Summer 2023/24 is just around the corner, or it may have already arrived, depending on when you're reading this.
Like many, you might already be dreading the crowds at Sydney's popular hot spots in the eastern suburbs and northern beaches. If so, just like our list of hidden gems across Sydney Habour, our list of Sydney’s best harbour beaches for Summer 2023/24 will provide some welcome relief off the beaten path for those looking for a new, likely less crowded, beach to try on Sydney’s expansive harbour this summer.
Camp Cove, Watsons Bay
Camp Cove boasts some of the best views in Sydney – and they’re not just reserved for the residents. Nestled in the harbourside of South Head, Camp Cove is an ideal place to splash, relax, and eat the day away – even on those warmer days when you may need to seek respite under the nearby trees. For those looking to see the harbour from a different vantage point, a paddle on the available Kayak’s for hire is an ideal way to see the harbour up close.
Where: Part of Sydney Harbour National Park in Sydney, NSW.
Parking: Camp Cove Car Park, 31 Cliff St, 39 spaces, free for 2 hours.
Public Transport: Accessible via ferry from Manly to Watsons Bay wharf, then a 9-10 min walk via Marine Parade and Cliff St. Alternatively, bus No 324 from York Str at Wynyard station to Military Rd terminus in Watsons Bay, then a 750 m walk.
Ideal for: Beach lovers looking for beautiful baths and a sense of remoteness while being close to the city.
Milk Beach, Vaucluse
Milk Beach is one of the Eastern Suburbs' most fiercely guarded secrets – or at least it was until Instagram made it more well-known than some would like. Situated at the base of Hermit Bay, This small is surrounded by the Heritage-listed Strickland House, it’s no-doubt worth the effort of hiking up and down the steep incline to get there.
Where: Sydney Harbour National Park, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, NSW.
Accessibility: Milk Beach is a part of the Hermitage Foreshore Walking Trail, which includes several small but beautiful beaches that can be accessed as you continue along different points of the trail.
Parking: Park on Vaucluse Road as near as possible to Strickland House.
Highlights: Milk Beach offers stunning views directly across Sydney Harbour towards the city skyline and the Harbour Bridge. It's an excellent spot for those looking to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Hermitage Foreshore Walk or take a dip along their run or walk route before continuing along the rest of the way.
Ideal for: Beachgoers who prefer a quieter, more secluded environment with scenic walks and spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. The beach is suited to a slightly more adult crowd so may not be the best for young families.
Redleaf Beach, Double Bay
Redleaf Beach, otherwise known as Murray Rose Pool and Seven Shillings Beach is one of the Eastern Suburbs worst kept secrets. If you’re looking for safety with swimming nets and decks to laze on – then this is the harbour beach for you. If you’re looking for a quiet escape on a warm summer day, then you might want to give Redleaf Beach a miss as it can get very busy.
Where: Double Bay, New South Wales
Parking: Double Bay offers plenty of free and paid 2P parking options. Depending on when you get there, these options can become quite limited.
Public Transport: Reachable by public transport with nearby stops including Double Bay Wharf and Edgecliff Station – not to mention plenty of buses that go to Double Bay.
Ideal for: Safe swimming, families, and those seeking a shaded area to relax.
Nielsons Park, Vaucluse
Nielsen Park, nestled in Vaucluse in Sydney's eastern suburbs, is part of City’s expansive Sydney Harbour National Park. Popular for it’s accessibility, family-friendly park, and expansive nature reserve, Nielsen Park is celebrated for its diverse landscapes and rich ties to the Aboriginal Community.
Where: Located at Greycliffe Avenue, Vaucluse
Parking: Paid parking is available on Greycliffe Avenue, including several designated disabled spots.
Public Transport: 325 bus travels between Watsons Bay to Walsh Bay via Vaucluse Rd
Ideal for: Those looking to set up for a long day of outdoor activities with plenty of opportunities for picnics, exploring with kids of all ages, and making the most of this peaceful retreat with easy access via car and public transport.
Balmoral Beach, Mosman
Surrounded by some of the most desirable real estate in Sydney, Balmoral is home to one of Sydney’s best harbour beaches and should definitely be on your bucket list for summer 23/24. The nearby promenade offers plenty of food options for the whole family and when you’ve had enough of the sun, you can retreat to areas of grass that are shaded by huge Morton Bay fig trees.
Where: Mosman, Sydney’s Lower North Shore
Parking: There are plenty of metered parking options ranking for 1hr – 3hr – these can fill up quickly on a nice day.
Public Transport: Easy access via bus (depending on where you’re coming from) with bus stops on Mandolong Rd at The Esplanade.
Ideal for: Balmoral is the ideal retreat for those looking to splash, swim, or laze in the sun. It’s suitable for families, swimmers, and anyone looking to make the most of Sydney’s summer with all of the requisite amenities close by.