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Erskine Creek
Photograph: Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

The best secret swimming spots around Sydney

These secluded waters are perfect for a relaxing dip, sans the crowds

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High-density urban living means that the ability to get away from our daily routines and be at peace in nature is more important than ever. We are lucky that even within Australia’s most populated city, there are plenty of places you can go to disconnect from it all. Here are some of the most secluded places to take a dip in and around Sydney.

This is an edited extract from Places We Swim by Caroline Clements and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon (Hardie Grant Publishing $39.99), a guide that takes a deep dive into the many places in New South Wales to take a dip. Available now at all good bookstores and online at placesweswim.com. For more swimming inspiration follow @placesweswim

Sydney's best secluded swimming spots

Bilgola Rockpool
Bilgola Rockpool
Photograph: Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

Bilgola Rockpool

Attractions Bilgola Beach

At the base of a steep coastal valley studded with cabbage palms, Bilgola is usually a quiet place and one of the Northern Beaches’ most concealed 50-metre swims. We’re sure if you didn’t know it was here, you’d easily drive right past this coastal enclave. From the pool, you can look down the length of the 500-metre beach, where waves roll and crumble over sandbars, making it a mellow place for those escaping the crowds at popular neighbouring beaches.

Castle Rock Beach
Castle Rock Beach
Photograph: Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

Castle Rock Beach

Attractions Clontarf

This is an immaculate beach set against a backdrop of dense native bushland. This tiny cove is part of the Manly to Spit walk, so if you’re coming in via the coastal trail, you will find some respite along the 10-kilometre track at the jungly section between Clontarf Grotto Point. If you’re not walking in, there is some limited parking located on Cutler Road and in the Ogilvy cul de sac. 

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McIver's Ladies Baths
McIver's Ladies Baths
Photograph: Helena Dolby

McIver's Ladies Baths

Sport and fitness Coogee

Tucked into the cliffs between Coogee Beach and Wylie’s Baths, this is a meditative space to escape and relax. This is the last women’s only swimming pool in Australia, and since 1876 ladies have swum laps and read books in the sun here, with the company of others. It gives women of all swimming abilities and cultural backgrounds a safe way to experience the ocean.

Lilli Pilli Sandbar
Lilli Pilli Sandbar
Photograph: Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

Lilli Pilli Sandbar

Attractions

Every day, twice a day, a secret beach emerges from the depths of the Hacking River like a submarine breaching the surface. Lilli Pilli sandbar is a one-of-a-kind island that doesn’t even exist for most of the day. But when timed right and planned perfectly, you can easily swim there from the shore and enjoy a little slice of Sydney's waterfront that few are even aware of.

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Erskine Creek
Erskine Creek
Photograph: Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

Erskine Creek

Attractions

Erskine Creek at Jack Evans Track is one of the closest Blue Mountains swims to the city, yet also one of the most secluded. The deep gorge is typical of the region, formed over millions of years as the small creek slowly carved through layers of sandstone during its journey to join the Nepean River downstream. It’s a meandering gore with endless pools for swimming, floating and rock-hopping.

Seek out these secret sands

Wattamolla Beach from above
Wattamolla Beach from above
Photograph: National Parks NSW

The best secret beaches in Sydney

Attractions Beaches

Not feeling the crowds at Sydney’s most popular beaches? Try seeking out these hidden stretches for a more private paddle in the sunshine.

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