Last updated: November 10, 2023
A guide with 17 secluded beaches in Sydney for a relaxing swim. Escape the crowds and go to one of these quiet, hidden, or even secret strips of sand.
Sydney is blessed with many beautiful beaches, some famous around the world, others much smaller and not so well-known. With so many quality beaches on offer, Sydney is unrivalled in Australia.
But whilst it’s nice to spend a day at Manly, Cronulla, or Bondi, chances are, you’ll be surrounded by thousands of other beach-goers and sunbathers.
Fortunately, there are still beaches in and around Sydney that are a bit of a secret. Beaches with few or no facilities, and where you can still appreciate Sydney’s natural beauty in peace. We have shortlisted our top 17.
1. West Head Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
With panoramic views of Pittwater and the Barrenjoey Headland, West Head Beach is a true hidden gem in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park with beautiful emerald green water and hardly any tourists around.
To get to the beach, follow the short bushwalking track from the West Head Lookout, which is signposted.
A steep set of stairs will eventually get you onto the beautiful sand, where you can settle in and go for a quiet swim.
2. Resolute Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Located only a few hundred metres south of West Head Beach is Resolute Beach, another stunningly beautiful secluded strip of sand.
Resolute Beach is also one of the highlights on the Resolute Beach Loop Trail, which starts and ends at the Resolute Picnic Area.
West Head and Resolute Beach are very similar, but if we had to pick a winner, it would be Resolute Beach.
3. Whale Beach, Northern Beaches
Not as famous as its bigger neighbour Palm Beach in the Northern Beaches region, Whale Beach is a beautiful 600-metre long strip of sand.
Whale Beach has a pleasant and secluded atmosphere and typically doesn’t get overly crowded.
There is also a beautiful man-made 25-metre long rock pool located at the southern end of the beach if you’d like to swim lanes.
4. Clareville Beach, Clareville
Facing Pittwater, Clareville Beach is a quiet and secluded strip of sand just south of the Palm Beach peninsula.
With its sheltered waters, Clareville Beach is a popular spot to start a stand-up paddling or kayak session on Pittwater.
Swimming at the beach is considered very safe, and with a car park, a grassy reserve, and a picnic area just behind the beach, Clareville is a perfect weekend destination for families.
5. Collins Flat Beach, Manly
Located just a few minutes from Manly between North Head and Little Manly Cove, secluded Collins Flat Beach is an excellent spot to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet swim.
Bring a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine, and take in the peaceful surroundings with scenic Harbour views, moments away from civilisation. Believe it or not, there is even a small waterfall!
Note that Collins Flat Beach is also referred to as simply Collins Beach or Collins Flat, depending on who you ask or where you look.
If you’re after a secluded beach with better access and more facilities, choose Little Manly Beach instead. It’s only a couple hundred metres from Store Beach and is an excellent strip of sand for families.
6. Fairlight Beach, Fairlight
Fairlight Beach is an 80-metre long stretch of sand with a small rock pool located in the suburb of Fairlight, just west of Manly Beach.
The beach can be accessed via the Fairlight Walk, which is the last section of the Spit Bridge to Manly coastal walking track.
There is also a small rockpool, which is more of an ocean bath, perhaps not large enough for lane swimming but nice enough for a relaxing dip.
7. Forty Baskets Beach, Fairlight
Forty Baskets Beach is a family-friendly strip of sand with usually nice and calm water that is perfect for swimming.
The beach is protected from the waves and also has a swimming enclosure. Behind the beach, you’ll find picnic areas, a small playground, toilets and showers.
Forty Baskets Beach does get busy on the weekends during the warmer months, but the secluded atmosphere and the Harbour views are fantastic.
8. Reef Beach, Balgowlah Heights
Reef Beach is a small strip of sand at Dobroyd Head, boasting scenic views of Sydney’s North Harbour and Manly Cove on the opposite side.
A wooden walkway just behind the beach forms part of the popular walking track between the Spit Bridge and Manly Beach.
Reef Beach used to be a nude beach in the 1970s and 1980s, but nude bathing has been prohibited there since 1993.
9. Castle Rock Beach, Clontarf
Castle Rock Beach is a small and not very well-known secluded beach that is accessible via a short walk down a set of stairs from the Spit to Manly walking trail.
There are no facilities at Castle Rock Beach, so it’s best to bring food and drinks with you if you plan to hang around there for a while.
It’s a beautiful strip of sand, but like so many small beaches in Middle Harbour, there may not always be a lot of sand during high tide.
10. Athol Beach, Mosman
Athol Beach is a quiet west-facing beach with beautiful city and Harbour views to enjoy while relaxing on the sand.
On Google Maps, you will see Athol Beach marked as a tiny strip of sand, but there are two slightly bigger beaches closer to the Taronga Zoo wharf that are also referred to as Athol Beach, or Athol Bay.
