There are few things better than a day at the beach. But it’s somewhat less enjoyable when everyone else has the same idea. We’ve tracked down five hidden beaches where you can escape the masses.
Store Beach, Manly – NSW
Sydney’s beaches pull a crowd, which can make finding a quiet patch rare. But it’s not impossible.
Around the corner from the hubbub of Manly is Store Beach – a secluded patch of sand surrounded by the bushland of Sydney Harbour National Park. The catch? It’s a little trickier to reach than your average beachfront – you’ll need a kayak to get you there.
Hire one from Manly Wharf, then paddle out towards Smedley Point and past Little Manly Point to reach Store Beach. On weekends you may find a few yachts anchored offshore in the calmer waters of the small bay, but on weekdays you may not see another soul all day. Pack a picnic lunch and plenty of drinking water, as well as rubber-soled shoes for a little rock exploring. Tread lightly when visiting – the area is a breeding ground for fairy penguins.
Lady Martin's Beach, Sydney – NSW
Another secret Sydney spot is Lady Martin’s Beach in Felix Bay. Named in 1899 after Lady Mary Martin, the wife of Sir James Martin, Premier of New South Wales three times during the 1860s and 1870s, the beach is halfway between Point Piper and Woollahra Point and surrounded by the suburb’s affluent beachfront properties.
To get there you’ll need to wander down the narrow laneway alongside the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club on Wolseley Road. The yacht club’s jetty divides the beach into two, and while the jetty is private, the beach remains public. It’s a tiny stretch of calm – just 160 metres long, and particularly narrow. Claim your towel space against the wall’s edge before taking a dip in the stunning harbour. There may be yachts moored quite close in, and you’ll probably discover a handful of in-the-know beachgoers too. Dogs are also welcome – leash on.
Bailey Beach, Perth – WA
Western Australia is home to some of the most exquisite beaches in the country. The stretch of coast that encompasses Bailey Beach is brimming with hidden sandy pockets tucked between cliffs.
Well-known Mettam’s Pool is a larger expanse of beach that’s popular for swimming and snorkeling due to the protected reef. But exploring the headland will reveal the more secluded (and quieter) 80-metre stretch of sand that is Bailey Beach.
In calm conditions you can snorkel here because the reefs begin just off the shoreline. Look for the sizeable redlip morwong, tiny, polka-dotted yellow boxfish, the beautiful old wives and stripeys, and schools of herring. Little Bailey Beach is the next spot along – a small patch of sand that’s less for sitting and swimming and more for eyeballing rock-dwelling sea creatures.
Southside Beach, Torquay – VIC
Southside is one of only four legal nudist beaches in Victoria and has held its clothes-optional status since 1986. There’s a couple of ways to get to this flat stretch of Great Ocean Road coastline; the most direct route is from the next car park along from Bells Beach along the Surf Coast Track down to the beach.
Alternatively there’s a staircase leading to the beach from Point Addis Road, allowing a stroll all the way along the vast shore at the bottom of stunning cliffs. At the opposite end at Bells Beach there’s a long steep walking track from the car park to the beach, from where you can walk west and around a rocky point. Check for tide times if taking this route because waves lap the cliff face at high tide, and only a narrow strip of sand remains at Southside.
This beach is tucked into a cove, so it’s protected from wind, making it a pleasant spot to get your kit off.
Tinderbox Beach, Hobart – TAS
Tinderbox Beach is just 30 minutes outside of Hobart. Located in the Tinderbox Marine Nature Reserve, it’s an area for preservation and education, and home to Tasmania’s only underwater snorkelling trail.
The trail begins in the west and follows the edge of the sandstone reef for 100 metres. Just like a national-park walking track, the underwater trail is marked with submerged information plates explaining the lush ecosystem you’re gliding your way through. Among the ledges and crevices you’ll spot starfish, sea urchins, anemones and molluscs. Big-bellied seahorses, spiny pipe horses and Tasmanian numbfish flit through the seaweed and seagrasses.
To get to the beach take Fergusson Avenue off Tinderbox Road. The beach and foreshore extends 1.4 kilometres north-east of Tinderbox Bay to Pierson’s Point. The rock pools at Boronia and the blowhole at Blackmans Bay are also worth a look.
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