18 Secret Spots in Sydney to Explore and Adore

  • All Ages

So you're looking for something exciting to do in Sydney but you've visited the Opera House, you've visited Bondi Beach, and stopped off at Darling Harbour numerous times, what next? It's secret spots in Sydney to the rescue!

Sydney is a city so full of incredible things to see and do that some of her amazing attractions haven't even been discovered yet. Allow us to let you in on the hidden world of secret spots in Sydney.

18 Secret Spots in Sydney to Explore and Adore

1. Fairy Bower Pool

Manly's Fairy Bower pool is one of Sydney's most enchanting ocean pools.

Also known as the Fairy Bower Sea Pool, Fairy Bower Pool was constructed by locals in 1929 when saltwater bathing was at its inception, this triangular-shaped ocean pool is stunning day and night.

The three sculptures on the edge of the pool are known as "The Sea Nymphs’ or ‘The Oceanides’, and, as their name suggests, they are a truly enchanting experience.

Location: 5B Marine Parade, Manly

13 Unusual Things to do in Sydney

2. Shipwreck at Homebush Bay

Shipwreck Homebush Bay

Ahoy there! Take the kids to see a partly sunken treasure at the Homebush Bay Shipwreck.

A definite secret spot in Sydney, the Homebush Bay Shipwreck has a myriad of names including the Floating Forest.

Located in the middle of the Parramatta River, the SS Ayrfield ran coal between Sydney and Newcastle during the 20th Century.

Make a day of visiting the Floating Forest along the river and enjoy Bicentennial Park with bike tracks, playgrounds and beautiful picnic spots.

Location: Homebush Bay

3. Sydney's Secluded Centuries-Old Mangrove

Badu Mangroves
Badu Mangroves

While you're in the Homebush area, stop off at Sydney's secluded centuries-old mangrove.

Badu Mangroves is a centuries-old mangrove forest in the heart of bustling Sydney, and the perfect secret spot for outdoors lovers. The mangrove walk is easy to navigate and takes you through a snippet of the 56-hectare natural ecosystem between the southern shore of Homebush Bay and Bicentennial Park.

4. Auburn Botanic Gardens

Secret spots in Sydney
The Auburn Botanic Gardens become even more beautiful during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

With features including a Scented Garden, a Sunken Rose Garden, a Fauna reserve and an aviary, the Auburn Botanic Gardens are a slice of natural heaven.

Visit Auburn Botanic Gardens in mid to late August when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and the lush greens subside in comparison to perfect pinks. You might even spot a peacock pecking around! 

Location: Chisholm Rd and Chiswick Rd, Auburn

5. Sydney's Colourful Ode to the Mediterranean

Unusual things to do in Sydney
Collins Laneway in Rose Bay.

If you're craving a slice of the Mediterranean and you know you won't be hopping on a plane anytime soon, hop on over to Collins Laneway in Rose Bay.

The once dull laneway was given a gorgeous revamp thanks to artist Alice McAuliffe, who brought the colourful baroque and high renaissance styles of the Mediterranean to life in Rose Bay with fresh paint, new murals, plants, lighting and seating. 

Cafes and shops are dotted throughout the area so you can make a day of it. 

Location: Collins Laneway is nestled between Earth and Elitra on New South Head Road

6. Foundation Park

Foundation Park The Rocks
Foundation Park, The Rocks

Foundation Park is a secret spot in Sydney so secretive that we didn't even know it existed until a couple of years ago!

Foundation Park is hidden behind a row of shops on Playfair Street in The Rocks and is the site of eight terrace houses constructed in the mid-1870s that were demolished in 1938. What exists now is a fascinating step back in time to how small houses were 150 years ago.

Visitors can walk through the ruins at their leisure. 

Location: Gloucester Walk, The Rocks

7. Angel Place

Angel Place Forgotten Songs

The hanging birdcages at Angel Place are called the Forgotten Songs.

Nothing screams secret spots in Sydney more than Angel Place.

Make your way down a tiny stairwell off Martin Place and you'll find this hidden alleyway filled with 180 birdcages that hold the sounds of dozens of birds. Forgotten Songs is a permanent art installation of birdcages representing the call of 50 birds that used to live in the city before the arrival of Europeans.

Location: Challis House, 4-10 Martin Place.

8. MacKenzies Bay Beach

MacKenzies Bay Beach

MacKenzie's Bay Beach is so secretive it's not even in Sydney every day of the year!

This secret spot in Sydney is so secretive, it's not even around for most of the year!

MacKenzies Bay Beach is perhaps one of Sydney's best secret spots - the picture-perfect beach around 100 metres north of Tamarama is actually hidden for most of the year due to the tides, but when it does appear it is truly magical!

Please note that MacKenzies Bay Beach is an unpatrolled beach.

Location: Mackenzies Point, 100 metres north of Tamarama Surf Club.

9. Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Add the mysterious Paddington Reservoir Gardens to your list of secret spots in Sydney.

