The ultimate guide to Sydney’s hidden beaches and coastal walks

Sydney is undeniably blessed with an extensive coastline. Along our stunning harbour and facing the vast Pacific Ocean, the juncture of land and sea holds a special place in the hearts of Sydneysiders.

From the beaches to the rocky pathways, it all plays a significant role in our lives — plus, we’re also fond of a refreshing drink at a waterside bar. However, one of Sydney’s most iconic activities is undoubtedly taking a leisurely walk along a coastal path.

The ever-popular Bondi to Coogee trail is Sydney’s most well-known seaside route, with the breathtaking Hermitage Foreshore following closely behind. Yet, there are several lesser-known coastal walks for those seeking a more secluded experience. So, if you’re looking to walk the road less travelled, this list of hidden coastal walks might be just what you’re looking for.

The secret’s out…

Jibbon Loop Track, the Royal National Park

Distance: 5.1km return (circuit)

Technically, the Jibbon Loop Track is part of the Royal National Park’s extensive coastal path. However, the circuit around Jibbon Head, which encompasses several picturesque and untouched beaches, is often overlooked. It serves as a delightful and manageable day hike on its own. Starting in Bundeena, the only Sydney suburb within the Royal National Park, the first half of the walk takes you along Jibbon Beach’s golden sands before entering dense bushland. The ocean views from Jibbon Head Lookout are truly extraordinary. If you want to extend your trip, Shelley Beach is an excellent spot for a picnic before heading back along the loop track.

The Gap Bluff and Green Loop Walking Track

Distance: 1km return

Although it may seem far away, the walk on Sydney’s South Head peninsula is surprisingly accessible from the city, thanks to the nearby Watsons Bay ferry wharf. After arriving, take a short walk through Robertson Park and cross the slender land strip to reach the distinctive rock formation known as The Gap. As you trace the sea-facing cliffs from the ocean lookout, prepare for dramatic waves and salty sea spray. Follow this brief track north towards Camp Cove and Green Point. After a stimulating walk, you can enjoy a drink or two at the Watsons Bay Hotel while admiring the stunning city skyline in the distance.

Bare Island to Little Bay

Distance: 9km

Bare Island’s fort is one of Sydney’s most fascinating sites, and it’s surprising that it isn’t more of a tourist attraction. This rocky outcrop was fortified in the 1880s and may be recognised from the first Mission Impossible sequel, where it featured as a primary backdrop. After exploring this unique piece of Sydney’s history, the coastal path north along Cape Banks offers beautiful ocean views and encounters with other military relics, including a World War II bunker. The lengthy stroll to Little Bay, one of Sydney’s most underrated beaches, is well worth it. Be sure to take some time to enjoy the waters once you arrive.

Cape Baily Walking Track

Distance: 7.4km return

Although known as the original landing site of Captain Cook and the First Fleet, the large oil refinery and desalination plant on this small peninsula off Botany Bay might make you hesitate to spend much time here. However, this ambitious walk along the southeastern edge of Kamay Botany Bay National Park, hidden from the nearby industrial complexes, is a hike worth dedicating a day to. With its exposed location, be prepared for windswept appearances by the end of your walk. This underrated corner of Sydney offers coastal cliffs, thick heaths, and sandy dunes. Be sure to take a break at Cape Baily Lighthouse, which boasts spectacular ocean views and a stunning vantage point over Botany Bay.

Malabar Headland Walks

Distance: 4.7km one way

In fact, there are two fantastic walks within the Malabar Headland National Park. Since both are relatively short, we recommend combining them for a double dose of coastal beauty. The Western Escarpment Walking Track is further inland, exploring native heathlands while still offering stunning ocean panoramas. The Boora Point Walking Track, closer to the sea cliffs, provides more challenging terrain. During the season, this 3.7km track is a fantastic spot for whale watching. While there are boardwalk sections on this stretch, much of this walk is exposed and best tackled during fair weather.