Bondi Beach is a Sydney icon but sometimes you just want a quiet patch of sand on which to spend a summer day. These lesser-known secret beaches in Sydney are secluded, private and worth the effort it takes to find them.

Chinamans Beach, Mosman

Take a short stroll through leafy Rosherville Reserve in Mosman and you’ll find yourself at Chinamans Beach – a harbour enclave often disregarded in favour of its beautiful (but busy) neighbour, Balmoral Beach. Take a dip in its azure waters and enjoy breathtaking views across Middle Harbour. 

Lady Martins Beach

Image credit: Destination NSW/Andrew Gregory

Lady Martins Beach, Point Piper

Hidden down a narrow lane adjacent to Point Piper’s illustrious Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club, Lady Martins Beach can be difficult to find. This seclusion is its major drawcard, along with fewer crowds and sweeping harbour views. Bring your own picnic, or visit one of the cafés and restaurants in nearby Double Bay or Rose Bay.

Store Beach, Manly

One of Sydney’s most secret beaches, Store is accessible only by water. Hire a kayak from Manly Kayak Centre and paddle for about 20 minutes to this sheltered spot just inland from the old Quarantine Station.  Your efforts will be rewarded with your own slice of paradise.

Congwong Beach

Image credit: Destination NSW/Andrew Gregory

Congwong Beach, Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Botany Bay’s industrial reputation means this area is often overlooked in favour of Sydney’s famous harbour beaches. Tucked away in Kamay Botany Bay National Park, pretty Congwong Beach has naturally protected waters and small swell. Make a day of it and add a tour of Bare Island – a historic military defence fort – to your itinerary.

Jibbon Beach, Royal National Park

Located in the Royal National Park at the eastern end of Bundeena, Jibbon Beach is a gorgeous 700-metre stretch of sand yet remains one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. The beach is a one-hour drive south of Sydney or a 10-minute ferry ride from Cronulla Marina. If you’re after a post-swim snack, Bundeena’s town centre offers a few small coffee shops (serving Aussie staples such as sausage rolls and meat pies).

Resolute Beach, West Head

Don’t be deterred by the three-hour return walk through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park – a coastal hideaway awaits you at Resolute Beach. Begin the walk at Resolute picnic ground and don’t miss the detour to Red Hands Cave, where you’ll find significant examples of Aboriginal art. Bring comfortable walking shoes and plenty of water to drink.

Milk Beach

Image credit: Destination NSW/Andrew Gregory

Milk Beach, Vaucluse

Situated at the base of Strickland House in Vaucluse, Milk Beach has inviting, crystal-clear water and vistas of Shark Island and the city skyline. The secret beach can be accessed on the Hermitage Foreshore walk, which starts at Bayview Hill Road and ends at the popular Nielsen Park. 

Chowder Bay, Mosman

East of Mosman, Chowder Bay is a tranquil swimming, snorkelling, diving and picnic spot. It's surrounded by bushland and excellent walking trails so if you’re feeling energetic you can make it a pitstop on the rewarding Harbour Bridge to Spit Bridge hike.

Turimetta Beach

Turimetta Beach, Narrabeen Head

This wild beach is so elusive that it disappears at high tide. Backed by a steep, rocky escarpment, it's only accessible by walking around the rock platform from Narrabeen Beach. Bring a surfboard and check the tides beforehand to make your journey worthwhile.

Collins Beach, Manly

Secluded from the buzz of Manly, yet only a 15-minute walk from the main drag, Collins Beach is where the locals retreat to when the crowds roll in. Paddling in the calm waters of the bay, surrounded by rocky escarpments and vegetation, you’ll feel like you’re miles from it all.

Reef Beach

Image credit: Amelia Collins (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Reef Beach, Dobroyd Head 

A walk along the 10-kilometre Manly to Spit track would be incomplete without a cooling dip at Reef Beach. Find a rock to dry off on and head up to the adjacent Arabanoo Lookout to take in views of nature’s gateway to the harbour.

Little Bay Beach, Little Bay

This secret beach is popular with families due to its protection from the strong coastal winds and swells that lash neighbouring Botany Bay. The golden sands and clear, calm waters make it an ideal spot for snorkelling, building sandcastles or swimming.

This article was first published in 2018 and has been updated.

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