Also known as Walter Read Reserve, Paddington Reservoir housed part of Sydney’s water supply from 1866 to 1899. In 2006, it was transformed into the Paddington Reservoir Gardens - a sunken garden and park, a rare gem of rustic bricks, iron and timber mixed with modern design and natural beauty that is undoubtedly one of the most popular secret spots in Sydney.

Location: 251-255 Oxford St, Paddington

10. Karloo Pools

Karloo Pools
Karloo Pools

Get away from it all in a 100-per cent natural environment at Karloo Pools.

The majestic natural swimming hole awards visitors with emerald-green waters that are perfect for a relaxing dip. Located in Sydney's Royal National Park at Heathcote, it's a little bit of a trek to get to Karloo Pools, so make sure you're ready for an adventure! 

Location: Royal National Park near Heathcote

Check out more natural swimming holes in Sydney and beyond.

11. Wendy’s Secret Garden

Wendy's Secret Garden Lavender Bay

If you love secret Sydney gardens you're going to love Wendy's Secret Garden in Lavender Bay.

This secret Sydney spot gets our tick of approval time and time again!

Wendy Whitely transformed a derelict public area into a magical garden where she buried her artist husband Brett’s ashes, turning heartache into something to be enjoyed for years to come.

With interesting sculptures, a big fig tree for shade, gorgeous colours and views of Sydney Harbour, Wendy's Secret Garden in Lavender Bay is perfect for a stroll, a picnic or simply to be amongst absolutely perfect nature.

Location: Clark Park, Lavender St, Lavender Bay.

12. Lane Cove National Park

Lane Cove National Park

Enjoy the fruits of Mother Nature in the stunning Lane Cove National Park.

Breathe the fresh air and become truly one with nature in this secret spot in Sydney: Lane Cove National Park. 

Lane Cove National Park is always a hit with adventurous families. From canoeing to bushwalking, bike riding, nature watching and even glamping, Lane Cove National Park packs a pretty impressive punch for a secret spot in Sydney.

13. Arthur McElhone Reserve

Arthur McElhone Reserve

Kids will love spotting the darting fish at Arthur McElhone Reserve.

Sitting prettily in front of Elizabeth Bay House is Arthur McElhone Reserve, a picturesque reserve with a small garden and bridge, stunning harbour views and a lovely little pond.

Arthur McElhone Reserve is an absolute pleasure nestled a short walk from Potts Point and truly is one of Sydney's best secret spots. 

Location: 1A Billyard Ave, Elizabeth Bay.

14. Queenscliff Tunnel

Queenscliff Tunnel
The magical sunset viewed from within the magical Queenscliff Tunnel.

One to visit with the older kids or those who don't mind a bit of rock climbing, the magical Queenscliff Tunnel is another secret spot in Sydney to venture to when you're up for a bit of an adventure.

Also known as the Manly Wormhole, the Queenscliff Tunnel is a 40-metre channel through the rock of Queenscliff Head that was chiselled by fishermen hundreds of years ago.

The tunnel connects Queenscliff Beach and Freshwater Beach and can be accessed via the Queenscliff Rock Pool (look for the pink graffiti heart). 

Location: 2096 N Steyne, Queenscliff

15. Barrenjoey Head Lighthouse

Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Last up on our list of secret spots in Sydney is the breathtaking Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

Ok, ok, we admit, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse isn't much of a secret spot in Sydney anymore but it's one of those family bucket list things you just have to do at least once!

The Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk offers absolutely stunning views of Palm Beach and Pittwater and is a great day out for the whole family. The best time to accomplish the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk is during whale watching season for hopefully an extra special surprise the kids will adore.

Location: 1199D Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach.

16. Waterview Wharf Workshops

Waterview Wharf Workshops

The Waterview Wharf Workshops can be accessed by land or water. 

No, you're not in Copenhagen! These delightfully colourful waterfront houses are Sydney's Waterview Wharf Workshops and are one of the most photographed spots in Sydney for good reason.

Located in Balmain, the Waterview Wharf Workshops are Heritage-Listed remnants of the early 20th-century maritime industry, and a pretty cool (and colourful!) spot to snap a pic in Sydney. 

Location: 37 Nicholson Street, Balmain East

17. Spiral Hilltop 

Spiral Hilltop Wentworth Common

An aerial view of the Spiral Hilltop at Wentworth Common.

Also called the Spiral Garden, the huge Spiral Hilltop at Homebush Bay is a work of natural art.

Located in Wentworth Common, the Spiral Hilltop is fun for kids to play around if you're enjoying a picnic in the area, or testing out your endurance by running to the top!

Location: Marjorie Jackson Parkway - Sydney Olympic Park

Further Afield...

18. Nature's Infinity Pool

Woy Woy Waterfall

Keen to take a dip in nature's infinity pool?

This little gem has been dubbed Nature's Infinity Pool because it's a completely natural infinity pool created by nature deep in the stunning Brisbane Waters National Park.

The secret trough waterfall is located in Woy Woy and it takes around three kilometres to locate it from your starting point at the Tunnel Fire Trail off Woy Woy Road. The spectacular natural swimming hole is the perfect hidden spot to cool off on a hot summer's day. 

See Another Side of Sydney

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