Last updated: October 31, 2023
Reef Beach at Dobroyd Head in Balgowlah Heights is a secluded strip of sand facing Sydney’s North Harbour and Manly Cove.
This small but beautiful beach can be accessed via a walking trail that is part of the popular Spit to Manly Walk.
In this article, we’ll be sharing how best to get to this beach, other beaches nearby, and photos to get an idea of what Reef Beach is like.
How to Get There
Reef Beach can be accessed via the iconic Spit to Manly walk. The section where the beach is located is called the Reef Beach Track.
If you’re not hiking and just want to visit the beach, the best spot to park your car is on Beatty Street (see map location), from where it’s only a short stroll (about 400 metres) to the beach.
Another good option is to park your car at Tania Park on Dobroyd Scenic Drive (see map location), and make your way to the beach from there, which is also a short walk. There is ample parking available at Tania Park.
Public transport is also an option, with regular buses passing through Balgowlah Heights from Manly and from the city via Neutral Bay. Check the bus timetables on the NSW Transport Info website to plan your day.
Here is a map with both parking options marked:
About Reef Beach
What makes Reef Beach so attractive is its secluded location on Sydney’s North Harbour. That, combined with the beautiful views, makes this spot a wonderful beach to go for a quick swim.
Facing northeast, towards Manly Cove, the beach is only 80 metres long and not very deep. The beach is usually pretty quiet and well-maintained, and is surrounded by bushland and rocky areas.
Just behind the beach is a boardwalk with a bench that is part of the Spit to Manly walking track and the Manly Scenic Walkway.
Toilet and shower facilities are also available behind the beach, accessible via that same boardwalk.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Reef Beach was a popular nude beach in Sydney, with big crowds of nudists and naturists visiting the beach on those warm summer days.
But since 1993, nude bathing has been prohibited at Reef Beach.
Since then, Reef Beach has been a peaceful and somewhat secretive spot, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.
And that’s probably for the better, as it’s becoming increasingly challenging to find a quiet beach in Sydney on the weekends.
Nearby beaches are Forty Baskets Beach further north, Washaway Beach to the south, and Clontarf Beach further west. These are all on the Spit to Manly walk.
Read our guide to the prettiest secluded beaches in Sydney for more of these beautiful beaches where you can still go for a quiet swim.