May 26, 2023
6 mins Read
While most head to the more populated beaches to cool off when the weather warms up, we have a few in-the-know alternatives for those seeking something a little more secluded.
Here you’ll find the best under-the-radar swimming spots in and around Sydney that you should know about – but also keep to yourself.
You may be familiar with the popular pool that flanks the Surf Life Saving Club on the South Side of Coogee beach. You might also be familiar with the McIver baths – a women’s-only ocean refuge hidden in the cove a little further up. But Wylie’s baths, fly a little more under the radar.
It’s one of Sydney’s oldest and most beautiful tidal pools, but it’s overlooked by many Coogee-goers for sandier pastures. We can’t imagine why.
The blue and orange paneling just screams coastal vintage – as do the crowds of retirees found bathing here at all times of the week.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been given the wrong directions to Kutti Beach in Vaucluse, as literal coastal holes in the wall are pretty hard to come by.
Nestled at the end of Wharf Road, Kutti is accessible by a narrow set of stairs between a beach box and a white picket fence.
Most people who come to this hidden harbor oasis are locals, many of whose houses back onto the sand. It’s also a popular dog beach for the area, so don’t be surprised if you see one paddling next to you while you swim.
While a little harder to get to than many of its listicle counterparts, Great Mackerel Beach more than rewards those who make the journey.
To access this truly secluded paradise, one must make the journey to the far more populated Palm Beach. Once there, book a ferry or water taxi to Great Mackerel Beach.
After a glacial ten minutes by boat, you’ll find a place with no roads, no cars, patchy internet access, extensive bush walks, impossibly beautiful beaches and just 40 permanent residents. All this just 43 km from the city.
The Resolute Track, located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a sight to behold.
Not only will it take you to two major Indigenous Australian sites, but also to the secluded Resolute Beach – a small stretch of sand flanked by bushland, calm water and practically nobody else.
A swim in the emerald green water will grant panoramic views of The Barrenjoey Headland and Pittwater. And for an even more exclusive experience, check out the neighbouring West Head Beach.
Jellybean pool offers a swimming relief for those in the Blue Mountains.
Leave your car at the Glenbrook Information Centre and start the short journey downhill to the pool, passing lush foliage and sandstone cliffs along the way.
Once you’ve worked up a sweat, you’ll be more than deserving of a dip in the calm waters. Many veterans bring lilo’s for lounging the day away, too. Alternatively, bring a picnic blanket for one of the sandy patches, or lie back in the shady gumtrees.
A popular spot for camping and fishing, Bents basin is also an accessible, beautiful swimming option.
Housed in a well-established National Park, spend your day lazing on inflatables, paddling to your heart’s content or jumping off a popular 4-metre rock face.
While there isn’t much of a ‘beach’ in the traditional sense, there are spots to sit and lounge, but we suggest bringing your own towel or picnic blanket.
Brisbane has the inner-city watering hole, Streets Beach, and Sydney has the equally idyllic Prince Alfred Pool.
Housed next to Central station, if you’re passing from the road or surrounding park, you may never spot it.
This iconic facility offers city views, beaming overhead sun, a 50 metre lap pool, toddler’s splash pad and a large shaded area. On weekends, it comes alive with swimmers and unwinders from all demographics, happily sharing this urban oasis sheltered from the outside world.
A true secluded spot, you won’t find much about Clarence Dam unless it comes from the mouth of a local.
A popular climbing area, the dam is good for a lazy inflatable float, low-key swim or adrenaline-filled cliff jump. And while not exclusively adults-only, the jagged cliff edges and lack of patrol don’t make for kid-friendly conditions.
To get there, drive up through Clarence and turn right over crossing the bridge over the railway. Past the turn off to the Colliery.
Manly is world renowned for many of its nirvana-like swimming havens. Surprisingly however, Collins Flat isn’t one of them.
With scenic harbour views, and a location nestled between North Head and Little Manly Cove, you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of this paradise before.
There are only two car spots for parking, which makes it a bit of gamble for far-flung visitors. For those on foot, you can start your walk from Manly Beach, walking around North Head, past the equally beautiful Shelly Beach.
If Collins Flat isn’t secluded enough for your liking, this neighbouring beach may be right up your alley.
Store Beach is only accessible by water, meaning you’ll need to find a kayak or boat if you want to get there. The former of which can be hired in Manly’s centre.
Pack lunch, water and plenty of sunscreen, then make the journey. You’ll feel like your on your own desert island.
While Bungan Beach doesn’t lack anything in scale (it’s 600-metres in length) it does lack in visitors.
This might have something to do with how hard it is to get to. There’s a long, steep hill standing between you and the water, fronted by rock platforms between Bungan and Mona Vale heads.
Accessible via walking down the steep private driveway (Myola road) to the clubhouse – but due to the lack of parking, the beach is rarely crowded.
Bungan is mostly populated by surfers, with waves averaging about 1.5 meters high.
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Thanks for this great site. I have lived in Sydney all my life and didn’t know about some of these wonderful beaches. I think it might be worth adding that some are not patrolled by lifeguards for those tourists who swim poorly, especially places like Bungan Beach that is one of the most dangerous beaches on the North Shore. I know because I was a life saver at the neighbouring beach, Newport. Some other great beaches you may want to consider for an upgrade or additional site are: Clontarf and the many lovely swimming beaches, many isolated on the walk from The Spit to Manly; Balmoral Beach; Kilcare Beach, Central Coast; The many wonderful beaches on the Royal National Park Coast walk. Hope this helps. Thank you.