Collins Beach, Manly

Collins Beach, in the North Head precinct of Sydney Harbour National Park, will transport you miles from the bustle of Manly. It’s a short walk from the road, so you can enjoy the beach, which looks out to the Heads, in peace. There’s even a waterfall giving this spot a tropical vibe.

Store Beach, Manly

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For a further touch of seclusion, try Store Beach, around the bend from Collins Beach. Store Beach is only accessible by water, so you’ll have to rent a kayak or paddleboard from Manly Wharf and add some adventure to your day. Don’t forget to look out for Manly’s colony of fairy penguins.

Milk Beach, Vaucluse

While it may not be the most secret harbour beach, Milk Beach has clear waters and views. Walk around the Hermitage Foreshore Walk from Nielsen Park to Milk Beach, and enjoy the city views and bush walk by the water, before taking a leisurely dip.

Chinaman’s Beach, Mosman

Chinamans Beach is one kilometre around the waterfront from the much busier Balmoral Beach. Chinamans is totally sheltered within the harbour, so it’s the perfect spot for those who prefer calmer waters or a snorkel. The expansive Rosherville Reserve just behind the beach is also a great picnic spot.

Lady Bay Beach, Watson’s Bay

Between South Head and Camp Cove, this is one of Sydney’s most picturesque beaches. It’s also one of Sydney’s dedicated nude beaches, so if that’s how you like to swim, or if you forgot your togs, then this is the place for you. Walk around the South Head Heritage Trail for some of the most spectacular views over the harbour and out the heads.

Gordon’s Bay, Coogee

Sydney’s iconic eastern suburbs beaches draw crowds for good reason, but they can be a little overwhelming during summer. Gordon’s Bay, between Coogee and Clovelly, is that little bit more private. It’s secluded, sheltered, and only accessible via the coastal walkway. Its turquoise waters, perfect for snorkeling, will transport you to the Mediterranean.

Lady Martin’s Beach, Point Piper

If swimming in the harbour while admiring Sydney’s finest real estate sounds good to you, then Lady Martin’s Beach is worth checking out. Located at the end of Point Piper, the beach is accessed by a lane beside the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club. Surrounded by waterfront properties, find a spot along the narrow beach to laze and take a dip in the harbour.

Parsley Bay, Vaucluse

Parsley Bay is a narrow stretch of water and beach. The reserve is perfect for a picnic, and the century-old suspension bridge joining the two sides of the bay adds some history to this beach. If you’re looking for even more seclusion, try to find Kutti Beach, a spot between Parsley Bay and Watson’s Bay.

Parramatta Lake, Parramatta

While not technically a beach, Parramatta Lake features a designated swimming spot within a 73-hectare area of bushland. This is a great spot for walks, picnics, and cooling down on a hot day.

Little Bay Beach, Little Bay

Little Bay Beach, between Malabar and La Perouse, is a beautifully secluded beach surrounded by rocky outcrops. Its calm waters make it a great swimming and snorkeling spot, and there is plenty of space on the sand or grass to set up your picnic and make the most of a day at the beach.

Bungan Beach, Mona Vale

Bungan Beach is a lesser-known surf break between Mona Vale and Newport on the Northern Beaches. The near-50-metre-high cliff faces, and bushland that surrounds the beach, provide some stunning scenery. There is limited parking, and a steep descent on a private driveway to the beach, so you’re sure to find it quiet.

Delwood Beach, Manly

Delwood Beach, on the harbour side of Manly, offers pristine waters for swimming or snorkeling. It is just past Manly Wharf and the Sea Life Sanctuary before you reach Fairlight Beach. Follow the small staircase down to find it.