Andrew Priestley, 44, from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, died in hospital after getting into difficulty at Burrill Beach - around 155 miles south of Sydney.
His family said Mr Priestley was the "most amazing father" and that it was "heartbreakingly impossible" to imagine life without him.
Mr Priestley was on holiday with his family when his sons Matthew and David got caught in strong currents. He suffered a heart attack. The children survived.