But NSW Health is still concerned that low levels of testing could allow the virus to move undetected within the community, with only 4789 tests performed on Sunday.
In the eastern suburbs, beaches were close to full about midday. Beachgoers have been advised to stay one towel apart from other groups so as to maintain social distancing on the sand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before 2pm, Waverley Council advised that Bondi Beach was reaching capacity.
“If people continue to come to Bondi Beach and crowds grow further, restricted access to the sand is likely to be implemented within the next hour of 2pm to 3pm,” a council spokesperson said.
“If you haven’t left for the beach yet, please rethink your trip and check on capacity later in the day.”
Waverley Council beach staff had been asking people heading to North Bondi to instead move south to the middle of the sand from about 11am.
Randwick Council had issued similar advice from 1pm and people were asked to make alternative plans or visit nearby parks and reserves instead of the sand.
Little Bay Beach was filled with people from the mid-morning.
Locals said it was usually only as busy over the Christmas and new year period.
Sutherland Shire Council was also on alert as southern beaches approached capacity from midday. The Cronulla Beach car parks were full by 2pm.
On the northern beaches, Dee Why was filled with families on Monday morning, as groups looked to secure their spot for the day.
A traffic accident on the Wakehurst Parkway near Pittwater Road about midday created headaches for those wanting to spend the afternoon by the ocean, with heavy traffic at Narrabeen and Collaroy.
There were further queues on Mona Vale Road from St Ives up to Terrey Hills.
Outside Sydney, heavy traffic also marked the end of the long weekend.
On the South Coast, traffic queues began about 11am and motorists were advised to expect delays when travelling northbound on the Princes Highway between South Nowra and Bomaderry as well as around Batemans Bay.
Returning east from the Blue Mountains, vehicles were held up at Victoria Pass from about midday to allow heavy traffic between Mount Victoria and Blackheath to ease.
Mary Ward is a reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.