While we’ll forever love visiting Bondi Beach, Manly Beach and Clovelly in the warmer months, on the busiest of summer Sundays, the traffic-filled commute and the hour wait for a parking spot can act as a serious deterrent.
Not quite ready to give up on beach days altogether, we’ve embarked on a pursuit to find a handful of other, more tranquil, and arguably better beach spots near Sydney. If you’re after a quiet spot to pitch your beach umbrella and enjoy an afternoon of beach reads, then these are for you. (You’re lucky we’ve decided to share these with you. Honestly, we could have kept these all to ourselves.)
Hayes Street Beach, Mosman
One of the only beaches on the Lower North Shore, Hayes Street Beach is a quiet and sunny spot found through a narrow walkway between two residential buildings at the end of Hayes Street in Mosman. A short bar of sand allows for a handful of sunseekers to lay out only a few rows of towels, but there’s also plenty of shade for families or those hoping for a picnic.
Locals can be found here every weekend while their dogs play in the sand. As Hayes Street Beach is a Harbour beach, it’s best to check the water quality on the day to intend to visit to be sure it’s good for a dip.
Washaway Beach, Middle Harbour
A popular nudist beach, Washaway Beach earns its name for the fact it washes away entirely during certain times in the year. It’s located off the Spit to Manly walking track on the eastern side of Grotto Point, via a steep descent down the rocks at the northern end of the beach. Because of this, it’s not recommended as a family beach and is best reached with proper shoes on.
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Washaway Beach is the most beautiful, hidden gem in Middle Harbour! It’s not easy to find (it literally took me years!), and you’ll need to scramble down the rocks to get to the sand, but it’s definitely worth it. ???? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Head to the link in my bio for more info on this stunning beach and others in Sydney! Xo
Lady Martins Beach, Point Piper
Head through the little lane next to the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club on Wolseley Road to find the lovely Lady Martins Beach. It’s long yet with a stout spread of sand, it’s best to arrive early on a hot summer’s day if you want to snag the best spot.
Typically a clear and clean swimming spot, as with any Harbour beach, it’s best to check the water quality before popping off the jetty for a swim.
Obelisk Beach, Mosman
Another nude-friendly beach, access to Obelisk is a little trickier, that is, if you can find it. It’s located on the south side of Middle Head below Chowder Bay Road and is accessible only on foot or via boat. From its sheltered position, the beach gives views over the water over to Watsons Bay and Vaucluse and is well worth the trek down the sloped vegetation.
Congwong Beach, La Perouse
Congwong Beach in Kamay Botany Bay National Park offers a tranquil dip in calm, clear waters, and is ideal for those hoping to snorkel and fish. What’s more, and ice-cream boat drops in on the weekend to deliver ice-cold treats to the beach. Seriously. Getting here is easy via car, and the beach is accessed through a path at the southern end of Cann Park.
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Congwong Beach is a pristine stretch of sand at the tip of La Perouse, known for calm, clear water and some of the best diving in Sydney. It is the place where our minds keep returning to as we think about our complicity in the ongoing inequality and violence against bla(c)k and brown people. Congwong is a traditional camping site for the Kameygal clan and a place where Aboriginal people have maintained an unbroken connection to their land for thousands of years. The Kameygal and Gwaegal have lived in this area since time immemorial and in 1770 they became the first known Aboriginal people on the east coast to make contact with the British. Across the bay from Congwong is the site where Lieutenant Cook and the HMS Endeavour crew anchored offshore, claiming the land without consent. This area is literally ground zero for invasion. History is not something that we often consider when we are swimming, but places have memory. The land and water that we love are central to Indigenous law, spirituality, history, knowledge, belief, language and practices. The legacy of racism and criminalisation of bla(c)k and brown people has been entrenched in our culture since the moment this land was stolen from the Traditional Custodians. In 1984 La Perouse became the state's first Aboriginal community to be transferred freehold title to part of its own lands under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The La Perouse community, against all odds, has managed to retain a tiny fraction of their traditional country. They are the outlier. In our bountiful city it’s easy to forget where our riches came from. We are the beneficiaries of stolen wealth. We are inspired by the actions of people around the world to put pressure on ourselves and institutions to end systematic anti-bla(c)k racism. We want to use our voice, skills, and resources to advance anti-racist causes. We will inevitably get things wrong, but we are listening and learning about how to be better allies. As we continue to learn and take action, we will share resources that we find helpful. We hope that followers of this account will share with us as well. Water is healing. Connecting with nature is a way to find unity.
Store Beach, Manly
Though you can’t reach it in the car, or even on foot, Store Beach is a worthy adventure for those seeking a little solitude and time in the sun. It’s accessible only via water, which means you’ll either need to rent a kayak from Manly and paddle about 20 minutes south across the bay, or zoom in for a swim on your next day out on the boat.
Collins Flat Beach, Manly
Just around the headland from Store Beach, Collins Flat Beach is another spot loved by locals. Calm waters make it ideal for romantic picnics or family visits, while a carpark means it’s certainly easier to get to. Little fairy penguins are sometimes spotted frolicking in the waters here, and there’s a small waterfall to the side too.
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On our quest to find the best places to swim in Sydney, we recently discovered Collins Flat Beach, just around the corner from Little Manly Cove on the Harbour side. Follow the North Head track along the water under a leafy canopy that delivers you to this tiny paradise – a quiet, protected bay with ideal swimming conditions and ice cream delivered by boat. #placesweswimSYDNEY