It’s time to stop snuggling under your doona as you binge-watch TV; us Sydney-siders are blessed with world-class beaches in almost every direction. But we often return to the same beaches every year – the Bondi-Clovelly-Manly medley is sounding more tired with every summer.

If you’re done with listening to an entire podcast in the time you spend circling the beach carpark or sitting on a packed bus nursing your sunburn, it could be time to venture off the beaten track.

Here are seven secluded spots where you’ll be able to find your towel without an elaborate, Where’s-Wally-style quest.

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    Congwong Beach

    At a glance: 30 mins drive from CBD, Kamay Botany Bay National Park.

    Congwong is a big, sandy beach with easy water access and few rocks. You’ll feel like you’re in a period drama thanks to nearby Bare Island Fort, built in 1880 to defend Sydney. But it’s not just for history buffs –  the water around the fort is one of the most popular scuba diving sites in NSW and great for snorkelling too.

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    Collins Flat

    At a glance: 30 mins drive from CBD, Sydney Harbour National Park.

    Complete with a miniature waterfall, Collins Flat is a piece of paradise at the foot of the Northern Beaches. Walk to the beach through beautiful bushland on the Collins Flat Track – but make sure you leave your dogs at home because the area is home to critically endangered fairy penguins.

    Pro tip: Stay ‘til the evening and take a ghost tour at the historic Quarantine Station.

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    Resolute Beach

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    At a glance: 45 mins drive from CBD, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park.

    This cove looks like a tropical paradise, with epic views over the Pittwater Basin. The beach is a 30-minute walk from Resolute Picnic ground, along the Resolute Loop track (also called the Resolute Loop trail).

    From the beach, you can head back the way you came or continue the loop, finishing up at West Head lookout, where you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the Northern Beaches, Hawkesbury River and Central Coast.

    For an even more secluded experience, check out Resolute’s neighbour – the beautiful West Head Beach.

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    Shark Beach

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    At a glance: 30 mins drive from CBD, Sydney Harbour National Park.

    If you’re looking for a summer hang that won’t break your bank balance, you can’t go past a picnic at Shark Beach.

    This place has everything you need – free parking, toilets, a kiosk and three big shaded picnic areas. We’ll even throw in ‘peace of mind’ with the beach’s shark net.

    Stroll down the 1.8km Hermitage Foreshore track and you can enjoy a second dip in the smaller Milk Beach. Virtually made for postcards (or the modern equivalent – Instagram), this hideaway has a panoramic backdrop of the city skyline and Harbour Bridge.  

     

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    Flat Rock Beach

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    At a glance: 30 mins drive from CBD, Garigal National Park.

    This small harbour beach is an oasis in the Garigal National Park. You’ll feel far from Sydney, surrounded on all sides by bushland, with crystal green shallows.

    You can access the beach directly, but if you’re up for a bushwalk, Flat Rock can also be reached on the 30 minute Flat Rock Beach track from Davidson Park. Or if you’re up for a full day’s adventure, visit the beach as part of the 6.8km Natural Bridge track to Davidson Park – one of the best day walks in Sydney.

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    Castle Rock Beach

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    At a glance: 20 mins drive from CBD, Sydney Harbour National Park.

    Castle Rock is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sydney. With wild national park on either side, you’ll feel far from the city.

    If you’re feeling fit, stop off at the beach on the popular 10km Spit Bridge to Manly walk. A short detour along the Lighthouse Track will land you at Grotto Point lighthouse, where you can pretend you control ships like the King of the Iron Islands (if that’s what you’re into).

    Set aside some time to spend with the incredible Aboriginal rock engravings at Grotto Point, on the main Spit to Manly track. You’ll notice an engraving of a whale – whales continue to pass the area on their annual migration routes north to find warmer waters. If you’re lucky you might spot one from nearby Arabanoo lookout – check out their migration dates so you know when to pack your binoculars.

     

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    Taylors Bay

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    At a glance: 20 mins drive from CBD, Sydney Harbour National Park.

    This lush cove is popular with boats but has managed to stay off most beachgoers’ radars. Head down on a weekday and you’ll likely have the beach to yourself.

    You can visit the beach directly or stop off on the amazing 4km Bradley’s Head to Chowder Bay walk. This iconic track starts right near Taronga Zoo, so you can catch the ferry over, or even drop in to see the lions.

    No beach day is complete without an ice-cream, so finish up at one of the cafes in Chowder Bay’s historic sandstone buildings.