The beach can be accessed via the walking trail between Taronga Zoo and Bradleys Head. Look for the signs to Athol Beach from that trail. Another secluded beach nearby that is worth visiting is Whiting Beach, which is located on the other side of the Taronga Zoo wharf.
For more beaches in this beautiful part of Sydney, read our list of best beaches in Mosman.
11. Double Bay Beach, Double Bay
With a beautifully secluded location along the foreshore of Double Bay right next to the ferry wharf, Double Bay Beach is a relatively quiet stretch of sand.
It’s the perfect beach to go for a quick swim, relax, and enjoy the scenic views from the sand or one of the benches along the promenade.
If you’re feeling hungry or just want to have a nice coffee, the Double Bay town and shopping centre are only moments away.
Parking nearby is hard to find, so the best way to travel to this secluded beach is by ferry, which only adds to the Sydney experience.
12. Lady Martins Beach, Point Piper
One of Sydney’s best-kept secrets in the wonderful world of beaches is Lady Martins Beach in Point Piper.
You can access this long but very narrow strip of sand by heading down a little lane next to the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club on Wolseley Road.
Keep in mind that this really is a narrow beach, and you can only access it (and lie on dry sand) when the tide is low.
The beach is named after the wife of Sir James Martin, Premier of New South Wales in the 1860s and 1870s.
13. Bellamy Beach, Rose Bay
Bellamy Beach is a bit of a hidden secret, quietly tucked away between Point Piper and the western end of Rose Bay.
Besides swimming, Bellamy Beach is also a great spot for kayaking and stand-up paddling, with a canoe and kayak rental service located north of the beach.
Bellamy Beach can be accessed via a set of stairs towards the end of Wunulla Road, or otherwise via Rose Bay Park along New South Head Road.
Be mindful that Bellamy Beach is dog-friendly, so you may have to share the sand and water with some of our four-legged friends.
14. Milk Beach, Vaucluse
Overlooking Hermit Bay and Sydney Harbour and located right in front of the historic Strickland House, Milk Beach is a 50 metres long and 5 metres wide strip of sand, quietly tucked away in Vaucluse.
The best way to get to the beach is by doing the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walking track starting at the Rose Bay ferry wharf. A refreshing swim after a bit of hiking makes the experience even better.
Keep in mind though that while Milk Beach is a beautiful secluded beach, it’s not always as quiet as it once was.
It can get crowded on those warm summer days, but regardless, it’s still a beautiful spot to go for a refreshing swim and enjoy the Sydney Harbour views.
15. Queens Beach, Vaucluse
Queens Beach is a tiny secluded strip of sand along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, not too far away from Milk Beach.
In our opinion, Queens Beach is quieter (and also smaller) than Milk Beach, so if you want to have a beach all to yourself, Queens Beach may be the better choice.
The views from the beach to the city and Sydney Harbour are superb and make the secret beach experience all the better.
When visiting Queens Beach, be mindful of the tides because part of the beach may actually disappear at high tide!
16. Hermit Bay Beach, Vaucluse
The small strip of sand facing Hermit Bay in Vaucluse is the third secluded beach along the Rose Bay to Watsons Bay walking track, located between Queens Beach and Milk Beach.
Facing Sydney Harbour and the city skyline, the views you get to enjoy from Hermit Bay Beach are sensational.
Slightly north of the beach is a beautiful grassy area, the perfect spot for a picnic after a relaxing swim at the beach.
And if you’d like to walk a little further, Shark Beach and Nielsen Park are not too far away. Shark Beach is a family-friendly strip of sand with an enclosed swimming area and a cafe just behind the beach.
17. Kutti Beach, Vaucluse
The best thing about Kutti Beach is that many people struggle to actually find it, apart from the locals, of course.
Quietly hidden between Parsley Bay Reserve and Watsons Bay, Kutti Beach can indeed be quite challenging to find. Until now, that is.
The beach is accessible via a narrow staircase right next to the Vaucluse Amateur Sailing Club, located at the end of Wharf Road. It may look like a dead-end road, which it is, but don’t walk away, as the staircase is right there.
Kutti Beach is also one of Sydney’s very few dog-friendly beaches, so you may have to share the sand and water with a few dogs running around.
For even more beaches, travel south to Royal National Park, where you’ll find a great range of beaches, such as Wattamolla Beach, Garie Beach, Jibbon Beach, and many more.
Read our guide to the best beaches in Royal National Park for a complete list of beautiful strips of sand to visit.
Another option is to travel north to the Central Coast or Bouddi National Park, where you’ll find even more great beaches. One of our favourite beaches there is Maitland Bay Beach, a beautifully secluded strip of sand. Nearby Putty Beach is also a beauty.