26th February, 2021

Sydney Harbour is a true natural amphitheatre, a naturalist's paradise and home to an abundance of wildlife that thrive in one of Australia’s most photographed National Parks.

But did you know that it also has its fair share of sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming?

Sydney is certainly well known for its spectacular coastal beaches of Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, Tamarama Beach and Maroubra Beach, but nestled on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour there are actually a handful of hidden beaches some of which are so hidden they are only accessible by boat or kayak.

These spots are mostly protected from the huge swell off the Pacific Ocean and not only are they perfectly suited for relaxing and picnicking under big shady trees that reach right to the sand, they also offer some of the best views of Sydney Harbour in the entire city.

But accessing these secret spots is not for the faint hearted. It also takes a bit of pre-planning to save yourself wandering into the backyards of Sydneysiders who are lucky enough to call these spots home.

1. Chinamans Beach

This 230 metre stretch of sand is located in the northern suburb of Mosman, facing out to Middle Harbour. While the nearby, bigger and more well known Balmoral Beach attracts the lionshare of visitors, Chinamans Beach is a quiet alternative sheltered by rocks on both sides.

Chinamans Beach is Tucked away behind Rosherville Reserve like a gift waiting to be unwrapped by visitors, there’s no cafes or kiosks here which is part of it’s unique charm.

Pack an esky, a bottle of sparkling and be sure to spend a full day here. Mosman’s main shopping precinct is only a short 20 minute walk away for any supplies you do forget.

2. Collins Beach

Collins beach is the first of two hidden beaches located just north of Sydney nestled between North Head and Little Manly Cove.

You can swim in the calm waters of Collins Beach and look across The Heads at some unbelievable scenic Sydney Harbour views.

Perfect for a romantic picnic, Collins Beach is just a short walk from Manly Wharf in North Harbour where Captain Cook Cruises are now running up to six services on both Saturday and Sunday, all departing from Circular Quay.

When visiting Sydney, you do what the locals do and travel Sydney Harbour by ferry. Captain Cook Cruises have a Hop On Hop Off Explorer pass which makes it really easy to explore the harbour over two days and visit several hidden harbour beaches dotted around the foreshore.

3. Milk Beach

Milk Beach is easily one of the most grammable spots in the entire city!

Small, isolated and draped in shade this idyllic spot has to be one Sydney’s best kept beach secrets right in the heart of the city’s Eastern Suburbs. Milk Beach sits like an antique, old world jewel in a necklace draped around the neck of the grand and heritage listed Strickland House which sits above the sand.

Access to Milk Beach can be difficult, however, there are lots of public busses and off-street parking available.

4. Lady Martins Beach

An exclusive postcode and hidden beach with very limited parking options means that you’re guaranteed a private afternoon dip in Sydney Harbour after a long hot day at Lady Martins Beach.

But brace yourself for the views, there is a reason why this beach is located in Australia’s most expensive suburb and Sydney Harbour foreshore.

Lady Martins Beach is a narrow stretch of sand, tucked neatly in Felix Bay and is sandwiched between the two exclusive suburbs of Rose Bay and Point Piper.

5. Store Beach

We’ve saved our favourite hidden Sydney Harbour beach for last. This is another secret spot best accessed on one of your Hop On Hop Off Explorer days to Manly Wharf with Captain Cook Cruises.

However, this secret Sydney Harbour beach is uniquely suited for the more adventurous as it can only be reached by kayak or SUP which you hire from the Manly Kayak Centre.

But that’s one of just two reasons why Store Beach is our top pick!

Store Beach is also a breeding ground for some of Sydney’s cute Fairy Penguin population. Be sure to book one of Captain Cook Cruises’ early departures from Circular Quay as access to the beach is prohibited from dusk as the birds make their way up the beach for nesting.

Experiences mentioned in this article

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