With more than 70 ocean and harbour beaches, even from ground level Sydney, Australia, packs a punch in terms of wow-factor. But from a bird's-eye view, the sprawling city stuns in otherwise unimaginable ways. From coastal cliffs battered by the power of the Pacific Ocean, through to tranquil lagoons filled with swimmers and snorkelers, there's surely no better vantage point from which to view the unique balance between man and nature.
A surf on the break water off Coogee beach's Wedding Cake Island (aka Lemo Island) is not for the faint hearted. Deriving its name from the icing effect the waves create as they smash on the rocks, each Anzac Day locals surf out with a tinnie or two to mark the occasion.
Bondi... the famous jewel in Sydney's crown. Once a working-class suburb, gentrification has seen the area become one of Australia's most exxy postcodes. Ironically given its reputation as a place where the bold and beautiful love to flash the flesh, the sands were once home to beach inspectors who measured people's swimwear and ordered them off the beach if they flaunted the public decency.
For a more sedate swim, locals head south to the man-made Clovelly beach. Concrete foreshores were constructed during the Great Depression to keep men in work. The idea was to create an Olympic-sized swimming pool, sheltered from the ocean currents. The area is now a favourite with snorkelers, who can swim alongside huge groupers.
Nestled in between Coogee and Clovelly, Gordon's Bay is a favourite with the city's hipsters. It also boasts a 600m snorkelling trail with information about local sea life attached to a chain of concrete drums.
Coogee's Wylie Baths tidal pool was built in 1907 by champion swimmer Henry Alexander Wylie. He built the pool - which was one of the first that allowed mixed-gander bathing - so that his daughter Wilhelmina would have somewhere to train. She and her partner Fanny Durack went on to be the first female representatives at the Olympics.