Beaches to escape the summer crowds
As Sydney creeps up to 30°C and beyond, the entire city flocks to the coastline to cool themselves in the ocean. Beaches become crowded, the traffic is unbearable and the parking places a nice dent in the wallet.
Fortunately, there are a few beaches to escape the summer crowds, hidden away where only the locals reside. Here are my personal favourites.
Chinamans Beach, Mosman
I am bias on this one. It is the beach where I grew up, with our family home a 5 minute walk away. I frequented this beach as a kid with my dad. We played in the sand dunes and walked around the rocks to the better known and much busier Balmoral Beach, 1km to the south.
The sand dunes have disappeared since then, but Chinamans Beach is still as beautiful. It is small and sheltered, tucked away behind Rosherville Reserve in Sydney’s Middle Harbour.
There’s not a wave to be seen, making it a great place for a relaxed swim. The large grassy Rosherville Reserve is perfect for picnics and games with the kids and dogs are allowed off-leash on weekdays.
Most people drive up Parriwi Road, into Cyprian St and park in McLean Cres. My advice is to park in Hopetoun Avenue and walk down Rosherville Road. The parking is free here.
Collins Flat Beach, Manly
I am also biased on this one. Living in Manly, I often venture to this little nook in a quiet corner of Manly. In the morning, I will run by when no one is there, or I will head down with a book, as it’s the perfect place to unwind from the world, especially with the trickling sound of the waterfall on the beach.
Nestled between North Head and Little Manly Cove, this spot enjoys scenic harbour views. It is idyllic for a summer picnic, a swim, or stand up paddle board session. You can also hire a kayak from Manly and paddle over.
There are two access points. You can park at the end of Stuart St or park in Collins Beach Rd and walk along Collins Flat Bush Track.
You can find more secluded swimming spots and places to drink, dine, dance, sleep and shop in Manly by downloading our Manly Beach Travel Guide.
Parsley Bay, Vaucluse
There are a few little secluded coves in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney such as Read Leaf, Milk Beach and Camp Cove, all of which I knew were frequented by not just locals.
Parsley Bay is on my list because I only heard of it a little while ago, and I’ve grown up in Sydney my entire life! How secluded can you get?
A local guided me there, and I couldn’t believe how pretty it was when I first arrived. Locals were sprinkled along the wharf as well the seawall promenade, soaking up the sun, and lapping up the shallow waters in the enclosed swimming area.
The seawall promenade acts as a path along the sandstone caves and rock overhangs to the sand and picnic area of the bay, which includes a children’s playground. However, the main feature is the century old cable suspension footbridge.
There is also a short bushland circuit (15-20 minutes return), that takes you to a waterfall at the head of the gully.
There is a carpark at Horler St, or there is pedestrian access from The Crescent or Hopetoun Ave, in which you can find a park along these streets and walk through.
Delwood Beach, Manly
Watch the ferries go by and the yachts under full sail from the tiny strip of sand that is Delwood. Accessed by a set of stairs you need to keep an eye out for, otherwise you may end up at the more popular and busier Fairlight Beach.
The rocky shelves dotted with snorkelers surround the beach, so be sure to bring your snorkel to join them. Admittedly, the marine life is not as spectacular as the well known Shelley Beach, so if you’re purely after a snorkel, it’s best to head there.
However if you’re out to explore a new beach, relax with a book and a swim, Delwood is perfect. It’s also perfect to refresh after completing the must do, Spit to Manly walk.
Please note, this beach is fairly exposed to the south. So, if it is windy with a strong southerly blowing, visit somewhere else.
The easiest way is via pedestrian access along Fairlight walk, accessible from the Manly Ferry or at the end of the Spit to Manly walk. If you’re driving, try park in The Crescent (difficult with summer crowds) and remember it’s only 2 hour parking, and the Rangers can be ruthless.