Sydney’s Secret Beaches

September 14, 2017

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Gordon’s Bay. Image via Flickr Creative Commons by Lucy Ktsunè Mj.

Sydney is home to some of the famous beaches in the world from Bondi to Manly to Palm Beach, where Australia’s most-watched drama, Home and Away, is set. All are worth visiting, but they can get crowded. So, when I feel like having more than a square meter of sand to myself, I go to one of these more secretive spots.

Even though Gordon’s Bay is in the busy eastern suburbs, it’s only accessible by foot. You’ll find it just south of Clovelly and north of Coogee, at the bottom of a steep trail leading off a coastal walkway. Walking down, look out for lizards scuttling around and tiny native birds flitting by. Take your snorkel, so you can explore the underwater nature trail.

Also in the east, but on the Sydney Harbour side of South Head, is Shark Beach, in Neilsen Park. Don’t let the name put you off there’s netting to keep you safe from any unwanted visitors. In fact, during summer, HUNT Sydney writer Jasmine Crittenden  often takes a dip here at night. If you’re brave enough to swim all the way out to the net, you’ll be rewarded with panoramas of the city skyline.

Shark Beach. Image via Flickr Creative Commons by Aidan Casey.

Traveling eastwards along the shoreline, you’ll reach Blackburn Cove, where there’s a harbor pool dedicated to Murray Rose, one of Australia’s most high-achieving swimmers. When Jasmine is here, she usually stops for a coffee at the waterfront café.

Now, we’re going to head north of the Harbour Bridge to Chinamans Beach, located beside the better-known Balmoral Beach. Jasmine recommends you visit during the week, because there’s a very real chance you’ll have the whole place to yourself. If you feel like swimming here, be aware that there’s no netting, so you’ll need to take care.

There aren’t many cities in the world where you can stand under a natural waterfall, but Sydney is one of them. To try this rather surreal experience, go to Collins Flat Beach, which is a 20-minute walk from Manly Wharf. Your best bet is to visit after a heavy rain, to make sure the waterfall is, indeed, falling.

About The HUNT Sydney WriterJasmine Crittenden is a writer by day and a musician by night. When not grappling with a story or a song, she’s out and about, exploring independent bookshops, alternative art galleries, jazz clubs, small bars, wild swimming spots and waterfalls. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Concrete PlaygroundLos Angeles Times Travel Plus and Music Australia. You can find her writing at and her music at


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