Explore Sydney's hidden beach treasures with tips from local experts

hidden beach sydney

Sydney has more than 100 inner-city beaches. Some draw huge crowds – like Bondi and Balmoral. But there are others you might have entirely to yourself. Here are our 8 favourite hidden beach gems in Sydney, and where to stay and eat when you’ve finished exploring. 

Store Beach, Manly

This secluded crescent of water is only accessible by boat or kayak (rent them from Manly Wharf). Which means that when you visit, your footprints may well be the only ones in the sand. It’s also off-limits from dusk, when fairy penguins waddle to shore to burrow into their nests for the night.
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Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park sits pretty within a protected swathe of land on the city’s North Head. Its buildings are the city’s former quarantine station, and have seen their fair share of action over the decades. The hotel embraces its history, and in addition to offering boutique accommodation, it runs ghost tours that reveal the paranormal occurrences entwined with the site’s 150-year heritage.
Q Station’s on-site restaurants include Boilerhouse Kitchen & Bar, where you can enjoy casual fare like pizzas and burgers, or opt for a two- or three-course set menu with matched wines.

Delwood Beach, Manly

This beach to the west of Manly Cove enjoys stunning views over Sydney Harbour, all backed by a grassy reserve that’s the perfect perch to enjoy a post-swim picnic. It’s located just off the Manly to Spit Bridge coastal walkway, so if you’re completing the hike, be sure to pack your bathers. 


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Despite its seclusion, Delwood is just a five-minute walk back to the heart of Manly. Stroll over to the suburb’s ocean-facing main beach and check in to the glam Manly Pacific Sydney MGallery Collection hotel, fresh out of a renovation and with light-filled rooms that offer dreamy views over the sea and sand.


Smack bang on Manly Wharf is legendary establishment Hugos , where tables tumble outside and give visitors a front-row seat to ferries coming and going from Circular Quay. Pizzas are the star of the show here, with more than a dozen listed on the menu.

Milk Beach, Vaucluse

The Hermitage Foreshore track is a scenic trail in Sydney Harbour National Park, hugging the shoreline between the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve just north of Rose Bay, and Nielsen Park in Vaucluse. There are dozens of beaches along the route, including hidden Milk Beach, situated at the base of Hermit Bay and backdropped by heritage-listed Strickland Park. 


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From Milk Beach, continue walking north to Watsons Bay Wharf, where you can jump on a ferry back to Circular Quay in the heart of the city. Just a short walk away is the charming Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, the perfect hotel for a luxurious stay following a day out in the sunshine at the beach. 


If you’re peckish after your swim at Milk Beach, drop in to Estate Vaucluse House  (open Wednesday-Sunday) for lunch (homemade pastas, fresh seafood) or high tea with a glass of champagne. Back in the city, after checking in to your hotel, make a reservation at the year’s hottest new restaurant, Le Foote – part Parisian wine bar, part Mediterranean grill.

Chinamans Beach, Mosman

While its bigger sister to the north, Balmoral Beach, steals a lot of attention, Chinamans does not disappoint when it comes to golden sand (250 metres of it) and calm water – the bay here is protected in Middle Harbour, so it’s rare to get waves. Head back into Roscherville Reserve for a picnic on the grass.


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Mercure Sydney Manly Warringah is a great base for those wanting to explore the city’s Northern Beaches. It’s also ideal for those wanting to pack a picnic lunch for a day out, with each room featuring a well-stocked kitchenette.


For those who want to splash out, it’s hard to look past Ormeggio at the Spit in Mosman. This buzzy Italian restaurant and cocktail bar has knock-out views over the water. The menu is completely meat free, and instead focuses on sustainably caught seafood and seasonal vegetables in dishes like chargrilled Fremantle octopus, and mud-crab tartlet.

Lady Martins, Point Piper

Tucked away in tiny Felix Bay at the northern tip of Point Piper in Sydney’s east, this 160-metre-long stretch of sand enjoys panoramic views toward the city’s Heads. To find it, wander down a narrow alley beside Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club. When you arrive, you’ll find you’re surrounded by private mansions, making this an exclusive place to take a dip. 


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From Hotel Morris Sydney – Handwritten Collection in the centre of the city, it’s a short taxi ride east to Point Piper. But before you explore, make the most of your slick surrounds – this boutique property oozes sophistication, occupying a heritage-listed building with Italian-inspired interiors and a buzzy bar that you’ll want to linger in.

When you’re not enjoying Bar Morris, eat your way around the vibrant Haymarket neighbourhood that your hotel calls home – this is the heart of Chinatown, and there are hole-in-the-wall restaurants at every turn. Out at Point Piper, reserve a table at The Boathouse Rose Bay, one of Sydney’s most scenic dining rooms, where you can watch seaplanes come and go amid ferries and yachts. 

Little Bay Beach, Little Bay

If the opaline water at Little Bay Beach doesn’t win you over, then the crescent of golden sand surely will. This jewel is much-loved by locals for its protected waters, making it the ideal place to swim and snorkel, or jump on a stand-up paddleboard. 


Check in It’s a 20-minute drive from Little Bay Beach to the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park , opposite the city’s green heart. This means you don’t have to wander far to find museums, theatres, restaurants and bars. Rooms come with pops of vibrant colour, while spacious suites are decorated in earthy hues that nod to the park outside. 


Within a couple of minutes of the Pullman are a slew of trendy eateries, including Alberto’s Lounge, Chin Chin and Nomad. Down near Little Bay, The Boatshed La Perouse serves up burgers, pastas and seafood in an open-air space with water views. Try the lobster linguine.

Lady Bay Beach, Watsons Bay

This beach may be small, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in spectacular views. Wedged between South Head and Camp Cove, the sliver of sand has dazzling views over one of the world’s most picturesque harbours, all the way to Middle Cove. Note: This is a designated nude bathing area, so cozzies are optional. Want to work up a sweat? Join South Head Heritage trail for more breathtaking views – remember to look out for whales during migration (May through November).


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Pullman Sydney Quay Grand enjoys enviable views over Circular Quay, where ferries zip about in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. There’s a ferry all the way to Watsons Bay, making your commute to Lady Bay Beach as scenic as it is convenient. The hotel itself exudes style and class, from the grand lobby to the rooms and suites with classic embellishments.


There are an endless parade of restaurants on your doorstep at the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney, including French-themed Restaurant Hubert , NYC steakhouse Clam Bar, and Mejico , for tacos and margaritas. Across the water in Watsons Bay, dig  into seafood platters piled high at Doyles , a legendary waterside dining room.

Gunnamatta Bay Tidal Baths, Cronulla

Cronulla has a swathe of stunning beaches, most of them with excellent waves for surfing. But Gunnamatta Bay is known for its still conditions, particularly if you’re swimming in the protected ocean baths. Bring lunch and throw down a picnic rug in Gunnamatta Park, which envelops the sand here.  


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In the waterside suburb of Brighton Le Sands, Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach enjoys a premium location overlooking Botany Bay and the towers of Sydney’s central business district. If you’re not paddling about in the ocean, make the most of the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pools. 

After your swim, head to Waterline by the Bay for a long lunch in the sun. The restaurant is perched over Gunnamatta Bay, and offers a mod-Australian menu that might include mussels in white wine, roasted duck breast on beetroot puree, or porcini and truffle arancini.  

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