Sydney summers are synonymous with beach-life culture - sandy toes, tanned bodies and refreshing ocean swims. Unfortunately, hoards of Sydney-siders and tourist get the same idea, flocking to iconic beaches such as Bondi and Manly in their thousands. But there are ways to dodge the crowds, immerse yourself in coastal nature and discover your own hidden piece of paradise. We’ve found five of the best secret swimming spots Sydney has to offer to help you relax and refresh this summer.
1. Store Beach, North Head
Nestled within the North Head Sanctuary, Store Beach feels a million miles away from care. It’s hard to believe the thriving town of Manly is just around the corner. So why is this stunning little cove, fringed with trees and nature, a secret spot? Because the unique charm of Store Beach is that it’s only accessible by water. But don’t let that put you off. Hiring a Kayak from Manly and paddling across Sydney Harbour only adds to the adventure. Pack a picnic, take your snorkel and have an uninterrupted day of bliss on your private beach. If you’re lucky, you may even see Fairy Penguins!
2. Delwood Beach, Fairlight
Moments away from Manly Wharf, Delwood Beach often goes unnoticed when embarking on the popular Manly to Spit Bridge Scenic walk. And it’s easy to miss, as the quaint pocket of sand is tucked neatly away under a grassy reserve just off the Fairlight path. Wooden steps take you down onto the beach, where you’ll find not only privacy, but also the stunning vista of Sydney’s Headlands as you sunbathe or swim in the marine reserve. If you can tear yourself away, walk the rest of the path, where several more hidden beaches are waiting to be discovered…
3. West Head Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase
The view at the West Head Look Out is nothing short of spectacular. It boasts uninterrupted views across the Hawksbury Estuary, Pittwater and Palm Beach - filling the eye in one glance. And the small secret beach waiting for you below is worth any effort it takes to get there. As you walk down the 500 metres of stairs cut into the cliff, you’ll see glimpses of the ocean through the trees enticing you every step of the way. And the reward is priceless. Surrounded by nothing but nature, West Head Beach is the perfect place for a peaceful picnic and a refreshing dip in the clear blue waters. But take your own water too – you’ll want it for the hike back up!
4. Wattamolla Beach and Lagoon, Royal National Park
Arriving at Wattamolla beach is an experience in itself. A cascading waterfall and stunning view will welcome you, before you take a short bush walk down to the white sandy beach. And if that’s not enough, a shallow lagoon awaits where you can cool down, relax and float away in this little bit of heaven. Huge Cabbage trees line the side of the beach, perfect for a rest in the shade. There are even BBQ facilities on the grassy area close by, so pack up your lunch and stay for the entire day.
5. Fairy Bower Rock Pool, Manly
Not so much a secret swimming spot, but an underused one. Located in between the iconic Manly Beach and the picturesque Shelly Beach, the Fairy Bower Rock Pool gets used more for stunning ocean photography than swimming. It’s triangular shape and ‘Sea Nymph’ sculptures set within the calm waters of Cabbage Tree Bay makes this a gem of Manly. So get in while nobody else is! After you’re done, you can snorkel in the marine reserve, sunbath on the flat rocks surrounding it, or indulge yourself in the local restaurant with the best view in town!