A central spot for a free dip is Australia’s only artificial, inner-city beach at South Bank. Complete with sandy banks, swaying palms and skyline views, it draws everyone from beach babes and strutting gym-junkies, to young families. If you're after a calming dip, you may find it challenging on weekends and during school-holiday periods. Changing rooms and shower facilities available.

Note that lifeguards are on duty from 7am to 10pm December and January, to 7pm February, March, October and November, and 9am to 5pm April to September.