Alright, we all know summer in Sydney means surf, sun and a jam-packed Bondi Beach. That is, of course, if you’re a tourist. But as any water-loving local will tell you, there are heeeaps more swimming holes around the city than Australia’s most famous beach. In fact, there are more little hidden nooks of coastal bliss that visitors don’t know about than there are shrimps (ahem, prawns to Aussies) on barbecues. You just need to know where to find them....

Milk Beach

Tucked away in Sydney’s rather flash Vaucluse area, Milk Beach quietly sits at the base of Hermit Bay in Sydney Harbour National Park, near the heritage-listed Strickland House. Aside from being away from the usual hordes of beachgoers, this little slither of sand also boasts one of the most kickass views of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Gordon’s Bay

While the splendors of Coogee Beach (just south of Bondi) is no secret, few know of the gloriousness that is Gordons Bay. A secluded oasis that’s best reached via the coastal boardwalk between Coogee and Bondi, this narrow bay also has calmer waters if you’re not big on tumbling beach waves. Fringed by smooth boulders and coastal greenery, Gordons is an Insta-hit, and for good reason. Get there early though to claim your rock to sunbake on — locals already know they’re onto a winner.

Redleaf Beach

Also in Sydney’s stunning eastern suburbs is Redleaf Beach in Double Bay, hiding behind the Woollahra Council Building. At the western end of the beach is Murray Rose Pool, which is just a sectioned off part of the beach so you’re extra safe from any major currents. Here you can swim out on the pontoons, dive off the jetty or chill on the grassy hill while munching on summery snacks from the nearby kiosk. Happy days!

McIver’s Baths

Though not strictly a beach, we had to let you in on this local secret. While Coogee Beach can get super hectic at the height of summer, just a couple minutes south of the sand is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gateway to a more chilled scene. McIver's Baths is a women’s only ocean pool that’s perched on a rocky platform, with front-row seats to the Pacific Ocean. Thanks to its private location, most ladies take up the opportunity to strip off and work on their lineless tan.
Note: It’s a 30 cent donation to get in — how delightfully old school?!

Chinaman’s Beach

This 250-metre stretch of sand can be found at the northern tip of Mosman — one of Sydney’s most exclusive ‘hoods (aka dream house territory). It’s better-known neighbor, Balmoral Beach, is less than a mile south, but this quieter gem is ideal for chilled-out picnics and wave-less swims. It also reaches our quota for prettiness, necessary for any worthwhile Sydney beach.