Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013.
Secret beaches in Sydney
Sydney's secret beaches
Quiet, secluded beaches sprinkled around Sydney Harbour and along the coast are the perfect spots to relax and unwind. Pack a picnic and head off to discover your own secret beach hideaway, many of which are accessible by ferry.
Sydney's best hidden beaches
If you prefer things a bit more private, why not seek out a secluded stretch of sand? With so many beaches in Sydney, it's still easy to find a beautiful sandy spot that's close to the city. You just have to know where to look.
Just a short walk or kayak along the coast from Manly is Shelly Beach. Part of Cabbage Tree Bay, the waters off Shelly Beach are popular with snorkellers and divers, while the beach itself is perfect for watching the world go by.
Farther north, close to Mosman, is Chinaman's Beach, just a kilometre north of Balmoral Beach. This 250-metre stretch of sand sits beside calm ocean, making it a great place to take your kids for a swim.
South of the harbour, there are many quiet beach options, too. At Double Bay, Redleaf Beach has a wraparound pontoon and a large, netted swimming area.
By Vaucluse, there are two quiet beaches within Sydney Harbour National Park. Shark Beach in Nielsen Park has a netted swimming area and is great for snorkelling, while Milk Beach, a short walk from the park, is an isolated stretch of coastline that offers its few visitors a dramatic view of Sydney.
Other out-of-the-way options include Jibbon Beach in Royal National Park, where you can spend hours scuba diving and snorkelling.
Camp Cove is another of Sydney's hidden gems. In the Eastern Suburbs at Watsons Bay, Camp Cove on Short Street offers isolation for swimmers who want to get away from the crowds. The snorkelling and diving are fantastic with great views over the city.
Secret beach retreat
If you like out-of-the-way Milk Beach, why not extend your stay and book accommodation nearby? Steele Point Cottage is available for couples only perfect for that romantic escape. Book through the National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Point Piper's exclusive beach
Point Piper is a popular tourist destination, but few find their way to Lady Martins Beach, a secluded and sometimes hard-to-find spot. Located in Felix Bay, a narrow lane next to the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club leads directly to the beach. The nearest netted pool is Redleaf Pool in Woollahra, just over a kilometre away. Check out Sydney's other secluded beaches to find your own secret beach.
Enjoy Sydney's beaches like a local by following these simple beach safety tips
Always swim between the red and yellow flag; surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It's also a good idea to always swim with a friend.
Make sure you read any safety signs at the beach and you are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.
Check conditions before you go and find a patrolled beach by visiting beachsafe.org.au.