Bondi's.

For those who do swim, there's no questioning the flagged and roped-off areas which restrict swimmers from heading out deeper into the surf. Under no circumstances must swimmers avoid or ignore these swim zones. For surfers, Bronte Beach is where most of the locals can be found, with waves that break at the south (reef) end and north end.