Beat's guide to New South Wales' best secret beaches

Forget Bondi and Byron.

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Unsplash/Brittany Gaiser

Heading to the beach shouldn’t be a stressful series of circling the car park, struggling to squeeze your towel between sun-baking bodies and dodging the flailing limbs of strangers in the surf. While the popular beaches have earned their fame because of their beauty, they are no match for New South Wales’ quieter corners where it isn’t a rarity to find yourself alone on the sand drinking in the incredulity of mother nature.

Store Beach, Manly

Store Beach is one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets, no doubt a result of its remote location. The beach is only accessible by boat or kayak, making it the perfect spot for adventurous souls looking to stray from the well-trodden track. Situated on the north head of Manly, the beach forms an untouched cove that feels worlds away from the rush of Sydney. There’s a good chance you’ll spot some local fairy penguins too, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Red Rock, Red Rock

Situated about 30 minutes out of Coffs Harbour, this spot makes up part of the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk, a 60km stretch of stunning beaches from Sawtell to Red Rock. Named after its striking red rock formations, reaching up to 20 metres tall, the headland consists of a variety of red quartz over 300 million years old. Red Rock is hidden away off the Pacific Highway in the small town of Red Rock, making it undisturbed and hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

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Pebbly Beach, Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is renowned for its many white sand beaches, and while Hyams and Greenfield beaches are the most frequented by those seeking landscapes typical of the Whitsundays, Pebbly Beach is definitely worth a visit. The quintessential Australian beach, Pebbly is a hotspot for kangaroos who won't shy away from human attention. If you picture an Australian tourism ad, this is the type of thing you’d see – stunning views scattered with wildlife.

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Fingal Beach, Fingal Head

The northern beaches of New South Wales are straight off a postcard, with turquoise water licking near-white sand; Fingal Beach is one of the best in the area. Just 400 metres away sits Dreamtime Beach, which is where beachgoers tend to head, leaving Fingal Beach far less crowded. By all means, wander over to Dreamtime — it’s popular for a reason — but be careful as it's a notorious spot for rips.

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Wategos Beach, Byron Bay

Okay, so this one's in Byron Bay, but it’s squirrelled away from the hustle and bustle of the shire’s main beach so you won’t find too many people here. Wategos is famed for its waves, so bring your board (if you’re lucky, the bottlenose dolphins might make an appearance). You'll have to pay to access this beach, as it's part of Cape Byron State Conservation Area, but what are a few bucks for million dollar views?

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